Obligatory Driving-Related Quote

I was going to call this post “The plague of the greasy black engines has gone East” but I figured that was too unrelated/too long (or maybe life is too short to harbor as many Joanna Newsom quotes as one might wish to use). But that is how I feel when I think of the fact that: yep, I finally got my license. Hip hip hooray, or whatever. Everyone is pretty happy about it, including myself. I was one check-mark away from failing that cone stuff but HA HA NOPE I WIN.

Mom wanted to be tagged about driving, since she was the one who had to endure the torture of teaching me the cones. However, after going to the store with her the other night, I have an even better thing to tag her for.

So I decided to be super nice and accompany Mom to the store… I somewhat dragged my feet, and then dragged a cart, and then rode the back of the cart like you’re not supposed to but everyone does. I stood in an aisle of pillows and contemplated lying down in a basket of them and having a nap while Mom debated for the rest of eternity about which one to buy. Then the groceries… Mom kneeling to peer at the bottom shelf while I lolled over the handle of my cart and made bored commentary for my own amusement and that of nearby shoppers.
Mom: “They only have strawberry lemonade and not pink lemonade!”
Me: “Well, that’s awkward.”
Mom: “I know, right?!”
I laughed, and so did the random lady passing by our predicament.

What is it about this particular store– the Target up the street from my house– that engenders interactions with strangers? And I don’t mean talking to the cashier or something. I mean I always seem to have some kind of encounter within those aisles. Like the time I wore my hat (a gray hat with a brown feather in the band) there and found myself mired in the cereals alongside a pair of hipsters who gave me scoffing sideways looks.

Speaking of which. Just now I was sitting at the table listening to my music play through the pair of computer speakers that have somehow become an intrinsic part of our house, and Dodge teased me about being a hipster (Me: “This band is actually well known though. They’re popular.” Dodge: “With hipsters.” “But they get played on the radio.” “The hipster station on the radio.” ….”You just rage quit this conversation,” he said as I finally gave up). Then Dad sat down and took off his knit hat.
Me: “What the heck is with your hair?” It was laying flat and combed back, and in its need-of-cutting state… “You look like Benjamin Franklin.”
Dodge: laughter
Me: laughter
Dad: “I’ve been wearing a hat all day!” (scowl) “And I’ll wear it all night too.” (mutters) “Kids.” He put the hat back on and went into the living room to sulk.
Dodge: *high-fives me*

Yeah I know, I’m practically a comedian. Anyway, I’m off to work.

adventures in time and space

The past… Well, I was going to say “week”, but to be honest I have NO IDEA what day it is, what time, whether it’s still August… Seriously. Okay, what was I trying to say? Yup, no idea on that, either. It’s two in the afternoon, which means I have been awake for two hours.

What have I been doing lately, you might ask. Well… a lot of driving around the city and over the valley (so many times that I think driving over bridges will feature in a story someday) and back to my house very late at night. A lot of looking at the sky and whatever light source currently glowed in it. Also there was quite a bit of fire involved, and games that I am terrible at playing such as pool and volleyball. It was a really cool end to summer, actually (except I don’t really think summer is over, and for the first time in ages, I really wouldn’t mind it going on a while longer).

Also, I have been thinking of some new story ideas, including one that I described to Bug as “a future world, but with classic stuff… And it has robots, and androids, and MURDER!” This, my friends, is what happens to your brain when you read Ray Bradbury on an excursion to the most behemoth Fakeworld you’ve ever seen. Yeah, would maybe not recommend. (Also, do not read “The Veldt” before bed. Just. Don’t.)

Speaking of which, I guess my somewhat unintentional summer mission has been to read everything of Ray Bradbury’s that I haven’t yet read. I am almost done with The Illustrated Man, a collection of short stories that I don’t like as well as The Golden Apples of the Sun. Next in line is Something Wicked This Way Comes, which was also unintentionally perfect for the start of fall and such. Wait, with all this Doctor Who and Star Trek stuff (I just watched “The Journey Home”, featuring the original Spock and Kirk and the annoying whale lady who the DHFs promised would not kiss Kirk but it was lies I tell you! I had to hide under the blanket), maybe my actual unintentional summer mission was to delve deep (“Probably too deep”, I hear you mutter) into my sci-fi side.

Well, it has been fun. I am especially glad that I have cool friends to share this with… Which brings me to: Eliza is gone again.  Luckily, I got to see her before she left… And I stayed at the DHFs house one night, and this is the conversation I overheard as they prepped dinner.
Francis: “I don’t know, that’s not a lot of food.”
Eliza: “I can make some corn.”
Francis: “I don’t know…”
Eliza: “Let me make some corn.”
Bug: “Yeah.”
Eliza: “Like, corn is corn is corn. I mean… it’s corn.”
Francis: “Well, all right.”

