Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Funny Story I Promised James

I would like to open with a hearty portion of Guilt-Pie, which I hand to James as I remind the rest of you that he hasn't posted a new blog since Marley and Me came out in theaters, and it has been out on DVD for ages!

We have all seen Marley and Me now, James. Everyone. All the people you convinced to go out and watch the little dog grow old and die, while we sobbed because thinking about animals we love dying is depressing, no matter how good the movie is.

Go to the movies again, James. Go see New Moon and write about how much you hate it. I'm serious, here. Just because you are all awesome and coming back to Indiana to sing like a famous person, doesn't mean you get off the hook.

I'm done now.

Sunday was the Manchester Symphony Orchestra winter concert, and I went because I miss MC, I love music, seeing cellos makes me happy, and James was singing.

I'm serious about the cello thing. Works every time.

While there, I supported the orchestra by mugging my mother (buying a coffee mug and giving it to mom, without the little minty-chocolate things because I skipped breakfast and lunch since I was too lazy to make food and too cheap to eat out twice in one day), and I got to say hello to many people I used to see every day, my friends from The Lounge.

The Lounge is dead. It's a radio station now. Stupid radio station, stealing our static-filled room that boiled with heat in the summer and winter with all its stupid empty lockers that the choir used for storage even though they'd long since forgotten what was kept there, with its mystery closet where we threw all of Jeff's stuff because we were sick of finding his clothes on the floor and wanted him to know we didn't support his living like a transient when he had a perfectly good dorm room, with its useless pop machine filled with outdated pop because everyone was afraid to put money into it since it ate all the change or dollar bills depending on its mood, plus we could just go across the street and get a drink at the union that was actually cold. Oh--and the couch and chairs, with their horrible patterns...

I miss The Lounge. I remember when Chris broke the one chair. It had been dying for some time, and he crashed down onto it at high speed right before choir. As we all watched, its frame let go, to great hilarity.

I miss The Lounge.

Back to Sunday.

James came out and saw Jen and I standing by the Mug Table, where I was extolling the virtues of my mug and the minty-chocolate stick things found within it. I did this loudly, in my theater-projection voice, because at that moment I was giving a product endorsement as another way to help the orchestra. It was funnier in person.

James asked us what was new in our lives that we hadn't talked all about on Facebook or on our respective blogs, and I thought of this story.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The children had been running up and down the stairs since 10:00 a.m. at the library, and now they had moved on to using the elevator like an amusement park ride, all because their respective parents think "going to the library" is the same thing as "free babysitting" even though they are horribly, horribly wrong.

The bottom line is, I don't care about making sure your kids aren't picking fights in the parking lot. I'm not going to stop what I'm doing to feed them, or to wipe their runny noses, or to listen to them crying, because we have a happy little sign posted on the wall that says it isn't our job to do that. We do the books, you do the childcare. We also reserve the right to kick your child out of the library if they're making out on the couch with a guy six or more years older than them, even though your child is only eleven or so, and that is just wrong.

Also, we will kick them out if they are being disruptive, which these kids were. So I kicked them to the curb, and when the little ones looked at their not-at-all-responsible cousin who had been intended to actually babysit them but had in reality dumped them at the library to go work out why their boyfriend was cheating on them and what he intended to do about it, and the cousins told me their little relations were supposed to stay until 5:00 p.m. when the library closed, I said, "You have cell phones. You'll need to make other arrangements." Because I can be very, very mean when I have been pushed to the limit.

I had been pushed to the limit.

Moments after these children departed (4:28 p.m.--did I mention they'd been here since 10:00 a.m.? Did no one care about feeding these kids?), the library quieted down--and I got a thank-you call from upstairs, where they had been too busy to kick the kids out themselves. They want me to be the mean one.

I went back to looking through Publisher's Weekly for books I ought to order. Life went on.

Then, suddenly, a girl burst in with her friend.

Allow me to describe the girl.

She was the classic Britney Spears clone, the girl whose entire style and choice in man was predetermined by the path of the pop princess and whose downfall will be mirrored exactly to Britney's, complete with the bad hair, screaming, man-stealing, and fist fights.

Did that help?

She walked into the Children's Room and proclaimed loudly that she intended to go to so-and-so's house where she would teach another girl not to mess around with her man by kicking the crap out of her.

I said, "Excuse me, we don't allow that kind of language in here. You'll need to leave."

Because we don't threaten each other here. Library, remember?

She whirled on me, lip gloss catching in the light as her cold, smudged-eye-liner gaze fixed on me, the Other, the Authority figure.

"F*** you, you stupid f****** b****!" She announced to the room.

I laughed heartily. I hadn't been sworn at like that since I was a reporter. Or since I quit working at Walmart. People talked like that a lot at Walmart, when their five-dollar watches didn't work. I informed her she would no longer be permitted to enter.

She responded with a few more unimaginative words, then left.

When she returned fifteen minutes later (that's how long I was supposed to remember the swearing), she cursed at me some more, like a sailor.

She nearly lost her gum on the ground, as she had been in mid-snap when I caught her coming inside, and she tossed her bleached-hair, hiked up her not-quite-Juicy-velour turquoise sweatpants, with their muddy cuffs that dragged along the floor.

At that point, my co-worker April had arrived, heard both exchanges, and her eyebrows had vanished into her bangs. She asked me if I knew the girl's name, I said I didn't remember.

And then, one of the little boys who comes in every day piped in, giving us the girl's first and last names.

We then pulled up our computer records and Polaris-stalked her.

It was fun.

Now she can't come in and harass us (me) any more, and I something to make me laugh.

Usually, or at least in the past, I have been filled with horror when I consider that someone might find a reason to swear at me. I've cried, even knowing the problem wasn't my fault at all, just because getting sworn at is stressful and upsetting.

But all those Sydney town council meetings must have steeled my spine, causing swears to build me up rather than bring me down. So I guess being a reporter was a good thing after all.

It did make working the weekend more exciting, at least.

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