Or, Help! There’s a short in my savvy!
Used to be, in the golden days long past, you could count on a few things from a guy in a library. For one, he could usually read, and quite often, he checked out a book. Heck, you might even exchange a few intelligent sentences. He possessed Potential.
But with the advent of patron computers, everything changed. Now, a male entering the library carries no guarantees.
Exhibit A: A guy, around seventeen, at the computer bay across from my desk. A regular Runescaper—you know the type. At closing time, I leave the room to lock up, and when I come back, there's a paper on my desk.
With his name and number.
I take comfort in Anne and Emily. Remember this one?
“Billy wants to marry you,” said Jane. “He’s always been crazy about you—and now father has given him the upper farm in his own name and there’s nothing to prevent him from getting married. But he’s so shy he couldn’t ask you himself if you’d have him, so he got me to do it. I’d rather not have, but he gave me no peace till I said I would, if I got a good chance. What do you think about it, Anne?”
As Montgomery says a page later, There was romance for you, with a vengeance!*
Or how about the drive-by passion in Emily’s Quest?
I was going to pick one paragraph for you, but croopus, I’m on the floor here, dying with laughter. You must read the whole thing (scroll to Part II). Ah, Montgomery.
*Okay, obviously this kid wasn’t proposing, but I have to include this, because there is a strain of my feelings in it: “It’s awfully funny—and yet there’s a sting in it, too, somehow.” Anne knew quite well wherein the sting consisted, though she did not put it into words. She had had her secret dreams of the first time some one should ask her the great question. And it had, in those dreams, always been very romantic and beautiful: and the “some one” was to be very handsome and dark-eyed and distinguished-looking and eloquent, whether he were Prince Charming to be enraptured with “yes” or one to whom a regretful, beautifully worded, but hopeful refusal must be given. If the latter, the refusal was to be expressed so delicately that it would be next best thing to acceptance, and he would go away, after kissing her hand, assuring her of his unalterable, life-long devotion. And it would always be a beautiful memory, to be proud of and a little sad about, also.