Friday, June 30, 2006

Blog Closet

When I started writing this blog, I was a total blog newbie. I started it at the suggestion of two friends who thought I had something to say out here on the Internets. I still don't really know what I'm doing out here, in the blog cyberscape, as I didn't think it would last long (my fatal flaw-- I never think anything is going to last long). But I started this, and I didn't tell anyone that I knew about it. Not because I wanted to write anything that would get me dooced. I knew I would keep it sassy but classy, as the Pussycat Dolls would say. (Yeah, I just quoted the Pussycat Dolls. Such is my lot in life). I figured I'd talk librarian stuff, life stuff, pop culture stuff. It would be for me. I told Neighbor J and Biology Girl and Jenny. Then I told Ali and Map. A couple more after that. But for the most part, I just kept it under my hat. Don't really know why.

After a bit, I discovered that there were people out there who had found me, and were reading my stuff, and being really kind to me about it. People I had never met. Most of my readers are in the Midwest, which I find so interesting because I am originally a midwesterner myself. I wonder if there's something about the way I write that appeals to my homies back home. I don't know how it happened, but these people (alla yous reading this) are so great, so generous, so smart, so ridiculously funny in your comments and emails. It made me want to keep writing and checking out your blogs and feeling the love out there.

I'm leading up to something here, and it's not just a Sally Field "you really like me!" moment. Now that I've been doing this for a bit, and I have you guys out there who listen to my blatherings and seem to understand them, I feel, well, strange about coming out of the blogging closet to people that I actually know, in person. I'm unsure about whether I need to. Maybe I should just keep it the way it has been, which is great. But there seems to be something so secretive about not telling people, especially at this point. And I am not a secretive person, by nature. For instance:

When the Whole Foods in my neighborhood first opened, I went there almost every day that summer to get a smoothie. I was having a serious addictive love affair with those god damn smoothies. They may as well have been crack flavored. So, into the Whole Foods I would go, to order up. At the counter, they always ask your name, so that they can call it out when your smoothie is up. I didn't give them my real name. Again, this was not out of some paranoid idea that anyone gave a shit about what my name was so I had to keep it a secret. It's just that I have a hard to pronounce first name. Let me re-phrase. I actually have a very easy-to-pronounce first name, but it is unfamiliar to most, so people butcher it. This gets confusing. I have been called "Brenda" and "Rhonda" and "Braillah" (the feminine of "Braille"?), none of which are anywhere close to my name. So I told the smoothie guy that my name was Jane. Because that's easy to say, easy to spell, and people are familiar with the name Jane, right?

Well, the next day, when I came in to get my smoothie, the guy who worked there remembered me. "Hiya Jane!" he said to me as I walked in. I felt embarrassed, but I didn't correct him. How could I tell him that my name wasn't really Jane? Wouldn't that have been too weird?

This went on ALL SUMMER LONG. Not only did this guy continue to call me Jane, all of the other people who worked at that counter also came to know me as Jane. They all greeted me warmly each and every time I walked in the door. It was like Norm on Cheers. "Jane!" they would say, all happy to see me. But it was too late. How could I go back now? How could I tell them, after weeks and weeks of so much niceness, that I wasn't Jane? I felt terrible every time it happened, and this ended my smoothie habit for good. At least until the staff turned over.

This is how I am starting to feel about my blog, people. How can I tell people that I see all the time, that feel like they know me, that um, hey, I have a blog and have had one for six months, and just sort of, um, forgot to tell you guys about it? Not because it's a secret on purpose, but just something I forgot to mention?

Jane, you're such a weirdo.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Discuss Amongst Yourselves

So tomorrow night I am leading a book discussion group for older teens and adults. I like the idea of book groups, but I fear, in my secret, private thoughts (that I am about to share right out here on the Internets), that I am not really a book-group kind of girl. Are you shocked? Are you going to report me to the librarian police and take my librarian-membership-card away?

