Wednesday, May 23, 2007

"Pumpkin! Only animals and starving humans eat squash!"

"I ate enough of it in my village! I didnt come to America to eat animal food!"

okay, so this quote from Andreas, a character, in The Time of the Little Black Bird may not have all that much to do with the whole plot or theme of the novel, but i just had to toss it in here because, as anyone who knows me can attest, I SO DO NOT LIKE SQUASH, (a whole bunch of bad childhood memories go along with that one too that i shan't get into here) of any kind, shape or form~so the patriarch of this little fictional greek immigrant family gave me some validation as he tossed his thanksgiving pumpkin pie aside (and his little grandson did the same in immitation).
But perhaps that really is the point, or at least some of it, because with The Time of the Little Black Bird, Helen Papanikolas is writing about cultural and family traditions and the duty that indidviduals and generations have to uphold those traditions as well as the duty that they have to one another. The novel spans almost a century in the life of the Kallos family in Salt Lake City, Utah~from 1913 to 1998 (now you may think there were only Mormon pioneers in Utah but you would be wrong~the miners were there first~and there IS a strong Greek population~Salt Lake City is living in the shadow of its own Mount Olympus after all).This novel had a rather slow start for me, but after i got into it i did feel a real connection with the characters and i felt sorry to see them go. You cannot feel betrayed if you did not trust to begin with, and close to the end "They talked about how things were once: how things were now, and mostly how they used to be better long ago." Hopefully that will mean more to you only after reading the book (it isn't great to only live in the past after all~we should all look forward to tomorrow...)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

security was

i remember lying in bed

with you

next to you

after we had talked about love

and the rest of our lives

and time enough to learn

and hear


there was to learn

and hear

the rest of our lives

and love

and you would fall asleep

and i would lie awake

the rest of our lives

and love

and when i finally began to believe in

the rest of our lives

and love

i felt so


for the very first time

and so happy

for the very first time

and when i would lie there

in that happiness

and that security

that is when i knew




Fear was

the rest of our lives

and love

and either never knowing the end of that

or feeling it come to an end

that roller coaster moment of the first time ever will never come again

at least i had it once

is there still time enough to learn?

time enough to forget?

time enough to hear

i'm glad i loved you once

glad you loved me once

i remember lying next to you

was it really so long ago?

Friday, May 18, 2007

"You learn to compromise when you're down to one arm"

Before You Know Kindness is the first novel i have read by Chris Bohjalian and it has left me longing for more. I would not be giving away anything to tell you that it is about the accidental shooting of animal rights' activist Spencer McCullough by his twelve year old daughter Charlotte, as the prologue begins with two EMTs rushing to the scene and tending to his gushing shoulder wound, speculating how he will probably never regain the use of his right arm and wondering how such an event could transpire. We are then taken back days to learn how.
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
~Naomi Shihab Nye, "Kindness"
The events of the novel take place mostly across a few July weeks at the summer home of the Seton clan headed by a very athletic, energetic matriarch named Nan. Her son John is married to a former wild-child/hippy turned therapist named Sara and together they have a rather precocious ten year old daughter, Willow and
a five month year old son, Patrick. Then there is John's sister Catherine who is married to the afore mentioned Spencer with their verging-on-the-obnoxious (or not so much verging on) teen-years daughter, Charlotte.
Spencer is the Marketing Director for a group called FERAL an extremist animal rights organization and is a rather uptight proselytizing vegan. John has recently taken up hunting in anticipation of father/son bonding (although he has kept this secret from Spencer). Spencer has made a family project of starting a vegetable garden at the New Hampshire homestead to provide summer sustenance for the family. The deer come to feast...
it all makes for wonderful family drama, and i think all sides are drawn with equal shades of intolerance and/or tolerance

