Not Quite the Zeitgeist

Espi
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Joined: November 20th, 2012, 9:32 pm

June 20th, 2015, 3:01 am #1

((Alice Baker continued from Rays on Pinion))

Cheryl's was a lovely little diner, really. Alice greatly appreciated it's presence, though she wasn't especially inclined towards partaking in the special events they held. When she ate out, she was looking for good food, not crazy games and stuff. It was a nice feature she supposed, but not one she usually took advantage of.

Luckily, Cheryl's delivered on food, so Alice made it her stop of choice when she wanted to eat out. Usually, she was accompanied by her parents (Molly avoided family meals like the plague) but today she was eating by herself. It was early Friday evening, she had no homework and she'd gotten paid on commission for a sketch she'd done, so Alice had figured she might as well treat herself.

Today, dinner was breakfast. Alice was devouring a plateful of pancakes with the artificial syrup and lots of butter. It was nice, fluffy and very yummy, though Alice wasn't usually a fan of sugary foods for meals. She loves sweet things, naturally, but cakes were better as a treat, not the main course. Still, this was a nice meal.

Alice was also reading; specifically, she was rereading "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings". Maya Angelou was a fabulous writer and storyteller, and Alice was terribly jealous of her. She had been tempted, in the past, to write her own autobiography, but figured she was too uninteresting and, more importantly, too fortunate. She was a white, straight girl in middle-class with no real personal issues. Who would feel bad for her? Angelou was a storyteller and had a fascinating, tragic story tell. Alice was hardly a tragic figure.

Unfortunately for Alice, she was about to earn herself some unwanted sympathy. As she took a bite of pancake, she swallowed funny. As soon as she gulped down her forkful, she recognized the unpleasant sensation and began coughing. Loudly, in fact, enough to draw attention to herself. After a moment of hacking, Alice managed to gulp down a glass of water, panting slightly from the misfire.

Alice glanced around the diner, slightly self-conscious. Hopefully she didn't make anyone uncomfortable with her reaction.
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June 20th, 2015, 3:32 am #2

Kizi always enjoyed the seafood at Cheryl's a bit too much.

Yes, she knew about the whole seafood incident. She'd followed that incident with a mixture of fear and disgust, to know such a trusted local institution could fall to such a fundamental failure of simple catering, to follow such simple health and safety guidelines. That hit kind of close to home, and made her mother's paranoia about food a bit more understandable. She'd probably avoided catching something nasty by pure luck herself - had not quite had enough money one day while the ex-chef was sneezing, or something.

But they'd made the reforms, hired a new head chef, and she thought reluctance to eat the place's seafood, from those who otherwise enjoyed seafood, was unfair, unnecessary. It was leaving a popular local institution in the lurch, it was punishing it for the now rectified failings of its past. Her own mother was one of them, and while normally Kizi was thankful for her mother's protective and cautious manner and emulated it in her behaviour, she couldn't pull that sort of thing on Cheryl's.

Heck, they were probably now more cautious about that sort of thing than ever before. From what she gathered from casual conversations with the owners as they served her, the whole seafood poisoning thing had been both a wake-up call for higher standards and the closest business scare in years. The poor economic climate at the time hadn't helped either, she knew that much.

Actually, all that justification and deep insight she'd just made up on the spot. Or had pulled from her subconscious or something during a moment of idle pondering. Probably the latter. She couldn't have made up such intricate nonsense on the spot, she realised with a slow nod of realisation.

She just loved the damn seafood risotto. It was her favourite meal, and every other week, if she'd been productive and the like, she treated herself to one.

She was eagerly slurping up the oysters, then ate a shrimp whole.

Did she take the tail thing off before? She couldn't remember. Added more flavour. More protein, probably.

Then, just as eagerly, she scooped up some rice, with a little octopus-squid-thing conveniently perched on top. She loved them. She didn't even know what species they were, or what sort of seafood they were, and nothing about their nutritional value or production process. At this point it was too late to ask.

Just that she loved them.

A few seats down from her, she heard coughing, and almost instinctively jumped to her feet. Her mind raced - get water, Heimlich maneuver, call 911, strong slaps on the back - she only knew three out of these three things well enough to be able to rely on them, but shit, this could be serious. She couldn't be slow, she couldn't hesitate, choking was a major-

By the time she had gotten to her feet and taken a couple of steps to the source of the coughing, Alice - hey, she knew that girl from school, they got on pretty well, Kizi thought! - had resolved the situation on her own, as normally happens. Still, it was better to embarrass yourself than risk standing by while someone suffers and you could have prevented it.

But best not to admit that.

