It happens almost weekly in a small town. Kids who shop at the bookstore see me out of the bookstore and wonder how that can be. Kids often think adults just live where they see them the most. Teachers, librarians and doctors all reside for kids in their workplace. We don’t have homes, we just live at work.
I was reminded of this fact twice this week in very adorable ways. On Monday nights I teach stand-up comedy in Burlington. The class before mine is a lovely collection of third and fourth grade girls who are studying drama. Every week when the elevator opens and these kids pour out looking for parents, one little girl shyly looks at me and smiles. I smile back and wave gently. She has been overheard saying to her fellow thespians, “She’s the bookstore lady.” The other kids turned around and I waved again. They just saw a grown-up, but to Tara, I was her bookstore lady: the one who just recommended a book for her two-weeks earlier.
Yesterday, I was getting my mail at my local, tiny post office and I had to stop at the counter. Debbie, the postmistress, was showing a pre-school group the inner workings of the post office. I poked my head in the back and there were 20 little kids, in groups of ten holding hands, while they looked at the bins of mail. Debbie said, “This is the bookstore lady. She’s here for some mail.” Several faces looked up at me. One little girl said, “I know you.” And then it spread through the whole class, with six little kids all looking at me saying, “Oh, you are the bookstore lady.” They were charming. I got my mail and left. Smiling all the way to work.
I love being the bookstore lady, or sometimes I’m the Flying Pig lady. After 16 years, I’m getting used to being the Flying Pig lady, although sometimes I wish we had named the store the Lovely Gazelle. It would be so nice sometimes to hear, “Oh, it’s the Lovely Gazelle lady. ” But if little kids shyly smile at me when I’m at the grocery store, I don’t much care what they call me.