Thursday, April 27, 2006

You're in My Space

Recently Josh posted on his blog that a fun thing to do on MySpace is search out random people from high school and see what they're up to. It's a way to catch up without actually having to talk to anyone. Unlike full-contact reunioning, it seems like a great idea. At least that's what I used to think. The problem is that sometimes, even though you don't want to talk to them, they may want to talk to you. This can be an issue. Here's my cautionary tale about just such an incident.

I started MySpacing last summer, and mostly kept my contacts amongst people that I knew. I hadn't thought of the voyeuristic-high-school approach, but I'm sure I would have eventually. I was just a MySpace neophyte, so I didn't know no bettah. One day, I get contacted by some chickie that says "Hey, didn't you used to go to X College? Because I did! And hey, I'm a librarian too!" or something less weird-sounding but containing that sort of message. Now, College X was the first college I went to, and I only stayed there for a year-and-a-half, and it was far from the best experience in my life, so revisiting it is not at the top of my list, if I had a list, which I don't, at least not that sort of list. But I don't want to slam this chickie with all my, like, baggage. So I write back and say, "Why yes I did attend X College, but I'm sorry, I don't remember you." This was maybe my first mistake, in that perhaps people don't like being told that you don't remember them. It's one of those faux pas that I don't really know how you're supposed to get out of. I can't really lie and say I remember her when I don't, can I? Is that what people do? Anyhoo. So she wrote back and said that her name was Kieferella (not really, but I can't remember what her name was) and that she was an english major and listed a bunch of people that she used to hang out with, some of whom I DID remember. "Oh yes", I wrote back, "I know those people. I never hung out with them, but I dated someone who did." Great, small world. After sending that email, I wondered what more we could possibly have to say to each other. Vague connection through ex-kiss-partner and that's about it. Well, let me tell you, she had lots more to say to me! She wrote back a really long message and said that not only does she remember my ex-kiss-partner, but she also remembered all kinds of other stuff about my 18 year-old-self as well. She then proceeded to list back to me lots of sordidity that happened way back in the day between me, ex-kiss-partner and the kissing he was doing with other girlies while he was supposed to be kissing me. And also lots of other thoughts, impressions, and ideas she had about me as a person and what I seemed like and all the whys and wherefores of what I was up to back then. And I mean DETAILS, people. This chickie was apparently the kissing police, and the social archivist, and the pinpointer-of-personality, because she remembered my business better than I remember it. It was cah-reepy. All up in my koolaid, for real. And not just my koolaid, but my old, cobwebby, moldy koolaid. I mean I know it's called MySpace, but she was SO in my space I could smell her stank breath. How does one respond to such a tirade of assy? What did she expect my response to that to be? I don't know what she was expecting, but I'll tell you what I did. I wrote her a message back with one word typed in. All it said was "Yipe." And then I took that MySpace page down. I couldn't deal. So beware of the random re-connectors out there, people. And when you get yourself in an awkward social situation, remember two things. Don't tell people you don't remember them, and when in doubt, say "Yipe" and get the hell out.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Misty Water Colored Memories

When you're a librarian, having a good memory is essential, and having a great memory works wonders. Having that instant recall is one of the many things that can help you with your work and really wow a patron. When they can say something as vague as "there's a La-Z-Boy commercial with a guy on it that I think wrote a crafty book" and you can reply "do you mean Handmade Modern by Todd Oldham?", it truly awes people."How did you know that Patrick Swayze was a dance extra in "Staying Alive" starring John Travolta? That's amazing!" Obviously, you always want to back up your memory with an actual citation that can corroborate what you think you remember, but the fact that you remember it is better than being able to hang a spoon off the end of your nose, as far as most people are concerned. Even facts that are pretty basic librarian knowlege can seem Amazing-Kreskin-like to the non-librarian crowd. Biology Girl threw a party with all her sciencey friends once, and a woman there haltingly half-remembered a book she had read as a child as "something about Sally J." to which I replied "Starring Sally J. Friedman As Herself, by Judy Blume?" and it was like I had pooped a diamond onto the carpet. Everyone thought that was great, and proceeded to quiz me for a few minutes more, just for kicks.