With only a few seconds of quiet blustering and hesitation as her mind shifted from emergency mode into social-emergency mode, she coolly resumed her initial posture, looked into Alice's eyes, and said "hey, Alice! Heard you cho-coughing, and saw you over here. How ya been?"

Nice save, brain.
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Espi
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June 20th, 2015, 3:46 am #3

As soon as Alice recovered from her mild fit, she saw the adjacent booth's occupant spring up with apparent concern. Alice was a bit surprised; she hadn't expected to illicit genuine concern for her wellbeing. That was sweet of them, if a bit unnecessary. Still, it became clear as to the reason for the stranger's reaction as Alice realized they were not, in fact, a stranger.

"Oh, hey there."

The slip-up was not missed, but Alice didn't really mind. She and Kiziah had interacted pleasantly in the past, though Kiziah was an upperclassman. Regardless, it was endearing if anything that Kizi had been concerned about her. It was always nice to know people cared, and really it was even more pleasing if they didn't have to worry but did so anyway.

"I'm okay, don't worry." Alice said, smiling gently. "Thanks, though."

She peeked over the booth, setting her book onto the table with a bookmark to hold her page. Kizi was eating what looked like a seafood/rice dish. It actually looked really good; Alice was perfectly aware of the restaurant's reputation in the past, but she paid it no mind for the most part. They'd spruced up since then, so she didn't see a point in making a fuss.

"I'm good, thanks. I got paid this afternoon so I wanted to treat myself." Technically, the payment wasn't the type Kizi would likely expect; it was a wired exchange, Alice having drawn someone's request in return for monetary compensation. She didn't always take commissions, but she liked to when she needed money, and it was fun to draw people's characters sometimes. This one had been drawn in a stylized fashion at the customer's request, which Alice wasn't used to, but she had been proud of it regardless. The recipient had been very thankful, too.

"Other than that..." Alice shrugged. "Not much. How are you?"


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CondorTalon
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June 20th, 2015, 3:59 am #4

JENNIFER SU - PREGAME START

Jennifer made her own food about 97% of the time. It was something she greatly enjoyed, and something she took pride in doing. Most of the time, Jennifer didn't find the need to eat out. After all, nobody knew her tastes better than herself.

Of course, sometimes fate conspired against her. Sometimes she couldn't spare enough time to cook something properly. Sometimes, she wouldn't have the ingredients on hand, nor the time to buy them.

Sometimes, her stove would decide to stop working, for no particular reason at all.

And so it was here that she found herself, after asking her parents to call someone to get the stove checked, of course.

And, well, when it came to eating out, you couldn't go wrong with Cheryl's. Funny how untrue that statement was just six years ago. That would have been a scary thought, but Jennifer had only begun dining at Cheryl's a year and a half ago.

She could count how many times she'd been here on her hands, but, it was good food for what she'd eaten.

She had brought her sketchbook with her. She was planning to drop by the park later, and sketch a bit of the nature. And who knows? Maybe she'd find something else sketch worthy on the way there. Or on the way back.

She had just taken the last bite of her chicken and steak quesadilla when she heard coughing come from behind her. She instinctively turned and raised her head up, to see who had been coughing. Jennifer didn't want to intrude on the situation, but if someone was in trouble she wanted to help.

It seemed that she wasn't the only one with that idea, though, as almost immediately someone had rushed to help the victim.

Alice and Kiziah weren't people she knew very well. She'd had a few classes with Kiziah and saw Alice around the halls, but they'd never really interacted.

It seemed that the incident resolved itself rather quickly, though.

Jennifer wanted to get back to... whatever it was she was doing, but she decided against it.

The two girls were relatively unknown to her, and so it went without saying that she was an unknown to them as well. And with her mission to try and get to know more people in her mind, she wanted to try and interact with them.

"Um... hey...?" she said, trying to catch their attention.
[+] Spoiler
V6:
G009 - Sandra Dyer - Pot lid - [untitled]
G023 - Jennifer Su - Flashlight - Asymptote
G036 - Nancy Kyle - Hatchet - 不安心

V5:
G024 - Yukiko Sakurai - Weed whacker with circular saw attachment - Sunrise
B048 - Corey Esposito - Swedish Made Penis Enhancement Pump - Something Something Movie Reference

V5 Pregame:
Miriam Castille - "U-Um... well, see... I-I seemed to have misplaced m-my books..." - In Transit - It Was Just A Drink
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June 20th, 2015, 2:55 pm #5

Wait, no, not so smooth after all.