Thursday, May 17, 2007


As he slams into her she feels waves of cold pass through her body. A thrust, a jolt of pain, and chills run across her skin, she can’t remember his name. She wants to know his name, she wants to hear him say hers. She lets out her breath, lets out a noise, tries not to speak but does, “Tell me you love me.”
The cold is her body now. Something slight, a whisper in her ear, “. . . love you.” Shards of ice slice through her frigid flesh. She screams with something more and something less than pain.
He rises and is off the bed, out of reach. She sinks further into the darkness, into the cold, and is consumed by the death that she feels.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

putting words to tears that have none

the night is dark (but it took so long to get there)

the night is cold (actually a warm night that should be cold)

the words are not new

they never are

but somehow they feel so sharp

and they hurt so profoundly

i feel no pain

or i don't know what it is

i just hurt

i want to cry

to shed tears for reasons unknown

is this what depression is

(what depression was, when it was, before?)

this is not what depression is now

this shakes

and freezes

and has no


it just comes


and i cry

Monday, May 14, 2007

where is Habeas?

You may not recognize him, but he’s been looking out for you.
Habeas Corpus has never had a very high profile, but for more than 700 years this quiet hero has stood watch over some basic principles of fairness and human dignity. When the Constitution was written, he was there. Since 1215, in fact, he’s been a humble, but unflagging, champion of justice and due process of law.
Most people don’t know what he looks like. There are only a few photos, a couple of early American paintings, and a handful of illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages.
Habeas Corpus — Habeas to his friends, which includes practically everyone who knows him — has never been interested in the spotlight. His face has never mattered, only what he stands for. Until now.
Something happened last year, and now Habeas Corpus is missing.
Some time on the morning of October 17, 2006, Habeas disappeared. Eyewitness accounts say he was last seen in Washington, D.C., walking down the Capitol steps in something of a daze. But where he went from there, or where he is now, is anyone’s guess.
The one thing we know for certain is why he went missing. October 17 was the day that Congress let the president declare Habeas Corpus — and other parts of the U.S. Constitution — null-and-void for certain individuals.
For centuries, Habeas has stood up for anyone who was accused of a crime, protecting us against unlawful and indefinite imprisonment.
Habeas has been looking out for you. Now, he needs us to look out for him, before the rights he has been protecting for centuries are lost forever.
Habeas is out there somewhere, and together we must find him, and restore him to his rightful place in our democracy.

the rumors of my dearth have been greatly exaggerated

In her book, A History of Celibacy: from Athena to Elizabeth I, Leonardo da Vinci, Florence Nightingale, Gandhi, & Cher, Canadian, Elizabeth Abbott purports to trace the groups and individuals who are part of a timeless phenomenon that transcends culture and religion; but it seemed from her introduction that she had a tendency to accept common wisdom as fact which i found just a bit tedious, and it seemed to throw much of the otherwise highly interesting subject matter into debate. I learned many things, and came up with many items that i wanted to research further~but even though i love her voice and tone, and she does have many, many anecdotes to tell, i'm not sure how much authority to give her (then again~can i quote all the sources for the "facts" i have swimming around in my mind~the ones i read, more than one place, but somewhere, i can quote some of them, but not all~and what authority do i give them?).

The history starts off with classical antiquity (what Abbot calls Divine Pagan Celibacy), moves on through early and later Christianity (which rather predictably~or not? seems to deify celibacy and defile sexuality), with a quick overview of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and the ritual celibacy of shamans and the virgin Priestesses of the South Americans (apparently Judaism and Islam have no such celibate traditions~except pre-marital).

Beyond religion Abbott covers other interesting territory with various abstenance campaigns and "scientific" theories. She also discusses enforced celibacy both external forces and those that may be more internal. I'm not sure i'm willing to buy into the legend that Elizabeth I remained a virgin throughout her lifetime as Abbott seems to (though, as she points out, assignations would be particularly difficult to hide in the royal court of the day).
Celibacy, of course, has always meant different things to different people~for some it is avoiding the very thought of anything to do with the human body~including avoiding touching oneself~even to wash, to others only the act of carnal penetration (any Clintonites out there?) really counts. I lie somewhere in between... I learned a few things, vestal virgins only committed to thirty years not a lifetime (as if that were a HUGE difference), lost some respect for Gandhi (he was definitely a "player"~using women emotionally if not physically~and is one sin so very much worse than the other???), and overall found the book quite interesting.

