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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Passing Notes

Someone told me recently that it's web etiquette to respond to the comments left on your blog, even to visit the web pages of your commenter's and respond yourself.
"Oh my God," I thought." Have I been being rude this whole time?"
Sometimes I do look at the people who follow this blog, at their sites, and feel lucky that so many creative people actually want to read what I write. But I don't do it just because they leave a comment, that feels disingenuous. And I almost never respond.
I don't know why. Something about it embarrasses me, but I can't put my finger on the source.There is something vaguely embarrassing about this whole thing-having a "blog", telling people about it on facebook, writing about stuff.( Just who in the hell do you think you are? says the little voice. You know the one.)

In fact, I don't think I would have started doing this at all if I hadn't read that book publishers look at how many hits your blog gets, how many facebook friends you have.
"Godamn it. I have to self promote again." Hate, hate hate it.

But now I find that writing these little stories is the best part of my day, excepting the time spent playing with my daughter and harassing my husband.

And, since I clearly can't keep up the pretense of being cool for long, I cherish all of those little comments. On bad days I read them over again and feel better. When I see a new one it reminds me of junior high, when someone would pass a note to you from across the room. It was always thrilling, whether it was from a boy you liked or your best friend.

I kept all of my notes from sixth grade to college in an old round steamer trunk. I opened it this morning. Here is what I found.

Multiple Care Bears greeting cards with long notes from my Granny Pearl written deliberately in a slow, painstaking hand.( She dropped out of school in third grade to work the cotton fields, she had to teach herself to read and write-becoming the only person in her family able to do so.)

A forgotten cartoon series I drew in high school called "Super Grasshopper"( content self explanatory) that seems vaguely racist now.

Desperate love letters, all unsigned, making it impossible to know who sent them.

A pastry bag, napkin, and cup with the Starbucks logo on it from a 1992 trip to Seattle. It was, at the time, the only Starbucks in America, located in Pike's Place, and I thought it was so cool and unique that I saved the trash from it as a souvenir.

The Official Sticker Collector's Album

Hundreds of notes and letters that were passed to me in class, most signed B.F.F. Forever!!.There are letters that were sent after high school too, all the way up to when I turned 25 and discovered email, which is where the paper trail ends. I guess that kids text now, I hope there are still notes passed hand to hand, desk to desk, with funny cartoons mocking the teachers.

Here is a note from someone named Priscilla.

I will attempt to explain my letter, since you failed to understand the first time. I will state my question which is very simple: 'Sunny, do you have my shirt?' I am no longer interested in how you obtained said item, accident or not, I want it back.
You sounded in your letter as if you had something to feel guilty about. I do not wish to discuss it further. It is a black Hard Rock Cafe T shirt if you need to know.
I have no memory of the girl or her shirt, but I wish with all my heart she'd signed her last name so I could Google her address and send her a black hard Rock Cafe
T-shirt in the mail."Hey Priscilla," my note would say."Sorry it took so long to get this back to you! B.F.F. Forever!"

Here is a note signed from "Elvisardine" which could have been any of my precocious, obnoxious brat friends.

You make me sick. Are you going to forgive me or what? You're such a bitch! but hey I'm easily annoyed and you are annoying. Tiffany is easy. You'll do fine if you remember one thing-men stink and if you don't know the answer to the quiz today guess your bra size.
Have you ever noticed that Roderick looks like Cindy Crawford?

I wish I still knew how to fold the loose leaf paper into that crazy octagon thing- you could stick your fingers in the folds and move around, revealing different words or drawings on each plane. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? I'll bet the girls do. Can someone teach me that again? Maybe I'll park in front of the local high school and pay a gaggle of girls to show me.

Here is an idea-
Send me an email at my personal email address( with your real address or P.O. Box in it. I will send mine. Instead of always communicating and making new friends across the globe through the computer, let's send notes instead, until I get tired of it.I might scan in the best ones for this blog, or I might just stick them in my steamer trunk for my grand kids to read.

"Whoa" they will say," How quaint. Now we just use telepathy with the chips implanted in our brains to communicate. It's so much easier to mock everyone that way."

The Official Sticker Collectors Album

The scratch and sniff Peach still smells like peach.