I have a confession to make.
Not against a race, religion, political group, economic class, hair color, or gender.
Those who are subject to my narrow-mindedness?
Those women who posses drawers of stickers and glitter, always ready to festoon a page of memories. “This page commemorates little Billy’s 13th trip to the grocery store!”, or “I made this page to remember our stop at the beautiful road side toilets on Interstate 27!” Women who will deny themselves sleep, just so that their kids will have well-organized monuments to their childhoods.
I have always looked down my nose, dismissing them with a haughty, “I’d rather be living my life than engineering it to fit in a scrapbook!”
But then, my son’s preschool teacher retired.
She’s been at it for 20 years. I wouldn’t last 20 minutes (I’m serious). And one of the super-organized moms is planning a surprise party. She’s also, quite ambitiously, planned a gift for the teacher.
A big ‘ol scrapbook, with a page from nearly every kid the teacher ever taught.
I hate scrap booking. I love the teacher. (Gulp.) Time to go to the dark side.
I stood in the stationery department of a store, nearly crying. What did I need? How much would I have to spend? What the hell was the double-sided tape for? How could people make a hobby out of something so ungodly stressful?
But then I remembered a life-long friend of mine, C, who used to scrapbook. I say used to, because once she finally had a subject to scrapbook about (her gorgeous little daughter), she realized she didn’t have the time to actually do it. But she still had the supplies, and the know-how. C would know what to do!
She graciously invited me over, supplied me with all sorts of crap, and guided me through the process. At first, I just tried to get through it. Cut here, tape there, good enough. But I’ll be damned if that paper cutter wasn’t a nifty little bit of fun. And there were all these little stamps, to make shapes I couldn’t possibly freehand. I did the bare minimum. But even then, I could feel the slightest edge of pride creeping in. Uh oh.
My page still looked a little bare, so I went back to the stationery department. “I’m just going to buy a pack of stickers. That’s all I need, just some filler.” But there were all these little puffy foam things. And borders, and pretty letters. There were corners to make the photos lay flat, and buttons, and adorable little frog stickers. And if I just put that lettering together with those stripes, added some glitter, maybe some clear stamps…
The display swam in front of my eyes, and I got dizzy. A voice inside my head screamed “OH JESUS TAP-DANCING CHRIST!! WE’RE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS HERE!!” Some last vestige of my former self commanded my feet to move. I robotically paid for my one pack of stickers, willed myself not to gaze longingly at the scrapbook supplies left behind, and got the hell out of there.
The ride home was torture. My god, if I was wrong about scrap booking, what else did I need to reexamine? Should I be reading Oprah’s book club picks? Should I get a sensible wash and wear haircut? Did I need to start listening to “Lite” rock? Would I need to have earnest discussions about the return of high-waisted jeans?
Turns out I needn’t have worried.
I am horribly, undeniably, perpetually uncoordinated.
C, the friend who helped me out, would be the first one to regale you with tales of my klutziness. She would gleefully recount birthday parties where everyone had to stop playing because I had wounded myself, and dramatically insisted on being carried back to the house. Or how my clownishly large feet managed to wrap themselves in the back tire of her family’s quad every time she was nice enough to take me for a ride on it. Don’t even get her started on my flailing attempts to play organized sports.
While I posses the vision necessary to scrapbook, I completely lack the motor skills. I finally had to stop, before my “improvements” resulted in a crumpled mess of glue, glitter and desperation.
I still don’t fully understand the scrap booking mentality. And I sure as hell can’t be bothered to glue pieces of paper to other pieces of paper while I could be sleeping. But I got a brief and shining glimpse into their world.
And I kind of liked it.