One of the more interesting aspects of some celibacy campaigns (and very few at that), at least to my mind, is the oppurtunity afforded by celibacy for self-discovery: the idea that when one lets go of sex, and the drive for sex a whole new world opens up and you realize how much more there is to life. It seems to me in reading this book, though, that many celibacy advocates are still limited by sex, still seeing the world through the sex-drive. I find it slightly ironic in fact, that the very subject of celibacy itself is all about sexuality~but then again~how to get away from that?

This was one of those gems that i discovered whilst weeding~it came up on my list because it hadn't circulated in over two years, and it looked interesting to me~at least now that i've checked it out i've saved it for another cycle or so...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

"Do some people grow young before they are born, the way some people grow old before they die?"

With The World to Come Dara Horn has created a novel with the lyrical heart of a poem. Her words flow through the mind, through the soul, like a song, with repeated choruses and melodies that both soothe and haunt. Horn also uses her way with words to evoke a marvelous kind of synesthesia throughout the book which is extended even beyond my own imagination (and a wonderful paradise where exists, among other things, library/bars where

"librarian-sommeliers bring up the requested bottle carefully. Some are meant to be drunk warm heated with love; others are plunged into icy buckets of hatred or chilled slightly in anger before drinking. Most are served at room temperature, objectively tasted while some are served lust hot. Wary drinkers usually ask to see the label before opening he bottle, inspecting the title and the author's name to make sure it matches what they ordered.
Most of the visitors to the paradise bar drink cheap pints of newspapers and magazines, microbrewed advertising copy, and, lately, Internet screeds on tap. Some like fancy anthology cocktails, readers' digests of different works that make them seem more sophisticated than they are. Others prefer the hard stuff that needs no particular vintage, tossing back murder mystery shots and swilling down romances and thrillers that leave them plastered on the floor for days. . . .But others--are drawn to the bar, believing that behind the crowd swallowing cheap words, there might be something worthy of their not-yet lips. And those are the ones who meet the librarian-sommeliers."

(I so want to be a librarian-sommelier after i die!!!~sounds like heaven to me~and i know this quote and the one following makes this book sound not very fictioniony/novelly, but i assure you it is and these quotes fit in very well i just provide them because i love them so...) The main plot line was inspired by a real life event when a million-dollar Chagall painting was stolen from a museum during a singles cocktail hour. What follows is a beautiful meditation on the meaning of life, death, birth and the afterlife. The "World to Come" of the title refers mainly to the afterlife but also takes on many more meanings as the story weaves it spell. Horn invents the thief in one Benjamin Ziskind, a former child prodigy (a title he takes great comfort in until he realizes he has never heard of an adult prodigy) who believes it once hung in his living room. Benjamin provides the tapestry with which to weave in the threads of his family's history, going back to his grandparents on both sides, and his twin sister and her husband as well as his own somewhat unhappy life. The narrative travels back and forth between and among an orphanage in Soviet Russia where Chagall taught to suburban New Jersey and the jungles of New Jersey. In this novel history does indeed repeat but tragedies do not always have to be tragic. Biblical tales, Yiddish folktales, and family histories are constantly being rewritten and retold. Although this is a realistic novel there are many magnificent allegories to be found within its pages (and a touch of history to be learned as well~always a nice little addition in my ever so humble opinion)

"It is a great injustice that those who die are often people we know, while those who are born are people we don't know at all. We name children after the dead in the dim hope that they will resemble them, pretending to blunt the loss of the person we knew while struggling to make the person we don't know into less of a stranger. It's compelling, this idea that the new person is so tightly bound to the old, but most of us are afraid to believe it. But what if we are right? Not that the new person is a reincarnation of the old, but rather, more subtly, that they know each other, that the already-weres and the not-yets of our world, the mortals and the natals, are bound together somewhere just past where we can see, in a knot of eternal life?"