I like the idea of book groups though. I really do. I think book groups are like marriages. I would always look around at married people I knew, and think "why would I want that? That looks extremely messy and dysfunctional." It wasn't until I saw people that I could identify with who were married that I could concede that it was something that looked kind of ok. It's the same with book groups. I don't think I've ever been a part of one that's good, functional, fun. So I can't really picture what that would look like. Does it exist? Sure, probably. But it's hard to achieve. Like marriage, it probably is a lot of chemistry and luck thrown in.

The first book group I was in was in college, where a bunch of people decided that they wanted to try it out, and none of us had any book-grouping experience (ah, college. So experimental). That one fell apart, as I recall, because I was in a phase where all I wanted to read was filmmaking books and one of the other members really wanted to read Hemingway, and yet another person wanted to read The Night of the Living Dead. So, a bad mix of people all the way around. It didn't last long.

Then, I was in a book group with friends in the mid-90s. (Wow- isn't that, like, a totally fogey thing I just did? Refer to a time in my life by the decade? Yikes). That was good, because we all read stuff that we liked, and also stretched our reading horizons beyond what we knew before. But, the thing was, we never really talked about the books. We all read them, and met, and basically just said "cool." Or maybe we said "not cool" if we didn't like it. But no real discussion. We had a de facto leader of the group (meaning the bossiest person known to humankind) and I recall we read "The God of Small Things" and she led a spirited discussion along the lines of "what was that whole twin thing about? Gross!" And because we were too nice to try and override her bossy powers, we didn't try to commandeer the discussion. "Yeah," we all said with a sigh. "Gross."

I was once also invited to a book discussion group by a professor I had back in the day. This professor is, I think, the smartest person I have ever met. I was continually blown away by the fountains and fountains of knowledge that she possessed. She said things on a plane of theoretical, abstract thinking that I knew I was only partially understanding, and yet even the small amount that I understood blew my effin' mind. She knew transnational economic deconstructionist shit, ya'll, and could spout it to you in whatever language you wished. She wrote those kind of books that you can read, one incredibly dense passage at a time (often reading the same passage over and over), and ruminate on each and every sentence for hours. So when she chose me--ME--to attend her private book club group with her friends...I was beyond flattered. It was like Mr. Miyagi had told me it was time to run with the big boys. I bought the book, and it was by Luce Irigaray. Fine, I thought, I can get down with some Irigaray. I know Luce. Bring it!

I got to the book group, and it was the definition of "out of my league," people. Now, I can get into an intellectual smackdown, no problem. You want to get into some theory, I'm there. My papers I wrote for my professor's class and the stuff I'd said in that same class must have meant something. I mean, she wouldn't have invited me, out of all the people in her class, if she hadn't thought I had the Right Stuff. But oh my dear Wittgenstein, I had the Wrong Stuff. The Completely Wrong Stuff. This set of people, in this book group, started to talk about this book, and I went all Lil' John on them, at least inside my own head. "Ha-what?" I mean, they were drawing out references to things, and quoting them in the original languages and shit like that. I'm thinking "umm. E Pluribus Unum? La Femme Nikita? Inna-gadda-davita?"

Since then, I have led some good discussion groups via my librarian gig. So I know it doesn't have to be like all those others. But still, I have those feelings beforehand like it's just probably not going to be that rewarding. Maybe that's just performance anxiety or something. I'm providing doughnuts at the next one, so that will make it worthwhile, just for that, right? Because everything is better with doughnuts. Just like marriage. Ok, I think I've pushed the marriage analogy a bit too far.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Cheeseless in Seattle

You always hear those stories about couples who have been together for a really long time, who have started to take each other for granted. You know what I mean. The husband and wife who don't attend to the daily, tiny kindnesses and who barely seem to notice that the other person is even there any more. Then, as the marriage falls apart, they both realize (if this is a Lifetime Original movie starring Lisa Hartman Black and Patrick Duffy) how much the other person really DID for them, and how unappreciative they have been all along, and if only they could have a second chance, they would never take that person for granted again. They would love them, cherish them, forever and ever, amen.