There are those who absolutely stink at this type of factual recall. If you have a bad memory, you can still get by with being a librarian, but it certainly takes a little of the sparkle out of things. The one thing you don't want to do is to just make something up that sounds right to you and is somewhat related to the correct fact, but is not the correct fact at all. If you're someone who does this, librarianship is not for you. For example, my dear Nordic Boy. I love the spit out of him, but there are facts about things that he doesn't retain well. Like names of books, movies, songs, things like that. And not only does he not retain this information, when pressed he'll just make something up that sounds vaguely similar. This makes for some interesting conversations. Recently we were talking with Neighbor J and Neighbor B about a play that's coming soon to our town called "The Charred Underbelly of the Yule Log," which is the show by one of those NPR-type humorists. We all laughed about what a funny name that is for a show. A couple of days later, the topic came up again. Instead of just saying he didn't remember what the title was, he just did his best, god bless him.

Him: Oh yeah. So are we going to see that show when it comes to town?
Me: What show?
Him: The one we were talking about the other night: The Smelly Underpit of the Christmas Troll.
Me: The whaaat?

This is why he should not be a librarian. He just HAS TO bust out with something, even if he knows he doesn't know. Just to try. He just can't help himself from hitting me with his best shot. It's a very hopeful gesture, really. He even does this when it gets to a level of such randomness as to make me wonder how it's related at all to the original thought in the slightest. Last night, he complimented me on a bracelet I was wearing that I bought at a store called the Three Monkeys in Portland.

Me: Thanks. I got this the last time we went to Portland.
Him: Oh, yeah- I remember that store. What's it called- the Spanky Poodle?

The Spanky Poodle. Not the Three Monkeys, but the Spanky Poodle. It's like he's playing Telephone with himself and the fact gets more and more messed up as each day goes by. Neighbor J and I bond over this, because her honey does the same thing. A couple of years ago, when no one could escape the monstrosity that was the Titanic theme song, Neighbor B said: "You know that song...the one by Cilantro Diaz?" Yet another person that should not persue librarianship. It would just be too confusing for patrons. Can you imagine? "Oh, yes. The novel about the dwarf in the German town during the Holocaust. Stoned on the Liver." It would be a disaster.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Monday, April 24, 2006

Shop Suey

This weekend Neighbor J and I went a-shopping. There are many ways that she and I have an uncanny connection (like being able to remember every single episode of Little House on the Prairie with alarming savant-like detail), and shopping is one of them. It goes beyond liking the same stores (we do) and spending hours on sites like Zappos, Nanette Lepore, and Betsey Johnson and emailing each other outfits with accompanying commentary (we do that too). It's a shopping-behavior connection. You know all those studies that talk about information-seeking behavior and how there are patterns depending on the variables involved? Well Neighbor J and I have identical fashion-seeking behavior. We browse the same way, we pick out the same way, we need a snack at the same time. It's honestly a little eerie. We have the same understandings about color, lines, texture, and craftsmanship. If something's badly sewn, we both pick up on the same seam. We can break a piece of clothing down within five minutes. We can say things like "I'm not feeling the shoulder straps, they're too slopey for my shoulders, and the ruching is too high on the midsection, but the tie-behind brings out the backline well and the bias-cut makes a good shelf-butt" and the other person will know exactly what that means. On the other hand, we can also try something on, and just say '"it's cute, right?" and the other person will say "yeah, totally" and we're done. D-U-N, done. It's a meeting of the minds, I tell you, and I treasure it. This girl can speak-a my language, but not give me a vegamite sandwich, which is always appreciated.

