Over the last several days, I’ve been thinking, “Ooh, I should I should write about this / that / the other thing” but then I got distracted by some small shiny object or some ginormous task and totally spaced out on it.  Then this morning I woke up just before six to go to the bathroom and discovered that it feels like there’s a high-tension cable strung right between my temples.  So my boyfriend is asleep in bed, my cat is napping on the windowsill, and I’m waiting for the Excedrin to kick in.  I had some water, now I’m having some coffee, and I’m thinking about eating something.  Although I don’t actually know if I’m quite coordinated enough yet to get out the toaster oven to toast an English muffin.  So while I sit here in the dark listening to the latest episode of the Bad Movie Fiends podcast (Wow, Tammy and the T-Rex sounds REEEEEALLY ridiculous!), let’s review some highlights of my week …

This was the week after Thanksgiving, which means the kids were still kind of in vacation mode.  In the Children’s Room, the kids were bouncing off the walls, and just were not listening to us AT ALL.  I spent half an hour at the children’s info desk the other day and announced to Betsy that I felt like I was going to have an aneurysm.  Unfortunately, she was going to spend the next hour and a half covering that desk, so this turned out to be one of my less sensitive observations.   Oops.  But yeah, that whole afternoon was spent by both of us trying to answer reference questions, deal with all the kids who forgot their library cards / forgot their PIN numbers, and deal with all the kids who were misbehaving on the computers.  Unfortunately, since all of those circumstances were happening simultaneously, we ended up failing miserably at everything.  I think I was less than 50% effective at every transaction because each time I tried to do something I was interrupted by something else.  I know for a fact that I should have ended about five or six internet appointments of kids who wouldn’t stop crowding around the computers and yelling back and forth to their friends.  I had time to end one of them — the appointment of the kid who was making the MOST noise, even after I’d warned the entire group multiple times.  Then I spent five minutes of my increasingly precious time arguing with that kid about why I was not going to reinstate his appointment … or look up the PIN number of the other library card that he happened to find … or give him another chance because he REALLY REALLY REALLY had to use the computer to do his homework.  This kid is comparatively new and doesn’t know me well enough yet to know that when I say no I mean no and I’m not going to change my mind.  So that’s five minutes of my life I’m not going to get back, and five minutes that I wasn’t able to answer all the other questions I needed to answer as effectively as possible.  And then the highlight of Betsy’s shift on the desk was when she told a little girl that she couldn’t keep jumping on the tables in the picture book area, and the kid burst into tears.  So, yeah, it was kind of a chaotic scene.

Anyway, I left the children’s room to get ready for my Teen Advisory Group meeting, where my kids were so brain-dead that I was ready to get out the electric paddles to shock them back into consciousness.  I’m guessing that they were disappointed that they weren’t out shelving books again, although they did that task so badly that I’m still correcting their mistakes weeks later.  So this week I wanted to spend some time sitting around a table calmly talking about books, and they were just not in the right mind space AT ALL.  Every time I asked a question about a book they either responded with silence or said something like, “that’s a good book because it’s interesting,” until I felt like I was going to start screaming.  This was one of those weeks that I felt like they only come to my meetings because I feed them.

I’ve been trying to schedule a class visit to my library for several weeks now, but communication keeps breaking down.  First we scheduled the visit, I came in early to set up the room for the visit, and they never showed up.  It turns out that the teacher didn’t get enough of the permission slips back from the kids.  So we’ve been trying to rechedule the visit, but no day is a GOOD day because we’re open to the public every morning, we have to staff the desks, and we barely have enough staff to do it.  Combine our lousy staffing situation with our lousy communication — I’m coordinating the visit through the school librarian who is coordinating with the teacher … who hasn’t actually been answering her email … and this is a recipe for a great big mess.  So anyway, I don’t even know if I’m going to work at 9:00 or 10:00 tomorrow, because I don’t know if this class is going to be coming in.  *SIGH*

I recently got an unusual invitation to join someone’s network on LinkedIn.  Here’s the jist of it:

J_________ has indicated you are a Friend

My long lost friend! I was going through some old boxes and came across a stack of your poems and short stories… “[poem/story I wrote ages ago #1]”, “[poem/story I wrote ages ago #2]“, “[poem/story I wrote ages ago #3]“, “[poem/story I wrote ages ago #4]“, “[poem/story I wrote ages ago #5]” and a few more. I’ve kept them for 25 years. I would love to catch up with you!
J__________

So … yeah, THAT was weird.  Especially since I’m not entirely sure who this guy is.  He might be a guy I knew through one of my summer jobs when I was in high school, or he might be someone I knew in college.  The titles of those poems and stories prove that he definitely knew me, but not that we were actually friends.  In high school and college I did a lot of creative writing, and my M.O. was that I used to give out copies of the stuff I was writing to people I knew, especially (and I am embarassed to admit this) if they were guys.  So what this probably means is that I thought he was cute, back in the day.  I was a very shy person … to be fair, I still AM a very shy person … so one of the things I used to do to break the ice was to give someone a copy of a poem or a story I wrote recently.  As the years went on I spent less time writing and more time cooking, so my M.O. shifted from sharing poems to sharing cookies.  In either case, it breaks the ice and inspires conversation.

