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  • J'étais née vieille. My grandmother used to tell me that I was 15 going on 50, an age which has accrued a decade on average for every few years protracted.
    I get along great with people's grandmothers. I like dressing old and feeling old, and I've this irrepressible affection for naps and baking teacakes, for pinching cheeks and mouthing musings about "my day."
    Or days. Yes why don't we pluralize it. I've lived so many after all, old soul that I am.
    When I lived in france, I made an effort to collect colloquial expressions, and use them as often as possible to fabricate a fluency when I was still a tyro à la base. The thing is, most "colloquial" expressions are old-fashioned en francais, not the lexique of les jeunes branchés au banlieue. So my manufactured mastery was only indexed as ancient and awkward, somewhere at the crossroads of endearing and inappropriate. And I think those terms would continue to describe the quality of my character, sometimes informed by a backlog of old literary references and allusions to (now) obsolete technologies.
    When I started working at the library, my behavior only reinforced this "old" quality. I started wearing more pencils skirts and saddle shoes, and censoring my speech for the library 'shush.' My secret is I'm actually pretty young, but sometimes that paradoxal fusion of ancient and adolescent converges to something brilliant. And I like to believe that I've found that pocket of brilliant in the bibliotheque, that place and profession where old books and new weblogs coalesce into one phenomenal fount of knowledge, carefully coded and classified by call #.
    I work (often) at a few libraries, processing historical photographs and working in a collections care lab in Queens. In my day, I've canvased the bibliotheques of the 5 boroughs, I've accumulated library cards from every place I've lived and ever cultural institution I've visited, and it's made for a marvelous roladex of information, and that never gets old. Information just becomes knowledge and eventually wisdom infused with experience; wisdom matures like wine.
    I'll say I'm maturing...making my way to that marvelous moment when all of my querky kinks smooth to the central swoop of the bell curve, when I'm not the old one anymore, but of the three bears' beds I'm the just right. Maybe that's what's so lovely about maturing in Brooklyn, there's a diversity deluge that makes most labels and age brackets blur. I can code and classify my own cool here. I can wear all the cardigans, and coordinates and argyle stockings with slips and shirtdresses and there's bound to be at least two people who outdo me on the queer fashion quotient before I make it two blocks to the train. There's an old soul club to brooklyn, where you can intermex and make marvelous every one of your library dayz.
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