Awesome Friend, Meet Awesome Friend!

Recently two of my oldest friends met each other for the very first time. And it was good. But as is usually the case in these situations, it wasn’t as epic as I thought it would be.

I don’t know why I build these encounters up so much. I always expect it to be… not the clash of two titans, but more like the meeting of two titans who then bond and turn into this gigantic… what’s more gigantic than a titan?

I forget that, for them, the event is much like meeting any other person. Yeah, they’ve probably heard stories about one another from me, but they don’t have the actual history. They don’t realize just how much they have in common. They haven’t participated in the imaginary get togethers that I’ve held with the two of them in my mind for decades.

Somehow their two awesome essences don’t magically swirl together and turn into, I don’t know, some delicious awesome stew. Instead, they continue to be awesome individuals who now feel awkward and don’t quite know what to say. And that is something I’m not used to seeing in either of them, so it distresses me greatly.

Often what happens next is the two people shift their focus to the one thing they have in common: me. And that, of course, makes me squirm. I don’t really like being the center of attention. And I suddenly realize that each of them brings out a different facet of my personality, and therefore my old friends are now both seeing bits of me that they’ve never seen before. Then I start feeling the “What the hell has gotten into you?” vibe.

And of course, you can’t fall back on your inside jokes. That would make one or the other feel left out, and you’ve never experienced the feeling of making your good friend feel left out before. That’s disconcerting for everyone involved.

Even worse is when your two friends meet and they don’t like each other. Not at all. Then you get to hear, later on, “What on earth do you see in that person?” And you’re left feeling like you need to defend your friendship choices.

The ultimate nightmare, of course, would be that they like each other so much that you are the one who begins to feel left out. That has yet to happen to me, but I have heard stories. No thank you.

When two well-established parts of your life collide, the results can be unpredictable. I generally start off excited about the prospect, but inevitably walk away feeling slightly saddened. Maybe it’s better to keep all your plates spinning in different regions of your world. Then they’re less likely to crash into one another and cover you in jagged shards of disappointment.

Spinning plates

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Service of Bibliomaniacal Proportions

According to Wikipedia, and contrary to popular belief, library usage is on the increase in spite of, or perhaps because of, our kindles and our nooks and our laptops. Unfortunately many local governments still target libraries first when they need to make budget cuts. The services a library provides can seem intangible to the public. They don’t rescue people from burning buildings or fill potholes or keep crime off our streets.

Unfortunately many libraries seem to be lax in promoting themselves, and that’s a tragedy because they provide a lot of amenities. Everyone knows that libraries are places where you can check out books and DVDs and use the internet, but there’s more to them than that. Many libraries offer research assistance, tax preparation assistance, homework assistance and a wide variety of classes from adult literacy to yoga to cooking to computer classes. They often host community meetings and conferences and are voting sites as well.

More and more libraries are also housing used book stores and cafes. They are great sources of genealogical information as well as archives of local history. They often provide programs to spark an interest in reading in children as well as book clubs for adults. Many coordinate summer reading programs.

Not satisfied with your library’s collection? Most of them participate in an interlibrary loan system and can get the material you desire that way, and they are also usually quite open to suggestions as to purchases they should make. People often don’t take advantages of this.

I recently convinced my library to buy the book “Crazy Town” by Robyn Doolittle, about Rob Ford, the crack smoking mayor of Toronto. I was very excited when it came in, not only because I then got to read it, but also because everyone who checks out that book from now on will have been influenced by my suggestion, and that’s a wonderful feeling.

It’s hard to put a price tag on information and knowledge and entertainment, but if we don’t support our libraries and actively participate in their programs, we will feel their loss acutely. So go to your library today, and bring a child or a friend with you. While you are there, thank the librarians for their service, as their praises go mostly unsung.

library

[Image credit: librarything.com]