In which I crush the dreams of my 17-year-old self…


Another long and self-indulgent conversation with my imaginary 17-year-old self:

17-year-old Me: I have some more non-fast-food questions for you.  Do you have a cool job?

Me: Yes.

17-year-old Me:  Well?

Me: What?

17-year-old Me: What is it, then?  Actress?  Romance novelist?  College professor?

Me: Nope.

17-year-old Me:  Well, what is it then?

Me: Elementary school librarian.

17-year-old Me: Excuse me?

Me: I am an elementary school librarian and technology teacher.  I have primarily Kindergarten and 1st grade students in library, and I teach 2nd through 5th graders how to use computers.

17-year-old Me: That sounds….awful.  Seriously…just…awful.  ELEMENTARY SCHOOL?  Didn’t you go to COLLEGE?!?!?

Me: Excuse me, I went to an Ivy League college and I have a Master’s Degree.

17-year-old Me:  You need a Master’s Degree to follow around snotty-nosed five-year-olds and read picture books?

Me: Yes, yes, you do.  And anyway, you LIKE kids, you know.

17-year-old Me: Very doubtful.  I don’t like kids at all.  In fact I have been frequent and vocal about just how much I do NOT like kids.

Me [taunting]: Yeah.  Well, Kindergartners are your favorite.  Children are the part of your job you enjoy the most. You genuinely LOVE kids!

17-year-old Me [skeptical]: Do I?

Me: Yes, you do.  You…I…we are very happy with our career choice, okay?  Very happy, very good at it, very pleased with the summers off.

17-year-old Me: Summers off sounds okay, I guess.

Me: That’s very generous of you.

17-year-old Me:  Well, at least you must live somewhere cool, right?

Me: Yup.

17-year-old Me: So tell me more….

Me: Well, you live in a cool city.

17-year-old Me: Awesome!  That sounds more like what I had in mind!  Where?

Me: Pardon me?

17-year-old Me: Where do you live?

Me [mumbling]: prvdns

17-year-old Me: Sorry, didn’t catch that.

Me: What?

17-year-old Me: Where do you live?!?

Me: Providence.

17-year-old Me:  Tell me there is a Providence, France.

Me [shakes head]

17-year-old Me:  Providence, Australia?  Providence, England?  Providence, California?

Me: Providence, Rhode Island.

17-year-old Me: You have got to be SHITTING ME!

Me: Calm down – you LIKE IT HERE you know!

17-year-old Me [skeptical]: Do I?

Me: You do. I know you don’t believe me, but it’s not like I live in Johnston or anything!  You’d never forgive me for that, I know.  But Providence – well, Providence is hip and lovely and has a vibrant art and food and stuff scene and really good coffee shops and I like it here!

17-year-old Me:  At least tell me you left for awhile.

Me: I did!  I lived in Miami for a year!

17-year-old Me: Miami sounds cool.  Totally cool.  What happened to that?

Me: Blech – Miami was stupid.  Much less cool than Providence.

17-year-old Me: But doesn’t Miami have beautiful beaches?

Me: Yes.

17-year-old Me: Gorgeous weather.

Me: Sure.

17-year-old Me:  Interesting tourist attractions?  Delicious food?  An all around more famous and exciting reputation as a city?

Me: You are really focusing on the wrong stuff, missy.  I like it here.

17-year-old Me: I don’t believe you.  About the job either.

Me: I am happy.  Why just tonight I ate a burrito in my new apartment and watched a movie starring an actor you have never heard of but will love very much in ten years time and it was a very nice night.

17-year-old Me: Do I even like burritos?  I don’t think I’ve ever had one.

Me: You love burritos, so much more than anything else ever.  You love the melted cheese, the delicate interplay between the heat of the salsa and the coolness of the sour cream, the softness of the wrap contrasted against the crisp tortilla chips…

17-year-old Me: Well, at last something you are saying finally sounds believable. So….we have a new apartment?  Is it nice?

Me: Quite.  Do you know what I have?

17-year-old Me:  What’s that?

Me: Claw foot tub.

17-year-old Me:  Seriously?

Me: Yes.

17-year-old Me:  You should have lead with that!  I might not have gotten so bent out of shape about how you failed to achieve every dream I ever had and settled for a life so dull I cannot even comprehend how you got from here to there.

Me: I told you, I am happy.  Claw foot tub!!!

17-year-old Me:  Okay, happiness is one of my goals.  You really love kids?

Me: I really love kids.

17-year-old Me: And PROVIDENCE?

Me: And Providence.

17-year-old Me:  Fine.  I guess it’s okay…I believe you that it’s good.  Now tell me…are you still single?

Me: What?

aaaaand scene.





Welcome to The Week of Tom.

Today I took a walk to a bakery that is something like 2 miles from my apartment, and then I walked back, with a detour to the grocery store before I returned.

It is a walk I do (usually with my sister) on occasion when time and weather permits mostly because I feel like I am entitled to eat a cheese danish if I walk four miles to get it and also because the walk brings me through the snooty-falooty neighborhoods of the East Side of Providence.  I spend the walks feverishly imagining the kinds of fabulous lives I would lead if I lived in one of those houses.

From the huge million dollar Colonials and Victorians and fake Tudors on the Boulevard that fun to imagine though they are too big for my real-life taste…

just imagine the classy but fabulous holiday cocktail party I could throw in this house

…to the adorable bungalows and cottages I would actually want to own in Hope Village and genuinely aspire to live in.

I will change the paint color and add a fairytale cottage garden landscape

When I get home from these walks, I usually peruse the real estate listings so that I can understand just how fully out of my reach these dreams are.  I like to use the mortgage calculator, fill in the down payment field with $1000 and laugh at the figures it generates.

And by laugh, I mean cry.

Meanwhile, the whole point of this is that today while I was walking in the brisk fall air down one Burlington Street (on which I have decided to someday live), I was thinking how comfy my Tom’s shoes are for walking and how happy I am that I bought them.

They are delightful strolling shoes, and hold up easily to 4 mile walks.  And maybe a lot of people think they are ugly (a kindergartner asked if I was wearing slippers on Friday) but I think they are adorable, albeit in a homely kind of way.

So there I was, admiring my comfy and wonderful shoes that have brought me nothing but happiness since I bought them and that were enhancing my already excellent walk, when I decided that this should be the Week of Tom, in which I will celebrate all (more likely only some) of the great Toms in the world.

Starting with my shoes.

Shoes, I salute you.