Though both themes and words may repeat themselves in The World to Come they never feel repetitive, just comforting. All the tales feel familiar, even the ones not heard before~though the telling is always fresh and beautiful. I noticed many reviewers were left feeling unsatisfied with the ending and the last chapter of the book, but i thought the last chapter was beautiful and that if you took the time to read it carefully (come on~just suck up that beautiful metaphysical poetry~you'll be better off for it) the answers you were seeking about the characters you had come to love could be found there, but maybe that was just my own wishful, wistful thinking~anyway i found it in no way detracting. If you happen to be looking for a book group read this one offers many, many topics for discussion. This is one of the best books i have read this year and i have added it to my list of all-time favorites (believe me, that's something)~i already can't wait to read it again! A very rewarding read.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

yeah, just try and pin me down!

Your Slanguage Profile

New England Slang: 75%
Aussie Slang: 50%
Prison Slang: 50%
Southern Slang: 50%
British Slang: 25%
Canadian Slang: 25%

Sunday, May 06, 2007

how to cheat at everything~NOT

Simon Lovell is a magician, former con man, and professional card cheat. Currently he stars in the one-man Off Broadway show Strange and Unusual Hobbies. He is the author of seventeen books, has produced fourteen videos and five DVDs on the subject of cheating, and has lectured to both police and casino operatives on the subject according the back of How to Cheat at Everything: A Con Man Reveals the Secrets of the Esoteric Trade of Cheating, Scams, and Hustles, a book which showed up on the new cart the other day and looked rather interesting so i thought i'd give it a read (actually it was in my collection area, and seeing as how we are a small library with a limited budget i kind of wondered what the hell i was thinking when i purchased the thing and if it was worth it.)
It was an okay book. The subtitle was definitely more accurate than the title (but then again how could you cover everything?) It did seem a little dated, like i was reading about something from the 50s or something and many of the scams i had already heard about. Only cursory coverage is given to internet schemes, and if you haven't heard of pigeon drops with little old ladies and such, or stopping by to give estimates on work for your house maybe this is the book for you. And for the random consumer? Where was the advise for cheating on taxes (which i have never knowingly done myself, but tis said 50% of the population does and the title does say EVERYTHING does it not?) It does offer advice for mailing letter free (fill in the mailing address in the return address space and your address in the mailing address space and the post office will return it postage due) but that's about the only non-con-game scam advice there~not that i was looking to cheat the system or anything...
It did bring back a few random memories for me though~like when we were at a party back in college and an ex was trying to teach us how to play threeman (a dice/drinking game) and my best friend was convinced he was making up rules as he was going along but i was actually beginning to catch on and realized that there were Actual Rules to the game~and my best friend and i were trying to determine the sexual orientation of this guy i had gone to high school with (who had somehow become much more attractive in the intervening years) and, after making said determination, decide which one of us (he or i) should most appropriately continue our flirtation (ever the more enraging my ex as a bonus), when all of a sudden a man comes flying headfirst down the stairs and goes crashing into the front door with his head. My friend and i look at each other, both thinking~wow that seems just like something GuySeenAt EveryTheatreParty would do, when the man stumbled to his feet and, lo and behold, it was GuySeenAt EveryTheatreParty even though this wasn't a theatre party, and the world grew ever so much smaller. But i don't think anyone was cheating at that dice game...(my friend wasn't so sure) And i gave the guy i went to high school with a ride home though nothing happened even though i'm pretty sure he was straight~so much for my charms...
Then there was the time i lived in a big house (and no CaptStrange NOT THAT House) with many roommates and we decided to have our first house party. A number of guys showed up looking for a guy named "Bud" which none of our roommates were named, but we weren't quite sure if anyone by that name was coming or if that wasn't a rather obvious codename for something else they we were looking for which we definitely weren't looking to market. But it being the beginning of the evening, and the beginning of our house party (even though we were located next to The Party House on the block~which we kindly pointed out to them~they still wanted to come into our house) and us wanting to be hospitable and all, we invited them in.
They came in, sat themselves down at our dining room table, and proceeded to play poker, with their own set of cards, which they had brought, and for money, amongst themselves. We kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, for them to draw someone into their game, and to cheat them out of money, to drink all our alcohol, to rob us, for something to happen, but it never did. They brought their own beer, played against each other all night, were quite friendly to us, and left at the end of the evening. Well actually i'm lying a little, with a bit of inebriation and boredom with other party-goers one roommate and i got rather friendly with one of the poker players and he ended up spending the night in my room...

