ennui


crazy-cat

I am once again revisiting  the eternal struggle to wash my brain of  the boy.  To find the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The ups and downs of  this relationship have been documented in this blog for a long time.  I am not clear on why I cannot get over him. It’s been 2.5 years of continuous and alternating pain and joy.  It’s like fucking Brokeback Mountain for heterosexuals.  We’ve gone from being sorta together (boy don’t do monogomy), to being totally cut off, to being fuckbuddies, to being homemade porn stars, and now back to crazytown.  He has a new fling. A freaking 26 year old. Not that hot, but obviously she’s got something he wants for now.  I am having fucking NIGHTMARES about it all. 

While the boy is charming and funny and smart, his life is a total trainwreck.  I should be glad to let someone else deal with his drama for a while.  Would I really want him if he was mine to have? Why am I so attached? So obsessed?  There is obviously a connection there that strikes a deep and primal chord in me. The only way I can explain it is that pain and drama are so heavily ingrained in my psychological makeup, that he is the perfect fit for that very self defeating, masochistic chink in my brain.  He fills a part of me that thrives on this stuff and it makes for a very powerful addiction.  Add to that:  I just love being around him. And the sex is perhaps the best I’ve ever had. The perfect trifecta for addiction. I feel like it is going to kill me. I cannot let that happen. What the hell?  I need electro shock therapy. I need to move to another country. I can’t believe I am back here again. I guess I never really left.  Writing about it is therapy for me. In which case, I should be doing a lot more writing……..

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swinglow

Outside on my porch tonight, all bereft as usual, I heard a church bell ring at 11 p.m. I wondered why a bell would ring at that time of night. But then instead of feeling all hateful toward the beautiful bell…. it was hard to feel that way, but the fact of it perplexed me…..  I was so glad to hear that bell. People were out in the world doing SOMETHING….. ambulating and doing something, whereas I do so little lately. I would like to thank  those bell ringers for reminding me that there is life out there. I suspect that is part of the message. But then, I know little of those types.

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Saturday at the library:

1. A very tall, very kind-faced older man brings his mother (I assume) into the library several times a week. She is so bent and frail he must support and pretty much carry her with a sling that wraps around her back, to hold her up as she walks beside him. He brings her into the library very tenderly, and seats her at a table, making sure to scoot her chair up close, lest she fall to the floor. He proceeds to browse the Large Print books as she sits bewildered and disoriented in her seat. From time to time he comes to her side to whisper to her that he is nearby and she need not worry. Then he whispers to her gently “but I know you will worry” and he says it so lovingly I cannot look away as I watch from the reference desk.

2. M., an 80 or older-something woman with thinning hair and a stoop of her own, comes to the library often with her mentally disabled son D., who loves to waive and say hi to everyone. He must be at least 50. They have no other relatives in Seattle. M. has other sons in far away states, but she is the sole caretaker of D. She is getting very frail and old but always has a good question for me at the reference desk and after all these years we are on a first name basis. She loves to ask for Martha Stewart recipes. But today she is asking for information on gynecological oncologists. This causes me some alarm or at least a bit of concern, but I do not probe. I simply give her the information she wants. She hobbles out of the library, these days using a walker. I ask if she needs any help to her car. She refrains from taking my help as her polyester elastic waist pants sag down below her waist. I wonder where D. has gone, but he appears at her heels within seconds, waiving goodbye. I wonder what will become of him when she is gone.

3. A young girl lingers in the Teen corner of the library for a while. I notice. Her mom is nearby. I finally ask if she’s finding anything to read. She says “you came to my school”… which in fact I did. Her mom tells me that I had “inspired” her daugher to read. That she took notes about the books I talked about, and all of the girls in her class did the same. The girl is not embarrassed or shy about this interaction in the least – she is open and enthusiastic, not what I am used to. I feel true happiness at this point. This is when things come together. They are both so nice and interested in books and reading and for a moment I feel Golden. And they are Golden. We are Golden together for an instant. And, to top it off, her name is Kenedy. One “n”.

4. A young boy comes to the desk to redeem his summer reading certificate. He has completed his 10 books and looks to me for the grand summation of the finishing. I am tired, depressed, slightly hungover and fed up with life in general. But I have to step up and be the good librarian, the enthusiastic congratulatory librarian… he has completed his Reading Record and now gets to claim his prizes!!!!.. I do this every 20 minutes or so when working the desk during the summer. It is alternately heartwarming and mind numbing. I help Henry understand all that he must now do: filling our forms, getting stickers, choosing a book, reading more books, blah blah blah. And then I realize Henry is the same “Henry” I recall as a 2 year old. A precocious 2 year old who was our favorite kid in the library ever. But now he’s 8 years old. I realize I am stuck in a time warp. I have expected my people to remain the same, regardless of time’s passage. Henry is 8? I have been watching these same patrons for 10 years and I’m still in denial that they would ever change.. that they would ever grow older, ever die, ever leave? I live in a time warp, I tell Henry’s mom.

