It’s not the first time I’ve been asked this. I get asked this more than anything else, but it never gets easier.
I try not to show it, my anxiety, as I say, “All of my life.”
“Well, let me tell you this much,” she says with a look of surprise, before winking, “I don’t detect any accent.”
This too, I’m told all the time. Somewhere between the relief and paranoia, I mutter my thanks.
Mashmallows are still on the lawn, even though it rained hot cocoa last night just like every other night.
I tell this to my neighbor. I say, “The marshmallows never melt.”
And my neighbor says, “Yeah, that’s how it is over here,” and a winged horse with a horn on its head appears behind him.
And I say, “Oh look, there’s a pegacorn.”
And without bothering to turn around, he says, “Yeah, they’re around.”
gollyland is a place where you can’t create and you can’t consume.
That’s where I am right now.
That’s where you are right now.
Void and static.
And for the longest time, this is all I can think.
I wake up in the afternoon and the first thing I do is call Mom.
She answers, and I say, “Did you go to the library?”
She says, “Yes-“
I say, “Did you get my new books?”
She hangs up, and I hear her footsteps. The door opens to Mom, looking down at me on the mattress, and she says, “I tried to put you on speaker, but I ended up hanging up on you.”
She always does that.
I say, “Did you go to the library to pick up my new books?”
And she says yes, but it was undergoing construction. She says, “It looked like they were doing something inside. There were also kids outside waiting for their parents, because it was closed.”
I never received any email notifications about the library being closed, just ones notifying me that my holds have arrived.
I say, “Are you sure they were closed and the kids weren’t waiting for their parents after they had been inside the library?”
Mom says, “Yes, I tried opening the door, but it wouldn’t. And there was a sign that had the date for how long they were closed.”
I say, “When are they closed until?”
She says, “I didn’t read the last date.”
I say, “How could you not read the last date? I have books reserved and I need to know when to pick them up.”
She says, “I just glanced at it and was like, ‘They’re closed.’”
I say, “Well, I’ll have to call them now.”
She says, “Okay.”
She leaves, and I call the library but nobody picks up and there’s no option to leave a message and the regular hours have not been updated with any new information. So then I call the second nearest branch and after the fifteenth or however many rings, they inform me that my default branch is closed until Tuesday but that I won’t be penalized for any holds.
I text Sister this revelation, and she texts back.
U tell them they need to hold it for u
Call them w ur library card m demand that they transfer it to Pio Pico say u fucken got out of work early to pick up books bc u got a vmail notifying u to pick up ur holds
Tell them u wasted gas and time u could have gotten paid for
Call Pio Pico now
They don’t give a fuck
And tell them to change the status of ur books so u can get them at Pio Pico u refuse to wait until Tuesday to find that u owe money plus ur books go away
There a government entity their attitude is take it or leave it
Well that’s the only thing that can be done now and if u don’t wanna do it then ok
You’ve clearly never dealt with librarians if you think you’re going to get anywhere with that kind of approach
I’m trying to give you a solution. Anyway there’s no point in you complaining to me about it what can I do for you I’m all the way in I’ll Hambra
I can give you their phone number if that’s what you’re asking (213) 368-7647
Are you stupid do you think I have time for this
I never asked for the phone number
I don’t know why you would bring up you’re in Alhambra as if location is an obstacle
At some point, I’ll have to get up from the mattress and start my day.
I finish eating my broccoli and I go to put the spoon I used into the sink, which is filled with bowls and dishes.
My mother says, “Bring everything that needs to be washed.”
I say, “I have the bowl I had for the broccoli, but it’s okay. I’ll use it to microwave my chicken in a bit.”
She says, “Bring it here. It’ll attract flies.”
I say, “It won’t. Flies like fruits and onions. Broccoli isn’t sweet to them. They only land on sweet things.”
And I say, “Just like you do,” inducing laughter in her.