Well, I'm finally understanding what those feelings are all about, people. No, nothing is falling stale between me and Nordic Boy. Not to worry. The relationship that I am lamenting right now is the one I have with...a refrigerator.

I am currently without fridge. My new house did not come with a fridge, so I have to buy one. And in the days that lined up between moving in and today, I have resigned myself to living without a fridge for a week or two, because hey, I just bought a house and have lots of things to spend money on and I have to prioritize these things, and so how hard could that be, to live fridge-free?

It's hard. It's hella hard. How did I grow up not appreciating this fine invention? Why, when watching Little House on the Prairie and seeing Nels lugging huge chunks of ice out of the ice house, did I not say to myself "thank Petey Wheat that I don't have to do that?" Why, each time I had a nice, cold Izzy soda to quench my thirst, did I not give my fridge a little caress?

I don't know why. I just didn't. Took it for granted. Grumbled at it late at night when I was hankering for something and standing there with its door open, looking at my vast array of condiments (easily 40 or 50 different condiments in my fridge, I'm sure). Kicking its door shut as I made my milky Earl Grey tea in the morning. Kicking it! For shame.

So now I understand the error of my ways. I was blind but now I see. I want to be able to store cheese. And milk. And have cold beverages. And, oh sweet Theo Huxtable, some ice cream. Store them all, cold, chilled, in my very own abode. Right there. Close by.

I remember the only other time in my life that I was ever awed at the majesty that is refrigeration. When I was growing up, my friend Ali's house had the most mammoth fridge I had ever seen in a house. Ever. Still to this day that behemoth was impressive. Every time one of its gigantic doors swung open before me, I was agape. It was like a walk-in closet of a fridge.

I don't need a fridge like that, obviously. But I do need a fridge. A glorious, beautiful fridge. I have the one that I want picked out, and it is sexy. I can't wait to have it be a part of the family. I will treat it kindly, with reverence, and every spoonful of Ben and Jerry's that I consume out if its loving guts, I will say mea culpa, dear fridge. I am sorry that I didn't see the beauty radiating from within your little lighted interior.

And hopefully, my future ice box will hold no grudges against me. Cool forgiveness will be mine. It will all be water under the fridge, as Balki Bartakamous used to say.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

"Heapin' Helpin' of Hospitality"

Most houses have quirks, and the older ones are the quirkiest. There are the things people have left behind, and parts of homes that have been altered to suit a particular need. For instance, when Neighbor J and Neighbor B used to live next door to me in the duplex, they found someone's secret stash of foot fetish magazines in a crawl space. Someone was getting their foot fun on, and leaving the evidence in the ceiling rafters, ya'll. You'd think that a foot lover would, if they had any sort of poetic aptitude, hide that stuff in the floorboards instead of in the ceiling, was my thought on the matter.

When I was house-hunting, I saw a house that looked alarmingly amateurish in its construction, where each room was built oddly on a different level. So, from the entrance hall, you stepped two steps up into the living room, and then stepped four steps down into the kitchen. You proceed to the first bedroom (seven steps up) and beyond to a laundry room (three more steps up). What made this house even more odd was that the ceilings were all one height, and so sometimes your head would almost touch the top of the room, and other times it was a regular high ceiling.

My favorite house quirk that I saw during this whole endeavor was a two story 1920s era home. On the second floor, there was a nice bedroom with a closet. I opened the door to the closet, and discovered that there was a 2 x 3 hole cut neatly into the back of the closet wall. The view from this hole looked out onto the staircase that came from below. So, if this was your bedroom, you could stand inside your closet and peer out this hole to watch the other residents of the house traipse up and down the stairs, and they would probably not be the wiser. This hole was also curiously framed. As in, there was a picture frame encasing the hole, so the implication of this view was that you were looking out onto a picturesque tableau of stair-walkers. From inside a closet. Tres creepy.

