Thursday, July 31, 2008

South for the Winter

Inspired by the word of the day, "Egress".

I sat at the edge of the lake, skipping stones. My home wasn’t home anymore – it was storage. Soon it would be empty, and I would be gone. The geese on the lake honked assertively. This was their time, too early for people.

“I thought I would find you here,” I heard him behind me. I snorted. “You always come here when you want to hide.”

“Then why did you follow me?” I hated the sound of my voice.

“You don’t have to leave.”

There was a rustling on the water, and the geese took off, south for the winter.

Today I went to San Francisco. It was remarkably easy, actually (as Alex said a while back, Caltrain FTW!). I found a place to do Silks (actually, two places to do Silks within a block of each other, which is pretty darn cool; they're in identical buildings too, which is a little bit odd and a little bit awesome. I'll get pictures and post more on that later, probably, once I get a sense for what the two different places are like). I wandered a bit around the Asian Art museum downtown (only saw the temporary exhibit, Ming dynasty Chinese court art). Tomorrow I head to SLO to see my brother (hooray!) and begin my crazy every-weekend-a-different-friend circuit (similar to my every-weekend-a-different-graduate-school circuit this winter, only more sociable, shorter, and with much less pressure).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Miracle and the Atom Bomb

Inspired by the line "You're what happens when two substances collide" (and by all accounts you really should have died) from "Nervous Tic Motion (Of the Head to the Left)" by Andrew Bird.

No one knew what would happen when the Large Hadron Collider was turned on. Predictions ranged from “nothing” to “the apocalypse”. Most scientists hoped to add a few more infinitesimal particles to their repertoire, but everyone admitted it was a ten billion dollar crapshoot.

The Higgs Boson revolutionized physics. And then it sat around.

It should have flashed into and out of existence like lightning, but it persevered – finding microenvironments – like a candle, or better, the sun. Or, someone proposed, a turtle.

It was biologists who finally realized what had been created. After all, what is life if not self-preservation?

No, Physics was never my strong suit - and yes, I know that the premise here is innately implausible. After all, if the Higgs Boson explains mass, and also explains life, then all mass would have life - which isn't true. But it's a drabble and, I'll be honest, I don't much care. So there.

In Palo Alto news, I not only now have an apartment, but I have furniture for said apartment! So, friends, if you visit the Bay Area at some point in September or later, I will have a sofa-bed for you to sleep on (it was not in stock; lame!). And I will likely have an air mattress much sooner. ^_^

Today started out a "I have nothing to do!" day and ended up a "Oh gosh I am so exhausted" day. I set up water, gas, and electric service and got out just about all my furniture (except for a coffee table, a desk, and stuff for outside -- which is significant when I think about it, but not essential. I might also need more bookshelves. And a ladder.). Phone/Internet is being a pain (Comcast is pricey and I don't want cable, Verizon is being obnoxious and apparently does not recognize my address -- wha?). Next Tuesday is the big day, and I am excited!

Tomorrow I make the trek up to San Francisco (I didn't before because it was especially "cold" and I was foolish and only brought shorts - silly me, it being late July and all). I'll try to find circusy goodness! And possibly other cool stuff as well. Upon second look, the time in transit by train appears to actually be 1.5 hr, not 2 hr, which is still half again as much as direct by car, but it's actually what I was doing in Chicago. So, we shall see.

Of course, the UCSF campus is (conveniently?) located about 2 minutes' walk from the circus place. I know this because to go to circus, I get off at the UCSF train stop. Hah.

That's why UCSF students take longer on average to graduate: they have more (awesome) things to distract them.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Anonymous Writers' Club

An idea that came to me while eyeing journals in an open pavillion outside Borders.

Julie hid between the bookshelves, vandal’s pen shaking between her fingers. If they found her, they would make her buy the journal, and that would be no use. She opened it to a random page –at first glance it would still appear unsullied.

“Gentle writer,” she inscribed, gaining confidence. “Fate has selected you. Bring dessert and something original.
“700 Elm Street #6
“8:00 PM Wednesday

Someone approached. Lightning fast, Julie hid her pen and shut the journal, pretending to examine its cover. The clerk passed, and she carefully replaced the book on its shelf and slipped into the night.