Friday, May 04, 2007

just wondering

though i try to maintain a bookish-like, librarianly image, i must admit (and i am admitting this only to you because i know that you will keep it in the strictest confidence) i do spend an inordinate (i really hate to admit how much~at times it is the only thing i can do when i have a migraine~so for hours it goes) amount of time numbing my mind in front of the television (hours mostly used by DVR or OnDemand thank you Cable~you do make it all so much easier, and i do pay you dearly for it). There are shows that i watch because i have watched them for like 27 years (i.e. Days of Our Lives) and i just must continue, there are shows that i watch because they pass the time and entertain me somewhat better than the other drech that is on the airwaves (Boston Legal, Grey's Anatomy, Criminal Minds, er, Lost, Desperate Housewives, Brothers and Sisters, etc, etc, etc) and then there are shows that i deem truly worthy of my time, for instance: House, Bones, Veronica Mars (which after Buffy died its somewhat natural death became my favorite show and i know that it has now been canceled so it is going the way of those shows that die the deaths that all television shows must eventually die...) and
which, finally, brings me to my point: i'm not sure if anyone is with me here, i wasn't so sure at the beginning, which was interesting, but at this point i think Jericho has the most promise, the most interesting storyline, and the most compelling plot of anything i'm currently seeing (not genius or anything, but i would like to see what happens). In other words, i like it. What i'm wondering is: has it been cancelled? Is it going to be cancelled? I've been searching for info and haven't been able to find anything. Things i like always get cancelled. If they make something i like and put it on the market i should stock up on it quickly because they (and there's that THEY again) will pull it soon. You know, that's my life. So does anyone know the fate of Jericho? And is it truly a good show or am i just in a migraine haze? Or is everything just so bad that it makes some things look good?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

playing hide & seek with the night

Just when you thought i might have gone and tried to grow up on ya'all i have another wonderful picture book recommendation for everyone to check out: Little Night by Pura Belpre Award winning author and artist Yuyi Morales. Little Night begins at the end of the long day as
Mother Sky fills a tub with falling stars and calls, "Bath time for Little Night!"
Little Night answers from afar, "Can't come, I am hiding and you have to find me, Mama. Find me now!"
"Hmmm," Mother Sky looks down a rabbit hole. She puts her cheek on the darkest sand. When she peeks behind the hills, whom does she see?
After finding her, Mother Sky bathes her and unfolds her dress crocheted of clouds but again Little Night runs away to hide. Looking behind trees and in bat caves, after dinner and all through the night mother and child play their games. Ravens, blueberries, fireflies, moths and stars all figure into this bedtime story which is truly playtime for Little Night. Illustrated with Morales's lovely, and vibrant paintings in deep shades of blues, reds, mauves, and indigos makes this the perfect evening tale.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

"fresh pangs of rejection"

Amy Bryant has written a character in Polly, her first novel, that sometimes feels achingly close to my own, from some of the hateful notes she gets, to the crushes without reason, to the taunts, to the up and down emotions, to the ever-changing cast of best-friends, to the distant father~though i guess at least some of that is just typical teenage shit. Polly is told through successive relationships with the boys in her life, beginning with her first, Tommy Ward, who after she skates with him during a slow song at the skating rink, asks her to "go" with him the next time he sees her at school, and after that they are "going together" until cruel taunts drive them apart.

