Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Secret Origin of Cap'n Neurotic pt.13 - Meanwhile, Back at the Library . . .

In my obsessive quest to chronicle the bulk of my Parkerite-centered drama in one fell swoop, I was forced to skip over most of my early Book Monkey experiences to keep from interrupting the narrative. Y'know, if I had thought things out a little bit better, I would have gone ahead and did a Book Monkey post so that pt.13 would have been a post about the Eeeeeeeeevil one. Yet another missed opportunity *sigh*

Still, the show must go on . . .

I'm afraid that the Book Monkey chapter of the Secret Origins may not be quite as exciting as the Parkerites sections; my time in the land of the Book Monkeys was markedly less neurotic than my sojourns in the realm of the Parkerites. Yes, there were dramas aplenty in the library jungle, but even the ones that effected me directly didn't trigger my full on neurotic breakdowns; since the Book Monkey era coincided with the Parkerite years, it was almost like my sanctuary from neurosis.

I started working at the Stillwater Public Library in the fall of 1995 as a part-time circulation worker, and would eventually become the sole Interlibrary Loan worker for several months in 1996 and 1997. It was at SPL that I made my first lasting non-Parkerite friend at OSU, a co-worker who I shall call J.D. for lack of a better nickname other than "Rat Bastard," which is what I faithfully (and good-naturedly) called him when he started kicking my butt at racquetball on a regular basis; I spent a lot of time hanging out with J.D. and his wife, who lived beneath her parents’ flower shop, Little Shop of Flowers. Nope, that’s not a nickname, that’s really the name of the store. I was also invited over to her parents' house for dinner quite a bit, and spent a couple of New Years Eves there as well. In terms of my development as Cap'n Neurotic, I think the most significant factor in my friendship with J.D. was the fact that I never fell into over-competitive mode around him, never felt like I had something to prove like I had with the Parkerites. I'm guessing the fact that that there wasn't a huge group of guys that I felt I had to live up to helped out with that; plus, unlike most of the Parkerites (I’m looking at you, G’ovich!), J.D. wasn't a big trash-talker. I was able to just enjoy the game without caring too terribly much if I won or lost; MAJOR step for me. Now, if only I could have carried that back into my Parkerite game play at the time . . .

About 5 months after I graduated from OSU, I got a job at the Interlibrary Services office as a staff member in the Borrowing unit. I think the only place I've ever seen with a higher turnover rate than the ILS office was the telemarketing firm I worked for one summer. For the first month or so I worked there, I mainly talked to Golden Boy, an anal future lawyer who was loved by the boss and scorned by all the student workers, and who also just happened to live in the apartment above mine; we wound up walking together after work quite a bit. Personally, I liked Golden Boy; he had a pretty biting wit, and provided many hours of entertainment critiquing the work ethic of the rest of our co-workers. I also was on pretty good terms with The Mag early on, but wouldn't really get to know her or her roomie Rose Hips the Enforcer until I got invited to my first "cheesy movie night" at their place, which also included several student workers (including Rebel Monkey and Bunny), since The Mag had started out in the office as a student with several of them; I quickly discovered that we shared a similar sense of humor in a lot of respects. Before the summer was over, Bunny was able to get her friend hired as a student as well; a friend named Bubblegum Tate.

Tate and I bonded pretty quickly over our mutual comic geekiness, a fact that irked Golden Boy to no end; guess he didn't like me paying attention to someone else. Can you imagine that; someone getting all jealous and developing an irrational dislike of someone just because they felt threatened that the newcomer was stealing away their friend? I mean, what sort of neurotic person would do something like that? Pathetic, right? Right.

I had started in ILS in May of 1998; before that summer was over, I was already as comfortable being myself in the office as I’d ever been anywhere. For a library job, our office was a very lively place; there was lots of gabbing going on along with the work; it was especially rowdy during the summer, when the workload was much lighter. This started my brief “social butterfly” phase, which coincided with The Year of the Flunky; I was suddenly having to choose between activities with J.D., Book Monkeys, and Parkerites. That was a new sensation for me; in the past the only time I was torn in choosing activities was when my duties to the BSU Drama Team conflicted with some Parkerite outing; now I actually had friends who were competing for my attention. Well, okay, maybe not actually competing, since somehow throughout all of this I don’t think any of the groups ever inter-mingled; J.D. probably met The Old Man when he helped us move in, and Bubblegum Tate knew Coronela and several ATOs, and would eventually go on to room with Captain Ego, who had been Wrath’s roomie Freshman year in Parker, but as far as I was concerned, I had three totally separate lives going on. This went a long way towards demolishing my Outsider complex; it wouldn’t actually demolish it, of course; the Outsider complex was much sturdy and crafty to crumble that easily. But it did go into hiding for a while, watching . . . and waiting.

Before I had been in the position a year, I was promoted to Lending Supervisor, which meant I hired and trained all of the student workers, as well as one staff member, who at this point was The Mag. She would eventually get a job outside of the library, and her position would be taken over by Rebel Monkey. Now, after being in the office for well over a year, I think the number of syllables exchanged between Rebel Monkey and myself were probably on a par with my G'ovich conversations of the same time period; I was pretty sure she couldn't stand me. Now, that's not just my neurosis speaking; I was later to discover that most people felt that way when they first met the deceptively quiet Rebel Monkey. The breakthrough moment in our friendship came when we discovered a common passion for Buffy, which soon led to a discovery of a shared pop culture addiction to movies and TV. With this newfound solidarity combined with our common friendship with The Mag and Rose Hips, the way was paved for us to become The Core 4. The Core 4 was one of those magical group dynamics, much like The Clique or Clan Stoneheart; for the rest of my time in Stillwater, they would increasingly make up the majority of my social world, as the Great Parkerite Exodus continued and J.D. moved to Bentonville. Rebel Monkey would eventually leave the office as well, and then The Mag would return not too long before I made the move to Denton; she would take over my position once I left.

I feel like this post is a bit boring, what with its lack of mental breakdowns and emotional outbursts on my part, for which I apologize; I do promise many exciting non-Secret-Origin Book Monkey anecdotes to make up for it, including the Internet faux pas that would result in one of the most uncomfortable work situations I’ve ever been in; my run-in with Spammergirl.