...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Monday, March 28, 2011

parents, hug your children close...

The following is a verbatim exchange between a me and a customer I had the pleasure of helping today during my bookstore shift. The part of me will be played by me. The part where I said I had the pleasure of helping her is because, for the most part, I did because that's my job, but mostly it's because it feels like that's what I'm supposed to say. And then I'm supposed to try and sell you a discount membership.

On with the show!

Me: "Here you are, one copy of Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales. Is there anything else I can help with today?"

Customer: "I don't think so, no. Thank you for your help."

Me: "You're welcome. Please let me know if there's anything else I can help you with today!"

Customer: "You know, there is something you might be able to help me with."

Me: "I'll certainly try! What is it?"

Customer: "Is Beatrix Potter related to Harry Potter?"

Me: ".........."

Customer: ".........."

Me: "..........Um.........."

Customer: ".........."

Sidebar - I've been at this gig long enough to know I shouldn't even begin to doubt people are giving me a hard time when they ask me things like this. It's a little trick I've employed since the Great Request for MC Hammer's Greatest Hits Incident of Ought 7 (secondary sidebar - remember when I used to write all my posts in lowercase? good times. good, good times...), but honestly, when faced with this particular question, my mouth wasn't saying "Seriously?" but my face likely was.

Back to the show!

My face: "Seriously?"

Customer: ".........."

Me: "Well, no, in fact, Beatrix Potter and Harry Potter are not related when you take into account Beatrix Potter was a real person and Harry Potter is actually a fictional character."

Customer: "Oh! OH! Hahahahahahaha....ha...ha...um, so I guess I'm done in this area now."

Me: "Have a great day!"

My brain: "You're totally going to write about this, aren't you?"

Me: "Duh!"

And so I did, and you're all probably thinking that's enough, as well as "What a great story!" and "People are wacky!" and perhaps "Thanks for sharing!"

But wait! There's more!

Several minutes later, I was walking through the main sales floor when I spotted this particular customer at the cash registers, so I stepped over to ring out her purchases. As I was preparing to tell her her total, this is what she said:

Customer: "Oh, wait! I have this!"

This? This was one of our educator discount cards. Let me capitalize every letter in those three words for you to emphasize my point - EDUCATOR DISCOUNT CARD. Now let me put an exclamation point between each of those capitalized words to just be annoying - EDUCATOR! DISCOUNT! CARD!

She was an educator. An individual charged with educating children like yours and mine during a large portion of any given week day. And she was completely, absolutely not ironically unaware that Beatrix Potter and Harry Potter are not, in fact, related.

You're welcome, pretty much every other country in the entire world.


In a related note, when I asked my oldest son what he did today in his Careers class, this is what he told me:

My son: "We watched 'Dirty Jobs.'"

Me: "You did what?

My son: We watched 'Dirty Jobs.'"

Me: "Let me see if I understand this. You watched a TV show????"

My son: "Yeah. We've done that, like, three or four times. Hey, have you ever seen the episode where he makes pooh pots?"

YES! Yes, I have seen the episode where Mike Rowe, the host of 'Dirty Jobs' makes pooh pots because I have both a high school and college education (and I work for just over minimum wage at a book store, so hahahahaha, who's the self-important smart one writing this post, hmmm?), and because I'm not in school, a place where I assumed there's learning to be done and tests to be taken, I can sit down on a Tuesday night and enjoy an episode of 'Dirty Jobs' after all my work is done and there's not a grade hinging on it. Hell, if I don't get to an episode right away, I can store up five or six hours worth of it on my DVR and take what might likely be considered a masters course in it when I watch them all over a rainy Saturday afternoon (and if that's the case, I just wrote my dissertation on 'Desperate Housewives' last weekend)(also, why am I still watching 'Desperate Housewives'?).

My kid watches TV in lieu of learning things in school (sigh...) that will help him focus on his future career goals. Considering his dream is to be a NBA superstar, I guess I should stop complaining about the hours he spends watching 'SportsCenter.' He's obviously going to be my meal ticket when I'm older.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

testing the power of that whole 'BFFs 4-evah!' pact we signed years ago in our high school yearbooks

Later this week, I have a lunch date with my best friend. Kay is the first person I think of when Nelson's '(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection' screams out of my iPod, the reason I know a little bit about a lot of bad 80s movies, and is someone who encouraged me to write even when I had no idea I wanted to. Growing up, she was the Kelly to my Sabrina (only because she'd call dibs on it first, and neither of us was nearly blond enough to pull off Jill)(and in a somewhat related note, she always claimed ownership of the name Jessica when we played 'Rich Girl in the Big City' games or, if it was a lazy weekend, simply 'Waitress').