In fact, I believe I do.

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The door opened. I was born. I can’t say I chose to come through that mortal portal,  yet I must say I have never resisted the path that lay before the door. At times, I faltered, But I always continued down the path. Moss hanging from trees, spiderwebs, muddy swamps, golden trails of green, green grass .. trees in Spring, soft fluffy snow in Winter.  Summer as I remember it. But mostly Spring and Fall  – being born and  then dying –  beautifully and consistently. …… I  kept following the path. I have no idea if it was by choice or predestination, genetics, bad luck, dumb luck. Chaos.

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Nighttime. Silence. Lonely hum of tv in the background. Dog whining for food he can’t have. Head buzzing with plans, confusion, desire. Wishing for more but knowing what I have is more than enough. More than what the majority of the world has. Again, the old “misery is relative” cartoon popping up in my head. The pushcart with square wheels, the little cartoon figures straining, trying to get the cart  going…..

When I was about 6 or so my favorite song, or at least the song that made me feel most deeply moved and filled with a longing that I could not possibly identify at such a young age, was Deep Purple. The imagery and the music and the feeling that the song was written right there in my little bedroom just for me is indelibly etched in my mind. “when the deep purple falls… over sleepy garden walls……”  and I cant’ remember the words now. But the feelings. Loneliness. And longing. And perfect in the way it fit right into that empty space inside of me. Cicadas with their  riotous screaming  outside my bedroom window, attic fan knocking out its crazy rhythm, warm breeze blowing over me in my little bed.   Deep purple falling.

Alone and lonely and  moved by the intensity of the feeling…. finding it lovely in its own way.

That’s actually a title of a book my sister gave me when I graduated from Library School, but it was an architectural study of libraries…. little did I know of the true drama that goes on in the public library.

Here’s a little bit of my day today: I was late again. I will not elaborate on that. So the day started out rough. I’m feeling really crappy to boot. Then I found my friend Sue’s obituary that has finally appeared in The Times and after reading it, I was so overcome with grief I had to leave the building and hide out back sobbing for a while. Then a bright spot: Simon, a young man from Kenya who is the most gentle and polite person I’ve ever met came into the library. Last time I saw him he was losing his host-family and looking for help finding a free or subsidized place to live. I was afraid he had moved somewhere out of the neighborhood and I wouldn’t see him again. Some people just touch your heart and there’s no explaining it. Perhaps it was his gratitude for the help I offer or his amazement that he could actually bring his own books into the library to read if he wanted to. Or maybe it was just his beautiful face and lovely accent combined with a need for assistance acclimating to this confusing society in which he has landed. I haven’t asked how he came to be here….

Then a long time patron, an elderly lady who I have found extremely annoying over the years (I’m going on 10 here) came up to the desk looking for one of our other librarians. We’ll call this lady “J”. J has been declining mentally, noticably, over the years but now she has reached full blown dementia. She can’t remember her e-mail account or her password. She thinks her library card number is her e-mail account. She is frustrated and angry and confused. I have softened in my approach to her, of course. I just have to sit and listen and tell her it will be okay. She is moving to assisted living with her equally demented husband and they will not be in the neighborhood much longer. I can’t say I’ll miss her but I definitely feel badly for her…

Then there was the headline on the local paper about 600 dogs being rescued from a puppy mill in Snohomish, 80% of them pregnant. Truly enough to send me scrambling through my purse for some valium….. none there….. oh well.. I’ll just pop another anti-depressant….

This is just another day in the life of your nieghborhood librarian on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Some things make me laugh, others make me cry. The rest is all just life on parade…… and now, for something completely unrelated…..
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UPDATE: Something quite unusual and beautiful happened right at closing. A cute little college boy was asking for Lewis Carroll books and I ordered him a few. He was with a friend and they were enjoying a bit of reparte that was going on between me and a regular patron who I joke around a lot with, lots of inappropriate, unprofessional banter….  So I order the books for him and he comes back to the desk asking for post it notes  and then tape. He went over in the children’s area and was acting weird.. lingering…. surreptitious… I thought he was up to some guerrilla performance art or something.  After he left and we locked the doors I went to investigate over in the area where he had been, expecting to find post it notes with odd messages on the childrens’ books. Instead, I found a beautiful piece of smooth round glass with blue and white swirls.  On the back was taped a sticky note with “thank you library” written on it …..  sometimes I think god (whoever god is) is talking directly to me but I’m usually too blind and deaf and caught up in my own head to hear it.