Wednesday, August 8, 2007

I was once the curly-haired girl who knew everything...

It's summertime, and something is missing.

I am not working at Barnes and Noble.

I began my journey with Barnes and Noble (route 36 in West Long Branch, NJ) my first year of college. Little did I know at the time (especially after I messed up at the cash register my first week, and as I was hysterically crying in the cashroom and telling the manager that this would NEVER happen again, and she raised her eyebrows and said, "It BETTER not happen again, or you won't be here much longer") that I would end up staying there all throughout college and four almost two years after graduation.

I worked parttime throughout the schoolyear, and during the summers, I would work fulltime. (Except for that one summer I interned with the PR firm and pretty much gave up sleeping for four months.) For that reason, the bookstore will always make me think of summer...people running in and out smelling of suntan lotion to pick up books on their way to the beach...kids coming in with summer reading lists (my favorites were the ones that waited until the end of August, and then their parents would act like it was MY fault that their stupid kid waited until the last minute and now had to finish Moby Dick in four days.)

I never thought I'd say this...but I actually really miss it. I haven't been referred to as "the curly-haired girl who works in the kid's department who knows everything" in over a year, and I feel like I am missing a part of my identity without it. That place was my second home for a long time!

Recently, I stumbled upon a letter that I posted on the bulletin board in the breakroom of the bookstore after I began my job with Shubert and gave my notice. (I was intending on staying at the bookstore on weekends, but after three months, realized that there INDEED a reason why we have weekends and finally decided to just hold my breath and quit.)

This letter was taken seriously by several people, they became upset and thought I was really expecting the Muppets and tears...and I just take that as a compliment that I can really WRITE when I want to!


Hello Friends,

After over five long years (the past two of which I spent every moment I was NOT at Barnes and Noble sending out resumes and running around New York City in heals, clutching my portfolio and resumes and trying not to cry), I am moving on from Barnes and Noble.

It was a difficult decision to make, and although I left with no fanfare or formal announcement (I wasnt expecting muchI just wanted Kermit, Miss Piggy and the rest of the gang to make a special appearance and sing "Sayin' Goodbye" from The Muppets Take Manhattan) I dont think they have been too hard to book these days.

Dont want to leave, but we both know
Sometimes it's better to go
Somehow I know we'll meet again
Not sure quite where, and I dont know just when
You're in my heart, so until then
Wanna smile, wanna cry
Sayin goodbye...

And a DVD montage of my many years of service at the store with Madonna's "This Used to be my Playground" playing in the background. And perhaps the lights in the childrens department to be dimmed (just for a week or two.)

And I got to work last Sunday and was told, "Diana, you're not on the schedule. You are not working today. You are not working here ever again."

That is that. Last Sunday was my last day ever, and I never really got to say goodbye so here is my goodbye. I will convince myself that it is much less painful this way...(the same way I found it comforting to tell myself that it took me so long to find a job after graduation because I just came off as too much fun in interviews and they were concerned they'd never get any work done with a riot like me around.)

So, goodbye, my bookstore...goodbye to that crazy old lady who calls every Sunday and asks for advice (well, she used to call, I wonder whatever happened to her and worry about her often)...goodbye to that 9 feet tall British woman with the limp who homeschools her children (I never did figure out if her child was a boy or a girl)...that really cute young male preschool teacher who loves his job that I always liked seeing...the millionaire Brooklynites that come down for the summer and treat us like garbage...the people who stuff pornographic magazines in the children's department and think it's hysterical.

I hope that Broadway showtunes, the color pink and Anne Frank will always remind you of meand when the next Harry Potter party rolls around and you realize, "Hey,we seem to be short one petite brunette with crazy hair to play Hermione...where has she gone?"

Please remember me...because I will never forget you!

In all honesty, despite all the complaining I have done over the past couple of years and how much I wanted to get out, this place has been a second home and very special to me and I will never forget any of you. I have made some very good friends here and feel that I have grown up a lot since I was 18 and first walked into this breakroom.

Goodbye...goodbye...goodbye.

