The Library

Since I quit and/or got fired (it's hard to say with these things) from the factory, the library is practically my new home. It's all fair, though, because half their books are staying at my house now. Did you know you can renew your borrowed items indefinitely with just the click of a button?

It must be fun to work at the library. I suppose it's not unlike working the counter just about anyplace. I'll never forget cashiering at the thrift store... Used lipstick? Really? Then again, we were the ones selling it.

I have made good use of the library's new self-checkout technology, but one unfortunate day it is malfunctioning. So I bring my selections up to the librarian at the desk. I place them conveniently face-down, barcode up. This does not fool the librarian. Invariably, he turns them right-side up after scanning, while I scramble to sweep them from the counter into my bag as quickly as possible without looking more crazy than my erratic literary collection already suggests. How to Get Published, Jobs in Education, Starting Your Own Business, Top 50 International Careers, The Idiot's Guide to Stop Sucking at Life... it's humiliating!

When he finishes silently judging me, Mr. I-Have-A-Job Librarian looks me in the eye and sincerely requests that I "have a nice day." Clearly, one day is all he figures I can afford.

I mentally fashion my college degree into a book cover.



I recently returned from living in Korea. Shortly after returning home, I purchased a hammock. This was in March. Now, I have lived in Portland, Oregon long enough to know that you don't need a hammock in March, if ever. Needless to say, people thought I was a little nuts. Assuring them of my intention to keep the hammock inside the house did nothing to relieve their concerns about my sanity, however.

Living abroad had opened my mind to new ways of sleeping, see, and why should I be confined to a bed? After all, Koreans traditionally use sleeping mats on the floor, and some Brazilians still use hammocks for beds. And it's not like I didn't try to get a bed, but have you been to the mattress store?! It's freaky! All these ghostly white beds everywhere and no customers, and the place is completely silent -- except for the creepy salesman following me around asking semi-invasive questions. I can't work like this! I ran out of the store.

I have had an irrational obsession with the men nation of Brazil for some time now. I have never been to Brazil, or South America for that matter, but I am desperately determined to marry my way into the country. Or at least visit. As I am still recovering from my last overseas adventure and don't see another one happening in the near future, I impatiently opted to bring Brazil to me instead, in the form of a bright red, hand-woven tumble of cotton. With fringe.

In my extensive research, I learned more than I ever wanted to about hammocks. I came across one website that introduced me to the "Artisans," offering a picture of a half-naked, presumably Brazilian, man standing by a loom. An unforeseen benefit of my international business transaction: I could possibly be supporting my future husband! I was pleased to discover that hammocks are supposedly better for your health than beds, although I did not see how this could possibly be true. Also, I measured my room and realized that for the hammock to fit at all, it would have to cut the room in half diagonally and stick out the door a few inches.

Most would turn back at this point. But most are not as hopelessly devoted to Brazil as I am. Besides, I had been sleeping in a bed practically my whole life, and where had it gotten me?! Working in a factory. I bought the hammock.

This is the part where I testify how sleeping in a hammock has changed my life, given me more energy and better skin and an infinite stream of Brazilian suitors. But in reality, this hammocks-are-beds-too business was the falsest advertising of the year!! I slept diagonally, "the Brazilian way," just like the experts instructed, but could not make it through the night without waking up with a sore back and at least one of my limbs asleep. Every time I thought I had figured out how to sleep in the thing, I would wake up more uncomfortable than ever! There was nothing left to do but shove the awful thing into the back of the garage and pretend that $200 never happened.

What now? I can't go back to that mattress freakhouse. Maybe I should get a mat and sleep on the floor...