Long story short, I’m not going to write him back.  Mainly because reestablishing that connection (whatever connection we had) would most likely have bad or at least disappointing results.  Yes, I would satisfy my curiosity about who this guy is and how I knew him, and that would be a good thing.  But let’s think about the bad things.  He wants to reconnect with the girl who wrote those poems and stories, and I am NOT that person anymore.  First off, of the list of stuff I gave him, I’m still proud of one of those stories and completely embarassed by the rest of them.  So even five years later, much less twenty-five, my writing had evolved so much that I’d started cringing at the sight of my earlier work.  Also, at the time that J__________ knew me, I was either single or (much much worse) dating someone but still ACTING single.  So that’s how he knew me — as someone who was available or as someone who was willing to cheat on her boyfriend.  Neither of which describes me now.  And on a related note … just how well did I know this guy?  I know I never slept with him, but what if I made out with him?  Or what if I DIDN’T make out with him, but he was holding a torch for me?  Honestly, I barely remember his name, and yet he refers to me as a “long lost friend.”  WERE we friends?  Or was he just one of the many guys I gave copies of my poems to?  I have absolutely no idea.

In a strange coincidence, I got this invitation the same week that my boyfriend was flipping through the channels and stopped to watch Fargo, which we saw together in the theater when it was released.  One of the scenes we watched was the one where Marge Gunderson accepts an invitation to reconnect with a man she knew in high school.  They meet for a drink, and it’s a very weird and uncomfortable encounter.

BTW, this is one of several times that my old habit of giving out poetry has come back to haunt me.  Over a decade ago, my mother received an envelope of my poems that were sent to me at my old address.  They came with a return address showing that they were sent by G_________, who was someone I’d flirted with for several months and dated for several weeks when I was in college.

Actually … our backstory is relevant here.

We met in our college chorus — he was one of the tenors and I was one of the altos.  We sat next to each other in class because even though I couldn’t technically read sheet music I was able to keep the music in my head and I wouldn’t get thrown off if someone was singing a different part right next to me.  The chorus teacher identified me as a “strong” alto, so I was placed at the edge of my section right next to the tenors.  Which means that my social life took a nice upswing in the tenor department 🙂  Anyway, G_________ spent several months (or maybe it was weeks?) flirting with me.  Since at the time I was actually single — not “acting” single, that would come later — I wanted to show him that I was interested in taking the next step so I gave him a present one day in class.  It was a leather rose, which I found in a store in Manhattan somewhere and I thought it was unusual and cool.  Looking back on it now, I’m pretty embarassed by the fact that I gave a boy a leather rose, of all things, but in my defense I’d like to say that I didn’t have a lot of experience in the dating department.  And … uhm … it was the 80’s?  When leather roses were cool?  Anyway, G____________ told me that he needed to speak to me after class … which was when he told me that he actually had a girlfriend.  Ah.  So HE was “acting” single!  So I apologized for misinterpreting things, and dialed back my interest level.

And then about a month later G____________ told me that he and his girlfriend had separated, and that he was now available to date me.  Lucky me, huh?  I will only say (again) that I was inexperienced in the dating scene, so this conversation didn’t set off alarm bells in my head like it should have.

So then we dated for about a month.  By which I mean we actually went out on dates three times, he acted like we were dating while we were in chorus, and my best friend saw him with his arm around me after our winter chorus concert (when we were all hyped up on a rush of endorphins).  She gave me such a wide-eyed, excited, and happy smile when she saw the two of us together.  He was a really cute guy!  We were DATING!  He was interested in ME!  It was one of my proudest moments up to that point in my life.

Unfortunately, the actual dating experience left something to be desired.  He took me to a bar where they were showing an Andrew Dice Clay performance on TV, and G__________ spent a lot of time laughing hysterically and then asking me why I wasn’t laughing as hard as he was.  He took me to play pool, and spent a lot of time talking about how he was as close to his girlfriend’s family as he was to his own family because they’d spent so many years together.  We spent some time making out in his car, where he proceeded to inform me about how his girlfriend usually kissed him.  I didn’t have a lot of dating experience, but at this point even I could hear the warning bells.

Anyway, after several weeks of this, he suddenly became very distant on the phone, and then proceeded to tell me that he and his girlfriend were back together.  Ah.  Okay.  Well, it’s not like I couldn’t see that one coming.  So then life went back to normal … except then in chorus, he started acting like a total DICK to me.  We would spend several hours a week sitting next to each other, during which time he would make sarcastic comments about what I was wearing, whisper loudly about me to the other guys in the tenor section (contaminating my dating pool, I might add), and just generally acting like an idiot.  After several weeks of this I pulled him aside and yelled at him, and eventually he stopped acting like a sixth grader and stopped talking to me or about me, which was infinitely better.

Cut to YEARS later when my mother gets that envelope in the mail.  She opens it to find copies of some of my poems — some typed, some handwritten, but all obviously photocopied — with a note.  The note is from “G________’s fiancee,” saying that G_________  found these poems and was worried that I might need my “originals” back.  You know, those photocopied originals?  Anyway, we figured that the fiancee (probably the one he wouldn’t stop talking about during our month of dating) found my poems among his things, had a major hissy fit, and decided to send me the message: THIS MAN IS MINE.  I was severely tempted to send the message back: YOU’RE WELCOME TO HIM.  AND BY THE WAY, DO YOU REALIZE THAT YOUR FIANCEE IS AN IMMATURE MORON??? but I decided to refrain from such pettiness.

Okay, well, it’s 9 am, my headache is gone, and now you know another chapter in my ridiculous dating history.  My boyfriend is up and the cat is up (more specifically, my boyfriend is using his laptop and the cat is supervising him).  I think I’m going to try for a little nap before I start the day.  Then it’s off to visit my mother and off to do some dinner shopping.  Followed by some dinner making.  Have a great day, Dear Readers!

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