Well, my new house has its own little quirk, which part of me loves and another part of me can't wait to get rid of. I have an unfinished laundry/utility room, which basically just has the washer/dryer, breaker box, and lots o' pantry-ish built-in cabinets. One of these cabinet doors is, well, a door. Like a full-size, entry-and-exit-for-people door that you have on your bathroom, with a doorknob instead of a handle. The only difference between a regular door and this door is that this door is built in to the wall sideways. So it looks like there is a sideways door running the length of one wall. How odd, right? Well, it gets better. When I turned the doorknob, the door folded out, and I discovered that it is a twin size, homemade murphy bed. It reminds me of the kind of beds they used to have in trains in old murder mystery movies. Not only is it a bed, but there is a rusty set of mattress springs affixed to this door. Just springs. Glued onto the door. No actual mattress, or space for a mattress. Like all you could really do with this is maybe tie a thin cloth pad to the rusty metal springs and curl up for some zzz's that way. Um, in the cement-walled unfinished utility room. Ahhh, relaxing. So cozy.

I can't help but wonder what this crazy bed was used for. Did prior residents actually think this was a suitable guest room? Did they make Grandma sleep in there when she visited? Poor Grandma. Although, I know Granny wanted a root cellar dug into the back yard on the Beverly Hillbillies to make her feel more at home and it didn't matter that she had a huge mansion for her, um, roots (?). She felt the most comfortable with her root cellar. So I can only hope that the karma in my new house doesn't include making Granny sleep somewhere she didn't want to sleep. Because that would be too sad. At any rate, the bed's got to go. I just can't abide.

Ya'll come back now, hear?

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Past 4,320 Minutes

Well, it's no dee-luxe apartment in the sky-hi-high, but it's mine. This weekend I moved into the new digs. On Friday evening, the truck-moving dude called to let me know what time he would be delivering our moving truck.

Him: Just calling to confirm that you ordered a truck.
Me: That's right.
Him: I will be there with the truck, 108 minutes from now.

One hundred and eight minutes. Not an hour-and-a-half, not two hours, but 108 minutes. When I told Nordic Boy about this, of course we had to set a timer at 108 minutes to see if the dude was serious. And we spent the rest of the evening announcing how many minutes each task would take. ("I'm going to pick up the take-out. I'll return in 17 minutes.") Because we're geeky like that.

By Saturday afternoon, we had moved everything in to the new place. Yippee! My enthusiasm was tempered a bit, however, by the fact that the yard resembled a rainforest. I mean, the type of landscape that you need a machete to cut yourself a pathway through. I wish I were exaggerating. I know that a big reason I could even afford this house was because the yard was in such bad shape that many potential buyers were scared off by it ("AHHH! THE TREES! SO MANY TREES! AAHHHH!"), which was lucky for me, but now that I looked at the green gone wild all around...yikes.

Luckily, I have my peeps who always, always come to the rescue when I need them. Hooray for my peeps! Saturday afternoon, HVD and JM showed up and practically did a tandem stage-dive into the wilderness that is my front yard. My yard is probably only about 25 feet long, but my house was literally not visible from the street because of the flowing flora between the sidewalk and the front door. We could have staged next season's Survivor from this little piece of greenbelt.

JM had brought with him a long, cutty pruner thingamading (see how much I know about gardening, people?) and went buck wild, Tasmanian Devil style. He cut back the entire front of the yard, with HVD in tow, pulling out roots with such gusto that I had to nickname her the Root Master.

