Monday, July 10, 2006

I Lost Myself In Books

Yesterday I was having a quiet evening at home, the house I share with my youngest brother since my mom passed away and my younger brother moved to the motel that my dad owns and runs. Anyway, I was chatting with Pete online when I heard the dogs barking at the front door. I promptly hold Mugsy with my legs and open it. It's my brother's girlfriend. I won't say I don't like the girl, because she's relatively nice and quiet. I remember what it was like to be in her shoes, to come into a family where everyone knows everything and you know nothing, it helps to be quiet. She asks if it was ok that she make dinner for Chris, it is their 1st year anniversary as a couple (cue the "awww!"). So she comes in with all this stuff to make baked ziti, which I ended up boiling the pasta for, printing the recipe online and then giving to her. She sprinkles petals from the front door to the kitchen, prints out a sign about following the petals and a night he will never forgot (way to much information for a sister to hold). So around 20 minutes before he gets home I promptly make myself scarce...

I go to the only place where I can spend at least two hours doing absolutely nothing and loving every bit of it, Barnes and Noble, which is probably among my top 5 list of things I'll miss about the US. Give me a Starbucks from their attached cafe and I can roam around aimlessly looking at books for hours. It was cold when I walked in, so I headed for the cafe to get a Grande White Chocolate Mocha. You know how when you've grown up in a town, you know you're bound to run into old classmates and acquaintances at popular 'hip" spots? So when I walked in to B&N I knew the chance were high to seeing a familiar face from High School, or a friend of a friend from middle school.

The truth is the person I saw was something I was thinking about lately, looking through old photos and finding some of her and I at the age of 12. In my pre-teen icky phase she seemed so much prettier than me, much more together and focused. Yesterday our eyes met at the Starbuck's counter, she was helping the people ahead of me, and I was waiting to be served. I'm not sure if she recognized me, but she looked the same, I never forget a face. But 10 years after my 12 year-old self last saw her, she seemed on the same playing feild as me. She was heavier than I thought she'd be, not obese or even fat, but like me, not thin either. If I was a more outgoing person I would have said "Hi! Remember me? From OLL and Longstreet?!" over the people in front of me. But I'm not that outgoing so I didn't, I was going to say hello when I got up there but she had done in the back. Plus I think saying hello would be awkward, if she didn't remember, because I hate when people say hello to me and I don't have fainted idea if I know them or not.

So with a lovely expresso blend in my hand I began to roam around, flipping through the Daily Mail, browsing the bargain section. It has to be said I LOVE books, especially book covers, and I judge the contents on their covers. I pick up on that seems interest, about girls living in NYC in the 1960's. I find one of those overstuffed comfy chairs and start to read the first few pages. Before doing so, I placed my coffee on the destressed wood coffee table, at which point I knew something would happen to it. Why I left it there I have no idea. So I try to get comfortable, wrap one leg under me and the other one out, then put both under me, then kick the second leg out....that's when the probable happened, the kicked leg hits the 3/4 of a grande white chocolate mocha, exploding creamy beige coffee all over the wooden coffee table and dark green carpet, I utter an appropriate, yet probably a bit too loud, curse word as the two men sitting in the overstuffed chairs faced in a square to me, make faces and return to their books. Luckily they didn't laugh. I mutter something going to get paper towels, sprint to the bathroom, and return to clean up my mess. Luckily none of the coffee damaged an of the books, there was a bit on the cover of one about Native Americans but it wiped that off. I wiped the table and carpet to the best of my ability, pretty much as good as new. With around 1/3 of white chocolate mocha left I quickly leave the seat and browse the other side of the store for while.

After about an hour and a half, resisting the urge to buy more books I won't read right now, I settle on a cute, furry, gray dog bookmark for $2. I pay for my purchase, served by the most rigid woman in the world, and return to the outside. A bit humilated, a bit tired, a bit hyped up on expresso. The key to growing up is accepting yourself, realizing that no one is better than you, laughing at yourself for mistakes and being able to enjoy your own company. Finally, I think I'm on my way.

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