Monthly Archives: October 2006

First day with Rita Mae

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In honor of Jessica Kennedy-Rockefeller’s first day of work with the new library, the staff scrambled to bring in an author of national import. Though she had hoped for J.K. Rowling, Ms. Kennedy-Rockefeller appreciates that finishing Book 7 is perhaps more urgent than welcoming a new employee. Perhaps.

Instead, Ms. Kennedy-Rockefeller settled for an author visit from Rita Mae Brown, who turned out to be a very engaging, comical speaker. This flies in the face of all logic, as RMB co-authors books with her kitty, Sneaky Pie Brown. You just can’t trust people like that.

Unsurprisingly, the staff at the new library were all very eager to meet the new employee. Undoubtedly this is because Ms. K-R’s reputation precedes her, and not at all because everyone else can now stop working overtime.

It was mildly disconcerting that no one offered to accompany Ms. Kennedy-Rockefeller on her lunch break, but on reflection it makes perfect sense: the new coworkers must have assumed that Ms. K-R already had lunch dates with famous celebrities from her own inner circle. The new coworkers don’t yet realize that Ms. K-R is gracious enough to dine with ordinary, everyday librarians. As her reputation for humility spreads, the other librarians will surely overcome their intimidation and venture to request the pleasure of her company.

As a final note, the masses may rest easy concerning Ms. Kennedy-Rockefeller’s clothing ensemble for the first day. She did not, in fact, show up to work naked, as she had dreamt (though of course that would have been a stunning and satisfying display in many, many ways). Instead, she wore a knock-out, flowing orange skirt (which is actually too long for her, but you can’t tell because she pulls it up to her boobs) and a conservative but flattering cotton black blouse. The shirt showcased Ms. K-R’s elegant eighth-note tattoo; when pressed, her new boss said that the display of visible tattoos had never before been an issue, so until she hears otherwise, Ms. Kennedy-Rockefeller will proudly display her body art. Most of it, anyway; she might wait a bit before showing off the nipple ring.

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Drug policy violation

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Haven’t even been in the apartment three days and already we’ve got two violations against the neighborhood drug policy. Goblin and Gremlin showed up stoned. I drugged them for the car ride to Wilhelmsplatz, and here it is twelve hours later and they’re still glassy-eyed.

I collapsed into bed this evening at 7. I woke at midnight. Damn.

Apparently a very thin wall is the only thing separating my bed from the next apartment’s noisy teevee. Damn again.

Can’t get the wireless working. Gonna try a different router. For now I’m connected to the modem with a wire. What is this, the Dark Ages? It’s like freakin 2003 all over again. Damn damn damn.

But that’s really all I can complain about, unless you count my tummy, and how empty it is. I ate some leftover rigatoni this evening. Couldn’t find a fork, despite having purchased two different sets of plastic utensils to tide me over till all the silverware gets unpacked. Had to use a paring knife. (Had never used it before– glad to know it’s useful for something. Glad I was even able to identify it, for that matter.) Sliced my lip. I suppose that’s what you get for eating with a knife.

Also punched myself in the nose while wrestling with some packing tape. Should have used the paring knife on that box.

But overall I’m very pleased. Thanks to Dad, Crystal, Crystal’s boyfriend Jon, or possibly John, and Crystal’s 4-year-old Marlee, all my junk is here in the apartment. All I’ve got to do is unpack. I can get that done before I start work on Thursday. Right?

Einstein. Goethe. Kennedy-Rockefeller.

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This is the story of the smartest thing I have ever, ever done. What makes it incredible is that I was asleep.

At that time in my life I was seeing… let’s call him Ivan Karamazov. (The guy didn’t resemble IK in the slightest, but never mind.) Ivan wasn’t the demonstrative sort. Nor was he the talkative sort. If you asked him a direct question he would grunt. I spent entire evenings with him without hearing him form a complete sentence.

We’d been dating for a few months and I had no idea what he felt about me. Did he think I was pretty? Did he enjoy my company? Did he find me annoying? Couldn’t tell ya then. Still couldn’t tell ya.

This complete lack of communication made me nervous. One night I had a dream about it, in which he wrote me a letter. The body of the letter was bland. It entirely failed to mention me, or his feelings toward me.

But the signature… Ah, that’s the kicker. This is exactly what it looked like in my dream:

LOVE*

Ivan

*Lack Of Viable Ending

Let’s dissect this. I was nervous about Ivan’s lack of communication and I was unsure of how he felt toward me. My subconscious had him write a letter, but, in keeping with his character, it was vague. He signed it with what would normally be a very clear indicator, "love," but he was using it ironically. And why was it ironic? Because it was actually an apronym.