On Sunday, Neighbor J and B showed up, along with Jenny. Now Jenny has long been reknowned in the art of weeding, and so I was sure glad to see her. She exhibited her usual weed-be-gone prowess, for which I am in awe of her. Neighbor J's particular talent was revealed to be the genteel art of plant-shaping like Mr. Scissorhands, which, with her artistic talents overall, didn't surprise anyone. Neighbor B had the very manly task of chainsawing some dead trees and stumps down (my yard sounds so classy, doesn't it?), and Nordic Boy's specialty was pruning the lower branches off of the really huge trees with this long-ass stick with a saw on the end of it. My contribution to this whole endeavor consisted mostly of bagging up all the crap that was being snipped, cut, pruned, and raked. May not sound like much, but we ended up with over 30 large bags full of yard waste. That's a lot of friggin' foliage.

So after all this effort, my yard is much more bald, much more pretty, and I actually get lots of lovely light in my windows to brighten up the place. And because the yard hadn't been loved like that for what looked like fifty years or so, we found lots of creepy debris among the mulchy goodness. These included: a rusty baton, a large rotted basket, a child's saddleshoe (we were relieved that the rest of the child was not found), some very old-looking beer bottles, a 1999 visa debit card, a car jack, and a small cow skull. Yep, I said a cow skull.

Maybe I should just throw in the towel with all this yard clean-up and be the scary, witchy librarian that the neighbor kids are scared of. Witchy Woman can be my new theme song. Gotta go dig that skull back out of the trash and practice my banshee cackle now.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Kicky & Boomer

I'm moving to the new house soon. And when I do, I will leave behind a cast of characters in my neighborhood that I will miss. Not because I have made life-long friends here, but because the folks that live in my current 'hood are a funny lot. Ha-ha-funny and peculiar-funny. So this post is paying tribute to the most memorable ones of the bunch.

I call them the Grumpsters. A retired couple who live down the street in a fancy mod house, I have literally never seen them smile. They take a walk around the neighborhood early each morning, sour expressions on their faces. They look like they can't stand anybody, including each other, as the man ("Kicky") always walks on the sidewalk and the woman ("Boomer") always walks on the opposite sidewalk or in the middle of the street. No sharing of sidewalk space! We are TOO GRUMPY for that! When Nordic Boy first saw Kicks and Booms, he made it a personal challenge to get them to break the Grump Face. So each morning (he often leaves for work at the exact same time as they take their walk), as he walks to his car, he calls out a hearty "'Morning!" at them as they walk by. Many times they are not two feet away from him on the sidewalk. People, they have NEVER BROKEN the Grump Face. Never! I have lived in my apartment for six years! And Nordic Boy has persisted. "'Morning!!!" Not only do they not return the greeting, they don't acknowledge that anyone is speaking. Not a shifted eye, not a turn of the head, not a faltering of step. Nada. One morning, I happened to be taking a walk, and I turned the corner to the surprise of almost running into Kicky. Like, we almost kissed because we were face to face so fast. In my surprise, I said "oh! hello!" and he was so surprised that he said "hello." Ah-HA! I got him to talk! It was still grumpy, but apparently full-body contact is needed to get Kicky to cough up a greeting.

Now you get why I call them the Grumpsters. But why "Kicky and Boomer," you may be wondering. Well, let me tell ya. Shall we start with Kicky? Kickster gets this moniker because, if you don't get your garbage cans off of the curb by the morning after garbage-pick-up day, he has been known to walk down the sidewalk, KICKING CANS over. Angrily. Cheery, no?

And Boomer. Dear, dear Boomer. Boomer who wears a jaunty raspberry beret in the winter and a Mary Engelbreit style straw hat in the summer. One of Boomer's favorite pasttimes goes like this. She walks under tree branches, stops, claps her hands, then waves them around her head (angrily of course), and makes loud sounds like Peter Boyle's monster in Young Frankenstein. "Aaaaehhhh! Aaaaeehhh!" she yells. What does this action mean? It means that Boomer is taking the time to (get ready people, I'm not making this up) SCARE BIRDS OUT OF TREES. Yes indeedy. Because why should there be birds in trees? Don't they know their kind ain't wanted in these parts? "Aaaaaeehhhhh!"

