Tuesday, November 27, 2007

15 minutes (Research Project or Research People?)
I enter the second floor of Newman Library and quickly scan the tables, searching for an open computer. I find one on the corner, away from everyone else. I sit down and obligatorily check my e-mail. As always, nothing interesting of note; I've got tickets to a basketball game that I probably won't attend. I log out and erase all trace that I was there, I am paranoid about that, maybe even obsessive compulsive about it. Someone once accused me of being OCD at my old store. I just thought I was being organized.

At the computer beside me, an older lady checks her e-mail. Her poor eyesight forces her to press her face against the monitor, much like a child does when looking at puppies on the other side of a glass pane. Unfortunately, this was neither as cute nor was what was on the other side of that pane nearly as interesting. I watch her for a bit more just out of shear fascination.

I begin to search for material for my project. I dutifully type"building employee rapport" into the the little box and wait for the hits. All of these titles seem uninteresting and bland. Title after title, I browse through an endless list of the mundane and boring. I choose a few books to pull off of the shelf and wish that I could be researching something a bit more exciting. It has been a while since the thirst within me for the arts and beauty had been quenched. I start trying to find the beauty in a production line and equations to increase productivity. My heart sinks a little.

I watch the elevator open and a young man in fatigues steps out. The elevator doors close and it continues on its way up. He is obviously a healthy individual who chose to ride an elevator up one flight of steps, I just don't get it. Maybe it was because there was a cute girl in the elevator, I don't hold it against him as much anymore.

I need to find some paper to write down the call numbers, so I rummage through my bag. I find an old envelope and immediately recognize the scrawly handwriting of my ex. Until recently, I still referred to her as "my friend" and in truth, our friendship lasted much longer than our relationship. However, it is just easier to say "the ex" now. If I say "the ex" in conversation, I don't have to explain it any further, people know not to ask. I'm afraid that if I refer to her as my friend, more questions will follow, questions I either do not want to answer or do not have the answers to. This is a bit more freeing.

I open the envelope and debate reading the letter. I have no will power, so I unfold the paper and begin to read. The letter was actually written after we had broken up, but it still came from a happier time between the two of us. I smile and reminisce for a moment and put the letter back in the envelope and place it back in my bag to be swallowed by the other random artifacts from my past that I continue to carry with me.

I write down the obnoxiously long call numbers and make my way to the staircase. I pass a row of people sitting at their computers and glance over their shoulders. Facebook. Facebook. Facebook. Here we are in the middle of a diverse campus, and we are interacting amongst each other with an online social networking site. My heart sinks a little more.

I make my way upstairs and notice a young lady coming up from the first floor. As I reach the 3rd floor, I hold the door open for her, just in case this is her floor, but she continues up to the fourth, maybe even the fifth. Finally, someone who understands. I want to tell her that she is my hero for the day, but she is quickly past me and out of sight. She's still a hero in my heart though.

I walk down the hall to find my books.

Listening to: Jeff Buckley - Kanga Roo

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