Love,
Diana Rissetto

Speechless

I am making myself physically ill over a speech I have to give in a few weeks.

I will be saying this speech in front of about 190 people, half of which will be close friends or relatives of mine (so, chances are, they will still love me no matter how I do with this speech), while the other half I will not know at all (which means I shouldn't really care what they think of me).

I will say this speech wearing an expensive dark brown gown with a blue sash around the waste. (Not to mention gold Princess Amneris shoes.)Many of these people will most likely have a few drinks in them, and probably won't even remember this speech. I am not the star of this special day, and I bet nobody will even be paying attention to me.

However, I am still ready to throw-up at the thought of giving this speech.

I have to make the Maid-of-Honor toast at my sister's wedding.

Honestly, I have never had any problem with public speaking. When I was 7, I had to read a passage at the 2nd grade mass. It was a very long one, about Cain and Abel, and for some reason, I decided I should memorize it instead of reading it, and I did so. (Why did I do that? Not sure.) I remember people commending my teacher on what a good "reader" I was...but I wasn't reading. I also can still remember my speech from kindgergarten graduation. (Which is when the microphone wasn't working, and I nearly burst into tears.)

When I got older, I continued to nail anything related to public-speaking in school. When I dressed-up like Molly Pitcher and told the story of her life, my 4th grade teacher told me I should be an actress. (This was also the year we had to dress up as a famous New Jerseyan and talk about their lives...I was Frank Sinatra...OF COURSE!) When I hit college, I took the required public speaking course, and when the mornings came for speeches, my classmates would be stressing and going over their notecards. Meanwhile, I wouldn't even THINK about my speech until five minutes before I had to give it. And I always got good grades!

I took a Media Law course, where we had to act out trials, and my professor wrote on my gradesheet, "You are an EXCELLENT public speaker...have you considered becoming an lawyer?"

"No, kind sir...but I have considered...THE STAGE!"

So, I have never had any kind of a problem with public speaking or being in the spotlight.

Until now.

The pressure is on.

My sister told me she really wants me to give a speech, because everybody knows how clever and funny I am. (I can't be clever and funny on demand!) For the past few months, I have been thinking of what I am going to say that day, and I just cannot think of anything good.

There's a billion inside sibling jokes my sister and I have that I could talk about, but nobody else in that room will get them and will just look at me like I am crazy.(For instance, nobody else knows that Natalie Cole's "This Will Be An Everlasting Love" makes us crack up like a couple of freaking goons every time we hear it...honestly, I don't even know why we are so amused by that song) or that we pretend that Jane Kazmarack and Jere Burns are our favorite actors ever. (Once again...no idea why we think that's so funny. But we do. And it is!)

I would love to mention our late father in my speech, but then we'll all start crying and everybody will be like, "Ugh, that little drama queen that had to bring up her dead father and make everybody cry at her sister's wedding!" (Then again, it really would just seem WRONG not to mention Dad at all!)

Or I could just go the easy route and say how happy I am for my sister and Mike and welcome him to the family...but that is really really boring. And not funny or clever at all. And it won't make anybody laugh or cry at all either.

I've gone to about 43 weddings in the past couple of years, and have paid attention to the speeches. I think the most memorable and touching ones are the ones where somebody just starts rambling and makes no sense. I feel those are the best men and maids of honor who are honestly trying the hardest.

I was thinking I could just not give a speech at all, but get up there and start belting out Christina Aguilera's "I Turn to You" and go into "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and end it with the theme song to The King of Queens. ("I don't care 'cause all I wanna do/is cash my check and drive right home to you!/'Cause baby all my life I will be driving home to you!"

Luckily, I will not be completely alone, as my cousin is the Matron-of-Honor and she wants to say a few words as well. ("You two can do a 'who's on first' thing!!!" her husband quipped. Not a bad idea!)

I am open to suggestions.Come to think of it, my sister is getting married at the Molly Pitcher Inn. It just might be a fine time to drag out my Molly Pitcher costume from the 4th grade and tell the story of her life to the wedding guests!!!!

Diana Rissetto