Maybe there was a lingering look of anxiety still on her face, or maybe her jumping to her seat had been just a bit too energetic to be shrugged off with some smooth moves,

Well, might as well admit that she had been worried that Alice had been choking to death. Not in those exact words, of course. That'd be weird. "Yeah, well," she said, after Alice rather kindly assured her not to worry, "better to be safe than sorry!", her tone returning to her more standard, friendly, relaxed default, as her posture relaxed and her adrenaline wore off.

"What do you do?" she asked, with an uptick of genuine interest in her voice, happy to move on from her own blunder, before she remembered her manners. "Oh, and just say if you wanna be left alone! Don't mean to intrude or anything, especially if you're having a quiet moment!" Kiziah would appreciate the company, but she hated to intrude. Quiet and solitary moments were never really necessary for Kizi - she was able to do all necessary reflection and pondering on the spot - but everyone was different, and she didn't want to presumptuously assume that this girl wanted to have company.

Especially after she came close to maybe having a near-death experience of sorts, kinda.

And before she could reply to Alice's question, a new arrival. Jennifer. She'd seen her around a few times. Seemed like a nice girl. "Hey Jennifer!" she exclaimed.
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June 20th, 2015, 7:25 pm #6

Kizi seemed somewhat anxious, and was a little embarrassed. Alice felt bad now; she didn't want to worry someone, and they certainly didn't need to feel guilty over worrying. "It's okay, I appreciate your concern." She said warmly, smiling again. Kizi was pretty nice, and she didn't want her friend to get upset. Well, friend might be a strong word, but still.

Kizi also asked what Alice did for work. "I draw online. Like, commissions." She said, somewhat self-conscious. It was a little weird, and a lot of people might not get it. "I draw for people and send it to them for money. Not a lot, or anything, but...it's something I guess." She smiled again, more sheepishly this time.

Jennifer approached, which was another pleasant surprise. Jenny was a sweet girl, a lot like Alice in many ways, and they got along well despite the age difference. "Hi Jen. Good to see you too."

A funny thought passed through Alice's head. She chuckled quietly. "I guess I kind of caused a commotion, huh. Sorry."
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CondorTalon
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June 23rd, 2015, 3:42 am #7

Alice had peaked Jennifer's interest when she mentioned that she did drawings. And more than that, she was getting paid for it.

She was lucky to get money off of doing what she enjoyed, even if it was "not a lot", like she said.

"Ah, well... I just wanted to, uh... see what was happening. But I'm glad everything's okay," Jennifer said, in response to Alice's last remark.

But more importantly...

"So, uh... you draw too? Huh? You must be good if you're getting paid for it," Jennifer stated.

She'd thought about doing commissions herself. Well, it was some of her forum friends that said they would totally pay her to draw things, but Jennifer wasn't sure about that. She could probably make a bit of money doing it, but there was always that nagging feeling that her stuff wasn't good enough.

"Do you... do character work, mostly?"
[+] Spoiler
V6:
G009 - Sandra Dyer - Pot lid - [untitled]
G023 - Jennifer Su - Flashlight - Asymptote
G036 - Nancy Kyle - Hatchet - 不安心

V5:
G024 - Yukiko Sakurai - Weed whacker with circular saw attachment - Sunrise
B048 - Corey Esposito - Swedish Made Penis Enhancement Pump - Something Something Movie Reference

V5 Pregame:
Miriam Castille - "U-Um... well, see... I-I seemed to have misplaced m-my books..." - In Transit - It Was Just A Drink
[+] Spoiler
Felix Rees
Camellia "Cammy" Walker-Grimsley
Sachi Kobayakawa
Dane Lennox
Catherine Zier
Malcolm Hong
Victoria Tran
Bethany Sadler
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June 25th, 2015, 10:25 am #8

"Ah, nice!"

Kizi herself wasn't an artist, and she wouldn't exactly describe herself as a creative sort - at least in the conventional sense. Everyone was creative, in a way. Everyone had their own creative outlets, their own opportunities to let their imagination go wild. Of course, saying everyone was creative kinda ruined creative as a descriptive adjective, so that sort of comment would need a fair few qualifiers.

Anyway, these two were talking about their own creativity, Kizi wasn't going to interrupt with her own internet-assembled philosophy on what it meant to be creative.

Knowing her luck, she'd probably mangle her words into something annoying or pretentious or factually disprovable. She didn't want that at all!

At moments like this, it was best to nod, look happy, and just let other people take charge of the conversation. She found art interesting, certainly, but couldn't add anything to the subject herself, so, for everyone, the conversation was best served by her being mute.

Okay, she couldn't resist the opportunity for one bad joke.