One of the things we always do is make a sweep through the stores that we totally can't afford. Some of the stuff in there is so crazy-strange, we wonder what kind of gajillionaire is paying for it. This time around we found a pair of denim short-shorts, that had tight, bunchy elastic around the bottoms. That's right- basically it was a pair of adult Huggies, without the absorbency. Who's going to pay ten bucks for that, let alone the two hundred smackers it was going for? I mean, at least throw in some wetness protection or something. We also once found a blazer that had a gigantic fake branch sewn onto the lapel, with big purple cloth radishes entwined in it. Just as I yelled out "Ha ha! This one has radishes on it!" the saleslady walked by wearing the exact blazer and gave us an evil look. It was like we were Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman trying to shop on Rodeo Drive. No offense, lady. But you do have a salad on your coat there. In BCBG, we saw an entire ritzy-looking family in London Fog style trench coats. A mom who looked like Leona Helmsley, a daughter that looked like Paris Hilton, and a son who looked like Ashley Hamilton. Inspector Gadget times three. Why the three matching coats? The family who trenches together, stays together? Apparently so. We also were appalled at the safari-wear that's coming back in style in some places. What's up with that? Only Indiana Jones should dress like Indiana Jones. And maybe not even then. Lastly, Neighbor J is the only person that I write about on this blog whose blog-nickname is her actual real-life nickname. I really call her "Neighbor." We were next-door neighbors for a long time, and so we started calling each other "Neighbor" in jest, and it never stopped. So as we shop, we call this out. "Hey Neighbor! Look at this!" "Oh my gawd, Neighbor, that's sick!" "Oh I can totally see this on my Neighbor." I never really thought about how odd this must seem to those who overhear us. It's like a cross between Sex in the City and Mr. Rogers. Fashion fabulousness and neighborly niceness all in one. It doesn't seem quite right. But it's just who we are. Shoppy soulmates. Now all we need are the matching trench coats.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Thursday, April 20, 2006

You So Naaaaasty

I got an obscene phone call at the reference desk today. Ob-siggedy-scene. I just have to tell y'all about it because it was weird. I mean, calling someone to say something nasty to them is already a behavior that gets you oddball status. But even for a nasty dude, this guy was strange. I don't know. Maybe I'm just imagining that there are rules of engagement when it comes to dirty calls, but what do I know. To me, if your objective is to call someone and shock them with the lewd-n'-crude, then let's go. Let's do this. Cut to the chase already. Over the course of my life I've gotten the unwanted dirty call or two (as opposed to the wanted dirty call, which is totally different, obviously) and usually they just let it rip. They're ready with their dirrty lines and they go ahead with it. Not this guy.

First of all, he called during a particularly busy moment, so my colleague had to put him on hold. And we didn't get back to him for maybe 5-10 minutes. So weird thing #1: this ODB sat there and waited patiently, listening to the piped in easy listening music. His K.Y. was probably in need of replenishing by the time I finally picked up the phone. So here's how it went. I just need to break this down, people. Share the joy, won't you?

Me: Thanks for waiting, how may I help you?

ODB: (Enthusiastically) Hello! It was no problem waiting!
(Aren't these dirty dudes supposed to be breathing heavily, and not so damn chipper?)

Me: Is there something I can help you with?

Dirt McGirt: I'm sorry. I'm not sure who I dialed. Where did I call?
(Ok, so this establishes that he's calling random numbers, not actually stalking me personally. Good to know).

Me: This is the library. Do you have a question?

Dirty Bird: Yes. Are you familiar with the overall aura of your neighborhood?
(Hmmm. A New Age ODB. Maybe it's Ramtha on a particularly frisky day).

Me: No, I'm not personally familiar with that. Perhaps there's a way I can look that up for you? (See me stretching those LIS skills?)

Dirt Bacharach: No, that's ok. Do you know any information about the high school basketball teams in your area?

Me: What sort of information about that do you need?

Dirt Cobain: I'm wondering-- is this call being recorded?

Me: No.

Dirt Loder: You have such a beautiful voice. Are you married?

Me: I'm sorry, I'm not going to answer that. Do you have a research question?

Nastity Bono: So this is like a quick information hotline?

