So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. –Franklin D. Roosevelt
Band Goes Green applies to how we eat—plant based. Ideally, more green than anything else. More green than red, that’s for sure.
Charlie’s super hippy sister, Nancie, stopped by our Band Goes Green pre-practice family dinner on Thursday on her drive home from visiting one of her children in Pensacola. Over a delightful steel cut oat risotto and pumpkin torte with ginger cardamom (fake) butter cream, she said, “Yeah, I think it’s awesome that you guys are vegan, but I’ll tell you the truth, I was really disappointed when I realized that the Band Goes Green means you were eating vegan and not that you were going to be Earth First.”
We had to explain to her, “Duh, Nancie, it’s just a given that we’re Earth First.” I mean, outside of using a hell of a lot of fossil fuels to drive our minivan all over God’s green earth, we’re pretty responsible global citizens. Although we don’t smell like armpits (most of the time) and patchouli, we still vote, carpool when possible, and recycle. In fact, I’m so committed to recycling that I buy recycled toilet paper (not kidding).
There’s really very little that I’m not okay reusing or not having new. In fact, my only real issue is books. I know, it seems weird. Clothes and bedding seem like they would really gross you out to use when someone else already had—you might have their armpits and patchouli on them (among other things). No big deal, just douse it in some Borax and then let the sun bleach all the yuck out. But, books, whew!! I just can’t handle them used.
I don’t like the idea of other people’s hands being on them and rubbing the oil from their palms on the pages. I don’t like the fact that the corners of the pages are sort of smashed down and flaring, so that all kinds of germs can get stuck in the pores of the paper. And when I was a child and used to check books out by the dozen at the rural route Bookmobile that parked every Tuesday at Chaires Elementary School, I checked out a copy of Island of the Blue Dolphins once that had a dried, bloody, bogey (that’s what JK Rowling calls it in Harry Potter, if you haven’t read that… well, you need to read it… but if you haven’t, then you should know that I’m referring to a booger in American English) gluing some of the pages together.
From thence, I was forever changed from lighthearted, carefree, book borrower to skeptical, careful book buyer each month when my teacher passed out the flyer for the Scholastic Book Club. Just like Baby Bear and I would graffiti the Sears Christmas Catalog with permanent marker every year to show Santa Claus which Barbies we NEEDED to see under our tree, each month, I would circle everything in the Scholastic Book Club flyer that tickled my fancy. My parents believing that they were supporting my literacy and keeping me busy so that I would stay off the streets and away from that one kid in our neighborhood, Ray, who played with firecrackers, bought me almost every book that I circled. Little did they know that they were actually indulging an anxiety, which grew and resulted in an acute fear of libraries.
I love book stores. Sometimes when I walk into a good one, I could almost cry. But, I can’t handle libraries. Ugh, they freak me out, hard core. Too many dirty books that other people have touched. It’s like worse that the jury waiting room for breeding disease… if you had an accurate and reliable way to measure it, there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that you will find evidence to trace every major outbreak of every major epidemic that ever touched this earth somehow to a library. And it makes me feel almost as dirty as one of those killer epidemics to even say that because I LOVE BOOKS!
I feel like this is a safe place. So, I feel like I can confess that to you and not be judged.
And now that I’ve told you that, you have sufficient background to understand how monumental this next bit of news it.
After 16 years of library avoidance (it has been far more than 16 years since the famed bogey/booger incident, but when I was in high school, I was unable to avoid libraries because they were often the site of study halls and meetings for the Math club and Brain Bowl club, both of which I was a member of because Mama Bear and Mister Elwood thought it would keep me off the streets, and away from that one kid in our neighborhood, Ray, who played with firecrackers), yesterday, I suddenly found myself overcome with bravery and resolve to conquer my used book issues and I went to the Leon County Public Library.
Once I got inside, I had to do a little walk around to get my bearings and gather my nerve. And then I went to the circulation desk, filled out a form and got a library card! Seriously.
I know that you’re reading this and sort of laughing at me, thinking that I’m making fun of myself and making this seem like a bigger deal than it really is. But, I’m honestly not. I felt so stupid because I was standing at the desk while the librarian put my information into the computer with my heart pounding, barely able to catch my breath, having to hold onto the edge of the desk because I was so anxious that I thought I would either throw up or pass out. When I got my card, I had to take several breaths before I could get my trembling hands still enough to put the card into the slot in my wallet. And when I turned to walk back out into the main library, I realized that I was so sweaty and gross from the whole five minute experience that I actually smelled like the legit Earth First recycle person that I am (or at least am on my way to being since I’m getting comfortable with the idea of used books)… minus the patchouli.
It sounds kind of funny, but once I had my card, I still couldn’t bring myself to actually go and check out a book. I started for the books section, but when I thought about the yellowed pages with frayed corners and the musty smells of other people’s hand sweat soaked into the pages, I couldn’t do it. Luckily, I had visited a book store earlier in the day and I had a nice, crisp, brand new copy of Karen Russell’s Swamplandia in my bag. I touched it to remind me that books are good and clean and should not produce anxiety. And then I decided to save the task of checking out a library book for another day. One monumental thing was enough for an overly warm Friday in October (or maybe it only seemed so warm because I was so close to loosing my head!!).
But I didn’t feel like I could just walk out the front doors forty-five seconds after getting my library card. It just felt weird, like asking someone to watch your suitcase in the airport and then stealthily disappearing. I thought that maybe the security guard would tackle me on my way out and take my precious Swamplandia to add to their collection or something. In a panic, I spun around looking for something… anything to help me out… and there I saw it, the music section.
“Okay, cds generally have hard plastic, non-porous surfaces. No frayed edges, no residual smells from other people’s hands, less chance of germs. I can look through their cds before I leave to at least prolong this experience a bit and give me a chance to get a little more comfortable with being in the library so that next time, maybe I can step up to checking something out.”
Look what I found in the music section… no joke!
I did not check it out since I already have a copy hanging around somewhere…
Don’t worry folks, I’m working through this. In fact, I have a date with Luke and Drew tomorrow at the library after nap time. Pretty soon, I’ll be a Band Goes Green girl that would make Nancie Vanture superproud—eating vegan in my recycled clothes, riding in a carpool, while I read my library book!
I’ll still never smell like patchouli though… that’s just not my thing.