So there they are. Kicky and Boomer. The Grumpsters. After I move I will see them no more. Maybe , on my last day, they'll respond if we yell out "Goodbye!" to them instead of "'Morning!" Maybe we can offer to have him kick us right out of the neighborhood. Or have her scare me out of my "nest." Bye, neighbors.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I don't look like I'm twelve. Seriously. For all my joking around about being a sweet young thing, I do not look like I am puberty-in-progress or anything. I'm grown, people. Not wrinkley, not gray, but definitely, certainly adult. So why do patrons sometimes treat me like I'm still pimpin' the Pampers? It makes me grumpy (note: "grumpy." A grown-up word. Not "crabby" or "collicky").

Here's what happened today. A dude in his 60s came up to the desk and asked for a book called "A Day In the Life." My two follow-up questions about this seemed to agitate him, and before I could say another word, his eyes lit up at the sight of my co-worker, a man who shares his same demographic. "You should ask HIM. He looks like HE would know."

Glaring subtext: you are obviously not a professional, and even if you are, you look like some kind of stunted-growth Emmanuel Lewis and I don't trust that you even have your driver's license, let alone your Master's learnin' papers.

The guy went on to talk at me, insisting that I should just KNOW what he was talking about, and that the reason I didn't was because I was "too young to remember good literature." After a few more prompts from me (and being twice interrupted by him admonishing me to "just go ask THAT librarian"), a light bulb went off and I asked "do you mean One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich?" and he grudgingly conceded, yes, that was it. It took all of my strength to not say "FACE!" and do a little end zone dance with that one.

Although this guy was not subtle, I have heard worse. I had a guy come in the morning after the 2004 Presidential elections, demanding exact numbers of voter turnout across the country. I tried to explain that getting an accurate number that early after the election might be difficult, to which he immediately responded with "how much experience do you have at being a librarian, anyway?" Listen. More than you, sucka, okaaay?

I notice that this happens much more often when I am at the reference desk with my male-in-his-50s coworker. Doesn't happen super often, but often enough. Almost makes me want to start with the bunhead hairdo and clodhopper shoes to age myself a bit to get that crap to stop. Ok, not almost. Not even a little, really. It just sucks.

Now I know how Doogie must have felt. How can I get across that I am indeed old enough? Play myself in Harold and Kumar Go to the Library? Worked for Neil, so it might work for me.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Sunday, June 11, 2006


I recently got contacted by a friend of mine who I was close with in the 10th grade. Just out of the blue. I pick up the phone, and my own personal blast from the past (totally different than my own personal Jesus) is on the other end. Semi-interesting on its own, maybe. But what's even more interesting than that is the fact that this happens to me ALL the time. All the time, seriously. Probably once a year, I will pick up the phone, and some random high school person is on the other end. Each time it happens, I tell my two childhood pals, Alli and Map, and each time they say something along the lines of: "what IS it with you?"

What is it with me, indeed. It's not like I was particularly popular in high school, so it's not like people are calling me because I was so damn influential that they need to reconnect with me to show me how great they are doing now or see how great I am doing or what have you. Alli is convinced it's because my parents have had the same phone number my whole life, and it's kind of memorable (like 867-5309 or 588-2300 or 555-NUTS or something like that) so when people think about me my old number is right there, burned on their brain. And my parents remember all of my old friends, so of course my mom is handing out my current number to any ex-buddy that calls her up.

It's odd to me that people would track me down like this, especially since I live so far away from where I grew up. But they do. And the results are mixed bag. When my ex (Luscious J) called, I was happy to hear from him and I now still keep in touch with him. But when Shari called a few years ago to fill me in on her fertility troubles when I hadn't seen her since she sat next to me in 7th grade choir, well, that was weird. Lady, I don't know you any more and all that sperm-count/discharge-check stuff is crossing my boundary right now.

