There are elements of myself that have not, in a lifetime, changed much. Most prominent of these aspects of course is my tenacity to think I’m progressing, but in reality, all I’m doing is procrastinating.
The first of these behemoth procrastinations was the girl who volunteered in my junior high library. She wasn’t your straight from Sweet Valley High type of library volunteer either: her wit was like if David Cross was a girl and played bass for L7, her thick rimmed glasses predated the emo trend by at least five years and she still strutted them better than Taking Back Sunday or Weezer ever could, and she had red undertones in her hair that was as black as and shimmered like a television screen turned off. She was smart, she was cool, and she knew it.
I had one shot to make an impression with her. We were the only two kids into punk rock at our CBC family drama junior high. I sat in my math class not paying any attention to my teacher’s explanation on fractions (or something, keep in mind I wasn’t paying attention) and looked around the room at my other female companion options.
I obviously had no interest in the girl who grew up on a horse ranch, and the girl who from age eight had her sights on the WNBA didn’t quite do it for me either. They were both nice enough girls, almost everyone I went to school with I had known since second grade, but it was like these girls just weren’t legit compared to the girl in the library. Library Girl had something more to her than just horses or sports.
Then it hit me. Library Girl. She had only just started going to our school within the last year. I only knew her as Library Girl. No name, no back story, no connection between her parents and my parents, nothing. Just Library Girl. How the fuck was I supposed to start a conversation with a girl whose name I didn’t even know?
I hear the buzzer over the intercom. Usually, the buzzer after math class is like the voice of God calling out, “Go forth, young man! And claim the cute girl in the library!” But today’s buzzer was only accompanied by an annoying voice in my ear telling me, “Hey, you got no chance, Pisano. Give it up now before you look like a jackass.” I walked through the halls wondering why the only voice in my head is a bad Italian stereotype and found myself stopped at the library entrance, standing in front of it like I was a prisoner in his cell waiting for the bars to drop.
From my imprisoned position, I spotted a sign that said “Library Volunteer needed. Ask Mrs. Wassel for more details.” Like a Ferrari being suddenly put into third gear, I shoot across the library to the sign in under a second and ask Mrs. Wassel what happened to the last volunteer.
“Oh, Becca? Her dad’s military, so she moved again.”
So simple a sentence put me to worse shame than a public ostracizing ever could. I waited too long to talk to her. If I had just even asked her name one day and complimented her on her Dead Kennedys sweater, maybe I would have at least got an email or a phone number to keep in contact with her.
I wound up taking the volunteer position, hoping one day I’ll see that hair with the red undertones come through again, and this time I wouldn’t have to call her Library Girl.