Me: Sort of. It's the library.

Ron Jeremy: But you do give out information?

Me: Yes. Do you have a question?

Dick Trickle: (I'm not going to tell you what he said next verbatim because it is too grotty. Suffice it to say it had something to do with asking me if I prefer R. Kelly style antics with Number 1 or Number 2, and if it's preferable to me on this or that part of the anatomy.)

Me: (so so typical of me) hahahahahaha

Him: Hello? Hello? (he hangs up)

So that's that. I made an obscene phone caller hang up. I think it's part of the thrill for them to make the callee hang up, so take that, Disgusto. I win. And I'm sorry, I know it's probably pointless to try and decipher this situation, but I can't help it. Enquiring minds want to know. Was he really committed to the idea of the dirt-flirt? Or was all that chitchat in the beginning him getting his (ahem) nerve up? It was almost as if, as he was talking to me, he was connecting the dots that this was a library or some other information-giving-type place, and he was actually trying to come up with questions to ask me, hence the aura and basketball stuff. Or maybe that was just his way of small talk before the grand finale, like when you're on a date and you talk about movies but what you really are waiting for is the making out. And when I laughed at him, why did he say "hello? hello?" like we were having a bad connection or something? It's all so confusing. I'm sort of distraught, but not in the way he wants me to be. Well, at the very least I guess he learned he shouldn't mess with this Librarian. Miss Girl if you're nasty.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

"Fashion! Turn to the Left!"

I know that amongst young, hipster librarians, a favorite topic of conversation is the lack of fashion sense that can run rampant in our profession. The socks and sandals jokes, the holiday-scene sweaters, the gunny sack dresses, the bunheads. I've heard about it a million times. I've talked about it a million times. When I first got my job, I read a book of essays that gave advice to new librarians, and one of the essays actually said that wearing sweats to work is not really the best idea. In a book that intelligently discussed ideas about patron service, cataloging theory and practice, and the underpinnings of intellectual freedom, this book had to spell that mess out. "If the predominant author is not indicated, tag 100 is to be made under the first author, and tag 700 for the rest. And fool, don't wear sweats to work." Boggles the mind, no?

When I think about this phenomenon a bit more, I come to the conclusion that part of what this is about is purely generational. As much as anyone is loathe to admit it, there was a time when gunny sack dresses with plastic headbands were completely in. During the time when Melissa Gilbert ruled the airwaves, prairie-wear was stylin', at least much more so than it is now. And I remember when Maddie Hayes used to wear those triangle-shaped blazers with the huge shoulder pads in shades of Pepto or Mylanta, and it was chic as can be. So when I see my colleagues wearing these types of things, it's just a reflection of the time warp that many people get caught in. And that phase, if you calculate it, usually falls into the era of whenever that particular person was in their 20s. Think about it.

Take my dad as an example. He was in his 20s during the 1950s, and much of his fashion sense is frozen in that time period. Tailored suits, neckties in a windsor knot, cuff links. To dress down, he likes his newsie cap and linen pants. He's not going to change that. It's the same with our librarian colleagues. If they were hippies who wore birkenstocks with socks while they had folksy singalongs with their friends when they were 25, they are greying librarians who wear birkenstocks with socks as they do their story times now.

As I just recently left my 20s, I am noticing that my peers are starting to settle into their look and I wonder what the future holds for us. I have friends who were in their early 20s when big, chunky, neo-platform shoes were all the rage, and they are sticking to those chunksters with hardcore committment, right through the kitten-heel/wedge extravaganza that's going on right now. What else is in store for us? Will you be the 60 year old man in the jean jacket with the hoodie underneath? Will I be the 72 year old lady with the long Lucy Liu hair and fishnet Spanx? Will your lower back tattoo peek through the top of your pants as you sit at the park bench feeding the birds? Will we rock the bingo parlor in our Converse and Mac eyeliner?

