Library Laziness

The most vivid memories I have of trips to the library center around a three year period from about eighth grade until some point in my junior year when I got a car. During junior high, the library was about a half mile from my school. In between there was a convenience store where I could get snacks. Snacks that were NOT available at my house if I had decided to ride the bus home. The library was hardly out of the way for my parents to get me, and on baton lesson days, more convenient. So my daily library trips were a no-brainer.
It was then that I discovered this row of books at the back corner of the library called “Young Adult”. I had no clue those books were actually meant for me. I mean, the librarians kept directing me and my friends to the children’s section which was BORING! Save for a few of those Judy Blume books. And then my friends discovered a Judy Blume book in that back row. “Forever” made the rounds in my classes, often hidden behind upright geometry books. I was really irked that I couldn’t do that because my geometry teacher parked me right next to her and that overhead projector. Believe me, it’s pretty challenging to stay awake when you have warm air blowing on you and it’s right after lunch and the rest of your friends are reading all the “good” parts. And yes, all of them were reading the good parts because Teresa Caballero had made copies of the pages with the good parts. Courtesy of a Xerox machine at our local library. (And at $0.25 per page, Teresa spent a lot of money for all of us to read those “good parts.”)
So what, pray tell, were those “good parts.” Sex, of course. That’s right. “Forever” had sex in it. And we soon learned that libraries held LOTS of books with sex in them. (Remember folks, junior high, hormones, don’t get all worked up.) There was no ID to show to check out books, just a library card.
Hopefully no one out there is making a mad dash to have “Forever” banned from the “Young Adult” shelves because they think kids who are eager to read about sex are equally as eager to have it. WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG!!! I can tell you that having read “Forever” that I was no where near ready for anything like that. And that’s the awesome power of books. Kids can experience risky behavior in a safe manner. They don’t have to wait for years to see the consequences played out. They can have adventures, romance, and mysteries, all for the low, low price of one library card.
I loved my library because math homework didn’t seem to be such a drag when your friends were there too, suffering through linear equations with you, sneaking Cheetos under the table so that the librarians didn’t bust you and kick you out. Yeah, we lived dangerously. And sometimes, your crush even came to the library, and you spent your afternoon wondering if he drove there or walked. Because if he walked, then you knew his house was close by. And if his house was close by, maybe you could casually wander by. Repeatedly. (I have since learned that the term is “stalking” and is illegal in the state of Florida.)
So if the library was so awesome during those years, why did I stop going as much? Because I got a car which is awesome power. And with great power comes great responsibility. (Uncle Ben, Spiderman) Seriously though, I had to shuttle my younger sister around to her activities along with my own. There came grocery trips in exchange for gas money, and well, shuttling around my vehicle-less friends too. And the chance of seeing my newest crush? He wasn’t at the library. But I could tell you that Little Caesar’s Crazy Bread took 15 glorious minutes to bake which gave me enough time to find a mundane enough topic to talk to my crush who happened to work at Little Caesar’s. It’s not stalking if you buy Crazy Bread.
Which my stomach has just reminded me that it’s lunch time. So which should I go for? Buy up Cheetos and other junk food and sneak it into the library to share with a friend? Or do I find a Little Caeasar’s and hope that they still sell Crazy Bread? Have a great Wednesday, folks!

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About Micki Gibson

Young Adult fiction writer
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9 Responses to Library Laziness

  1. OMG, Micki, too funny! Awful what would now be considered stalking; my sister,(7 years older and always on the cutting edge) and her friends, (particularly one), had stalking down to an art and taught me well.Well, when I got older I didn’t have the nerve to go out on MY OWN and do it! But she would hang out near my crush and drive me by to honk the horn at his house.I found out later that she told him and I was retroactively embarrassed!
    Yes, they have Crazy Bread at Little Caesar’s, but I think they fellow behind the counter is young enough to be your crush’s son!

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    • Micki Gibson says:

      I think kids still do the drive-by stalking. There was a song on the radio for a while about a girl who cyber-stalked her crush (she was waaaaayyyyy psycho) which prompted a discussion between me and one of my kids about my crazy days and Crazy Bread Stalking. The difference between me and the chick in the song (aside from the whole social media stuff) is that I actually TALKED to my crush, and even when he broke my heart and told me so excitedly about how he asked out this other girl, I managed to smile and go, “That’s greeeeaaaat!” We were friends, so I kept on doing the friend thing.

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  2. jeff7salter says:

    Love it, Micki! Great job. The stalking bit was especially great.
    Difficult to imagine that there was a time BEFORE Judy Blume in which the “tweens” were completely left out of the library loop. After the fiction for 4th about 6th grades — which was stereotypically sports novels & Hardy Boys for boys… and nurse novels & Nancy Drew for girls — there was precious little for the kids in puberty (and beyond) to access. And in most public libraries, the kids had a juvenile care which prevented them from checking out the “adult” material (no matter how tame). Blume was not the only author, of course, but she is certainly the most notable. And because of Blume’s books — and the wildfire reception they received — the YA collections were slowly born.

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    • Micki Gibson says:

      I read my fair share of Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden books, but when I think back to my YA years, I mostly recall the stuff I HAD to read for school. The Crucible, The Scarlet Letter (shudder) and all those boring classics. (Okay, I admit, The Crucible wasn’t bad because of the way Mr. Meece taught it and that whole Arthur Miller/Marilyn Monroe thing made it way cooler.) Today’s teens have got it made, and with the way Hollywood has discovered that YA books made into movies is very profitable, I don’t see YA slowing down any time soon.

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  3. Iris B says:

    Loved it! LOL ..

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  4. pjharjo says:

    LOL! Hilarious, Micki! Thank you for all the memories of how fun it was to be a kid! (and how little we thought of “stalking”)LOL!

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