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November 18, 2009

I really didn’t mean to leave the blog hanging on such a depressing note. The problem with blog posts is that they are snapshots. Sometimes I move on and my posts, well, just sit there. In general, this has been less of a problem with the blog than, say, with the journals I kept in junior high. I only ever seemed to write in them when I was in the Depths of Despair (yes, with capital Ds). Consequently, whenever I pick them up to read, which I try to do very, very infrequently, as it is an Excruciatingly Painful project (yes, capital letters required there as well), I am left with the distinct impression that I had a completely Miserable Childhood (capi…oh, you know the drill). But strangely, I can’t remember being miserable at all. not even once. Not until I read the artifacts.

I remember when I was a senior in college and my brother had just started his freshman year, my mom would sometimes call me up and tell me how worried she was about him because every time he called, he had problems or was sad about something. I reminded her that that’s just the way he is (or was then — he doesn’t do this anymore, being a regular grown-up person now). He called when he wanted to feel better. He poured out his problems to his parents, who wanted to listen, and they hung up feeling terrible, while he hung up feeling better and within a few minutes had probably forgotten about the whole thing altogether. But my parents didn’t get to hear about the good stuff, so they thought he was miserable.

So here’s what’s been going on: A lot of writing. Some chess club monitoring. A piano lesson for AJ in which he performed a piece called The Spanish Cabellero and a boy named F, who just started, played the melody line of Ode to Joy while his father beamed. Afterwards, I came out of the building and found F and his father holding hands as they walked across the dark parking lot singing the Ode to Joy wordlessly and loudly into the night. And it was my turn to beam. And there was a great yoga class today and some more writing and the purchasing of office supplies and the loading of a colossal number of books into my rollaway suitcase for tomorrow. For tomorrow, I am making a long overdue trip to the university to deal with some long overdue books and the long overdue updating of my school ID. Such trips fill me with embarrassment these days, because I’m still hanging around, because I live in fear of running into someone I know, because I live in fear of not running into someone I know, because I live in fear of the checkout clerk realizing that I’ve had a couple of these books checked out since he was 10. And so I have a mantra to get me through the day. I think about the three lectures I have lined up for the first few months of next year and I think, “Eyes on the prize. Eyes on the prize. Eyes on the prize.” And also, I have a lunch date with my good friend H, whom I don’t see nearly often enough. If the library is the stick, lunch with H is the carrot.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. teranika permalink
    November 19, 2009 12:12 am

    Oh yes. I remember those looonnng get-in-touch-with-my-feelings entries from high school! EP. EP.

  2. November 19, 2009 7:37 am

    I’m about to get a box full of those old journals. I dread and look forward to looking through them.

    “I live in fear of the checkout clerk realizing that I’ve had a couple of these books checked out since he was 10” HA HA HA HA HA (yes, capital letters required)

  3. freshhell permalink
    November 19, 2009 8:42 am

    Yes, I’d considered posting another old diary entry but when I read back over the ones for 1982 and beyond they were so Excruiatingly Embarrassing. I can’t do it. I can’t even look at the diary.

    We have an overdue book that we’ve renewed as long as possible and have yet to find it. It hasn’t been out as long as your books but it is officially lost and I may have to pay for it this weekend. I’m surprised Bookman, the library detective (from Seinfeld) hasn’t shown up at your house to berate you. Maybe he’s not allowed out of NYC.

  4. November 19, 2009 10:55 am

    The thing is, the university library lets you check out books indefinitely as long as nobody else wants them. They have quarterly due dates, but up until about a year ago, you could renew them up to a year online and then you had to bring them in in person, I think to make sure that they hadn’t disappeared altogether. But last year, they changed the rule so now you no longer need to schlepp all the books back to the library. This is helpful to me, as I have 30 books out and I live 60 miles away and usually come down here by public transportation when I come at all. But apparently, since I hadn’t brought them down to renew them in person one last time before the new rules kicked in, the books were getting more and more overdue, which I didn’t realize until I got a note from my department secretary telling me my registration was blocked. But even at nearly two years overdue, there are absolutely no fines involved. So really, there are no cops needed. It’s all administrative anyway. And for the record, if the checkout clerk indeed noticed that I’d had some of these books checked out since he was in elementary school, he was kind enough not to say anything.

  5. freshhell permalink
    November 19, 2009 11:09 am

    Whew, well that’s a good thing. At my employer’s library, they get very pissy about overdue books (I guess cause I’m just a lowly staff person) and make all kind of threats when books are one minute overdue. So, I solved that problem by not checking out books there. I go to my public library instead. Where there’s at least a 5-day grace period.

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