544 miles, $4.59 per gallon

Last week I attended the Spring MPLD (Missouri Public Library Directors) meeting in Cape Girardeau.  Yep, Cape Girardeau, a place that is in the southeastern part of Missouri, but is quicker to get to via St. Louis.  Yuck.  I had a meeting, that I was in charge of, scheduled for 4pm on Wednesday, June 1st.  That happened to be the same day as the first day of SRP (Summer Reading Program).  I was late. 

We had 111 kids in attendance on our first day of SRP.  Not 11, 111, not counting all the caregivers, parents, grandparents, etc.  It was crazy.  At 11:28, when things had slowed down some, I escaped to my meeting.  A meeting that was over 4 hours away.  I should have made it, but I stopped to grab some Taco Bell, and no, I did not eat it while I was driving, tacos and driving don’t work well together.  Then, after driving white knuckled through St. Louis, I stopped for gas.  $4.38 per gallon gas, 45 minutes from Cape, where gas was $4.19 per gallon.  Boo. 

The conference was at the Drury Inn, not the one east of I55, the one ½ mile away on the west side of I55.  What?  Yep, one is a Drury Suites, one is the Drury conference center.  It was actually very lovely and yes, it might have a little something to do with the 3 free beverages provided every night.  I needed a drink after that drive. 

The Thursday meetings started out a little rough.  We heard from our State Librarian, Robin, and the Director at Daniel Boone Library, Margaret.  Robin shared updates about the recent legislation session specific to impacts on the library world.  Although the news is good, at this point, if you google “Missouri Legislation 2022” various articles come up with words like: raucous, tumultuous, dysfunction.  There is concern about the future, for all of us, especially when the session was described as the “least productive legislative session in modern history”.  Then Margaret shared how her library workers have unionized. I am not making a political statement about unions, but when you work in a tax based field, demanding better pay is not as easy as raising prices, it just seems very counterproductive for a library.  Ugghh, the free 3 drinks were needed once again. 

I really enjoy my MPLD meetings, it is such a specific group and thus, we get to complain about all the things specific to our jobs.  We also share great ideas and encouragement and it always outweighs the ugly we spew.  I never leave down, always renewed, well, unless I have a 4+ hour drive and another trip to the gas station.  

I left around noon on Friday and spent the first hour thinking of library things, then I answered a call from our security system.  A panic button was showing issues, as I have mentioned before, the negative tries hard to stay in first place.  No problem, good music and a winding, scenic route avoiding St. Louis helped.  I kept looking out for a place to buy gas, hoping I would not make the same mistake I did driving in.  I had not had lunch, I had drunk 2 bottles of water, not counting the can of Mr. Pibb and 2 bottles of water I had before leaving the conference, and my car was nearing empty. As I went through Tuscumbia gas was $4.59, no thanks, I will wait.  Then I arrived in Eldon, it was $4.29 at the station off of 54, but remember I was hungry and needed to potty.  I decided I would head into Hardee’s and get gas at Casey’s.    Well, I am sure you know how that all went.  Bathroom – check, Hot Ham n’ Cheese – check, gas at $4.29 – NOPE, $4.59.  No big deal, I drove home on fumes, yes, only to fill my tank up with $4.59 gas on Sunday.

544 miles later, I was home.  Time for a short nap and off to the Willie Nelson concert with friends.  Now, here we are, another day of SRP under our belts with an attendance of 89 and guess what, I think I will spend the next few days not leaving the borders of Morgan County.