"Only thing I can draw are curtains," she said, in a lull in the conversation, when she was certain she wasn't interrupting anything. "Like, as in pulling them. Although I could probably draw some curtains too, in the meaning you guys are talking about. So long as you don't expect patterns or shading."

She could also draw a bath as well! That was the saying, right?

Wasn't worth the risk.

"I'll shut up now."
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June 25th, 2015, 6:07 pm #9

Alice took another forkful of pancakes while the other two talked, waiting patiently to reply. She certainly didn't want to interrupt, and she was usually quite content to listen to others when a conversation started up.

Jennifer asked her a question, apparently intrigued by Alice's commissions. Alice knew that Jen was also an artist, though she didn't recall seeing a lot of Jen's stuff. Still, practice made perfect, and if Jennifer drew as much as Alice did then she was probably quite good. The compliment made Alice a little self-conscious, but she was glad to hear it. That was one of her secret pleasures; getting praise. It made her feel good, naturally; who doesn't like a compliment?

"Thanks, Jen. I'm okay, I guess. If you put yourself out there, people will come, I guess. It helps to find a niche, too. Like, like you said, I mostly do character work, so people get me to draw their OCs and stuff."

Kizi made a comment, and Alice tried not to cringe at the awkward follow-up comments. Poor thing, it would've been a really funny joke if she hadn't...well...explained it. Alice offered a sympathetic smile in her direction, and said, "It's okay, I got it. It was pretty funny."

Wanting to make Kizi feel better, Alice decided to redirect the conversation so Kizi could be included without feeling embarrassed. "You don't draw, right? What else do you like to do?"
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CondorTalon
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July 3rd, 2015, 5:22 am #10

Jennifer nodded in agreement to Alice's first statement. It was something she'd actually known, but there was still a feeling or something holding her back. She'd definitely gotten a lot of praise from other people on the forums, even from ones she didn't know too well.

She mostly figured that there wasn't much room for landscape drawings, which is what she specialized in. At least, there wasn't on the Internet.

Who knew? Maybe she was wrong.

Kizi decided, at that point, to follow up with a joke that might have gotten a laugh out of Jennifer if she didn't immediately follow it up with an explanation. Jennifer decided at that point that the best course of action was just to smile. It seemed Alice was steering the conversation towards Kizi, so Jennifer decided to let her talk. She'd hopefully be able to find something in common with Kizi too.
[+] Spoiler
V6:
G009 - Sandra Dyer - Pot lid - [untitled]
G023 - Jennifer Su - Flashlight - Asymptote
G036 - Nancy Kyle - Hatchet - 不安心

V5:
G024 - Yukiko Sakurai - Weed whacker with circular saw attachment - Sunrise
B048 - Corey Esposito - Swedish Made Penis Enhancement Pump - Something Something Movie Reference

V5 Pregame:
Miriam Castille - "U-Um... well, see... I-I seemed to have misplaced m-my books..." - In Transit - It Was Just A Drink
[+] Spoiler
Felix Rees
Camellia "Cammy" Walker-Grimsley
Sachi Kobayakawa
Dane Lennox
Catherine Zier
Malcolm Hong
Victoria Tran
Bethany Sadler
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July 16th, 2015, 4:17 pm #11

((Sorry, forgot to post an Away on Main, my bad!))

"Oh, nothing of interest!" Kizi said in response to Alice's question.

That was true.

Most of her interests were of the academic variety, or the awfully generic everyone-has-them variety, or of the not-exactly-suitable-for-a-discussion-in-a-diner (okay that was far too long) variety. Hearing people talk about art and drawing, even though Kizi had nothing of interest to contribute beyond bad jokes, was far more interesting for most people than hearing Kiziah explain the oddities of the Finnish language and the intricacies of etymology and the mathematics jokes sprinkled throughout The Simpsons.

Okay, that all sounded quite interesting to Kizi, but she was cherry-picking, she was sure of it, not to mention biased as hell.

So, she just said "carry on with the art stuff, it's cool!", adding in a sincere and warm smile for emphasis, before reaching over to grab her plate so she could continue eating.
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July 17th, 2015, 4:54 am #12

Alice pursed her lips.

While the other girl was quite cheerful, Alice wondered if she'd offended Kizi somehow. While it was certainly kind of her to want to avoid disrupting any conversation about art that might spring forth, truth be told it only served to make Alice feel somewhat curious. While she didn't suspect a spiteful intent, she wondered if Kizi felt hurt by not being adequately included. Alice hoped not; she'd feel terrible if that were the case, just absolutely ashamed.

