10:49 am. Today’s random writing is brought to you by the “Random” button on livejournal.com. After browsing several random entries, I began to see a pattern: most web journals (at least most of the ones connected to the Random button today) are written by girls who partied pretty hard last weekend, missed some classes last week, are worried about whether what Julie said about Kevin is really true, and are a size 3 but still want to lose weight to look good among the other cheerleaders…
Writing the following partial story took like 4 hours, but some of that was research time and a couple brief interruptions. Hopefully I will be able to cut the time down a bit in the weeks to come; I don’t want to spend 4 hours a day, but I might be able to do two. If I choose a setting that is a bit more familiar, I will require less time for research.
Christie woke up to the sound of the neighbor’s leaf blower. She started to get annoyed, but then realized how bright it was outside and looked at the clock. It was 11:05.
“Oh my god, I’m going to be so late!” she said, to nobody in particular. She threw some clothes on, grabbed her backpack, and went downstairs. On her way out the door, she looked in the refrigerator for something to take with her, but decided nothing really looked good. She put her jacket on and went out the door.
She started out sort of jogging, then slowed to a brisk walk. It would probably take her 15 minutes to get to school, but the damage was done, she was already missing most of third period and there was no way she would get there in time for fourth period. She could come in the middle of fourth period, but then she would have to explain why she was late. It would probably be safer to miss Pre-Algebra and hope that they didn’t take roll for those periods.
Why did she have to sleep in today, again? It wasn’t even Monday or anything, it was Wednesday. She had stayed out with her friends until midnight the night before, but she had done that before and managed to wake up the next day, lots of times. She remembered her mom waking her up on her way out this morning, and she remembered saying “OK,” and rolling over. She had intended to get up and take a shower but her eyes were dry and she just wanted to close them for a few seconds. The next thing she knew, it was 11:05.
Maybe she was still tired from the weekend, or something. She had gone with Amanda and Katie to Baypoint on Saturday night, and Josh was there with a couple other people, so they hung out on the beach and talked until it was almost light out again. This time her mother didn’t care because she had said she would be spending the night at Amanda’s house, and Amanda had told her mother they were going to Katie’s. She didn’t know what Katie had told her dad but he seemed to be cool with just about anything. So, after staying up all night at the beach, she came back home and took a nap for a while, but pretty soon it was time to go to cheerleading practice again. They didn’t usually have cheerleading practice on Sundays, but the homecoming game was coming up and they wanted to practice the new routine. That was probably why she was so tired this week.
She buttoned up her jacket a bit more. It was January and it was a bit chilly, cooler than it was over the weekend. She was wearing Josh’s letterman jacket which was actually quite warm. She had on a blouse under that, and she was wearing jeans, so it wasn’t too bad.
Christie got to the school and peeked in to Mr. Thompson’s classroom where she was supposed to be this period. Amanda was there and was sitting in the seat Christie was usually in, which was good. Maybe Mr. Thompson wouldn’t notice the empty seat and wonder why she was missing. Amanda is such a cool friend, she thought.
She probably could not sneak into the class without being noticed, so she went back to the library to hang out until lunch. There were always five or six people who had a free period for whatever reason, so it was not out of the ordinary to be in the library. There wasn’t anyone she knew very well in there right now, so she sat at an empty table and took out her binder.
11:45: 551 words.
She spent the next 15 minutes looking at the notes for the classes she just missed and trying to think about what might have happened in them. She hadn’t done the reading for U.S. History anyway so she took out the book and started reading it. It was something about Standard Oil and how some rich guy named Rockefeller had a monopoly on oil and gas in the early 1900’s. Pretty soon, the lunch bell rang and the halls were filled with noisy people, so she put the book away and went to find Amanda.
12:30: Lost a little time figuring out who owned Standard Oil and when Homecoming actually happens anyway. 721 words.
Amanda was on her way to get lunch so Christie caught up with her and said “Hey! Thanks for sitting in my seat.”
Amanda said, “Hey! No problem. Did you sleep in or something?” Amanda was wearing a tee shirt with some band logo on it, a leather jacket over that, and a pair of jeans with a rip across one knee.
“Yeah, I just couldn’t wake up; I must have turned off my alarm and went back to sleep.” Christie and Amanda got in line at the lunch window. “So did I miss anything important?”