In other news, I have a home! For reals! It is super - de - duper exciting, actually! It's a beautiful place, with a large living room and a big bedroom and new appliances and a front patio and a back yard and tons of storage and lots of light and I can have a garden and all sorts of stuff and it's just absolutely wonderful. It's in this quiet residential neighborhood a short bike from campus and from downtown (read: "downtown") Palo Alto! Hooray! I would post pictures, but I do not have the cord to go from my camera to my computer, so you shall have to wait until I get back home, at which point I will have pictures with some furniture as well. Hooray again!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Long Lost Friends

Inspired by "Holler at them down these hallowed halls" from "Tables and Chairs" by Andrew Bird.

Ayn's story can be found here.

Her laugh was thunder on the quad – loud, sudden, and unmistakable.

“Ashley?!” Years ago, I would have run and tackled her joyously. I was no longer so energetic.

“Emily?” she asked, shocked. “What are you doing here?”

“I live here.” I should be the surprised one. “You disappeared without a trace. We searched, but…”

“John was redeployed. We had to leave immediately. I lost track of you in the shuffle.” She was crying. “I never thought I’d see you again.”

I pulled her brittle bones into a fierce hug. “You should have called.”

“I know. I’m sorry. I missed you.”

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Picking up Chicks

Inspired by "My dewy-eyed disney bride what has tried swapping your blood with formaldehyde" from Fake Palindromes by Andrew Bird.

Ayn's story can be found here.

It was Mike’s lucky night – loud music, a friendly crowd, and an open seat next to a Barbie-doll blonde. She turned as he sat down; huge blue eyes and a pout. He grinned. “I’m Mike.”

“Alice,” she sighed.

“What’s wrong?”

Her eyes filled with tears. “Nothing,” she smiled weakly, pulling her shoulders back. Mike’s mouth went dry. “I just hate… crowds,” she edged intoxicatingly close. “But you seem nice.”

He thought he’d hit the jackpot until he saw the surgical scalpel on her bedside table. Oh, Shit. She kissed him as she tied his hands, though, and he forgot everything.

I am less than surprised that the drabble I wrote and the drabble Ayn wrote are remarkably similar, because, well, it's a fairly direct line? Or song? Or something? Maybe I'll try a figurative take on this one, just to see what I come up with. Also, I'll try to post drabbles more religiously; I have one more I wrote on the plane out here.

At the moment, I am searching for apartments (housing housing everywhere but not a room to rent!). We saw a really nice one bedroom today, with a very fifties feel and a tiny kitchen but tons of outdoor space (I could have climbing roses maybe, and a small kitchen garden definitely!) with a nice bedroom and a pretty big living room today. It's at the top of my price range, but the outdoor space is so very nice (and I think I would strangle myself if I lived in Palo Alto and didn't spend lots of time outside. It would be stupid). I've submitted an application. We also saw another one bedroom that was probably equally nice, but I got spooked by the packed open house and sort of... ran away. It was on a busier street and did not have a quarter of the outdoor space, so I can pretend that it was because I didn't like it as much, but the kitchen and the bathroom were a lot nicer and really it was the packed open house that scared me away. I don't like being stared at for no reason. Not at all!

Cool thing about Palo Alto #1: The downtown area has free wireless. I was surprised -- the entire downtown area (admittedly not very large since it's a small town suburb, but still) has free wireless. Now if I could just get my computer to hook up to it.

Cool thing about Palo Alto #2: "The Go Game"; a corporate teambuilding scavenger hunt. It's based in San Francisco, but I inadvertently sat next to a musician acting as a musical quiz at the end of one such scavenging/teambuilding exercise. It seemed really super awesome until I learned that it was corporate teambuilding and not just fun times. Really, I just wanted Harajuku Fun Madness to be real (as anyone else who has read Little Brother probably agrees with me on). But if I wanted that, I would probably have to create it myself, and either I am lazy enough not to do so, or my priorities are such that other things (like "Genetics") probably come first. Besides, I wouldn't want to run said scavenger hunt, I would want to run around the city taking part in said scavenger hunt.