I guess what I'm saying is that I am feeling much more compassion when I look at the socks and sandals I see paraded before me. I see it as an homage to lost youth. I imagine what you were doing when you first donned those Sally Jessie glasses. Did you wear those corduroy dress shorts with nude nylons underneath the first time you fell in love? Did you hike up those high-waisters to your ribcage on your first day of college? Is that the perm with stand-up bangs you got styled especially for graduation? I see those moments in you. I'm old enough now to get how we all want to hold onto that, at least a little. I really do.

So if I'm still showing up to work in my United Nude cork shoes in 20 years, please be nice to me. And if I show up to work in my sweats, laugh with good nature and tell me to go home and change. And be nice about my Lucy Liu hair. It was stylin' back in the day.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Monday, April 17, 2006

Birthday Cuz

Today's birthday shout-out is for my cousin R. She's not just my cousin, she is my all-time favorite, most special, rockin'-est fabu cousin. And that is saying something because I have, like, a bajillion first cousins. So it's not like best out of three or something lame like that. She's gorgeous, fun, talented, smart, and stylin'. And best of all, hi-larious.

One time she flew out to visit me during a spring break from college, and between all the running around that we did together, we spent an evening watching a bunch of tv in our pajamas. This particular year, there was a VW car commercial that was airing that had that Geggy Tah song on it that went: "All I wanna do is to thank you, even though I don't know who you are, you let me change lanes, when I was driving in my car..." It's kind of an annoying song. And for some reason, that night, it was on the heaviest rotation on the planet. It played every commercial break, sometimes twice, until I was on the verge of conniption. However, during one of the times it played, R started to tap her foot and nod her head along with the song. That's cute, I thought to myself, she's feeling the song. The next time it played, she hummed along, giving me a sidelong glance. By the fourth or fifth time, she sang softly along, looking at me with a serene smile. The next time it played, I sang it with her. And people, by the end of the night, we were just WAITING for that commercial to play each time, because we were seriously belting it OUT. Both of us, sofa dancing, pajama-wearing fools, channeling old Geggy and not caring if the neighbors heard us. "ALL I WANNA DO IS TO THANK YOU, EVEN THOUGH I DON'T KNOW WHO YOU ARE..."

This is the kind of chick my cousin is. She will take an annoying situation and turn it into a funfest no matter what happens. This is an awesome quality to have in any situation, but to have her around in family-type-situations, where annoying, endearing, confusing, surreal things happen often, is a life-saver. You know how Holly Hunter and Robert Downey Jr. get through Thanksgiving together with their crazy family just by sticking together? That's us. And I love her like crazy. Happy birthday, cousin. Kiss kiss.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Grapes of Stone

Apparently the cold I had yesterday has peaked and receded all on one day, which hardly ever happens to me. Cold Lite, is what Neighbor J and I call this. I went back to work today, and realized that although I am almost all the way better, I still have a little bit of that hazy, underwatery feeling in my head, which seems kind of ok when I am at home sipping Earl Grey and watching Little House on the Prairie in my stylish matchy pajamas, but at work, it's totally magnified. This makes me all the more aware that library work is brainy. And if your brain isn't functioning at peak levels, hilarity can ensue. Well, maybe not full out hilarity, but definitely hijinks. Librarianfolk need to be ALERT, and I was not as alert as I usually am. You want proof that I am not alert? I just said librarianfolk, for starters.

The first hijink that happened (hijink? is that the correct singular of hijinks?) was that someone wanted infomation on how to form their own LLC without a lawyer and I thought they were asking me about LL Bean. LLC, LL Bean, potato, potahto. I actually went on this LL Bean premise for kind of a long time during the reference interview. I had formulated in my mind that they wanted to somehow start their own LL Bean without the help of a lawyer, and I kept asking them (what I now know are) nonsensical questions to help me figure out how to do this. I was confused because I was sure that LL Bean stores are not franchises that one can open oneself, but at the same time I was willing to go along with what I thought the patron was telling me. This resulted in the patron having to repeat some very obvious points a couple of times, and me coming out of the fog of Cold Lite a little chagrined.

