Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I'll shank you like a jail house snitch...

MySpace conversation with my friend’s son: Date: Apr 29, 2008 5:23 AM

Me: A giraffe claiming to be a good friend of yours has requested me as a friend. Is this guy for real? I mean, he's like, a giraffe...

Super Z: yeah he's one of my friends on

(I continued to debate whether or not to add Giraffe Kid to my friend’s list and chose to sleep on it. By the next afternoon, I decided to add Giraffe Kid as a friend, but the friend request was gone from my inbox).

Me: What happened to giraffe kid? I want giraffe kid back!!!

Super Z: giraffe kid. is no more. =[

Me: I'm sorry Super Z. I just can't accept that. Somebody better bring the giraffe kid back, and bring him back quick (Lots of implied danger).

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Next Stop: The Monsters of Literature Cage Match Between Faulkner and Whitman

Picture this: It’s 7:30 on a Saturday night. You’re at the mall, standing on the edge of the center fountain, taking photographs of the Rock Band competition that is taking place on the stage in front of you because a co-worker has the chutzpah and wherewithal to stage this special kind of library crazy. You’re surrounded by a huge crowd of people, most of them teenage boys. You’re wearing your best AC/DC t-shirt and you’re cheering the bands on. People keep coming up to you asking how they can sign up to be a part of the action. You’re texting your friends to let them know that you are at the mall on a Saturday night playing Rock Band and that you feel that you finally have the popularity that you deserved many years ago (this feels remarkably like the time you staged the library card sign up visitations at the local elementary schools and you worked the kids up so much that they were giving you high-fives as you left the building-I’ve not been asked back since then…). Then you realize that you’re 38 years old, it’s nearing your bedtime and that the Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets you’re smelling are starting sound like a perfectly natural dinner choice for the evening (even at this late hour).

Who needs therapy?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

No, I Always Make It...

Redhead for whom I am a decoy is in the bathroom at ALLA convention in Birmingham today. She’s doing her business when, in the stall next to her she hears, “Oh, no…” Redhead continues to do her business, comes out, and begins to wash her hands. Woman comes out of stall, saying, “You know, sometimes you just can’t make it…I guess I’ll just have to go up to my room now.” Whatha? Redhead pretends to keep washing her hands as woman opens the door and leaves. Redhead is thinking to herself, “No, no, I always make it…”

When redhead is telling me this story later, I wonder something. Because I was able to make it through the lectures of the day without wetting myself (or worse), was this conference really worth it? How should we measure these things?

This is the future of Alabama libraries.

Listening to: Puccini

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

You Ought Not To Do That...the Early Years

Today at work, Jolly Green informs me that she and I are members of the Steel Workers Union. Shut up, we are not! Yes, yes, Sprout! We are members of the Steel Workers Union! Hip, hip, hurray! It seems that by virtue of being city employees, we are members of the Steel Workers Union. I don’t know how that can be, but I’ll certainly not be the one to try to find out if this fact is, in fact, fictitious. No, I’d much rather keep believing in my joyful heart that I am a member of the Steel Workers Union, because Jolly Green and I are working on creating our very own membership cards at this very moment (you’ve got to be card-carrying members). Personally, I’d like mine to be in the vein of Soviet propaganda posters. I hope there is room on the card for a riveted, steel-clad book with an iron fist rising out of its open pages…And as members, of course we’ll have to wear the right outfit, coveralls and steel-toed boots. Where did I put my steel-toed work boots? The ones I acquired the first (and only) time that I ever hitchhiked?

Yes, it was an early morning, summer of 1994 and I was part of the Dream Team of the Dry Branch excavation in Calhoun County (my crew chief referred to us as the Dream Team because we worked so well together, like O.J. Simpson’s defense team of the same name). We were practically living at the site, taking turns camping there because it was such a well preserved site with such great cultural artifacts, we had people constantly trying to sneak up at night to loot. This happened to be a morning that I had not spent the night, so I was driving in early to get started. I stopped at a quick shop about a mile from the site, just to pick up some food for the day. When I returned to my car, it wouldn’t start. I contemplated walking, but I had so much gear to haul I thought I’d just call AAA and have them drop me off at the site before they towed the car on in to the shop. So, I’m trying to call AAA from the pay phone and all I can hear is CB feedback. I’m getting pissed off the more I try to hear, and I’m looking around for whoever is using their CB so close to the phone. There’s an old beat-up pick-up right in front of me and the guy inside is talkin’ away on a CB mouthpiece. I hang up the phone and knock on his window. “I hate to ask you to do this, but my car is broke down and I can’t get through to AAA because all I can hear is you talking on your CB, and I’ve got to get to a job down the road, pronto!” The guy rolls down his window and says, “Sorry. Where ya trying to get?” He’s kinda soft-spoken, and has a little bit of a stutter and I notice that he’s wearing a security uniform from Bynum, and against my better judgment I think, “Aw, he’s got to be okay.” So I reply, “I’m working down on the excavation across from Gaulden’s Gun Shop.” To which he responds, “Hey, my nephew Chris is the crew chief on that dig. Hop in and I’ll carry ya there!” There were several things that prompted me to hop into the cab of his truck that morning so that he could “carry me there”: 1) the fact that he was wearing a security uniform, 2) the fact that he knew Chris was my crew chief without me prompting it, and 3) the fact that I just really didn’t want to walk down a busy back road in the rapidly growing heat of the day with all my digging equipment slung up on my back, being catcalled at by all the construction crews that frequently used that road. So I happily climbed in (with a fleeting vision of the female hiker in the beginning of Friday the 13th Part I who ended up having her throat slit by Jason).