So this time it was Gigi. She was my best friend in 9th and 10th grade, and she was awesome. Truly, a kindred spirit. I still have all the notes that she wrote to me, and they are still funny, witty, silly. In 11th grade, she started dating this guy and the friendship fell apart. She never wanted to hang out with her girlfriends any more and she became this serious, grown-up-not-in-a-good-way person. Looking back, I'm sure I didn't handle it well either. I seem to recall nicknaming her new boyfriend "foothead" behind his back. Not the best attitude, I'm sure.

So when she called me, we chatted about our lives, and then I brought up some of the old jokes that we used to have. Like, we used to have this character that we drew on everything. We drew it on walls, we drew it on our locker, we drew it when we signed our names on notes to each other. It was, like, our logo. His name was Mr. Renobber Gonad Brain. He wore a look of shocked surprise, and he was bubble-headed and skinny. Now, this will tell you guys where I am at in terms of emotional age, but I still think Mr. Brain is funny. What does it even MEAN? I don't know, and I co-created the guy. It's just silly, and comes out of a very unselfconscious 9th grade place. Well guess what? Gigi didn't think it was funny any more. She even acted like it was kind of...lewd. Well of COURSE it's kind of lewd. Renobber Gonad Brain. We were in 9th grade. Saying Renob or Gonad was enough to make us laugh. It still can make me laugh.

I don't know, ya'll. If you're calling me up in honor of some pubescent friendship that we had going, you gotta honor the pubescent-ness of it all, don't you? The part of me that you thought was so memorable had to be largely puerile. There's a big part of me that's still in 9th grade. What part? Ask Mr. Gonad. (Come on! Kind of funny? Ok maybe not).

Ok Mom. I think it's time to stop giving out my number.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Monday, June 05, 2006

Sign o' the Times

When I was a kid, I spent lots of time practicing how to sign my name. I needed the practice, you understand, because I was going to grow up to be famous. I needed to perfect my autograph because my fans would call upon me to sign things for them, and I would oblige them gracefully. I noticed how famous people on tv, when shown amidst throngs of adoring people, would always sign their names with a sweeping hand. They seemed to hold their pens loosely, up near the top, not near the writing end, and they would always look like they couldn't possibly be writing anything other than large flowery spirals all over the page. I practiced it this way all through elementary school, thinking about who I would take with me to the Vanity Fair Oscar Party (Scott Baio or Prince, naturally).

After a time, I stopped practicing my autograph (not that I am conceding the fact that it's a valuable commodity, of course), and started to think of it as a way to creatively convey something of myself to whosoever may have looked at it. This was a dark and embarrassing time in my personal signature history, as I experimented with different ways of writing my name. I won't divulge the depths of cutesy that I went to in great detail. The bottom line is that my very first driver's license bears one of my attempts at expressing myself: my first name ending in a curly, artistic star (signifying something along the lines of "you're a STAR, baby, a STAR!), and my last name swooshing up into a semi-circle, into which I drew a (oh dear Jehosephat) a smiley face. Oh, and a couple of hovering hearts thrown in too. What can I say people. I was sixteen years old and I had a serious case of the cutes. People seemed to love me in spite of this.

I'm happy to report that not long after my sixteenth birthday, I ceased all that nonsense and starting signing my name like I do now, which is still a little curly, but long-ish, tall, messy but legible. It actually looks like a hybrid of my mom's signature and my sister's, which is apt because my girlitude is half and half created between the two of them. There was a time in my life that I knew actual famous people (well, maybe "knew" is the wrong term-- I was near them. In close-ish proximity to them. Adjacent, if you will) and I witnessed firsthand the signing of autographs. I always wondered whether this big, loopy, flourish-y gesture was really the way they signed everything. Like did their driver's license just have their signature across the whole damn thing?