Now it’s time for Bug and I to combat our sadness by embarking on some odd project. Literary magazines, movies, lots of running around the random field in general. (And in costume. What can I say.)

Ah, one more important thing! My driver’s test is scheduled! September something or other. Basically, Mom looked at my temps yesterday and they are about to expire. So. Off I go to fail a test with a stranger in the car.

Oh dear.

I just realized… What car am I going to use for this test???? The big yellow truck, or the lumbering, lurching minivan??? Either way, hoo-rah. More fun than a barrel of monkeys. Rabid, feral robot monkeys that want to eat you.

I guess I am less prepared for this test than previously thought… I am going to have to practice. A lot.

But still! This thought won’t tarnish the last of summer. I am off to ride bikes with Dad and Poncho. They want to do this “Lake to Lake” trail, and I am bringing along the trusty (I hope– we haven’t been through that much together yet) camera, and my cool sunglasses. (So I will probably end up home later today with weird, owlish circles of untanned skin around my eyes. Fabulous, dahling!)



And that one word pretty much sums up my past couple of weeks. But first (well, second? I have no idea what I’m saying), it reminds me of riding in the car with Eliza…

We are at a stop light, Eliza in the driver’s seat and me riding “gunshot” (as Bug called it). I stare out the window (as I tend to do), and just as we pull away I say, “Woah.”
Eliza: “What, the car behind us?”
Me: “…Nope.”
Eliza: “The dark sky?”
Me: “Nuh-uh.”
Eliza: “What, then?”
Me: “There was just… a super attractive guy at the red light.”
Eliza: *side-gawks at me*
Me: “What?! I didn’t mean to say ‘woah’, it just came out. And I mean… It was true though.”
Eliza: “Well, what did he look like?” (still gawking at me the way you would gawk at, say, a goat wearing spectacles and reading the paper)
Me: “He just had, you know, the face. And the hair.”
Eliza: “Wow, Pen, very descriptive.” And we both laughed.

On another car ride down a two-lane road, a truck passed us by too close and Eliza grumbled, “Road hog!”
As I shook my fist, laughing and imitating her, she said, “I’ve never said that before! It just came out!”

Speaking of driving, I have renewed my efforts in trying to drive officially. I used to have this fear that once I had my license, I would be forced to drive to this distant suburb at night, which would be really creepy. But then, for some reason, I kind of had a driving epiphany the other night that night driving is actually fun and the creep factor is all in my head and also, I am capable.

And also also, I want a car. (“I could be the walrus. And I’d still have to bum rides off of people.” –Yes, I have that whole little monologue memorized. Because I basically want to be Ferris Bueller… whenever I’m not wanting to be Jane Eyre, Sherlock Holmes, Captain America, or some other  awesome character.) (Also, why are all my favorite characters guys? Are there just not that many cool girl characters, or have I not seen the right movies?) (I mean, even the Black Widow… She’s awesome, but I never can imagine myself as her, you know? It’s almost like she’s too cool. Agent Carter is a little closer, but even then, she’s so… shooty.) (I am not shooty. I am shield-y. If that makes any sense.)

Anyway, yeah. Cars. Driving. Vroom. I kinda lost my train of thought.

Now I completely can’t remember what I was going to tell you about? The Dublin Irish Festival, aka a sunny haze of green and food and music and hanging out with Bug? Maybe. Or was I going to talk about how I am finally filming a video thing and maybe sometime eventually when I have got enough shots of bedraggled, sun-spangled flowers it will be done? Or how a tree was cut down in my neighborhood and now there is a big blank spot on my horizon and it weirds me out and makes me panic that one day the distant oak tree that I look at through my eastern window will be cut down too and then I will lose my mind because all the other trees around here have those round, suburban palmate leaves of blandness?

I don’t remember. Clearly, I am in one of those moods where I just want to go on and on about everything in the whole entire world ever.

But I shall not. Because I shall go to work on finishing my book. (“To finish my book,” the DHFs always say in a Bilbo voice.) And also just plain go to work.


I bet there’s no trick-or-treating in Fakeworld.