Now, keep in mind that this was a very short trip down the road, a trip down the road that would very quickly seem to last for hours. We started talking about what kind of artifacts I was finding at the site as I buckled my seat belt (hoping that it wouldn’t get jammed if I needed to make a hasty exit from the vehicle while it was in motion), and I was sittin’ there just happy as a girl with a broke-down car can be, thanking my lucky stars that I had this ride. We’re out on the road, at a good clip when my driver quietly queries, “What size shoe you wear?” “Um…um…what’s that you say (I start fiddlin’ with my seat belt nervously as I think about wishing I didn’t have feet upon which to wear shoes for this person to be asking me what size shoe I wear and trying real hard to make my butt cheeks release from clench they are in at the fear that I feel overtaking my body at the sound of those words)? Slower now, “What size shoe you wear?” (Oh, please don’t touch my feet…please don’t touch my feet…). “Reach under your seat, I got something there that might fit ya.” (Okay, play along and maybe while you’re reaching down, you can hit him with whatever it is that he’s got under your seat, then you can release your set belt, throw yourself out the door and roll when you hit the ground). I reach under the seat and feel the top of a pair of boots. When I pull them out, they’re small, black leather, steel-toed workman’s boots, the kind I had looked at not too many weeks before at the Army/Navy store (the kind I couldn’t afford to buy at the time). Driver says to me, “None of the guys at work can wear ‘em cause they’re too small, so I took ‘em to give ‘em away. You can have ‘em.” So, when I walk up to the site that morning, late and sporting some new black, steel-toed boots, everyone asks where I’ve been. “Well, you’re not going to believe this…”

So, that’s the story of my steel-toed boots. And although it was a completely unnecessary story to tell, I thought it book-ended exceptionally well with the Jolly Green and the Steel Workers Union yarn.

I really am terribly excited about my Steel Workers Union membership. I think it will have a positive effect on my standing in this community, or at least a positive effect on my perception of my standing in this community. I can just see us now, walking into the Tavern, wearing our coveralls (I’ll be wearing my steel-toe boots) with our welder’s helmets cradled in the crook of our arms, sidling up to the bar to order a glass of cabernet (me-Sprout) and a vodka with cranberry juice (Jolly Green). We’ll talk about the hard day we put in at the library, welding together nouns and verbs, hammering out dangling participles, pouring a red-hot rail of stream of consciousness…

Saturday, April 12, 2008

She really should be more aware of her surroundings…

Mom, Dad, you may not want to read this post as it’s going to be a little snarky, And I want to apologize to everyone in advance for possibly having taken something the wrong way (which I do all the time).

Someone commented to my sibling yesterday, “I saw your sister walking in the park this morning. I waved at her, but she didn’t see me. She really should be more aware of her surroundings.” Sister replied, “Well, you know she gets in a zone.” “Still...” (my implied death at the hands of strangers loomed thick as the humidity in the air). There was probably more said, but my sibling knows that although I pretend to not give a rat’s ass about what some folks say about me and my choices in life, I do still let some things bother me because…well, it’s just none of their damn business.

To give the benefit of the doubt to the person who made the comment I’d like to believe that perhaps he was just concerned that I wasn’t really paying attention to what was going on around me and that, in a fatherly way, he was worried that somehow I had only accidentally lived to the age of thirty-eight by pure luck, not by having paid attention to my surroundings while walking in a place other than behind the locked doors of my home (I get motion sickness when I power walk inside the house, too many tight circles).

Little did he know that I am hyper aware of what is going on around me at all times, but that I learned long ago to filter out and ignore the things that I feel will just annoy me to the point of bringing out the sociopath in me and drive me to throw my own feces at the thing which I found annoying. I knew exactly how many people were out in that park yesterday morning, and I knew exactly where they were at all times. I had already pegged the black-haired guy in the red shirt and black pants with the head set clipped to his shades as very fit in a Gold’s Gym sort of way, and if he was trouble, could’ve pummeled me to a greasy stain on the sidewalk. But I’m sure that I would’ve been able to tell the cops with my dying breath that the assailant drove a small, newer model champagne-colored truck, possibly a Dodge. I also knew that the older couple that showed up later was possibly walking for some kind of physical therapy; the man (tall, about 6’2” medium build, grey-haired, wearing white polo with pale blue shorts) moved very slowly and the woman (about 5’6” pretty, white hair in a sleek bobbed style, white shirt, blue & white stripped shorts) stayed very close by his side. And, on a number of occasions, I spoke to the older woman sporting a beautiful walking stick (looked like a shillelagh that could’ve beaten the Irish right out of me), she of grey hair, heavy-set build, approximately 5’3” and was out with her caramel-colored clipped Pomeranian (the Pom was wearing a red harness and red leash, the owner was wearing a t-shirt so large that I couldn’t tell what she was wearing on her bottom (she may not have been wearing anything at all). And although I had my Ipod on, I was listening to my 70’s easy drivin’ playlist, which consists of the dorkiest walking songs ever, songs like “The Night Chicago Died,” “Driver’s Seat,” “Breakdown Dead Ahead,” (songs I would normally only be caught dead listening to while roller skating-Doh!) and could easily hear individuals coming up behind me when they did.