In my freakin’ sleep I made a play on words. Not just any play on words, but a situationally appropriate play. It embodied Ivan’s feelings and it did it in a (wryly) humorous place in his letter that further underscored his ambiguity toward me.

I suppose if I were really smart I’d figure out how to turn this into money.

Sex! Sex! and more Sex!

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For a change, I thought I’d be honest in the subject line. I really am going to talk about sex, and specifically, about orientation.

If you don’t feel like reading about my personal bidness (which is, frankly, inconceivable) then skip down futher in the blog to where I talk shit about Dune. I just hate that book.

I don’t want to keep my sexual identity secret. Three cheers for glasnost and perestroika! I don’t want other sexual minorities accusing me of secreting it away– though honestly, "lesbrarian" should be a bit of a clue.

Also, this could prove to be a big time-saver. Next time I want to date someone– wait, no, that’s ridiculous. Ms. Kennedy-Rockefeller does not deign to date people. She is saving herself for Johnny Depp. But other people, viz., everyone who meets her, want to date Ms. K-R, and this little essay can clear up some misconceptions for them.

Humor me first in a spot of lecture: Sexual orientation is typically not static. Think of it as a continuum. Allll the way on one side you have 100% straight, and alllll the way on the other side you have 100% gay, and most of us fall somewhere in between. Even better, most of us slide around on that continuum. It can change day-to-day, or it can change over a lifetime. You’ve probably heard a story about a woman who was happily married to a man, and then discovered her lesbian side late in life after he died. It happens.

Unfortunately, not all of us know where we fall on the orientation continuum. Lots of us don’t even question it. I sure didn’t, not for years– this despite finding women physically attractive. Most people assume they’re straight unless there’s overwhelming evidence to the contrary. It’s a function of our society’s compulsive heterosexuality

The catch-all phrase for anyone who is not strictly, reliably straight is "sexual minority." This is cumbersome. The other catch-all phrase is "queer." Some folks still use it as a slur, but the rest of us are tickled pink about it, as it were.

End lecture.

I prefer to identify as queer, because my other option, "bisexual," doesn’t really work. "Bisexual" implies that I view both sexes equally. I don’t.

Oh hell, I need to lecture again. Sorry.

Sex vs. gender: Sex is biological. You have two main choices, male or female. (A tiny fraction of people are transsexual. Because of unusual chromosomes, they fall somewhere in between.) Genitals are a dead giveaway for sex. Secondary sex characteristics such as breasts or facial hair are usually good clues.

Gender is a social construct. It is made up. It is not caused by sex organs. Gender is assigned by society, by parents, by peers. Gender, like orientation, is on a continuum. You can be very girly or very manly or somewhere in between, and you can switch back and forth whenever you want.

Rule: sex is between your legs. Gender is between your ears..

End lecture, again.

Like I was saying, I don’t view both sexes equally. My emotional responses are usually toward men. When I fall in love or get a crush, it’s usually over a man. Because of this tendency, I was 20 before it occured to me that I wasn’t straight.

Physically, I think lots of women and lots of men are hot. Alas, I think lots of them are unattractive.

And sexually, I prefer women. I don’t really enjoy sex with men. Maybe I haven’t met the right man yet. I’m not going to let past disappointments prevent me from future seductions. But women? Totally erotic. Breasts are awesome.

Unfortunately, I can’t stand most women. This is embarassing to admit, what with having a degree in women’s studies. I’m a die-hard feminist and, in theory, I am all about some womyn. It’s just that particular examples can be so very irritating. I have trouble making friends with women. (Obviously.)

My perspective is stereotypically male: I think they’re hot and I’d like to go to bed with them, but dear sweet Jesus I wish they’d shut up.

…Ah. In reading this over, I think I’ve alienated… let’s see here… yes: I’ve alienated the whole human race. I don’t want to talk to women and I don’t want to sleep with men.

Well shit.

WTFW…

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I need this t-shirt:

http://www.cafepress.com/bridezilla.38182230

WTFWJD, indeed.

The brillliant thing is, the person responsible for this is studying to be a minister. I read about her in Bust.

For her, I’d get religion. I’d be the most faithful member of the flock.

“I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains”

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Get it? Get it? It’s that Simon and Garfunkle song, The Boxer. That’s me! I’m the boxer! I packed two boxes this weekend, because "I am leaving, I am leaving."

…’s a stretch, isn’t it.

Two boxes isn’t much headway, but the weekend ain’t over yet. Plus I packed two other boxes full of books I’m gonna donate to the library.

Note to non-librarians: DO NOT TRY THIS YOURSELF. Libraries hate donations. You think you’re doing them a favor but you’re not. The librarians have to research each title to make a judgment call about whether it should be added. If it is added, the catalogers have to spend time cataloging it. If it isn’t, they can try to hock it at a booksale, and if that fails, they have to throw it out.