“Not really. Thompson didn’t notice or take roll or anything. There were more word problems.”
Christie rolled her eyes. “Oh, great. Just what I need. How about English?”
“Not much, more of the same, like yesterday. Josh asked where you were, so I said ‘I don’t know,’ but Mrs. Blaine didn’t notice.”
They talked for another minute or so while waiting in line. There was a choice of spaghetti or ham sandwich, so they each got a ham sandwich and juice, and went to sit down with Katie and Julie.
Katie was wearing a grayish blouse, a red and black sweater, and a dark red skirt, and Julie was some button-up shirt (maybe silk) and jeans. They talked about who else missed classes that morning and how drunk everybody was the night before.
Christie ate her sandwich and kind of lost track of what they were saying, and started thinking about what she would tell her mom if the school secretary called her about Christie’s absence. Hopefully they wouldn’t record it this time, but she already had cut classes six times this year and would probably be in trouble if she missed any more.
“So where do you think he is?” asked Katie, looking at Christie.
“Huh?” Christie had missed what they said before and looked up from her sandwich to Katie with a blank expression.
Katie said, “Josh, I mean. I haven’t seen him, have you?”
“No, not yet, he’s probably outside or something. Probably looking at cars.” Christie took another bite of her sandwich and didn’t say anything more, but now she was wondering why she hadn’t seen Josh and whether he was avoiding her, but she didn’t really want to talk about it in front of Katie and Julie.
Julie replied, “You know I saw him talking to Shyla yesterday. They were sitting next to each other in study hall but I couldn’t hear what they were saying.”
“Hmm,” Christie said, looking uninterested. “Yeah they have a couple classes together.” She looked back at her sandwich and hoped that Julie would drop the subject.
1:10: 1138 words. Stalling a bit here because I haven’t figured out what’s going on with Josh quite yet.
“Are you okay?” said Katie.
Christie looked over at Katie. “Huh? Oh, yeah, I’m just tired I guess. Maybe I need a hot chocolate or something. I’ll be right back.”
She got up and walked toward the lunch window, but instead of getting in line again, she turned and went toward the bathroom. She went to the bathroom, then washed her hands and face and looked at herself in the mirror. It looked like her hair was a little messed up, so she took a brush out of her purse and ran it through her hair a few times. Damn that Julie, she thought, why couldn’t she mind her own business? Was she trying to cause trouble, or hurt her feelings, or what?
Christie took a deep breath and looked in the mirror again. She thought, it doesn’t matter what Julie says, Josh is a nice guy. I like him, and he did give me his letterman jacket, so that must mean something, right? I’m not going to let Julie screw this up for me just because she’s jealous or something. She looked at herself one last time, with an expression of grim determination, and went back out into the lunch area.
Julie was still there, with Amanda and Katie, talking about some club where Julie went last Friday night. It was supposed to be for 18 and over but Julie said she got in by finding some guy in line who was a friend of her brother’s and talking to him, and the guy at the front let them both in together. Christie came back and finished her sandwich while Julie continued to talk about her weekend and the club.
1:49: 1427 words, three-quarters done and not even to fifth period yet :)
The rest of the day crawled along as normal. She went to Biology and listened to the teacher talk about invertebrates, and then to Gym where they split up with some girls kicking a soccer ball back and forth and some others doing laps around the track, and then switched.
Next there was study hall where she read some more about the history class she missed, and tried to get into some algebra problems, but couldn’t really focus on them. She kept thinking about why Julie had said something about Josh and what she meant by it.
Could Julie be jealous of Josh, she thought? Julie had gone out with a couple guys last year (her sophomore year, now she was a junior, one year ahead of Christie). She didn’t really have a boyfriend this year, that Christie knew about anyway. There was a rumor going around that Julie had been seen kissing another girl, but Julie denied it, so Christie hadn’t thought anything about it. Now, Christie couldn’t figure out if Julie was jealous of Josh, but that was unlikely, since Julie had never really liked jocks and stayed away from sports events. Finally, Christie’s thoughts were interrupted by the bell for the end of the period.
Eighth period was computers with Mr. Dahl. Josh was in her class too, he was typing on one of the computers. He was wearing a brown button-up shirt and black jeans. Christie sat down next to him and said “Hi.”