So, to say that I need to be more aware of my surroundings is a presumptuous comment, although very kind in its origins. I will not get into a discussion with this person as to why or how I became so subtly aware (OCD) of my surroundings, because if I did, I’d have to enumerate all of the late night walks alone across Capital Hill in my inner-city Denver neighborhood because my former spouse and I only had one car, and the person who had to carry the most stuff got first dibs on the automobile (and he forever had tons of stuff to take to the University). I knew which side of the street was most frequently sprinkled with blood on a Sunday morning from some late-Saturday-night fist-fight between two Sid Vicious wannabes from Pennsylvania Avenue, or which stretch of shrubs was most likely to house some homeless person noisily snoring off their drunken night before (only to rouse themselves at sundown to head to the corner store for another bottle of MD, which is where they would try to hit me up for a dollar or two while I was headed to the same corner store to pick up an only slightly more high quality bottle of wine than theirs). I could tell about all the late night bus rides with my neighborhood drunks and homeless residents (because, even though they didn’t pay rent, they lived there too). Or, I could tell him about the time that our apartment was broken into and some of our best electronic equipment was stolen (along with some of my best cubic zirconia jewelry, which, after I had cried my eyes out over the loss of some very gaudy, yet highly sentimental pieces, I laughed until I thought I would piss my pants at how the joke was going to be on the thief when he tried to pawn that shit), and how from that point on I became obsessed with the number of locks on my door and became obsessed with flipping those locks three-times apiece before going to bed. And what was the best way for Jake and I to exit safely from a third-floor window in the case of an intruder…

So, I feel just fine about the level of awareness I have while walking in the park, although I realize that one can have a false sense of security. But I refuse to live like a victim. If it’s my time to be beaten by an old crippled lady in the park while walking, and then have my face eaten away by her Pomeranian, then it must be predestined for that to happen (I won’t get into my feelings on predestination either, cause I can vacillate on that crock o’ shit sometimes because I do feel that there is a Greater Plan for us, but I don’t feel that you can use that as an excuse for not taking control of your own destiny, but again, I will not live like a victim). And I’m sorry that I didn’t notice a vehicle slowing down at the parking lot of the park I was walking in yesterday and see someone waving at me, if in fact you did slow down and roll down your window to wave. You have to understand that there are lots of vehicles slowing down to take a look at anyone exercising in public (you’d think it wouldn’t be such a shock to see someone exercising, but perhaps it is). And if I was focused on looking at slowing cars instead of reaching my targeted heart rate, then I might as well stay at home and sit on the front porch.

I think I may have just reached my targeted heart rate while sitting right here writing this blog.

So thank you for waving to me, whoever you are.

Caveat to everyone: If you see me out mowing or walking, please wave, but don't expect a wave back. It’s not that I am unfriendly or inhospitable (although you won’t believe it now from this blog), it’s because I’m in the zone…and I don’t like being told what I should do.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Found this while cutting grass this afternoon. I almost fell off the mower when I saw it. I won’t be eating it though (I'd much rather give it a chance to spread its spores than to take it to study). I wouldn’t know a real morel in the wild from a false one, even if it jumped up and introduced itself to me. If it happened to be a real morel, it would be pretty divine sautéed lightly with butter. If it turned out to be a false morel…I’d be an ex-outreach coordinator for having eaten it. You know, it feels a little bit like brie...or an eyeball.

Friday, April 4, 2008

April 4

My friend Diana once told me about her moving to the South as a teenager. It was during the sixties and she had never really been exposed to segregation. One night, she was riding around with friends when they stopped at a gas station to get drinks. Diana remained in the car while her friends went inside. While she sat there waiting, she noticed a sign on the door of a Laundromat located next to the gas station. “No Coloreds.” When her friends returned to the car, Diana remarked to them that she didn’t understand why a Laundromat would only allow you to wash your whites, and how would they know if you snuck in a load of coloreds? Her friends just shook their heads and began to explain…

If you have a chance to read Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, you should do so today. If you don’t have a chance to read Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, make the time. It is simple and forthright. And it makes you realize that yes, there may come a time in your life when you are faced with an ethical dilemma that must be dealt with. And although you may not feel ready to deal with the dilemma, you know that you have to make a stand that may be unpopular, uncomfortable, or dangerous in order to make it right. So you do it. And hopefully you find support along the way.