So, I guess I don’t hate driving anymore. I mean, I’m not Mr Toad (poomp-poomp!) or anything, but I suppose I will be all right. I have gone on the highway, and it’s not that scary. Although I clench my teeth and brace myself with my left foot as I merge. Only one more session of driving with the driving instructor person! On Tuesday I drove with her and she made me go to (DUNDUNDUN)… Fakeworld!!! Gah! That place gives me the creeps. I told her that we call it fakeworld, and I think she thought I was joking because she laughed. So then
Me: “No, really, look how fake it is. It’s like, trying to be this cute little town, but it’s not even connected to anything, it’s like a fancy mall. Look, they even have fake apartments over the stores.”
Her: “Those are real apartments.”
Me: “Hah! Oh, wait, really?…. Well, that would be kind of sad to live here.”
Her: “Some people like it.”
Me: “But there’s no normal stores, no place to get groceries or anything–”
Her: “Trader Joe’s.”
Me: “That’s a grocery store?” I did not know that. The only grocery store I am aware of is Giant Evil. And I had to go there today! BOOOOO! Okay, sorry, tangent…  

I can’t even imagine living in Fakeworld! There are huuuge ads everywhere! And hioty-toity-ness. I cannot handle hoity-toity. Besides, if I was going for ‘above store apartment surrounded by hoity-toity people’, I would live in Lakewood.

But we saw a rainbow. A rather excellent one. As I was trying to do maneuverability for like AN HOUR. Which was quite wretched.

Anyway. Now Mom is making me drive everywhere. Annoying. I like to relax in the car, think, look out the window. I can’t even take my eyes off the road for two seconds to look into the People Zoo on the way to Irish dance now! The pain! But it is waaaaay more fun driving with Mom than with the driving person.
In fact we had a funny conversation yesterday while I was driving that I now can’t remember! CRUMB!!!

Well. Now that we’re off that topic. I might as well talk about something more interesting, namely, All Hallows Eve.

aka Halloween.
aka Costumes! My favorite part!! :)
aka CANDY!! everyone’s favorite part.

I am not going trick-or-treating this year. Nope. Nuh uh. Too old. How sad. Even though certain OTHER teenagers think they can go about wearing a paper bag on their head with holes cut in the eyes, or a sheet, or a cardboard box, and get candy. They are not getting any from me, that’s for sure. Haha. From my cardboard boat, I will be the almost-dead Lady of Shalott, and I will give them tricks instead. I have most of that poem memorized. How I shall laugh manically as they run away in terror!! “Noooo, run away, poetry! English assignments! EEK!”

Yeah. About that boat. I still have to build it, somehow.
I should get on that.
Right now.


Your procrastinator always,

I Just Wanna Drive

So Monday started my first driver’s ed class. Completely overwhelming just to sit there for four hours, watch cheesy dead-people movies, and take notes from an overhead projector. It was like being back in regular school! Horrible! And, as Dad said, “That teacher’s a birdbrain.” Which she is. One minute she’s talking about driving at night and the next thing you know she’s saying something about how much it costs to get a deer’s whole body taxidermied and, if the deer flies through your windshield, you might get “dilapidated.”
It took incredible self-control not to say, “I’m not an old building! It’s decapitated!” And also to not mention the incorrect use of apostrophes everywhere, and when she says things like “more braver.”
I digress. 

Luckily, after the first day, it wasn’t so overwhelming and I now just want to get it over with. Halfway there, thank goodness. Ironically, I was talking to someone about driver’s ed and they were saying why they didn’t want to take it. Reason number one was because the driving place near them is taught by a retired clown. (Yes, I am being completely serious.) Reason number two (getting to the irony here): “You also find out you live close to a bunch of weirdos”. Well, howdy do! Some kid got kicked out of class for messing up the textbook and suspected smoking in the bathroom. Then he and his mom had it out with the teacher while the rest of us pretended to watch a movie that was clearly made in the 80’s (the legwarmers and the dinner-plate glasses were dead giveaways).

I guess I forgot what it’s like to sit and take notes all day. It takes quite a toll on my normally more active body (after the first day my legs were quite sore) and it makes me tired and just want to stay home all day doing nothing. Bleh. I just want it over with. That one part of “Scenic Route” keeps playing through my head… “I just wanna driiiiiiiive, yeah, I just wanna driiive.” I don’t want to do schooly stuff. The plus side is this is another sign that is telling me, “Pen, get your driver’s license and your GED and then you won’t have to do this school stuff any more!” Yep. Just a few more hoops to jump through and then I’ll be free. I don’t need no education. (Though I must say, they really ought to have used “any”; using double negative like that just proves that they do, actually, need an education. Though of course education isn’t the same thing as school. Eh, whatever. All in all it’s just another brick in the wall. ;) )

Yours till the steering wheels,