He stopped typing and looked at her. “Hey! How’s it going?”
“Not bad, I slept in this morning, I guess I was just really tired from this weekend.”
“Yeah, that was pretty fun,” Josh replied.
“So where were you at lunch? I didn’t see you…”
“Oh, we had a student council meeting.” Josh was the vice-president of the student body, which was uncommon for a junior, usually the council members were all seniors.
“Ah. That’s cool,” Christie said. The bell rang to start off the period and Christie had to move to another seat, since this seat didn’t have a computer, just an empty desk. “Okay, maybe I’ll see you after school…”
“Yeah, cool,” said Josh.
2:23: 1809 words, almost there.
She typed up a program in BASIC for her assignment. It was pretty close to the one already in the book, except she had to change it to have a 1-10 loop inside the 1-20 loop that was already there, and add up 10 random numbers on each line. This seemed to work pretty well. The examples in the book all had line numbers like 10, 20, 30, but the teacher said this version of BASIC didn’t need line numbers. They were only used for GOTO statements and that was bad anyway, for some reason. Anyway, Christie thought it looked neater without numbers.
X and Y seemed to be simpler here than in Pre-Algebra, she thought. Why did they have to do word problems anyway? She finished up her program and saved it on the server, and made a backup on the disk in her backpack, and then also printed it out, just to be safe. She had just put the printout in her binder when the final bell rang.
Everyone filed out and she didn’t see Josh again outside, so she went ahead to cheer practice. She went to the locker room and got changed into her cheer outfit, then went out into the gym. Katie and the others were already there doing some stretches, so she joined them.
Miss Abbott came out and said “Okay, you guys ready?” Miss Abbott was the gym teacher and also the cheer coach. She was about 25? 30? Christie wasn’t sure, but she was younger than most of the other teachers. “Let’s try the new routine, this time with Katie, Mindy and Jen in front.”
The new routine was a dance to the tune of “I Need A Hero” with lots of jumping and turning. Miss Abbott started the music and they did the routine. They had practiced for at least two hours on Sunday so it went pretty well. Miss Abbott watched them, and when they were done, she said “Excellent! Good job you guys!” The girls all sat down on the gym floor and Miss Abbott turned off the tape.
Miss Abbott then said “Okay, for the game I’m going to put you in the same line-up, Katie, Mindy and Jen, you are going to be in front for the half-time routine. You guys are looking good; I like the way you look out there. Keep practicing. I’ll be right back.”
Christie was disappointed, because she wanted to be in front. Katie was the cheer captain, so no surprise there, and usually Mindy and Christie were in the front too, but this time it was Jen. Christie wondered if she had done something wrong, or if the coach was just trying to give other people a chance or something. She couldn’t think of anything she did wrong, but she couldn’t figure out why Miss Abbott chose Jen for the front line-up but kept Mindy and Katie there like always.
Katie led a couple more cheers, like “Go! Bobcats!” and “S-P-I-R-I-T” and then everyone went home.
2:52: Done, 2314 words.
When is homecoming?
When is fourth period?
830, 920, (1005) 1025, 1115, (1200), 1250, 140, 230
An actual high school
805, 900, 950, 1040, (1130), 1203, 1254, 143, 233
Typical classes for a sophomore
US History, English(Blaine), French, Pre-algebra(Thompson), Biology, Gym, study hall, computers (dahl)
Creepy in a good way, though. Take it as a testament for how well you wrote this that I was going ‘AAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAA silence boring teen AAAAAAAAAAAAAA’.
I was at first surprised to see how many journals are written by teenage girls. But then, surprise turned to disappointment as I browsed about 50 random journals and couldn’t find anything more interesting to write about. So, I knew “the challenge” had been made.
I figured out very soon that Christie is the type of person who will pay attention to what someone else is wearing, but sometimes not pay attention to the words coming out of his mouth.
It’s an “interesting” intellectual exercise but if I’m going to write a novel I am going to need to write something that’s more fun. Though I think I did at least some justice to the original (or the four or so originals that were most memorable.)
One of the young ladies actually said “I’m either a size 3 or size 5, but I’m fatter than all the other cheerleaders. I’m hungry but I don’t want to eat anything right now. I want to be able to see my ribs without sucking in my gut”. Whew. Scary.