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Since I’m a librarian, I spend a lot of time each day pondering the death of the public library and how necessary librarians will be once everything in the world is available online, etc.  My former boss was a techie nerd despite his advanced years and he once described to me “being able to have every book you could think of delivered instantaneously to your computer screen and you’d never have to go anywhere!”  His eyes were lit up in a way that was both alarming and unexpected and I knew that it was best to just smile and nod rather than say what I was actually thinking.

Which was, exactly why the hell would I want every book delivered instantaneously to my computer screen?  I hate reading on the computer, and having to do it for more than a couple hours at a time, makes me go all buggy-eyed.  Sure that’s an awfully convenient idea, but it’s far from desirable.

When I got my first desktop computer that I didn’t have to share with anyone else, it was the age of dial-up and the age of Napster.  I spent four full days in my apartment, alone, “sharing” music.  I spoke to no one, because none of my friends (or I) had any kind of chat capabilities; my cell phone was for emergency use only, weighed about a pound and was in my car 1/2 a block away; and since I had dial-up, no one could contact me without coming over to my house.  Frankly, looking back, I kind of wonder why no one came over to check on me.

My apartment was garden-level with very little natural light, so the passing of time meant nothing to me, and I didn’t even realize how long I had been holed up in my hovel until I noticed a new episode of Friends was on, which tipped me off that it was Thursday.

Once I finally emerged, I had a harddrive full of crappy music that I never listened to, and a desire to never sink to those depths again.  Yes, on a winter’s day, I often don’t want to leave the house, but I never want to not have to leave the house at some point.  Why would anyone want that?

I’m still recovering.

I also spend a lot of time thinking about manners and social graces.  Perhaps this is a result of working in customer service for most of my life, perhaps this is a desire to move in social circles higher than those I was born into, or perhaps this is just further manifestation of Minnesota Nice (which I think is a myth because my dad treats waitstaff appallingly bad, though others have pointed out that a side-effect of Minnesota Nice is a tendency to be passive-aggressive).  The point is, since this is something I think about frequently, I also really notice when other people are rude and awkward.  I can say with the confidence of a public librarian– a lot of people are rude or awkward–usually both.

People learn manners and social graces from their parents mostly, and then secondarily from school and interactions with other people.  There’s not really any such thing as charm school anymore (except that Vh1 show) to teach people how to act in certain social settings, so there’s really no way to learn to interact with people except by observation. Plus there’s huge difference between the way you interact in school versus the way your act in real life. Pair this with the anonymous and semi-anonymous online interactions on facebook etc, where you can tell someone exactly what you think of them with few-to-no consequences, and I think it’s safe to say we’re all doomed.

Yes, having any book delivered to your screen instantly is a very convenient thing, but even without that, I sometimes have a hard time finding reasons to leave the house.  This is why I’m in no rush to make things more convenient.  Even though I hate doing things like going to the mall, it’s nice to leave the damn house once in a while and see other faces–no matter how unattractive.  I hope I’m not the only person who feels this way.

  • Dispensing financial advice.

suzeormanI have a secret dream of being a more fashionable, less abrasive, and heterosexual Suze Orman.  Problem is, all of my financial advice is based on growing up with a banker mother and making a lot of mistakes, but no matter. Jewish Friend said that her credit score has improved since becoming friends with me, and yours can too! Ask me how!

I have nice shoes; I make it a point to have nice shoes, but I get more compliments on my Danskos than on any other pair I own even though they’re two year old and look (I think) like hell.  Most comfortable shoes ever, except for driving.  It is because of my Danskos that I was asked to be a part of Culture Friend’s group for LSC 527, and why I didn’t have to do as much work as some people in other, small groups, and got to use the word scurvy during my part of the presentation.

  • People who pay attention to me.

When I wrote the blog yesterday about the things I hate, I was gchatting with Jewish Friend and Map Fleece.  I couldn’t remember enough things that I hate off the top of my head because I was annoyed by one thing in particular, so I asked them, and they gave me a whole list.  This makes me feel special, and makes me believe I either complain about things over and over enough, or people are actually listening to my inane blather.

  • DINOSAURS!!diplodocus

Really, do I need to say anything about how awesome dinosaurs are.  I mean, damn, dinosaurs rule.  Look at that picture.  Diplodocus, longest of all the dinosaurs, is often compared to the design of a suspension bridge.  He lived in the late Jurassic period and first remains were discovered by S.W. Williston in 1878 in the Morrison Formation, parts of which are in North Dakota, although most of it is it Wyoming/Colorado.  Diplodocus is also my favorite dinosaur, and I think would have made a good pet.

lady-gagaSeriously, she rocks so hard it makes my heart hurt.  I’m only writing this blog because I don’t want to shut her off, I can’t bear to turn it down enough to read, and I actually finished putting away laundry.  This is “getting stuff done” music, except for the slow song, which is so unnecessary.

  • Skirts.

Swishy, comfy, fashionable.  I would like to be known as “the girl in the skirt,” and I think I’ve pretty much managed that, except that most people who talk about me know my name.  Perhaps there’s an entire group of admirers who don’t know my name who simply refer to me as “the girl in the skirt”– I’m fine withcheese2 that.

  • Free Cheese.

Paid-for cheese is pretty great too, but there’s nothing better than cheese for nothing.  Free food in general is pretty rad, but cheese, man, it makes me so happy.

