03 December 2003

BOULDER: An observation from this summer. Can we say, history? Ah well, those were the easy days, and it'd be nice to spend all day writing......


it seems as if every other person in boulder wears flip-flops; the other fifty percent wear either sneakers or sandals. i haven’t seen a pair of dress shoes, god forbid high heels, since my last time at DIA, and those people are all going or coming someplace, not from or to boulder, that’s for sure.
a large woman in a blue flowered muumuu wearing fluorescent orange flip-flops flip flops her way to the circulation desk. she has a volunteer pin bearing her name, “DONNA,” and hanging from a heavily tarnished chain, a silver sun medallion. she slams four books-on-tapes on the desk, and speaks before she can be spoken to. “ignore how many talking books i have checked out. it’s one of my perks, after being a volunteer for ten years.”
across from the circulation desks, a man in a gatorade t-shirt hides his computer screen to others. he laughs too loudly for being in a library, and blushes. he types furiously. he is wearing worn brown sandals, the type you buy at target or k-mart for $9.99.
behind him, pacing, loud flip-flops smacking as he paces back and forth, back and forth. a man with a long face and his hands awkwardly supporting his back, waits for a computer, sighing, checking his watch, sighing. his sneakers are tattered brown hiking sneakers, and there is a hole by the big toe, and his white socks are visible.
with stomach that looks like the owner’s “boulder road running club long-time member” t-shirt is lying, a man insists the library should purchase every neil young cd. “i drive my record shop crazy. and you don’t have this new neil young book. “a place to go?” “a journey to go?” i think it’s called one of those. you can look it up. look it up. i drive my record shop crazy. i love neil young. he’s a god. to those who realize it. really. don’t you realize it?”
behind him, a petite girl with blonde curly hair, red flip-flops, short shorts and a black bebe shirt smiles nervously. her larger boyfriend looms over her, grinning his white teeth. he is one of the few black people in boulder. she giggles as she applies for a library card. “oh really? online renewals? that’s just great.” she checks out men are from mars, women are from venus, recommended by her ex-boyfriend she tells me. her boyfriend doesn’t seem to notice the look in her eyes, that sparkle, when she mentions her ex. the woman behind her, wearing a tacky knee-length black skirt covered with sea anemones and brightly colored fish, smiles and agrees, “men seriously are from mars…maybe even another solar system.” when told about her overdue fines, from four weeks earlier, she writes out a check for one dollar on a charlie brown check, and smiles absently. “that fine was from so long ago.”
another person wearing their bike helmet indoors shakes her head, showing off her jingling turquoise earrings that match her turquoise corduroy shirt and her turquoise flip-flops. she drops several books on the table. tony hillerman. faye kellerman. jonathan kellerman. what do these people write about anyway? they’re awfully popular. the mystery fan’s husband comes up behind her, grabbing her tightly. his face is completely covered with hair, gray moustache and beard and sideburns. you can’t even see his lips. he says something and only hair moves.
a hippie girl with long blonde hair and flowered flip-flops holds on to her boyfriend’s arm. she comments on every book he checks out. he is quiet. she can’t stop laughing. “the elevator, that elevator,” she whispers loudly in his ear, laughing. her cheeks are red, her eyes sparkling. he lets her carry most of the books and walks quickly ahead of her. “wait,” she calls. he is oblivious.
a woman with cellulite on her calves and a black and white print skirt laughs aloud, talking on her cellular phone. she does not notice her husband, who wears black dress pants with matching jacket and black and green tevas, flirting and smiling at the librarians and circulation clerks. handing over his books and his card, “you look so beautiful, so pretty. you must have a boyfriend, many boyfriends.” his wife, oblivious, smiles into the phone, “make sure you take care of that, really now. i have to take care of the michelan accounts, so you can handle that one.” the man places his hand over the small one belonging to the clerk at the desk, grinning. “truly beautiful,” he continues. he can hear his wife saying goodbye, and he collects his books.
“thank you. goodnight.”

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