Lord Tennyson was not quite right (write! haha!) when he penned the immortal, and over-quoted, “In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love” line. When you work in a bookstore in a university town, it’s quite the opposite. As the year fades and the weather starts to cool off (or in this case, just turn into a solid state of humidity that actually resembles a brick wall), “love” is just starting.
For one, the students move back to Madison. This means all those summer flings and girl-next-door romances are wrapped up neatly and set on the shelf to be picked up next year where they left off, obsessive phone calls fade after just a few days, and thoughts wander back to whether that girl who was in that 103 Spanish class last year still lives on Willy St. You think I kid? I wish.
In the bookstore, it simply means that the flirtation with the coffee girls is amped up. Guys give you significant looks over their hazelnut lattes, ask you foolish questions about how work is going that day, and laugh at pretty much anything you say. (Seriously, I think I could tell some of these winners that I spit in their drink and they would giggle appreciatively.) I was telling R. something about Canada the other day and this guy literally wouldn’t leave the counter. I pretty much had to pry my personality from his grimy fingers and leave him and his decaf soy whosawhatsit to flirt alone. “Oh really? You’re Canadian? Don’t you just love their healthcare system? So good for the masses!” “No, it’s not. It’s a socially acceptable form of euthanasia. Old people are put on the back burner and die for lack of major surgery.” (You’d think that bluntness would work, but no . . . ) My biggest problem is that I bloom under that sort of pressure, turning into an incarnation of acerbic wit, which really just eggs them on. My co-workers find it hilarious, sometimes even abandoning me to the especially persistent ones. Great. As if listening to 15 minute stories about that time you broke your arm when you were drunk with your roommates was my idea of true love. Good thing it was your arm and not your liver, which was already under plenty of pressure.