  • On-site laundry.

I used to have to drive across town to my brother’s apartment to do laundry.  This wasn’t too bad because we ate pizza and watched TV, but it meant that I had to do ALL of my laundry in one day, get quarters, and sometimes wait for the machine.  I also, inevitably, needed to leave before it was all done and would have to ask him to take my stuff out of the dryer, which he always made a big production about.  Now I just go downstairs, sometimes in my PJs.

the-slanketThe ad copy calls it “The Best Blanket Ever,” and it is.  I will not shut up about the Slanket.  People ask me how my Slanket is, like it’s a living entity, and normally this would drive me nuts– not this time.  My Slanket keeps me warm from neck to toes, and I love it more than I could a human child.  Also the website includes this story:

Slanket Proposal
My boyfriend and I have been talking about getting Slankets for weeks, but hadn’t yet bought them. I came home on Saturday, and he said he got us early Valentine’s Day presents- Slankets! He had his on, and gave me mine. Turns out, he had had his mother sew pockets into mine, and inside the pocket was an engagement ring… He asked, and I said yes! Proposal via Slanket… what could be better?!
Jessica
Boston
  • Knee Socks.

Love knee socks, love them.  They don’t get all bunched up in my shoes, they keep my calves warm, and sometimes I wear them with my skirts, which makes me look like a schoolgirl (may the reason I get “holla’d” at by gross old men, but no matter).  Sometimes I don’t want to wear tights, or have no tights available because despite my wonderful on-site laundry I am still shockingly lazy– knee socks it is.

My parents are coming to visit in July. For five days I will have three extra bodies (two of them large, male bodies) crammed into a very hot apartment, three extra people using my shower, and three air mattresses taking up all of my floor real estate. It would be an understatement to say that I’m a little apprehensive about the whole thing, though I am looking forward to free meals (not from Tim Horton’s).

What makes me most apprehensive is the miscommunications we’ve had already in planning this trip. First they were coming in May, but my brother’s work got in the way. Then they were talking about July and asked if there were any dates that didn’t work for me. All I said over and over and over was “end of June through beginning of July, I am going on vacation, I am unavailable those dates. The rest of the whole summer is up for grabs but end of June through beginning of July is off-limits.”

Then I get an email from my mother saying that they’re planning to arrive July 4.

In the subsequent phone call she inquired about the black-out dates on my calendar, and I told her, and I had told my father 1/2 dozen times “I took the time off to go to ALA conference in Anaheim, but that fell through, so now I’m going somewhere.”

“You don’t know where you’re going?”

“Well, we (my Jewish friend and I) were going to go to Montreal, but she doesn’t have a valid passport right now, so we’re re-planning things. If it doesn’t work out that she and I can coordinate schedules– then I’m going somewhere by myself. I have to go somewhere this summer.”

Of course she asked me to switch the days off to coordinate with when they are visiting, but I refused, then she asked, “really, you’d go somewhere all by yourself? Aww.”

This brings to mind another pair of incidents that came one on the heels of the other recently. I was in a class and we had to group up with different people than usual. So I got to meet a couple women from the other side of the room (the room divided itself, rather handily, into the young side and the old side). One of these women had mixed up my friends Mary and Lisa and asked Lisa why in the world she moved all the way to Rhode Island from Texas.

“Actually,” Lisa told her, “I’m from Connecticut, Mary over there is from Texas. But Andria moved here from North Dakota.”

The woman’s jaw dropped and she gaped at me in a way I’ve never experienced before.

“Why did you move here?” she demanded.

“For library school.”

“Had you ever been here before? Why did you pick Rhode Island?”

“No, and because it sounded pretty.”

“You’ve got balls of steel, girl!”

“Erm, thanks ?”

And then she followed with a question that I never thought I would ever in my life hear, “But how do you meet single girlfriends?”

This question perplexed me to no end. I wanted to indicate Lisa, sitting to my left, and say “She’s a girlfriend.” And also assert, “Single or not, I don’t have a very elaborate screening process.” But I was really wondering if she was asking me where to find girls to go clubbing and trolling for men with or something. Do people really do that? Also, she’s a rather tired-looking elementary school teacher, does she do that? What the hell is this conversation about, is she really asking me how to make friends?

“Well, what do you do on the weekends?” she asked.

“Well, I work all week, so on the weekends I do homework and…” These are questions that are very hard to answer. ‘On alternating Sundays I go to pub trivia, occasionally I see movies, or go to parties…’ I mean really.

Thankfully, the professor asked us all to regroup, so I got to shrug off the rest of the grilling, but I was given her phone number along with the offer “I’d love to show you around Providence.”

So that was weird.

Then the following day at work I was having a nice conversation with someone who I genuinely like when she said, “I hope you’ve managed to make at least one friend since you’ve been out here.”

By this point, I’d been in Rhode Island for 7 months– is she kidding?

But I don’t really think that people want to hear that you have a full social calendar and are, in fact, beloved by many. This seems to be a product of never having left a place, and never having had to make friends, although I’m still baffled. Does the woman who asked me where I find single girlfriends actually not have any, or did she just want a new technique? I’m a bit disturbed by the fact that these people seem to picture me sitting home alone, longing for the prairie and the friends I left behind– but that’s their shit.

I am a scandalous woman.