This whole thing reminded me of a similar situation where I was the unlucky asker and the other person was the doofus misunderstandus. It happened at Whole Foods. There was this guy that used to work there who was cute in a Jordan Catalano sort of way. Broody, unsmiling. You know the type. Biology Girl developed a crush on this dude, who we lovingly dubbed Stoneface. Biology Girl was going through a shy phase, and was having trouble striking up a conversation, and I had spent a few months coaching her with opening lines and the like, but nothing was happening. After a while, I promised her that one of these times I would say something to him and lure him into our circle of fun social happenings where he would be wowed with how fabulous and gorgeous she is, which- trust me- is not that hard if you know Biology Girl. Our hope was that Stoneface was only quiet and brooding at first, but once the ice was broken, he would have this amazing sense of humor, which is totally a requirement to hang out with us. I was in line one day, and who should be my cashier but He of the Face of Stone. As he rung up my groceries, my grapes rung up at $8.99 a pound. Now, Whole Foods can be expensive, but 9-dollar grapes? I wondered if that was a mistake.

Me: Are these grapes really $8.99 a pound?
Him: (rescanning them) They're $8.99. (blank stoneface)
Me: But, are they REALLY 8.99?
Him: (rescanning them again) They're $8.99. (stoney stoneface)
Me: I get that they're SCANNING at 8.99. But what I'm asking is if that is correct. Could there be an error?
Him: (stoney stone stone)...Ummm. It says 8.99.
Me: (starting to find this conversation funny). Yes, I know that's what it SAYS. But could that be wrong?
Him: Well, when I scan them it says $8.99
Me: hahahahaha
Him: (silent stonefacey-ness)
Me: hahahahaha
Him: (unwavering stoneface)

I finally just had to say that I didn't want the grapes, and I NEVER got him to crack a smile. Not even a little! Needless to say, he was completely written off from that day forward and we never tried to chat up Stoneface again. We still laugh at him though.

I'm fairly sure that LLC guy is going to go home and tell his friends about the dummy librarian who thought he wanted to open an LL Bean franchise. It was so obvious that I was foggy. Maybe I'm going down in that guy's history as Fogface. It's only fair, I suppose.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I Be Illin'

Cloudy Thoughts from Sickhead Sickbed

1. Earl Grey decaf tea is the elixir of life.

2. I love that long skinny microphone that Bob Barker uses. Why don’t people use those any more?

3. The only thing that sounds good to me is staring at a screen. Computer screen, tv screen. What did sick people do in pre-screen-times?

4. Even if you haven’t watched a particular soap opera for more than 15 years, you can tune into one and it’ll have many of the same actors and storylines that are still being dragged out, year after year. Convenient.

5. Chunky chips ahoy...oy oy oy. Is this not a brilliant commercial?

6. Did you all know that Regis still screams at Gelman?

7. Pretty Baby with Susan Sarandon and Brooke Shields is not the movie you want to watch if you’re home sick. Trust me.

8. I missed a committee meeting at work today. I bet it was the one meeting where they had cupcakes or someone told a really good joke or something. Damn.

9. I like how Brits say “shut it!” sometimes instead of “shut up!” If I told people to shut up more often, I could adopt this way of saying it.

10. I’ve been mulling over which tv doctor I would wish to have at my bedside to get me well. Dr. Huxtable, maybe, but he delivers babies, and I certainly do not want that. Hawkeye Pierce, maybe? Dr. Crusher? So many choices...

