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Not Quite the Zeitgeist; Open!
Topic Started: Jun 19 2015, 10:01 PM (1,029 Views)
General Goose
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Don't cast aspersions on my asparagus.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
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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General Goose
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Don't cast aspersions on my asparagus.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
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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Don't cast aspersions on my asparagus.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"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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Don't cast aspersions on my asparagus.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((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.
Edited by General Goose, Jul 16 2015, 11:29 AM.
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Don't cast aspersions on my asparagus.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
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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General Goose
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Don't cast aspersions on my asparagus.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Kizi didn't really do writing. She hadn't yet found her creative outlet of choice, or any particularly inspiring muses. Most of her hobbies were academic, after all. Not interesting to discuss at all.

There was a lull in the conversation, and Kizi was, while chewing another mouthful of her almost-finished risotto, trying to think of a good way of filling the gap, without just asking another rather generic question about interests. She hated to admit it, but that conversation pathway wasn't really working for her. It was a noble effort, but no common ground had been found that involved Kizi, and she didn't want to butt in.

She finished another oyster - no, they were mussels, not oysters, she remembered - trying in vain to politely conceal the inevitable slurping sound.

She was saved from having to say something clever or productive by her phone ringing. Muttering her apologies, she placed her plate down - back on her table - and answered. Her mom needed some help at home.

"Sorry, guys," she said, returning to her two classmates, "but I gotta run. Family calls." With a friendly smile, she left the two, taking her nearly-finished plate over to the counter, apologising for not finishing it all and leaving a healthy tip.

((Kiziah continued in The Blood Witch.))
Edited by General Goose, Apr 5 2016, 12:03 PM.
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