Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Skepticism is a learned trait

When I was seven or eight, late December, I discovered a stash of presents hidden in a closet. I gladly believed my mom's explanation that some of my Christmas gifts were from Santa, and some were from Mom and Dad. 

Unwrapping presents on Christmas day, I asked, "Is this from you or from Santa?" This went on for a couple more years. I held onto a belief in a chimney-jumping fat man for much longer than my own logic could sustain, and once I let go, many other things went with it.

I wonder if children still believe in Santa, if the adults are still working to keep up the charade, and if the charade is a good thing. My sense is, yes:  The more we can crystallize childhood experiences into something positive, the better the foundation we provide for children's future success. 

But maybe the challenge is dispelling the charade at the appropriate time. I remember the horror I felt (the kind only a fourth-grader can experience) when I raised my hand following an informal, peer-led poll of "Who still believes in Santa Claus?" and then realized I was the only one to do so.

Anyway, I'm excited this Christmas. My dad's back, I'm making Mac'n'cheese (not from the box) for Christmas Eve dinner, and I have three days off in a row from work. Things are good.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Quote of the day...

How can I know what I think until I see what I say?

- E.M. Forster

Sunday, December 7, 2008

French toast, hash browns, and scrambled eggs

I went out for breakfast this morning with my mom and my grandfather - today is his 93rd birthday. He still drives and he still works two or three days each week. 

After breakfast, I went to see my grandmother on my dad's side. She's 87, lives on her own, and goes line dancing twice a week. She wants to have a big party when she turns 90.

I'll stop complaining about feeling old. It's ridiculous, really.  

I think about the books I read and the books I don't read. For an English major, I'm not the most patient reader. If I'm not engaged by the third page, whether it's by a character, a plot, or the quality of writing, I put down the book. I close it and leave its world without a second thought.  I want the author to get on with the story and not waste my time.  

I just want to get on with my own story. I'm in chapter three and the main character's still fumbling around. While there are still many pages to go, I'm getting impatient. I wish I could flip ahead to see what's coming. 

(To be clear, I'm speaking metaphorically).

Friday, December 5, 2008

Perfect Symmetry

Today is the fourteen year anniversary of my accident; I was fourteen years old when it happened. I had often measured my life in relation to that accident, and BEFORE was always greater than AFTER. Now they're equal (I'm ignoring the four months after my birthday), and starting tomorrow, AFTER will be greater than BEFORE.  

This makes me feel older than turning 28 did.

Nice people

Yesterday, a woman, mid-seventies, came into the library wearing the loviest purple hat I had ever seen. She was petite and dressed in black, making the hat stand out even more. 

Customers check out their own books and movies, now, with the library workers close by if any problems arise. We're more free to walk around the library, taking people directly to that Rachael Ray cookbook at 641.555 qR264b instead of writing down a call number and pointing to an aisle. 

Sometimes I feel awkward, standing behind the desk while a 75-yr-old woman scans her Beverly Lewis novel. But yesterday, as the lady in the purple hat fished for her library card, I approached her and asked, "Are you familiar with our check out system?" 

She replied, with a suddenly giant grin, "Oh yes!" 

I smiled back and told her what a lovely hat she was wearing.

She laughed and said that her husband had told her it was too fancy for a regular outting. But she didn't want to wear her black hat because it was so plain. Then she added, "I like your necklace."

I touched my hand to my neck, reminding myself which I was wearing - it was my "fancy" one, with over a dozen strands of small beads, in all shades of purple.

Thinking about the whole exchange makes me smile.

(credit the picture to - I found it by putting "purple kentucky derby hat" in Google Image)