I’ll write a more coherent post soon, I promise.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Monday, April 10, 2006

It's Crunch Time

There are many things that I never thought I would do that I ended up doing. A whole host of things. A whole holy host. Some of them are things that I consciously, intentionally, emphatically said I would never do and then I just up and did them anyway, surprising myself and all who know me. Like being in a long-term, committed relationship. That wasn't in the plan. Never really wanted that. But then I walked into a woodshop one day, saw Nordic Boy (from the back, no less, hello disgusting ogler) and was seriously sprung. I mean I truly bugged out. That "you had me at hello" stuff, I didn't even believe in it. I still don't believe in it. It makes me gag during movies. Kind of a paradox, but oh well. I also swore up and
down,as I skipped out of my last day of college after two degrees (and yes, I actually did skip) that I would never be a student in a formal institoot of education ever again and then I lost my marbles and went to graduate school. I also swore I would never stay in a soul-sucking, joy-deadening job for more time than it would take for me to move onto something else, but yes, I did that too. Flushed two years of my life down the crapper with that one.

So this weekend I did another thing that I never seriously pictured myself doing. I went shopping for a home loan. Not that I ever took some sort of anti-home-owning stand. It's just not something I ever really could picture myself doing, like wearing cowboy boots or running a marathon. But I just did it anyway. And much like cowboy boots and marathons, it was fer-reaky.

First off, what does one wear on such an endeavor? Responsible clothes, that's what you wear. So fine, black pants, grey sweater. Responsible and somber. Hester Prynne on the catwalk sans A. No sparkles allowed. My friend Jane told me that under no circumstances should I wear open-toed shoes, which really surprised me. How is that a rule? Will the loan guy be offended at the sight of my toes? As I waited to go into the room, the only feeling that came over me was that mixture of dread and giddiness that I used to get when sent to the principal's office. Man, I hope he doesn't have a paddle in there. When I go in, there's lots of questions, lots of typing into a computer, and the first time in my life that anyone has ever said the words "let's crunch the numbers" to me in all seriousness. Crunch the numbers. In that moment it was the single most stupid phrase I had ever heard. I wanted to laugh. Why do so many goddamn things make me want to laugh?

So after the numbers were sufficiently crunched, I was given a pre-approval letter for an amount of money that was ridiculous. He slid it across the table and I didn't much feel like taking it. I felt like asking him if he seriously wanted to hand that letter, with that dollar amount printed on it, to a person who doodles hearts on the margins of her paper during meetings, and who can't go one day without cussing, and who spends hours on the phone with Neighbor J and Biology Girl like a thirteen year old, and who just the previous night had had a contest with Nordic Boy over who could say "MOOOOOORE!?" with the best screamy falsetto like the soldier in the movie Oliver Twist for a full hour after dinner. I mean, really. We had screamed "MOOOORE!?" at each other over and over again, laughing ourselves sick. Does that seem like a grown-up to you, Mr. Loan Guy? Does that seem like someone who can handle that letter?

I didn't say any of that, of course. I calmly took the letter and shook the hand of this man who I will forever remember as Captain Crunch, and walked out of that office. Unlike Oliver Twist, I definitely did not want to ask for some more, please. That was more than enough. Moooooore.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Friday, April 07, 2006

Kick It!

Did you used to get in trouble when you were a kid? Of course you did. At some point, some time, you HAD to have gotten into some trouble, whether you were Betty Rizzo ("Where you goin'? To flog your log?") or Mary Ingalls ("Can I please have my punishment now?"). My question for you is: how did you react? What was your style? As I see the kids come in to the library in the afternoons, I've noticed that most of them have their own specific way of reacting to the shenanigans that they've created. For example, we've got the 8th grade Mel Brooks. The reason I think of him this way is because no matter what fresh hell he's gotten himself into, he responds with "I didn't do it!" to which I want to finish with that Mel Brooks line "...I was at a friend's house! The check is in the mail!" He says this no matter how many witnesses saw him do whatever "it" is. He punched his friend in the face right as I was talking to him once. When I said "hey! don't do that!" he said, "what? I didn't do it!" It took all of my will to not laugh at this. We also have Baby Sidney Bristow. She's around 8, and sometimes she gets into some shady business and says things like "someone must have stolen my identity and done that." I love that kid too. Then there's Take-It-Like-A-Man kid, who will break the rules, but when you confront him, he nods sagely and looks at you with big serious eyes, as if he knows you are right, so right, and he is going home and doing some sort of penitent act as soon as he gets there, like no Runescape for a week or something. And then there's Junior High Smoothie, who gets into trouble but apologizes with smiles, "ma'am"s and even thanks me for my time in coming over to kick him out. That kid is growing up to be the President. I just know it.

