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Skeletons and Spaghetti; Open~
Topic Started: Oct 23 2015, 11:44 AM (904 Views)
VoltTurtle
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The girl who dreams on the back of a giant space turtle.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Penelope Fitzgerald continued from Diaries))

Penelope sat back in her chair in the cafeteria.

The cafeteria was, as usual, filled to the brim with people. The noise of their conversation filled the room and drowned out the normal ambient noises of the air conditioning and the clatter of trays and utensils. The smells of the low quality food being served were very mixed, Penelope had no idea what the cafeteria was actually dishing out to the hungry students today. The school normally served some sort of meat as the main dish, which was a big reason she brought her own vegetarian lunch, but she liked to know what they were serving just out of curiosity. Usually when she couldn't tell what was being served she simply looked at the trays of her friends that would sit with her, but today none of her friends had sat down yet. This wasn't entirely unusual, it happened sometimes, but Penelope was getting very nervous due to being alone in a crowded and noisy room.

Her friends not being present only added to the day being an odd one. Today had been a very strange day for her. She turned in the normal assignments and homework and did the normal in-class work, but every teacher she had so far was absent, being filled in for by a substitute. She presumed there was some sort of big staff meeting going on that caused all of them to be missing, but she wasn't sure, and ultimately the reason didn't really matter. Along with that, both of her parents had things to do today, so she was left alone in the house with her two sisters that morning. So many adults and other people being missing all at once just left her feeling odd; she always gets nervous when routine is broken. With routine came comfort, and with oddities came anxiety.

Penelope ate the last bits of the vegetarian spaghetti she packed in her lunch in the morning and put the container away in her lunch bag. She leaned back in her chair a bit more as she started drinking some of the bottled peach tea she kept in her backpack. Even when nervous due to being alone in a crowded area, Penelope never betrayed it, always appearing relaxed on the outside, even if she wasn't entirely relaxed on the inside.

As Penelope sat there hoping at least one friend would show themselves, she reached into her bag and pulled out her 3DS, flipping it open and booting up Animal Crossing in one swift motion.
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VoltTurtle
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The girl who dreams on the back of a giant space turtle.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Penelope looked up from her game when she heard someone ask what she was playing.

There were three girls at the table. Two of them, Fiyori and Rene, had been there for a while. The other girl, Astrid, had just sat down. Penelope was familiar with who they were as classmates, but she couldn't say she was friends with them. Penelope got ever so slightly annoyed at being asked what she was playing; she never usually drew attention until she started fiddling with a device that evokes curiosity out of people due to whatever novel function it has. Still, she didn't let this annoyance show in her face or in her voice. "Animal Crossing: New Leaf." She answered, abruptly.

Normally Penelope liked interacting with strangers, just for the sake of being a weirdo to them. But when she's in game mode, she would often rather just be left to it. And as much as Penelope would rather just say what she was playing and leave it at that, Penelope figured that simply leaving it probably wouldn't actually accomplish anything. She knew how people worked. Rene would ask another question about the game, and Penelope would respond, not wanting to seem like she was being rude. So, in order to get that out of the way somewhat, she decided to answer the most obvious question ahead of time. "I really like the game for how relaxing it is to play, ya know? There's no real win conditions and there are no real threats, so it's something that's super easy to pass time with." She paused, briefly. "Normally I don't get too into casual games like Animal Crossing, but it's sweet and cute and uninvolved enough that I can give it a pass."

Penelope took a sip of her tea and looked back down at her game, continuing to tap away at the buttons, donating the fossils she had collected from the town that day to the town's museum.
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The girl who dreams on the back of a giant space turtle.
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Penelope's ear twitched.

She glanced over at Astrid for a second, before turning her head back towards the game. She considered what she should do. Should she respond to the girl curtly, given that she seemed like she wanted to start an argument? Fiyori ended up getting up and leaving, so it seemed that Penelope wasn't the only one who had picked up on Astrid's intentions. Should she just defuse it? Astrid seemed like the type of girl that would be nasty if an argument actually began, even if Penelope was perfectly calm and composed like she nearly always was.

