So I'll admit it: though I truly adore the school library in all its well-stocked glory, I have an ulterior motive for visiting it with the frequency with which I do. If anyone has a question about freshmen library orientation, I'll offer to take a stroll down the hall and ask it. If someone needs an overhead returned, I'm the first to raise my hand and volunteer to take it. If my students need to use the computers, to hell with the wireless lab-- I'll take them to the library lab!
Really, in the end, it's not about the library at all-- it's about Library Guy.
Library Guy (or LG) is, as you might expect, one of the school librarians. And I like him. I like him a lot. He started working at my school last fall, and I thought he was cute, but to be honest, I had a little too much going on at the time (like... taking over as head of my department, for example) to really make a go at pursuing him.
In the spring, we organized an overnight trip to the Big City, and LG and I were two of the chaperones. I thought, "Hey, this is my chance to get to know him better!"
My brother (the font of wisdom) suggested I try to sit next to him on the bus. "You know, make sure you're the last one on, and just ask if you can sit with him," he said.
Well, I didn't do that-- but I did make a concerted effort to spend some time with him. I sat next to him at dinner. We walked together (guarding the back of the pack of kids) on the way back to the hotel after seeing a show. At the rest stop on the way home, we waited in line at the Starbuck's for desperately necessary coffee.
This is what I learned about LG: he is an amazingly nice guy. One of the nicest I've ever met. He's got a sense of humor, and he can carry a conversation even when surrounded by forty shrieking sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds.
I also learned that he's about twelve years older than me. (Honestly, you'd never guess from looking at him. I had figured early thirties at the most. I was... wrong.) And that freaked me out a little.
Okay, that freaked me out a lot. I decided that no matter how nice LG was, he was too old for me.
Then I came back to school this fall, and I saw him at the faculty welcome-back breakfast, and I don't know what it was-- the way he smiled at me or touched my shoulder to say hello or held his plate of French toast-- but suddenly the age thing didn't matter.
And that is why my all of my students are doing research projects this quarter. And why I take my Xeroxing to the library machiens, even thought they're ten times slower.
My brother (I really regret telling him about this, by the way) is determined that I will ask LG out for coffee at some point in the near future-- preferably tomorrow. He has called every day this week to demand that I make my move immediately.
"I mean, come on," he says, "LG's just getting older."
"Eh," I reply, "I'm cool with it."