Next comes the dull-witted, going-nowhere Jason whose favorite pastime is dropping acid. He leaves notes for Polly addressing her as "Sweaty" which she knows means Sweetie. Jason is followed by many more who Polly feels ill-defined feelings of attraction for and they don't quite return her affection in kind. Unlike Polly most of my early burgeoning womanhood was spent lusting, questing after boymen who barely, if at all, knew i existed and it was probably better that way. I did however spent a lot of time around boys because, during my high school and early college years, for whatever reasons they were my "buddies", i somehow always got along better with the guys than the gals~go figure.

Polly is a story of stumbling through adolescence toward womanhood with little guidance and less male reassurance. It is told against the backdrop of the D.C. area 80s punk music scene. I was surprised that, even though i was across the country at the time, i seemed to be attending many of the same shows (one of the highlights of my young, disaffected life was when i got to party with Bad Brains after one of their shows). I may not have been involved in the "relationships" that Polly was, and i don't feel i was quite as uninformed as she was in her approach to sex (i think i might have been better off without her boyfriends for much of my younger life~or any boyfriends for that matter~i was always more of an independent roller {love-em-and-leave-em is the image i would have you believe, tho it was not quite so}~when i did end up with a boyfriend {by accident, almost, at the end of college~and i did discover years later that the one love i believed unrequited for years thought i was his one love too~or so he rewrote it later, but that's one of those oh-wells} it was always a surprise to everyone, most of all myself~this is all one long run on sentence that is better written in my own unwritten novel...), but her life was definitely one i could relate to. This is my kind of chick lit!

you ask me why i hate you, well i'll try and explain...

Yesterday had actually been going quite well, for a change most of my time at the reference desk was NOT spent alone, and things were going along quite swimmingly~smooth and quiet. My manager was working with me for most of the afternoon instead and then a substitute came in at 5:00, so i was able to get many of my projects done at the desk, like some of the collection development ordering i was behind on, putting the catalogs and professional literature in order, and getting started on begging for donations for our adult summer reading program that i have been neglecting for far too long.

I think i might have been lulled into a false sense of security~my migraine was even surprisingly low key~so i was quite unprepared for what was to come. The night before a rather unassuming old man who i had observed before on our internet computers but had never exchanged words with (i had informed him along with everyone else on the computers at closing time that it was time to finish up and received disgruntled looks from him in exchange), had approached our desk asking us to add extended internet time to his card. My manager looked at the clock (we had about 40 minutes before we closed), looked at the number of people on the internet stations, and rather reluctantly told him that we would, "this ONE TIME give him an extra half hour."

After i had added the time to his card she asked me if i had noticed his name and i told her i hadn't, she said she wanted his name so that we could reset his card at the end of the night and i told her my former manager had told me we didn't need to do that anymore because the system automatically did it now. We then discussed general philosophies of computer time and whether we should add time or not~i think if someone has some REALLY good reason i will make a Special exception but since Everyone gets two hours per day that seems fair. She said she likes to never add Any time and she thought it was up to the individual library but there was some kind of formula that you could apply of percentage of computers in use versus time left versus some type of too-complicated-bullshit-to-keep-track of.

Anyway...last night, about an hour before we were to close, this same old man (who looks something like Picasso's The Old Guitarist except his beard was a little longer and more twisted, and he was dressed in raggedy jeans) comes up to the desk and asks the sub to add more time to his card. As he started to hand it across the desk i opened my mouth, and so began my ordeal:

"I'm sorry sir, but last night we added time to your card as a one time exception so we will not be able to add any extra time to your card tonight."

"What do you mean?"

"Last night, when you had us add extra time to your card my manager told you that this a Special One Time Exception; So i am not going to give you any extra time tonight."

"Why not?"

(It is at this point that i realize that this was going to be a tedious conversation at the very least, and that this man, who had surprised my manager by even speaking the night before was not quite as meek as he had seemed) "As i said sir, i am not going to give you extra time tonight because you have already had your two hours, which is what everybody has, and to make continual exceptions as a matter of course sets a bad precedent and is unfair to everyone else."

"So you're not going to give me extra time."

"No, i'm not."

"Why not?"