Cool thing about Palo Alto #3: Although there are mountains on the horizon, the town here is surprisingly flat, making bicycling easy and reasonable. Huzzah! For some reason I had assumed there would be hills (probably because there are in San Francisco) and I am pleased with the Plateau or Mesa status of the town. It will make it easier to get to work in the morning.

Cool thing about Palo Alto #4 (and 5?): Farmers' market. Watermelon, $.39/lb. Avocados, 2 for $3. Everything smelled delicious! Also, a beautiful used book store we found when we asked a waiter for a "bookstore" thinking he would direct us to a borders where we could buy a map of the area. Gorgeous books, gorgeous book store, deserves more time spent wandering just because it's amazing, but as the owner said, "[they] only have old maps."

Cool thing about Palo Alto #6: There are four or five independent/old movie theatres showing, in total, probably 10-15 different old/independent movies at any one time. Whoah! I'd like to find a movie theatre showing mainstream/new stuff as well, but this town has independent cinema coming out of its ears!

Less than cool thing about Palo Alto #1: It's really... upscale. I mean, I thought the suburb my folks live in in Maryland was yuppie. But this puts it to shame. It's astonishing. I don't think I can afford anything at any of the shops. I will have to find somewhere else to get things like "clothing" and "furniture". At least farmers' markets are still cheap, so as long as I don't go out to eat I should be okay on food. My dad is worried that the apartment I choose be "safe". My mom thinks he's crazy: safe from what?

Less than cool thing about Palo Alto #2: It's an hour outside of the city. Two hours by public transit. And for Silks, I could go north to San Francisco (predicted transit time: 45 minutes), slightly farther south to Santa Cruz, or about twice as far east to Stockton. Which, well, it sucks.

Tomorrow I am taking the day off of apartment hunting and heading down (up?) to SF to revel in its awesome. (And to try and make heads or tails of the bay area public transit system -- as Alex says, Caltrain FTW!) Not entirely sure what I'll do once I'm there, but I'll figure something out. If nothing else, the museum of modern art (or some such) is a short walk from the Caltrain station, I think.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Miscellaneous Drabbles (three of them!)

One for Friday, one for Saturday, and one for Sunday.

First; Speed Racer Sullivan, inspired by "We'll give you a context and we'll give you a name" from Measuring Cups by Andrew Bird. Ayn's drabble for the same (or a similar, this time we win) can be found here.

His parents weren’t going for subtlety when they named him Speed Racer Sullivan. Then again, with a father in NASCAR and a mother who raced motorcycles, perhaps his name was the least of his worries. He was driving (on private property of course) at age twelve. He got his first speeding ticket at sixteen. By nineteen, he avoided tickets by outrunning the cops. And at twenty-five, he left the land speed record in the dust. But then again, with that upbringing, and that name, perhaps it would be disappointing if Speed was anything less than the fastest man on earth.

Next, "A Friendly Face", inspired by the 5'4", 26-year-old bouncer I talked to on Thursday night, commiserating about being sober and small in a bar full of sloppily drunk, large people.

Andrew had an agreeable face; people never disagreed with him. Which is why it was surprising that he instigated a bar fight.

“We’re full,” the bouncer had said. Andrew was about to turn around when he heard the patrons shouting.

“C’mon, let ‘im in!”

“Yeah, he’s small – he’ll fit!”

“We’re full.”

Andrew turned, eyes widening. He raced inside the bar. The bouncer tried to grab him until he saw Andrew was saving his neck - snatching a beer bottle from a patron’s raised arm. “Play nice,” Andrew said sternly.

“D’you want a job?” the manager shouted from behind the bar.

And, finally, "Ecstasies Innumerable" (yes, that's a Peter Pan reference, because I couldn't write three drabbles without one Peter Pan reference.)

