Mrs. A and I were at the circ desk when the phone rang and I answered it. A lady on the line explained that we had been holding a book for her and she wanted to make sure we still were, because she knew her hold time was up soon. We still had her book and I told her she still had a day to pick it up.
"I'll be right over to get it," she said.
As I hung up the phone, I turned to Mrs. A and announced, "She will not have her library card when she arrives. I can hear it in her voice."
Mrs. A laughed and continued processing inter"liberry" loan requests.
Ten minutes later, the patron from the phone arrived and mentioned that she was the person who'd just called. While she browsed our new fiction, I fetched her held book and set it upon the counter, awaiting the inevitable. Sure enough, she came over and said, "Am I ready to go?"
"Actually, I need to check it out to you first. Can I scan your library card?"
"You mean you... oh," she said. "I need the card?"
"Yes, ma'am," I said sweetly.
"You can't just look me up by..."
"No, ma'am," I said even more sweetly, this time with a smile.
She seemed to debate something internally for a couple of seconds, then gestured to the door and gave the international sign language for I'll be right back, I have to go get my pocketbook out of the car. When she was out the door, I turned to Mrs. A.
"What did I say?" I asked. "I tell you, I can hear it in their VERY VOICES!"
Mrs. A was suitably impressed.
I was even more correct than I had originally thought, though. Back our patron came, pocketbook in hand. She dug through it for nearly a minute searching for her card. Occasionally she would mutter, "I bet she still has it," and "Ohhhhh, she didn't give it back." Finally, she gave me a pitiful look and explained that she was pretty sure she'd loaned her card to her daughter, but the kid hadn't returned it. She then blinked hopefully and her eyes darted to my computer, using the international eye-sign-language for You could just look my name up in your computer, couldn't you?
"I can hold it for you here," I said, my own voice straining at the known boundaries of sweetness.
The patron left, sans book.
Twenty minutes later, she returned. Turns out she'd only left her card at work.