"Yeah, I guess you could call it a waste of time. It's inherently designed to be a time sink. I play it when I don't want to do anything else but I don't want to sit around doing nothing." Penelope took another sip from her tea. "It's cute enough to keep my attention, and that's what matters."

Penelope fiddled with the tea bottle's cap as she rearranged the furniture in her in-game house. She hoped that response satisfied Astrid. She seemed like the type that wouldn't be happy unless she felt she was right.
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The girl who dreams on the back of a giant space turtle.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Penelope listened to Astrid's words while tapping away at the screen.

Once Astrid finished talking, Penelope shrugged, not turning her head away from the game. She understood what Astrid was getting at now. Astrid was obviously looking at it from a very practical perspective, which Penelope didn't really care for personally. "I think the game is plenty interesting." She said. "Sure, it's not exactly challenging and it's not developing any skills, but the game doesn't really have a defined endpoint so it's pretty hard to get bored with it like how other games can get boring after you complete them a few times." She leaned back in her chair a little bit. "Since, you know, I'm just playing it to avoid boredom."

Penelope took another sip from her tea bottle. "Also, I'm not really interested in developing any skills right now. I'm still just trying to figure out what I like doing and what I want to do with the rest of my life, y'know?" She turned her head momentarily towards Astrid before turning back to the game.."..If that's what you were getting at, that is."

Penelope played with the cap a little bit more before accidentally causing it to shoot off to somewhere two tables over. "...Shit."

Frustrated with herself for losing her tea bottle's cap, she downed the rest of her tea so as to not worry about spilling it later. She turned her attention back to Astrid. "So, yeah. Hope that helps you understand my perspective."
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The girl who dreams on the back of a giant space turtle.
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Penelope sat and listened to Astrid as she talked.

"Well..." Penelope closed her DS and placed it on the table next to her tray. "That's not exactly what I meant. I've figured out a bunch of things that I'm good at and that I like doing, like drawing and developing video games, I just... can't really say I'm actively trying to develop those skills all the time. Sometimes I just want to sit around and play a relatively pointless game."

Penelope took note of Astrid's frustration as she spoke. It seemed Astrid wasn't exactly the greatest at hiding her disdain, but at the same time it looked like she calmed down after Penelope put her DS down. Perhaps she just didn't like it that Penelope was looking at the screen and not her, that would certainly explain her comment as she started talking.

Penelope adjusted her posture and started making motions with her hands as she talked. Not having a bottle of tea to drink or a bottle cap to play with as nervous tics was bothering her. "I guess what I'm saying is that you need to go with the flow sometimes. Don't be so wrapped up in making sure that every little moment is accomplishing something in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes it's important to just..." Penelope leaned back in her chair, getting into a comfortable position. "...Take it easy."
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The girl who dreams on the back of a giant space turtle.
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Penelope looked at Rene as she finally spoke up. She almost forgot the other girl was sitting at their table, since she had been so quiet.

Penelope turned her attention back to Astrid as she continued speaking. Once she finished, Penelope sat there for a moment, pondering what to say and how to say it in a way that would make sense to Astrid and her worldview.

"Well... the appeal is that I don't really have to think all that much. I can play Animal Crossing when I want to keep my mental stamina for difficult, important activities later on in the day." Penelope flicked a speck of food off the table, before continuing to speak. "It's sorta like how it's been scientifically proven that humans can only make a certain number of decisions in a day- it's why people who have to make a lot of decisions just wear the same thing over and over again because it doesn't require thought."

Penelope leaned back further in her chair before glancing at the lunchroom clock and realizing that she needed to get out soon if she wanted to meet up with her boyfriend between classes.

"Oh, shit. I need to go." Penelope said as she stood up and started getting her things together. "Sorry to interrupt, but I need to meet up with my boyfriend before class starts back up. See you later, Astrid."

Penelope slung her backpack over her shoulder before calmly walking away from the table, internally excited for the few minutes she'd get alone with her boyfriend before class.

((Penelope Fitzgerald continued elsewhere and in The Sweetest Things))
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