Is this a game we are playing, i'm asking myself at this point, because i'm a pretty good game player but i'm not really in the mood. "Well, as i've explained to you, that is a special exception that we have already made for you so i am unable to make it for you again."

"Even though they've always done it for me before?"

I'm not sure who they are, not me (who works every night but one), not my manager, but anyway, "Well, it shouldn't have been happening on a consistent basis and we will have to make sure that policy is understood by everyone but no i cannot do it tonight."

"So you are not going to add time to my card?"

"That is what i'm saying."

"Well what is my recourse."

At this point the sub pipes up, "There isn't one." (i think i kindof love her.)

"There is no recourse?"

"No, not really." i say, i am running through options in my head, i could, of course offer him my manager's name or some other higher-up which i might do with some other person, but i decide with this particular individual i am not going to make that particular offer unless he goes there.

"Well I was at a community board meeting and they said that you had the option to add time to the cards."

"Yes, as you know, we do have that option, because we have exercised it for you before as a special exception, but i will not exercise that option as an exception for you tonight," (with each spin of the record i am visualizing a little decision tree in my head~do you think this man is crazy~if yes choose option a~if no choose option b~if not sure choose option c)

"You can do it but you won't."

"I can't make that exception for you, you've already had your two hours on the computer."

"I got a letter saying that you have the option."

(suddenly the meeting that he attended has materialized into a letter) "The question isn't whether or not we have the option it is when we make the exception which is not now."

"I have a letter in my car saying you have the option to give me more time."

(Now the letter is in his car~maybe he should trade his car in for a computer~this record is beyond broken) I'm sorry sir, but i will not give you more internet time tonight."

"What do you have against me?"

"I have nothing against you, i just can't make an exception for you and give you additional computer time, you have already had your two hours and you are welcome to come back tomorrow for an additional two hours."

"That is like saying someone can only read a book for two hours."

"No, actually it is like saying they can only check out a book for three weeks, then if no one is on hold for it they may renew it three times then they must bring it back in, which is our policy."

"This is ridiculous, I'm working on a project, and i want more computer time. Why are you doing this to me?"

(This IS ridiculous~did i die and go to purgatory~is this my eternal torment~to be locked in a never-ending, never-escalating argument with this man?) "I'm sorry, but i can't give you more computer time tonight."

"But you said you could, and you won't"

"I explained to you how we couldn't make special exceptions and i don't want to continue go round and round on this issue."

"Did I disgust you in some way? Did I offend you? Why do you hate me?"

(other than involve me in this????) "I don't hate you sir, i'm just not going to increase your computer time."

"What have I ever done to you people? Why are you treating me like this?"

At this point the i am hearing the Soft Cell song Secret Life playing in my head, as he talks, and i go through my little decision tree, i'm silently singing:

I'll give you anything

Anything to shut you up

Why do you hate me so much

What have i ever done to you

But leave you

(well i get to that last part which doesn't quite fit~i just wish he would disappear, go pouf into thin air~and then the song repeats itself~as this whole argument seems to repeat itself...)

"Sir, this conversation has become fruitless (BECOME???), and i'm not going to continue having it."

"So, you're not going to give me more time on the computer?"

(has that not been established YET???) "Sir, i am not going to continue having this conversation."

"My god, why am I being treated this way, why do you hate me so?"

"I am not going to continue this conversation." though it seems to be going on and on (and i must note here that i no point in any of this have either of our voices been raised in the slightest). I figure that at some point he will give up and leave or he will blow up and i can tell him he must leave.

He makes some last paranoid-like statement then leaves with a final (rather quiet) "Fuck you" before he exits.

And then the sub said, "I'm so glad you were here." and i said, "Well if i wasn't i wasn't here you would have jus added time to his card and none of that would have happened."

I breathe a little, and go to call my manager to let her know of the fun i'm having in her absence.

I did notice that a)all the internet stations had filled up even though they had only been half full when he originally asked so it was perfectly reasonable that there can be an unexpected demand for them and b)my migraine was noticeably absent though if that's the cure, i don't know that i want it.