I don't really know if kicking kids out has any effect on future behavior. I know that when I used to get kicked out of stuff, there was a little bit of pride amongst me and my friends about it. I remember practically patting ourselves on the back as we left Fuddruckers, or Showbiz, or wherever. Ha ha, look at us, we are badasses who get kicked out of places. It gave us street cred of some sort, even if we didn't really have any. Because let's face it, no one who hangs out at Showbiz has street cred (references from Kanye West songs notwithstanding). I got kicked out of 8th grade math almost every day for laughing. Yes, even then I was a giggly girl. So, out in the hall I would be sent and it didn't phase me one bit.

So every time I kick a kid out, there's a part of me that feels like the authority figure. Then there's another part of me that just feels like I am passing the torch. Go forth and be kicked out, young hooligans. Perhaps there's a future librarian in you somewhere.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Badge of Honor

This is the first job in my entire life that has required that I wear a badge. I've worked a lot of jobs in my life, and somehow I have managed to avoid uniforms and badges of any kind, which I am rather proud of. I'm not really a uniform kind of girl, either for wearing myself or on other people. If I had to choose a uniform that I like, I would have to say it's the white lab coats that the Clinique ladies wear. I love how it makes them look like they are chemists of lotion, or doctors of liquid eyeliner. Also, it's gutsy. You've got three inches of make-up spackled on your face, and you're wearing a white coat? That is a recipe for disaster if ever I saw one. It always makes me think of that episode of Kate and Allie, where Kate buys a white suit that she can't afford, intending to wear it to the ballet and then return it the next day, and then a ballerina falls into her and leaves the perfect impression of a made-up face on the back of the suit. The moral? Make up and white coats do not mix. Take heed, Clinique. But I digress.

I realize that wearing a badge in a library is important. It identifies you to the patrons as a PWA (Person With Authority), and it even has the magical magnetic strip thing that scans you into the building and into the top secret restricted library back rooms, where we all gather to plot the destruction of the world through free books and media for everyone, like the godless pinkos that we are. So I guess I should like my badge. But I don't. Badgley Mischka, yes. Badgely Librarian, no. First of all, the day that I was told I had to have my picture taken for this badge, I happened to be wearing a rockin' peasant top from Lucky Brand in red, yellow, and brown stripes. It looks cool in person, but now my digitized, pixelated photo looks like I am wearing some sort of clown collar. The Lucky Brand shirt did not translate, dig? Second, the wear and tear on the badge as it is used to scan myself into work every day has caused there to be a couple of big white scratches in the badge that make it look like someone has purposely X'd over my face. White X face with a clown collar. Are you picturing this? The other thing about this badge is that there isn't really a jaunty way to wear it. I know, it's probably futile to try and act like this thing is some sort of accessory, but I can't help but want it to look sort of nice. I refuse to wear one of those cloth necklace things around my neck with my badge on it. I know some people do that, and they also adorn this thing with their "I read banned books" buttons and such, but whoa, that is just one heartbeat away from Flair, people. I am not doing Flair, just like I am not wearing those rubber spiral bracelets that people keep their keys on. A key is not a charm for a charm bracelet. Only Janet Jackson in Rhythm Nation can wear key accessories. Only Janet! Are you listening, Alicia? So I am resigned to clipping my badge onto the lower left edge of my shirts each day, so that it rests right there on my hip. It's the sexiest I can make that damn badge.

The final thing I hate about my badge is the fact that, under my X'd out face, it says in big bold letters: STAFF. That's it. Just STAFF. This causes me to hear this joke at least three times a week: "Hey there, Staff! How's it going, Staff?" or some other variation of the same. I guess you'd call that me getting badgered.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl