The Zoey Blog: Nerves of Steel...or Really Strong Aluminum Anyway FINAL - COVER UNIVERSE EXPLORERS ORDER

Friday, January 27, 2012

Nerves of Steel...or Really Strong Aluminum Anyway

They’ve spirited me away to some attic, storage room type place. There’s a large table and chairs, and of course, it’s well lit, with windows overlooking the library down below, but it doesn’t feel good. I’m supposed to meet a kid up here? I’ve got a weird vibe about this deal. He’s already having a bad day, so I’ve been told, and I’ve driven two hours through wet snow to quite possibly get shrugged off. That’s how my day can roll out sometimes.

I’m always nervous in this moment…in meeting a new kid…in sussing out whether I like him and whether or not he likes me, at least enough to manage any kind of connection or positive result. Sometimes these meetings fall flat… luckily, not very often. It’s pretty rare that it doesn’t work on some level. I’m honest, open, accessible, fallible, obviously not their teacher, or any other oh-so typical adult in their life, and it just seems to fly most times. If this was translated into a batting average I’d be swatting a ridiculous .890 with a Bonds-esque number of home runs and RBIs. If you asked me the details about my swing I’d just shrug. I dunno what the hell my swing looks like…I just see big fat baseballs most days, and on the days that I don’t…well, I don’t beat myself up over it.

Funny how typing, and a good sports analogy can ease my mind and slip me into a groove better suited to winning over the heart, and mind of an angry yoof…that’s right, I said yoof, ‘cause youth sounds too condescendingly professional. I like to keep it real, you know.

You know what else is a strange occurrence in these moments? I think of Zed. I always think of Zed. I get caught up in who I’d want her to meet and talk to. I get reminded how good we’ve got it with her. I find myself making mental notes of all of things that I want to say to her someday, and of all of the mistakes that I want to do my best to avoid. I think of Zed, and it makes me better.

Alright. Where’s this kid? Let’s hear what he’s got to say. I have a feeling that I might be the only person he’s ever met here that’s started out on that foot.


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