Now it may seem to some of you that i was unreasonably harsh but i was doing what my manager wanted and i was being pushed~anyone who knows me will tell you one of the few traits of my birthsign i truly retain is that Taurean stubbornness~i can dig in my heels better than pretty much anyone. It's a weakness, i know, but i own it. Here's a tip for everyone though, i've spent well over twenty years in customer service in all sorts of different venues (many of them even in management)and it's all in the approach~treat me like a person, explain the situation, and i'll probably work with you~if you push me or try to intimidate me you will get the horns every time; when i'm on the customer side of the counter i dig in my heels as well but there is a big old smile on my face and i always say please and thank you~it gets me where i want to go~like i said it's all in the approach~persistence, anger, and intimidation might get you what you want often but persistence, friendliness, and politeness get you what you want 99.99% of the time.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

a lovely day in May

Just in case you haven't had a chance to glance at a calendar~it is the first of May today~i do love the month of May~it truly begins to feel like like Spring in May (and of course it is my birthday month~though i think i'd love it even if it weren't~i have no way of knowing that though~and of course i'd probably be a different person then~so maybe i wouldn't...oh well...)

May 1 is Beltane, May Day, and was also my favorite grandmother’s birthday. My grandmother was second generation Dutch and was a wonderful cook. I remember sitting in her dutch blue and white kitchen as a little girl helping her cook and listening to her tell me stories of her life, she would tell me about how they used to dance around the maypole when she was a girl.

I keep little blue and white dutch girl and boy figurines (plus a dutch elephant, and some miniature wooden shoes, and a blue and white cat that is actually a Japanese chopstick rest, but it's cute and it has the right colours so, well you know...) on my kitchen shelves in remembrance of my grandmother. I always remember her with joy on this day, Beltane, May Day, the first of May, whatever you want to call it, celebrate it, be happy!

of the blood

I think i might have mentioned once or twice that i am a tudorphile. As such, i have read (and own) many of Alison Weir’s excellent histories. So i was rather excited to hear of her debut novel Innocent Traitor (which may sound like a Nora Roberts title but is actually the story of the rather tragic nine day reign of Lady Jane Grey). The story is told from multiple points of view from various members of the Tudor court (the prologue, told from Jane's point of view, waiting in the Tower of London for her pardon from Queen Mary tells how

"in my tormented reverie I hear voices, clamoring to be heard, all speaking at once. I know them all. They have all played a part in shaping my destiny."

she goes over, in her head~although she is exhausted and all she wants to do is sleep~i can definitely relate to that~for the thousandth time how she came to be there), beginning with Jane's birth up to her execution.

It is so interesting, how, even when you know the story well, it can still move you to tears when it is well told, as it is here in Weir's expert hands. Weir is an accomplished and much respected historian, her accuracy is not in question, but she writes in her afterword about how freeing it is to be able to speculate on the psychology and inner workings of the players in this very real drama (it's also interesting to note that some of the most unbelievable pieces of the story are the ones that are of undisputed fact). This story is not only about Jane, but about the life and death intrigue of the day to day life of the Tudor court~and many of the voices in this novel often wish to be commoners rather than players on the royal, and very public stage (although i've always said IF i HAD to live in that place and time the only person i would want to be would be Anne of Cleves, because, though she was said to be ugly {which i'm not entirely convinced of} and smell bad), she had the most freedom of all {once her marriage was annulled}).

To be of the blood, by the by, means to be of the royal blood, which also, i am convinced carries with it a high possibility of inheriting the migraine gene (Henry, Mary, Elizabeth, and Jane also suffered from them...hmm, perhaps i am of the royal Tudor line after all...). But i also relate it to the blood soaked politics that goes along with playing that game. Family and Politics. Sex and Politics. Religion and Politics (in this case though, it is not Christianity versus anything else, or whose God is God, but which Christianity is the True Faith, and as always people must shed blood over it). All of it is here. This is a great read (though i must admit to being a slightly partial to the story between Jane and Guildford Dudley depicted in Lady Jane~i know, i know call me a romantic if you must...