Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Go broke at the library... with me.

It turns out my upcoming weekend visit to Chicago coincides with Lauren’s book club meeting, so I’ve been asked to attend. And I’m honored. It turns out the book they’re clubbing is "Sleepwalk with Me" by Mike Birbiglia, which I’ve been wanting to read anyway, and which will come as a breath of fresh, nonpoisonous air after reading
Methland (which I enjoyed, and I recommend).

I ordered “Sleepwalk with Me” from Amazon Marketplace – a dumb move because I need to read it before next Friday, and Marketplace is like Russian Roulette, only the gun shoots damaged garage sale books and it shoots them on a really unreliable timetable. I’m guessing the book will show up in time for Christmas. Maybe.

To ensure a decent start on the book, I tracked it down at the library and put it on hold. I like to think of myself as a library person, so I strode in casually toward the front desk, library card in hand.

“Can I help you?” the girl at the desk asked.

“Yeah, you guys have a book on hold for me. I think it’s that one right there.” I pointed to the book, propped up behind the counter and smiled with smug satisfaction. Obviously, I’m an awesome library patron if they hold books for me. I don’t even have to find them myself. Because I come here so often. Because I read so many library books.

She picked it up and asked for my card.

“I might have a fine,” I said nonchalantly, the way I tell the Blockbuster people I might have a fine, even when I know I don’t. It’s always cooler to pretend you might have one and not owe anything than to assume you’re fine-free and then get slapped with a $7 fee for keeping “Edge of Darkness” under the couch for two months.

“Actually, yes, you do have a fine And your card is expired. I’ll need to see your driver's license so I can renew it.”

Gah. Obviously I haven’t been a library person for some time now. Probably close to a year. And since I still don’t have a Nebraska license, I was almost out of luck. However, my purse is full of junk mail (not sure why, just one of those things), and I was able to produce something with our current Omaha address.

“Alright, great. I just need to collect $36.50 and then you’ll be good to go.”

I almost cut and run at that point. $36 can buy a lot of things – it can buy books from a bookstore, or gas, or a DVD from Blockbuster, or a few months of Netflix. But then I remembered driving around with our roadtrip audiobooks flopping around in the backseat for $36 worth of weeks after we’d returned home... last August. And the least I could do was square things up with the public library. So I paid the fine. And I took my book, feeling very exposed for the library person I am not.

Going forward, I’ll return my books on time, starting with this one. And when the Amazon copy of “Sleepwalk with Me” finally leaves the chamber and shows up in the mail later this year, I’ll it set aside and give it to you for Christmas.

And in unrelated and more important news, happy, happy birthday, Matt. No surprise party this year, but I hope the day was just as good.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Test Pattern

When I was little, I used to get up early in the morning, sit on the floor in front of our 13-inch TV and watch the test pattern on Channel 9 until the shows started. This ritual could last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour.

I've been in a creative no man's land for the past week or so, but will return shortly, severely nearsighted, in love with television and stripes, and infinitely patient.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

A day of firsts

Today was the first really warm day this spring. I walked around the Old Market for a bit after my haircut, letting the Vitamin D chisel its way through my sallow mole person skin and leaving my fingerprints on expensive knicknacks.

First time I watched "Willow" (not disappointed).

Matt enjoyed his first KFC Double Down, a year after it splattered onto the fast food scene, turning our napkins clear and making our hearts work three times as hard. When asked if he'll ever eat one again, he examined the leftover mystery sauce on his fingers and replied, "Yes, but I don't know when." My guess is someday. Maybe the next time we sit inside and watch Willow on the first really warm day of spring.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Three Things

I’ve recently discovered a whole trove of Tumblrs that have since served to distract me to a crippling degree. If left to my own devices, I could scroll through street style photos, rustic interiors and artful closeups of expensive desserts for minutes upon minutes upon minutes. This is the same part of me that can flip through the Summer 2010 Anthropologie catalog over and over until nothing is purchased but everything is softened, folded and covered in sneezes.

A few:
That Kind of Woman
Cali Vintage
Modern Hepburn

Happy April Fools! The other day I was listening to my favorite morning show (sorry Morning Edition – this is local, and funnier) and the morning show people were lamenting the fact that no one does anything for April Fools anymore – the occasional fake news article notwithstanding. And I believe this to be true. My parents really embraced April 1st, and maybe my mom still does; I’m just not around to find plastic French fries on my lunch bag or gasp at the fake spilled wine on the dining room table. My dad used to tell his Intro to Sociology class they’d be watching some video on some African tribe or something, and instead he’d pop in Toonces the Driving Cat, lovingly rented from our local library, year after year. I was always jealous of the kids in that class.

It’s always good to save the best for last, so… Congratulations to Libby and Patrick on the birth of their son, Charles Ellis! My heart swells and my eyes get teary when I think how happy I am for two such lovely, deserving, destined-to-be-fantastic new parents. Libby, I’ve known, ever since the day I met you (10 years ago!), that you were going to be an amazing mother. Your humor, grace and signature warmth have gotten me through some of the all-out crappiest times. You’ve shared it with your friends, your family, your Patrick, your patients, and now you get to share it with the most important person – your Charlie.

Charlie, I used to drive around with your mom in her pearl blue 80s spaceship car, smoking Camel Lights and listening to Bleed American at full volume until it got dark and we had to get back to campus for important things like grilled cheese in the cafeteria and Zimas in the mini fridge. Those were good times. I just thought you should know. Oh, and welcome to life outside the womb. I think you’ll like it here.


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