We'd climb into her family's tiny camper, the one whose greatest adventures began and ended where it was parked on their driveway, and pretended to see the world. When we'd seen all there was to see on land, the RV became a rocket ship, and so believable were we as space adventurers, we came dangerously close to convincing her younger brother he was the spawn of aliens we'd rescued him from and given him to Kay's parents when they desired a son.

I was there, hiding my Barbies, while she pierced, tattooed, and put her own through rigorous breast reduction surgeries involving cement and a painful sounding scraping motion, when she was trying to decide what to do about college, and later, as her maid of honor when she married. I am absolutely looking forward to our lunch date because Kay is my best friend.

And because I haven't seen her in almost 17 years.

Is it strange, I wonder, to refer to someone you've not talked to, laughed with, or seen in so very long as your best friend? When I talk about friendship with my children, I inevitably mention Kay and how we grew up next door to each other (our mothers each still live in those respective houses), and forged a friendship when it seemed like no one else wanted in on our quirks. As my stories go on, I always, always preface things with "My best friend Kay and I..."

I do have other friends, of course, even some who've earned the 'best friend' crown, but no one in that circle of intimates has been with me since I was stealing (cough cough) copies of Smash Hits magazine from RecordLand so I could kiss the posters of Simon LeBon I'd rip from the pages and tack to my bedroom walls. None of them were there when I made the unfortunate mistake of wearing little other than fluorescent yellow the majority of my freshman year of high school, or the even greater mistake of giving myself the nickname 'Garbanzo Bean' during my sophomore year. I'm nobody's Jessica, baby. To her credit, Kay, the perpetual pretend Jessica, willingly adopted the nickname 'Kidney Bean.' No wonder we liked each other.

There's no reasonable excuse why it's taken us close to two decades to reconnect, especially considering during all this time, we've lived 30 minutes or less from the other. The last time I saw Kay, she came charging through the front door of the church just as I was getting ready to walk down the aisle. The sanctuary doors opened and my guests thought they'd see me, but I had to duck out of sight so Kay could enter and find a seat. And that? That was actually the first time I'd seen her in a couple years. We had no fights. Just...life. Life, as great as it can be, can also get in your way. So can people, opinions, and stuff. Lots of stuff. But mostly it's just been life.

It took Facebook, the great Switzerland of the Internet, to reunite us. Tenuously at first, then eventually to this place and our plans to meet for lunch later this week. She LOL'd me in a Facebook message when we'd firmed up our plans, saying she was going to "try and work a miracle in an attempt to get the gray that continues to keep coming back out of my hair...too bad I can't lose 50 pounds+ in the process :D" In my response, I told her not to worry about how she looked, that the zit on my 43 year old chin would trump any gray hair she thinks she has. But secretly, I'm bee-lining for the magnifying mirror and praying for a sunny day between now and then so I can hunt for errant chin hairs. That alien brother of hers once accused me of having a mustache, and a girl doesn't forget that kind of thing...especially when she's reached an age where, in that bright sunlight I've been praying for, it might actually look like she does!

In reality, though, I really don't care how either of us look (except note - paint fingernails). I'm only looking forward to seeing my best friend again. I hope lunch is an afterthought and we really just find we can start where we left off nearly 17 years ago. I can't say I'm not nervous. It may be like having to make a friend all over again, but I feel it's worth it.

Especially if I can fight imaginary crime again...only this time, I get to be Kelly!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

a few words that, when formed into a sentence, make up a phrase that has not been said around my house in a long time. a very long time.

"This thing is entirely too hard and way too stiff for me to deal with!"
Which is exactly what someone like me would say when someone like me digs out her brand new, non-oiled, completely inflexible, baseball glove today for the first time in more than nine months.

It should be noted, though, that at no time did anyone say "Let's play ball(s)!"

However, it might be worth mentioning that the glove? It was way to big for me. Way too big.


(This is truly what I come back at you with after more than two weeks away, so...thank you? I'm sorry?)