catheroominations

March 25, 2009

Channeling a character from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society*

A letter to AllanThinks and AliThinks, 25th of March, 2009

OK. You guys were at Al’s tonight, right? For a Twitter meetup?

Well…

I had this co-worker (I will call her S) when I worked at the University of Kentucky Department of Surgery Publications Office. I always felt that she was too smart for me although we got along very well. She was very “bookish” like I was, but in a more highfalutin’ way. She once recommended I read some Flannery O’Connor and I tried, but UGH. Way over my 24-year old head. S and I both loved cats and French, and Berea crafts, and Birkenstocks, and other similar things, so we became friends. Our other coworker, C was also into cats and things so the three of us were work buddies.

We sat in one large room with our boss. Let’s call her W. In our drab room of an office, each of us sat in our own corner, with our back to the center of the room, and partitions beside or behind us to simulate privacy. So friendly! Because W demanded Total Silence so she could focus on such things as plasminogen activators, thrombocytopenia, or documenting sex change operations, the three of us with poorer work ethics began conversing via email. Considering that the office was about 20 feet wide by 25 feet long, this was not the quickest form of communication because it took so long to send our thoughts through the tubes all the way around the world or where ever they went before landing at our desks. But we were to remain mute unless a surgeon walked in needing our editing or desktop publishing expertise, so email was the only way for us to talk.

I think it was Tuesdays that were Street French days. Each week, one of us was in charge of teaching the other two a new word or phrase. Sometimes it was so hard not to snicker at what would appear in my inbox. But if I let out a giggle (or a fart, for that matter), I was afraid I’d be knocked upside the head. (I regret not backing up those emails on a floppy disk so today I could sit there and look at that floppy, thinking, “I sure wish I could see what I saved on there, but this Mac doesn’t have a floppy drive!”)

Anyway, I digress. Or did you not notice?

For some reason, just yesterday I decided to look for S on teh internets. Lo and behold, there she was! She has a web site and she is still like totally ohmigod smart and stuff too. She’s also on Twitter, but I didn’t click the Follow button for fear that she’d find my own Twitter page. I mean, it would be like Chrissie Snow requesting to follow Stephen Hawking. S does tweet some lovely poetry though. I sort of want to stalk her for that. She even has a couple of poetry books published. I have one that she sent me years ago.

Just in case I am painting a not-so-nice picture of S, you should also know that she is also a very nice, caring person with a dry wit. But, remember on How I Met Your Mother when Ted’s college girlfriend came back and they hooked up? And how Ted’s friends felt like everything and everyone seemed beneath her? That’s how I feel around S. Unlike the Heir to the Massengil Fortune on HIMYM, it’s not on purpose, and it’s not her fault. I know that I am intimated by her intelligence, and it’s like, totally me and not her, but still.

(It’s taking me a long time to get to the point, isn’t it? This is how I talk in real life, by the way. I include several unrelated details you probably don’t care about, but they pop into my head so I must include them, however haphazard they are.)

OK. So. I went through the posts on S’s blog, and one of them from earlier this week promoted a poetry event she would be attending on Wednesday (tonight). At…

wait for it…

Al’s in Lexington.

So when I saw Allan’s tweets about you guys being at a Twitter meetup at Al’s and the bar being taken over by the poetry people…

DUDE!

(S would never say dude, even for dramatic effect, by the way.)

My two universes collided in Kentucky tonight. Did the walls shake or anything?

I felt a rumble under my feet all the way over here.

*The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is an epistolary novel. It’s a really cute story, sometimes sad, but a really fun read listen. I checked out the audio book from the library.