Kizi had to have other interests, obviously. Nobody got through life doing literally nothing. Even if you sat in a corner and watched paint dry all day every day, you had an interest. Admittedly it was the most boring interest imaginable, but it was something. So Alice cocked her head and smiled gently at the other girl, hopefully making her feel more welcome.

"C'mon," she said in a quiet but playful voice, "you've got to do something, right? What do you like to do?"

Oh no, she thought as Jen's face caught her eye as she tilted her head, I can't leave her out too. God, she was awful at this sort of thing. Conversations were so tough for Alice, it seemed, despite everyone else managing just fine. There were so many rules and things you had to do, it was exhausting. "What about you Jen? Anything you do in addition to drawing?"

Alice smiled. "Maybe you two have something in common?"
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CondorTalon
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July 28th, 2015, 2:48 am #13

Uh oh, Alice had just put her on the spot. Jennifer wasn't expecting to be pulled back into the conversation so quickly, and let out a weird squeak before she cleared her throat.

"Ah, uh... well, um..." she stammered out.

Okay wait, what was the question again? Interests! Interests. She wanted to know her other interests. Most of them were sort of under the same sort of purview as drawing.

"Well... um, other than drawing, I, uh... play the piano. I really like music and I've... even composed a few songs myself. And uh... I also enjoy cooking."

Jennifer found talking about her interests comfortable, mostly because she didn't get to do it that often.

"The visual arts, the performance arts, and the culinary arts... I guess you could say that art is a big p-art of me."

...

That was probably the worst timing for a stutter. Oh god, they were going to think she did that on purpose, weren't they?
[+] Spoiler
V6:
G009 - Sandra Dyer - Pot lid - [untitled]
G023 - Jennifer Su - Flashlight - Asymptote
G036 - Nancy Kyle - Hatchet - 不安心

V5:
G024 - Yukiko Sakurai - Weed whacker with circular saw attachment - Sunrise
B048 - Corey Esposito - Swedish Made Penis Enhancement Pump - Something Something Movie Reference

V5 Pregame:
Miriam Castille - "U-Um... well, see... I-I seemed to have misplaced m-my books..." - In Transit - It Was Just A Drink
[+] Spoiler
Felix Rees
Camellia "Cammy" Walker-Grimsley
Sachi Kobayakawa
Dane Lennox
Catherine Zier
Malcolm Hong
Victoria Tran
Bethany Sadler
Quote
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July 31st, 2015, 1:50 pm #14

She viewed her interests as kinda boring to bring up in a random discussion with a couple of acquaintances, as nice and civil and welcoming as the atmosphere was. Mathematics was definitely out of the question. That'd make her sound the saddest and keenest teacher's pet ever. Maybe that wasn't entirely inaccurate, but she knew she didn't want to exactly promote that image of herself.

And the interests that weren't boring were either awfully generic - she watched a couple of TV shows every now and then, but it'd be more interesting if she didn't - or not completely honest - she liked playing softball, but it was passionate enough to call it an interest? The charity and human rights stuff was kinda interesting, she supposed, but again, she felt it was lying to describe them as interests - that was both downplaying their importance and trivialising the work genuine activists did. Also, she was always scared of coming across as...rather smug about it, to be honest?

So, she just muttered a brief, "oh, languages mostly," before allowing the focus to return to Jennifer. Kiziah had completely missed her unintentional pun, and barely even registered the stutter. She wasn't one to focus on it, even if she had noticed it.

"Sounds cool!", she replied.
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August 3rd, 2015, 6:29 am #15

These two were making things difficult. Alice was feeling good today, still eating her pancakes, chatting with friends. But they weren't saying anything! Alice was starting to feel like she was expected to carry the conversation. Alice hated carrying conversations. It was stressful and difficult, coaxing people into talking. She felt like an interrogator. But if these two weren't giving her anything, she needed to at least try to help them open up.

"What about...language arts, Jen?" Alice said with a hint of a smile. She'd noticed the pun, naturally, but she wasn't going to pick fun. Puns could be nice, and who was she to make fun of someone else's sense of humor? "You do any writing or anything?"

Oh, speaking of languages, Kizi said something about them. Alice's eyes lit up. "Oh, do you do writing? I've been working on a fan-well, a sort of a short story you could call it." Truth be told? It was a fanfic of Twilight.

Ugh, she knew. But it was an improvement attempt of sorts; she was lukewarm on the series herself, oh god she hated the fandom, but having read the saga she saw a lot of potential for fanfics, and she'd gotten to work recently after like a month of planning and longer of tossing around ideas. She was getting excited for it, really.

But hell if she was going to tell anyone about it.
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