You wanna help out a library, donate money. You wanna give away your books, try a senior citizen’s home, or a prison. (The people there are captive readers, har har.)

I’m having a lot of moving anxiety, as anyone with a second-grade or better reading level could tell at a glance from my blog. I’m having anxiety dreams every night about the move and the job.

Most embarassing dream: I failed to discreetly pack my vibrator, so it was out in plain sight. Dad didn’t recognize what it was, picked it up, and then kenned on.

As expected, I already had the dream about showing up on the wrong day (yeesh, Id, that’s so cliche, I’m disappointed in you) and I had a dream wherein I moved to the wrong apartment and I’ve had plenty of dreams where my new coworkers realize I’m a fraud.

I had the same anxieties prior to my current job, but at least back then I didn’t know who my coworkers would be. I distinctly recall a dream in which Britney Spears was a librarian. That’s more absurd than frightening. But this time around, I know two of my to-be-coworkers fairly well, and I have a passing acquaintance with a few others. Each night my psyche draws on these known entities and methodically makes an ass of me in front of them.

I am slightly mollfied by some reassuring words from Joyce, arguably the coolest librarian out there. (Let’s call her the coolest retired librarian out there; that way I don’t have to pick between her and Kaite.)

"Melvil’s so lucky to get you!" she said. What a great lady. Not "you’re so lucky to be going there," but "they’re so lucky to snag you." Remind me to send her a really nice Christmas gift.

I’m nervous about the new job, sure, but there are a few specific points I am not worried about. Maybe I can stretch it into ten points… yeah, here we go:

Top Ten Things I’m Not Worried About Concerning The New Job

1. In my first week on the job, HR director will ask me, and I quote, "So where do you go to church?"

This really happened. She assumed A) that I had a faith, that B) that faith was of a Christian variety, and C) that I attended services as part of this Christian faith. Oh, and D), that it was appropriate to ask me about A) through C).

I’ll post my views on religion some other time, but for now all you need to know is that I do not go to church. There are a variety of reasons for this, but here’s the most compelling one for a person living in Franklin: there are two main church options, Baptist and Southern Baptist.

2. Also in the first week on the job the technology director will engage me in a debate over whether homosexuality is a sin.

…there I was, trying to make a good impression and all, but feeling personally attacked. Though really I shouldn’t have taken it personally. I still don’t think the lady realizes I’m not straight.

3. I will have to fight with my director to purchase a copy of Genreflecting. ("But it’s so expensive!")

In fact, lemme check right now…. Yep. They’ve got two copies of the most recent edition, as well as several of the older editions.

4. My director will call Publishers Weekly, quote, "a waste."

5. My director will quake when I ask to acquire Booklist (very cheap, compared to PW… she finally capitulated.)

6. Ditto that on Reference & User Services Quarterly.  (Director did not capitulate. Had to take out a personal membership. Do I look like I’m made out of money? Do I?)

7. I won’t be able to get a decent haircut within an hour’s drive.

8. Director will tell me that my Zane pathfinder was a waste of time.

9. In same conversation, director will have the hubris to tell me that if she doesn’t know who Zane is, the customers won’t.

10. Vast majority of coworkers will turn green when I bring in foods completely foreign to them, to wit: couscous, tabouli, hummus, and– this is the kicker– barley. I grant you the other dishes are Middle Eastern and/or African, but people and livestock alike have been eating barley on North America since… since… well for a very long time.

And 11, as an encore: I will have to educate all of my coworkers, including the director, as to what NoveList is, and why it’s nifty that I write for them.

And what the hell, 12: I will get no mentoring or guidance concerning professional avenues such as service on committees or professional publication.

When I asked my director if I should do either of the above, she said no, there was no real reason to.

The totally bizarre thing is, I’d like to serve on committees at a state or national level, and I’d like to write for a professional journal. In library school I swore to myself that I would never write professional library literature. By and large it is dry and uninspired. I have too much self worth to contribute anything to IP&M or American Archivist. Got better things to do with my time, ya know?

But while on the job I’ve discovered there are some professional issues I’d like to talk about it, and honey, fiction-l just ain’t cuttin it. Getting that group to discuss an actual topic is harder than killing fleas. (My posts to that listserv have generated a lot of very cool off-list discussion with enlightened individuals, though. Yay!)

Still have not figured out how to go about writing for cool journals, or how to get libraries in exotic places to invite me as a paid guest lecturer, or how to get myself on a panel discussion at a conference, but in a few short weeks I’ll have some knowledgeable co-workers to pump for information.