All of this talk of signatures is merely because today was the single most-signatured-day in my life, so my signature got the workout that it has been waiting for since back in the day when I wanted Charles in Charge of me. Today, I signed for my new house. Librarian Girl has gone and done it. I was in Escrow. I never really understood why the preposition there was "in" until today. You are not for Escrow. You are not by Escrow. You are not on Escrow. It's definitely an "in" sort of feeling. Like in a pool. Or in over your head. Or insane.

So here's how it goes. You go to the Escrow office, and they take you to a special signing room. There is a whole room in this building just for the purpose of signing. There is an ergonomic chair in there, and a table, and a cup full of blue-ink pens, and there are even little placemat things on the table. What are those placemats there for? I thought to myself as I was shown in. Are we getting hotdogs and strawberry shortcake before we sign? Sweet! But these are not really placemats. They are leather signing-stations. It's what they put the papers on in front of you so that you can sign on a special smooth surface, not just on the table like an uncouth common signer.

So they sat me down at this table in front of my placemat (I almost wanted a special signing bib to go along with it) and they showed me the different options I had for pens. I am not making this up. The Escrow lawyer handed me three pens, and said I could pick whichever I wanted, but she personally likes the kind with the squishy spongy gripper on the bottom. I don't think she knew who she was dealing with. I have been practicing my autograph my whole life. I was getting ready to channel Johnny Depp and exorcise my inner Cameron Diaz. Bring on the paper and I will show you how this is DONE.

And for the next hour and a half (yes, it took that long), I signed. I signed like I have never signed in my life. I sang to myself as I signed: she's a maniac, maaaaniac! It was a blur. And I walked out of there with a home to call my own. Signed, sealed, delivered, it's mine. This time I kind of wish I'd put in some hearts and smiley faces.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Friday, June 02, 2006

A Gesture Life

Is it just me or have games like Charades and Pictionary fallen out of favor? I feel like there was a time when those games were all the rage. Like when Win, Lose or Draw was on tv, and you could watch Bert Convy whip all your favorite celebrities into a tizzy over trying to draw phrases like "Broke Into A Sweat." Remember when it got so crazy on that show that Erik Estrada accidentally punched Bill Maher in the face? Oh my god, remembering that is making my day right now. Now THAT'S good tv, people!

I was a big fan of all of those games. I especially had a penchant for Charades. My sister and I would play that game for hours, and it would get pretty elaborate. Granted, my sister and I had the kind of relationship where we could basically read each other's minds, but that didn't take away from the brilliance of the Charades moves we busted. I particularly remember a game of Team Charades where we acted out "mousetrap." I got down on the floor on my side, with one arm flat on the carpet. She mousily crawled over my arm, faking the cheese-eating part of it better than Uta Hagen ever could have, and I swung my other arm up and over with lightning speed, scissoring her neck, after which she proceeded to twitch and "die" with rodent dignity.

These days, I hardly ever play Pictionary or Charades. The last time I did anything like that was two years ago when my peeps and I rented a beach house on the Oregon Coast. Memorable moments from that trip included Nordic Boy splaying himself out on the floor and miraculously getting us all to correctly exclaim "Kathy Ireland!" and Neighbor B showcasing his extreme economy of motion by drawing a square in the air and getting us all to say "toaster."

Perhaps my love of Charades is getting enough play out of being a librarian. I just recently noticed how much gesticulating I do during the course of my day. I don't know why I do this. I don't think I do this when I'm having a leisurely dinner conversation with my friends. Just at work. Some examples:

"I'll show you right where those cookbooks are. Right this way." (With a beckoning Mister Rogers hand gesture.)

"The baseball books will be on these shelves here." (Price Is Right model-hands).

"To print, you have to put your coins into the coin acceptor immediately to the right of the printer." (I'm pantomiming putting coins into the box. Why IS this?)

"Do you want information on how fireworks were invented, or...?" (With a two-handed, either/or, balancing scales motion).

Now if only Bill Maher would show up and whip everyone into a frenzy, I could punch him the the face. I'm ready, people. All warmed up.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl