Griping and Boy Dilemmas

Dean tells me that he and I are on L’Owen’s list of 6 strongest writers in the class.  Kick arse!  I honestly never would have expected that, but it’s cool.

So I finally found this book that I’d been looking for for yearsThe Experiment, by John Darnton.  My dad got it on tape for us to listen to on a trip to South Florida my 9th grade year, but, not being a very great listener, I decided to stop listening (despite being way into it) and check it out later instead.

Well, not knowing the author’s name, it took me a lot longer than expected to find it, and when I finally did, then it was a matter of the book being there when I was and me remembering to look for it.  I finally did, and I really enjoyed it.

Work is driving me insane.  I think I mean that literally.  I have this habit of, when one aspect of something is annoying me, finding all these other things about it that always irritate me.  That’s what’s happening at work—they won’t give me a second day off, and so every little thing is driving me up the wall.  Like the fact that we have taco night three times a week, and every single person coming through my line pisses me off just for being there.  I want to scream obscenities at them all, and am quietly doing it, too, under my breath.  A couple of times I’ve come very close to actually swearing at a customer.  I feel like having to stand there for another two hours really takes something from me, and must keep repressing the urge to get up and just walk out.

Scot (one of the bosses) came through the line tonight, asked for jalapenos, and I gave him quite a few, and he said, “Are you trying to kill me?”  I said, “Yes.”

I won’t smile at people anymore.  They piss me off too much.

I really feel like the weight of the hopelessness is driving me down—like, physically, even—I’ll stand there and feel like I’m totally going to pass out because I cannot handle it.

I swear, everything would be fine again if they’d just give me the damned day off!

Maybe things will get better.  Maybe the dishwasher will actually like me back.  That’d be something, a light through all the hopelessness.  A secret tryst that nobody else would really care about, but which would make me feel like I was somehow rebelling against the establishment.

Dishwasher!  I need a life!  Help!

Duuuude!  Just as I was about to post this, my first date ever texted me out of the blue!

And after the conversation we had, I’m thinking, “Hey…I still kinda like this guy,” and he still likes me, too…so…right.  I like Patrick, too.  And now I don’t know what the hell to do.  Obviously, I guess, get to know both of them a bit better, and find out what happens.  At any rate, two Saturdays from now I am going on my first second date ever with…my first first ever.

I’ve got to go to bed.

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Condemned Like Prometheus

So there were these twins who used to annoy Tinny and me every time they came in, and they always wore black sweaters–always.  Well, one of them works at the cafe now.  Yesterday was her first day.  Her name’s Katrina, and she’s so quiet.  Everything she says, I’m like, “What???” and I have to lean in like two inches from her face to hear her.  I am not exaggerating.

I was waiting for her twin to walk in, and when she finally did…she came right up to Katrina and they practically put their noses together–again, not exaggerating–probably in order to hear each other, and they were way far away from me, but they looked all excited, and they put their hands on each other’s shoulders and bounced a little.  And then they’re just standing there squeaking to each other (I’m serious, they squeak) and the one who just came in sort of rolled up on her tippy toes and came back down, and then the other one did the same thing, and then the other one did that again, so it looked like a see-saw.

In Creative Writing today, we were all sitting down, and Know-It-All said, “I really hope we don’t go over what we turned in on Wednesday, because mine is shit….”

The Third Wilson Brother (that’s it, I’ve got his new nickname–L’Owen) was sitting at his desk working on something, with every appearance of not listening—of course, he always is listening, whether he appears to be or not.  So he said, “We will be going over those short stories we read over the weekend.”

In a chorus, all four of us in our group said, “Ohhh shit.”

He said, “Well, the short stories we were supposed to read over the weekend.”

Then we were asked to get into our groups and take out one sheet of paper for the four of us, and we were going to answer some questions for a reading quiz.  “This is a creative writing class, dammit!” I said.  “We can make up the answers.”

So we did.  We had a lot of fun with it, too.  L’Owen was giving us looks every now and then—hee.  Like…one of the questions was how a certain character referred to another character—he was “condemned like (insert character from mythology here)”.  We put “Prometheus”.  (Of course, it was Sisyphus.)  And then there was another where we had to name what two items a character had for breakfast.  (The answer was dry toast and black coffee, but we put “eggs benedict and coffee”.)

There was another question where we had to say how many potholders a certain character had—we guessed 126.  The answer, incredibly, was 120.  And another one, Corey said, “I swear to God, I saw it in there.  The answer is ‘Stargazer’” and we actually got it right!

So later, we’re working on a new assignment, and L’Owen is checking everyone’s answers, and he calls out into the silence in this sarcastic voice, “Prometheus” and gives us this look of scornful amusement.  Then a second later he said, “Eggs benedict” in the same voice.  Ahahaha.  Well…we certainly enjoyed it.

I’ve been trying to talk to Dann for a few days now about getting Fridays off (Michelle’s going to take Sundays).  I don’t think it’s going to happen, though.  The problem is (not that we really need one, because these are the slowest days of the week) they don’t have another server to replace us.  And they aren’t going to hire one when they have us.  And we can’t stop working those days until they hire somebody new.  Basically, we’re stuck working six days a week until we leave this job.  And that is why I am planning to find a new job if they won’t give me Fridays off.  I can’t believe it would have to come to that, but I need a freaking life.  And they don’t want me to have one.  I’m serious, it’s the only complaint I have about that job.  It’s fine apart from that; I just wish they’d stop being so unreasonable.

Calls From the Stalker and Density

The stalker called tonight at 9:15, right on schedule.  And, of course, he explained (in his message—I never intend to answer the phone to him again) that he hasn’t been able to call for the past few days because he’s been working.

It was interesting tonight—I think he’s finally getting the message (sort of).  First of all, when he said, “Hey Ginny, this is Mark” as he always does, he then added, almost as an afterthought, “…Mark, from Ruby Tuesdays”, as if I’d forgotten.

Mark from Ruby Tuesdays explained that he no longer cares if we go out again or if I even speak to him again afterward, but that he wants to have a phone conversation to explain that he’s not the horrible player I’m making him out to be.

Then he asked me to call him back and left his number!

Well, for a moment or so, I actually felt bad and thought, “Maybe I should let the guy explain”—before I reminded myself that I never thought he was a player, just a bad date—I had to remind myself that I set him up.  The point was for me to look psychotic enough to discourage him and send him on his way; therefore, I will not call back.  There won’t be another conversation with this guy.

So at the end of class yesterday, The Third Wilson Brother put us in groups so we can write this short story thing at the beginning of class tomorrow.  Our group is totally the coolest.  Me, Know-It-All, Corey, and this other guy named Dean who is probably the only other person in the class apart from us who isn’t a total weirdo.

I find it ironic that nowadays I consider a group with Know-It-All in it cool.  Have I been brainwashed!?

Work is…well, it’s not bad.  I still work six days a week and have no idea when the hell that’s going to change.

I can’t think of anything else to say at this moment, and as I’m really into this book anyway, I’m going to go read.

Procrastinating

We were just reading people’s works aloud in class today and pointing out ways to improve them, what we liked about them, etc….  Then we ran out of time, and The Third Wilson Brother was handing them all back to us, and suddenly he looked at me and said, “Oh, Ginny!  I wanted to read one of yours,” so he put the Monica perspective up there and said, with this big enthusiastic smile, “This is a story.  I’m eager to know how this turns out.”

Like I said, of course the entire class knows that it’s completely true, and everybody’s pretty eager to know what’s going to happen.  So The Third Wilson Brother’s reading this, and then he interrupts himself and says, a delighted grin on his face, “I love what these two girls did to this guy,” and I laughed, and he said, “Is he still calling?”

I explained that the last time he’d called was Sunday, and expressed my hope that that meant it was over.

The Third Wilson Brother considers me for a moment, amused, and says, “You know what’ll be freaky, is when he shows up here on campus, right outside this classroom.”

Well, for one thing, even though the guy isn’t going to school this semester, for some reason he’s been showing up on campus just about every other day—Kristen keeps calling me and saying, “Mark stopped by my class today!”  What the hell?  Who does that?

So I just said, “Oh, Goooooddd….”

The Third Wilson Brother (I really need a better nickname) said, “Don’t worry, Ginny…we will all beat him up for you.”

I was instantly reminded of that movie I watched last week, The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, and how at random moments, when Shirley Temple gazed at Cary Grant, there was a white light shining over him and he was wearing a suit of armor.

Work’s not so bad; I just miss having two days off per week.  I feel like all of my time (when I’m not procrastinating by updating this thing) is spent with homework.  Not that most of it isn’t enjoyable or at least easy…just that I don’t have a life anymore, and it bothers me.  Last year, when I didn’t have to work Friday, I was very well disciplined; Friday was my homework day, and it was all I did all day long; and then I could spend Saturday chilling in whatever way I desired.  Now when getting up in the morning, after getting a shower, I do homework; I go to school; I come home and do homework; I go to work; I come home and do homework; I sleep.  The weekend is spent entirely in homework (because the weekend consists of Saturday and nothing more).

But while I still miss Tinny, of course, I do now at least get along quite well with the other three servers.  Even the one who seemed evil at first—I think she was just shy.  We have more in common than I would have assumed.  She’s a Potterhead.  Among other things.  And Adrianna actually knows who Danny Elfman is.  And Sandra…oh, here’s an interesting story….

Tonight I passed Sandra something—a bucket of soapy water, I think, and she said, “Thanks…uh…Ginny,” and I assumed she was just distracted, but then she said, “You know, you really remind me of this woman I used to work with.  You look just like her!  Just exactly like her; she could have been your mom.  So now I always want to call you Leslie.”

I’m like, “HUH!?”  Haha.

Not my mom, though.  Somebody who worked with Sandra at Blue Cross twenty years ago.  WEIRD!

Of course, I’m used to being called Leslie by people who know my mom; I’ve gotten that my entire life.

Oddly, though, I can also remember being called Leslie by a few people I know never met her; I remember asking her if she knew these people, and she didn’t.

Maybe there’s this random Leslie floating around out there who looks exactly like me and is bumping into people who will one day know me so that they’ll get me confused with her.

Er…something like that.

Oh, remember that other evil girl, in The Third Wilson Brother’s class?  She sits by herself, against the wall, and is quiet?  I decided to attempt to befriend her.

So when I was walking out of the class, I ended up not having to—she actually approached me and said, “Hey, nice bag.”

We have the same bag, which I had actually noticed on the first day—she just has the backpack style, rather than the over-the-shoulder.

So then we just started discussing random things, and she seems like quite a nice person, really, and she smiled.

I had a really freaky dream yesterday morning; all these people kept coming up to me and repeating the words, “We have no homework.”  I must have heard it at least thirty times in a row.  I’m serious, this was weird.  I think I may have been chanting it in my sleep, too, because I finally woke up when a Hispanic person came up to me and said, “No tengamos—” and I woke up saying the word, “tengamos”.

It was so weird, though; I think it took places in other locations than just the café, but all these people were coming through my line and saying those words—all these sorority/frat kids, and they’re creepy enough as it is.  Weird, I tell you.

I have to do my homework now.

Perspectives

Okay, so…update on The Bad Date.  Been meaning to tell you guys about this for a while.  After the whole thing over the phone, he called the next evening and left me a long message.  Because I’m too lazy to listen to it over and over and dictate, I’m just going to write what I can remember.

The whole thing sounded very much like he was pleased with the fact that Monica and I were…er…fighting over him.

“I can sort of understand how you all reacted the way you did, but then I really can’t understand.  Yes, I did call Monica, because I could not reach you at the time.  I’m a social person; you two are not the only people I talk to over the phone.  I’m not playing anybody, Ginny, okay?  I’m not trying to go out with your best friend.  I like you; that conversation we had in the car, in your driveway, that was genuine, okay, that was real.  If you can accept this, then give me a call back, and if not…sorry.  Bye.”  And he hung up.

I, of course, did not respond to this, so the next day, he called again!  I didn’t answer then, either.  That was Sunday.  He didn’t call today.  We’ll see what happens.  I’m hoping he’s given up now.

So I did my “Blank Blank Returns in Form of Blank” assignment for my creative writing class.  I decided to just use the same title three times and tell the same story from three different perspectives—so I went with, “Bad Date Returns in Form of Stalker”, and told it from mine, from his, and from Monica’s.

Last Wednesday, The Third Wilson Brother asked if anyone in the class had a story about their weekend, so naturally, my hand shot up, and I shouted, “OOH!  I do!”

He considered me for a moment, probably remembering the time two years ago when I did this very same thing and then jumped up and told the class a very long and anticlimactic story about an event from spring break (going to Tom Hanks’ house).  So he stopped me and said, “Just tell me one detail.  Make us crave for more!”

So I said, “I went on the worst date of my life, and now he’s calling me a million times a day.”

This naturally led to more questions from The Third Wilson Brother, who is just a very curious soul, because everything tends to amuse him, and of course the rest of the class.  I got a few in before somebody else started telling their own story.

When we handed in our papers today, and I was smirking slightly, The Third Wilson Brother noticed.

“Do you have something you want to share with the class, Ginny?” he said.  “You’re grinning there…where’s your paper?” and he started rifling through them.  “Are you particularly proud of something you wrote?”

“Oh, not proud, sir…it just…amused me.”

Meanwhile he’s still looking, and he’s hesitated on one, and he says, “PROFANITY!?”  And then he scans a bit more, and says, “More profanity!?”

The guy next to me is looking at me like, “Whoa,” and I said, “Is that mine?  Did I use profanity?  I don’t remember.”

And then he gets this look on his face like, “What the hell…?” and suddenly realization dawns and he says, “Oh, you wrote this from the perspective of a guy!” and he’s grinning, and asks if it’s okay if he reads it to the class, so he does.  And they’re all cracking up, and he’s obviously trying not to laugh as he’s reading it.  It was great.  That’s really the best one, so it’s fortunate that he chose that particular one to read out loud.

…I’ve been staring at the screen here for, like, ten minutes.  (No, okay, so I’ve been alternating staring at this and where Brother left Python on pause; John’s in one of those lawyers’ wigs.  Haha.)  But there was something else I was going to talk about, and now I just can’t remember!  …Oh, well.  Guess I’ll get to bed, then.  I’m sick of copying all this stuff out of the history book; I’ll continue tomorrow.

Anything for the Story

Whether or not you’ve been following along (and if you have, you know I love you bunches right now), here’s the newest section of Secrets Internalized!  I’d love to hear about it if you’re enjoying the story or even if you have a constructive critique!  If you’d like to start reading it from the beginning, here are the previous parts:  Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10

~~*~~

Two weeks passed in much the same way.  Rita left Astrid largely to her own devices and Astrid worked overtime to churn out stories no one cared about, while Rita stole the recognition for any actually noteworthy pieces for herself.

One night when Astrid thought she couldn’t take it anymore, she stormed to Adrian’s desk at the end of her shift, teeth bared and hair askew, and growled, “Let’s go.”

“All right,” he said, wide-eyed, “let me just clear up my things.”

They headed to the Leaky Cauldron, where Astrid immediately ordered drinks for both of them before unleashing all her pent-up aggravation.

“She doesn’t even look at me when I pass her, Adrian!  Won’t even acknowledge my presence!  She’s supposed to be my boss!  I’m supposed to be able to look up to her!  Glean inspiration!  And everything I do is just wrong, might I add!  She finds a hundred things to nitpick out of every story I put out!  And then when I try to do something the way she told me to do it, suddenly that’s the wrong way to do it, too!  And it’s all my fault because how could I have been stupid enough to misunderstand her the first time?  I don’t even know anymore if the problem is me or her!  I mean, it must be me, right, because everyone loves her, so clearly I’m missing something!  I mean, is she just screwing about with my head, or am I really that pathetic?”

Adrian watched somberly throughout this diatribe and spoke up when Astrid paused for breath.

“Yeah, I thought this might happen,” he said.  “You’re not the first, you know.  I’ve seen four interns walk out because they couldn’t deal with her anymore.  And yes, she’s definitely screwing with your head.  Don’t even think you’re pathetic because you’re not!  You do good work with what you’re given to work with!  I’ve seen it!”

Astrid let forth a scream of rage at this.  “And that’s the other thing!” she said.  “I know I’m only just starting, but how am I ever supposed to advance from under her?  With her constantly shitcanning me to everyone above her, how can I ever get ahead?”

“You’re resourceful!  You’ll think of something.  And I doubt she’s shitcanning—”

“I’ve heard her!” Astrid interjected.

“Well…even so.”  He looked uncomfortable.

As Astrid began to devour her toad-in-the-hole, she happened to glance over into the same corner she had spotted Barty Crouch, Jr. in a couple weeks before and found him again, this time dining alone.  It was then that the hatchling of an idea began to come to her.  Resourceful.  Yes, she was resourceful.  If Rita was going to actively work to stunt her career at the Prophet, then maybe…maybe she would just find the story of the century on her own.

She continued to eat her supper, this time without taking her eye off him.  After a while, Adrian noticed and turned to look where she was watching.

“What are you staring—blimey, it’s Barty again!”  He looked back at her, suspicious.  “What’s your obsession with him all of a sudden, anyway?”

“What?  I’m not obsessed!”

“Yeah, you went on about him strangely a while back and now you can’t keep your eyes off him.  Are you in love or something?  I know he was interested in you back at Hogwarts—”

“Not love,” Astrid said, “just…interest.”  She found Adrian’s suspicious a useful cover for her real intentions.

“Well, go and talk to him, then.  What have you got to lose?”

“I’m just nervous, that’s all.  We haven’t been close for years.”

“So rekindle something!”

“There was no kindling there in the first place.  We were just friends, that’s all.”

“Friends, right.  I remember how he stopped speaking to you when you started seeing Dirk all those years ago.”

She took out her wallet, prepared to pay in case she had to get up in a hurry, and just in time, too, for at that moment, Barty stood up.  She hurriedly threw some cash on the table.

“I’ve got to go, Adrian, sorry!”

“Now?”  He turned back to look at Barty.  “Oh, I see.  Best of luck to you, then!”

Astrid downed a shot of Firewhisky and bade Adrian a quick farewell before chasing after Barty, heart pounding against her chest.  Anything for the story, right?

~~*~~

The next section is here!

Astrid’s First Byline

Here’s the next section of the story, which I am titling Secrets Internalized.  Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t seen them, please check out the previous sections here:  Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9

~~*~~

Half an hour later, Astrid found herself hailing the Knight Bus to a small country lane near Sussex.  The sun was high, but the temperature was mild for a June day, and she found herself enjoying the walk to her destination.  A smell like wisteria greeted her coyly, and she could hear bumblebees from the green field beside the dirt lane.  Reaching the address written in her notebook, she knocked on the door to a large two-story dwelling.

For a moment, nothing happened.  Astrid knocked again, certain she had heard a sound from inside, and the door was opened by a round young woman with rosy cheeks and a pleasant smile.

“Sorry, love, had to get my pasties out of the oven!  What can I do for you?”

“I’m Astrid Featherley,” Astrid said, holding out her hand, “from the Daily Prophet.  I’m following a lead about magically modified pumpkins?”  She made the last part a question, feeling nervous and slightly unsure of herself.

The woman’s face lit up.  “Of course!” she said.  “Do come in!  I’m Emma Tarts.  Would you care for some refreshment? T here’s fresh pumpkin juice.  And pasties!”

“Oh…no, thanks,” said Astrid, “I’m only here on business.”

“Oh, but this is the business you’re here about, isn’t it?  You might as well,” Emma said, already leading the way into a cheerfully decorated kitchen.  She pulled out a chair for Astrid and made for the cupboard, where she removed two plates and two glasses.

“Well…I suppose it’d be foolish not to,” Astrid said, relaxing a bit and allowing a small smile.

“Right you are, dearie,” said Emma, scooping two pasties onto the plates and setting one before Astrid.  “Careful!  This one’s still piping hot!  Best let it cool a bit first.  Here’s some juice while you wait.  Auntie Emma makes only the best!”

You’re Auntie Emma!?” Astrid said, instantly recognizing the biggest name in pumpkin juice in Britain.  What luck!  This lead wasn’t such a dud, after all.

“Yes, that’s right!  I own Auntie Emma’s Finest Pumpkin Juice.”

“You have one of the most popular culinary brands in the country.  Why are you seeking an interview with the Prophet now?” said Astrid, readying her quill.

“Well, perhaps Witch Weekly would have been the more logical choice.  However, my main goal was to bring a little light to the world, and the paper has been such an awfully dark place of late.”  She shuddered.  “And after that latest attack this morning…well, the time is definitely ripe for some cheer, wouldn’t you say?”

“Undoubtedly,” said Astrid.  “How do you propose to do that?”

“I try to do my little part every day to bring some joy into people’s lives.  But I’d like to play a more active role.  I’d like to teach gardening classes to anyone who wants them.”

“You mentioned in your message to the Prophet that you had learned how to magically modify the way a plant grows, to control its flavor?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Aren’t you concerned someone might steal your secret recipe?”

“Oh, no, dear, my recipe is patented.  That isn’t a concern.  But I’d like to help others learn how to create more beautiful—and tasty!—things.  Together I think we can make the world a better place, in our own small ways, by enriching the senses.”

“What can you tell me about the modification process?”

Astrid discussed herbology, cooking, and positivity with Auntie Emma until well into the afternoon before apparating back to the Prophet to prepare her story.  Working diligently, she was able to spin together the uplifting piece she thought Auntie Emma was hoping for before the deadline for the next morning’s paper.  Sure, it wasn’t front-page-worthy, but she had worked hard on it and produced a first story that she could be proud of.

She awoke and prepared for work eagerly the next morning, curious to see whether her story would have made it into the paper anywhere.  To her surprise she found it, not near the end, but in the middle.  She read it carefully.  It had been trimmed a bit for length, but nothing else had been tampered with.  She couldn’t resist a self-satisfied smirk as she sat at her desk.

Rita hadn’t even bothered to greet her yet that morning.  In fact, when Astrid had walked past her upon entering the building, Rita had not even acknowledged her.  If she had seen Astrid’s piece, she hadn’t been inclined to comment.  Astrid could see her sitting at her desk.  She couldn’t be sure, but it almost seemed Rita was blatantly ignoring her.

Astrid took the initiative and approached.

“Good morning,” she said.

Rita did not look up.  “Hello,” she said, sounding harassed.

“I’m just going to work on my file, then, this morning, shall I?” Astrid said.

“Oh, yes.  You can add this stack to it,” Rita said, handing her another manila folder nearly as thick as the day before, and turning back to her work without another word.

“I’ll let you know if I need anything,” Astrid said, heading back to her desk.

She was surprised to spot the Editor walking over to Rita’s desk a moment later.  Perhaps Rita had been unbelievably busy, much too busy to make eye contact with Astrid, a moment before, but all of that was forgotten as she looked up and began fawning all over the Editor.

“Hesiod!” Astrid heard her drawl.  “How are you this morning?”

They made boring small talk for a while, Rita’s work long forgotten, before Hesiod said something that drew Astrid’s attention again.

“That new intern you have published something quite unique this morning!”

Astrid saw Rita hesitate for the merest of seconds, glance over, and lock eye contact with her.

“Did she?” Rita said, her smile fading ever so slightly.

“Oh, yes!  Whoever would have thought such a light, feel-good piece could come from a simple story about pumpkins?”

Rita grinned.  “Of course, I put her onto the thing.”

Hesiod guffawed.  “Did you?”

“Indeed!  Scoop and spin!”

“I might’ve known!”  Hesiod chortled again.  “Nothing gets past the Queen of the Quills!”

“It certainly doesn’t,” Rita said, smiling in Astrid’s direction.

“Well, better get to it!” Hesiod said, and walked past Astrid’s desk without so much as a glance in her direction.

~~*~~

Find the next section here!