I headed out around four-thirty when i started feeling uncomfortably warm in my house. I passed this guy (who was waiting for the bus) on my way to the post office. He said i was pretty and asked if i had a boyfriend. I said no, but when he asked if there was any way he could get in touch with me i gently said, “I don’t think so.” He seemed nice, but he was also very much older than me, and i am not about to give my phone number or anything to a complete stranger i have any sort of weird feelings about. (It reminded me of the handsome young black guy who asked me for my screenname at Job Lot last spring, though. I’m kinda sorry i didn’t give it to him, ‘cause he was cute and there’s such a safe distance with AIM. Oh well.) It’s kinda neat to be hit on, though, especially when i’m just out on a hot day in average clothes with my hair (which i consider to be one of my better features) pulled back.
Semi-relatedly, the sketchy guy who checks out all these teen magazines and Vogue and such (he seems mildly retarded, and we definitely think they’re like soft-core porn for him; and there was a staff note today that i didn’t get to ask about that said he’s been making weird phone calls to the children’s department) and stuff from the library is named Richard. But Joe, it’s a different one. I have now decided that no one else is allowed to be named Richard, except other sketchy guys, because it’s just too much.
Beth said i need a hobby. Apparently she tells her kids this, too. They’re both college-age as well, so i’m sure their responses are similar to mine -- “Because i don’t have enough to do already, right?” “So I was thinking,” she tells me. Now, she is a very busy woman, so it amuses me that she feels this is important enough to think about. “I think you should take up a musical instrument. Or drama. And if I think of anything more specific I’ll let you know.” “This is like high school,” i said. “I played a musical instrument for nine years. I did drama.” I honestly appreciate her concern, it just makes me laugh. I work twenty hours a week, i’m taking three weeks vacation, and i need a hobby. I didn’t mention the fact that i live online, that i really should be getting back into fiction/poetry writing, that i miss zining, that i have a backlog of letters, that i have boxes of stuff to go through, that i have friends i keep meaning to get in touch with. I don’t think i exactly need a “hobby.”
A lot of the picture books i wanted to read were out, so tonight i mostly read ones we own. Yay picture books. *restrains self from boring readers with complete list* Rereading The Story About Ping, though, i realized that’s where my family’s habit of adding “and 42 cousins” to any long litany of people comes from. (The book opens: Once upon a time there was a beautiful young duck named Ping. Ping lived with his mother and his father and two sisters and three brothers and eleven aunts and seven uncles and forty-two cousins.) I think the picture books i continue to cherish from my childhood are mostly bittersweet, or at least full of emotional intensity. My mother tells me that when they read me The Legend of the Bluebonnet (Tomie DePaola) they bawled. I have reread it since, and it doesn’t make me cry, and that makes me a little sad. When i move into my first house/apartment, i think the first thing i want is a set of all the picture books i cherish from my childhood. I may never have a Phyllis house, but i want that for myself even if for no one else.
Apparently i already have a full day of plans tomorrow. Go to the library in the morning (return lots of items and check out more picture books) and then go visit with my grandma until my brother gets off work (at which point he’ll come visit because, hey, air-conditioning). And then George and i and his friend Brian and probably one of our parents are going to the fireworks in Walpole. (I still haven’t made up my mind as to whether i want to go with my mom and brother to the uber-security fireworks in Boston on the Fourth. I guess i should go and i’ll just skip out early if it looks like crowd+security=misery. Beth says i should go so i can report back to her--i guess she’s never been to see the Esplanade fireworks in person.)
My brother’s been downloading patriotic screensavers and desktops and so on, and one of the things he downloaded was an animation. “America the Beautiful” (quite possibly my favorite “patriotic” song) plays in the background as images of memorials all over the world pass before your eyes. I recognized the floral displays and such from a site my dad had sent me shortly after 9-11. They’re mostly from American Embassies. They’re shows of support and sympathy for all those innocents killed, all those lives irrevocably shattered, on September 11th. My dad sent me this in an e-mail with the subject line “Okay, my eyes started misting.” and while i did like some of the lines near the end, i wasn’t really touched by it. This animation, though, did touch me. We all know i have issues with patriotism and war and such, but united support for victims of tragedy, that touches me.