Agnes never did slow dances. Give her a line dance and she would tear up the floor. Swing or Salsa, Okay. She moshed like a champion and looked graceful jumping up and down to punk. But she was the wallflower of all wallflowers when a slow dance played. Rolling her eyes, she grabbed a glass of water and sat down to listen; “My Heart Will Go On.” She felt, rather than saw, someone sit down next to her.

“I hate slow dances,” came a small voice. “No one asks me.”

Agnes smiled at her cousin. “May I have this dance?”

It's called epMotion

And, my friends, it is hilarious.

Watch the video here.

It's a real commercial, for a real product. I don't think it's a real boy band, though.

I have three or so drabbles to post, but I'll do that later. This couldn't wait. Between it and Doctor Horrible, my days have been full of delightfully geeky music.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Love at First Sight

Inspired by the word "Cupidity"; a drabble which I had to make both about love and about greed (since cupidity is avarice, and has nothing to do with cupid).

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Sheridan asked as her best friend Linda modeled the thousand-dollar wedding gown.

“Of course it is. Why wouldn’t it be?”

“He’s your fourth husband.”


“You’ve only known him six weeks.”

Linda raised her eyebrows. “You’re just jealous – jealous of my fabulously wealthy Prince Charming.”

Sheridan sighed. “Might I remind you that I’m happily married?”

“And middle class,” Linda scoffed. Sheridan rolled her eyes.

“How do you know you love him, anyway?”

“It was love at first sight,” Linda replied loftily. Sheridan wondered if “first sight” included seeing his checking account balance.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Their Own Best Customers

I saw a program on television about aging, and what we can or can not do to stop it. At the end of the program, the host surveyed people, asking the question: If someone handed you a potion promising eternal youth, (and it was guaranteed to work), would you take it? He said that young people said no while older people said yes -- but what I noticed was that the "older people" he surveyed were principally the researchers he interviewed earlier in the show -- aging researchers.

Which sort of cemented my belief that the people who want to stay young forever are, principally, aging researchers, and prompted this. I'm not sure if it doesn't need more fleshing out (and if that would just require more words).

No one knew whether it was a boon or a curse to aging research; all they knew was if you wanted to get into that field, you were a hundred years too late. There just weren’t any job openings, and because of the serum no one was dying – or getting any older – any time soon. In fact, aging research was one of the few fields fundamentally changed by the serum. So while some biologists stayed young forever and athletes stayed twenty-five until they died in tragic accidents, the rest of us lived as humans have always lived: short, bright lives.

The other thing it made me think of, because I am a huge nerd, is a future in which humans are, basically, Time Lords: time travel + regenerative medicine. You can live forever, just not necessarily in your same body.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

When You're Here, You're Family

Initially, this was going to be about Glenwood. But this is a simpler concept and, I think, more suited to a drabble.

The sign promised friendly service. It was, certainly, prompt.

“I’ll have the Fried Chicken, please.”

“Are you sure?”


“You don’t want a salad?”

Sarah tried to laugh. “No.”

“It’s just… No offense, dear, but you could lose a few pounds.”

Sarah’s eyes bugged out. “Can I speak to your manager?”

“I suppose you’ll have mashed potatoes and a milkshake too?”

“You know what, I’m leaving.” Sarah picked up her bag and stood. The gall!

“Ungrateful,” she heard the waitress say. “I was only trying to be helpful.”

Nobody spoke to her like that.

Nobody except, Sarah realized, her mother.

One of the divers has taken to informing me of how young I look on a semi-regular basis. Today he told me that my brother looks much, much older than I do. Which, of course, I know (it's the beard. If I had a beard, I would look older), and which, of course, has become if anything a joke between Kevin and me. But when it comes to the kid who told me his mom mistook me for an adolescent boy (dang it, not again!) I still end up feeling sort of odd. Thanks, John.

I think he does it because he's tiny -- much smaller than the other boys in his age group -- and he's trying to emphasize a similarity between himself and me (we are both small and look younger than we are). But that might be the Polyanna in me speaking. Maybe he just likes annoying me.

Trapped in a Time Loop

In Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next novels, one of the punishment for villians who are so dangerous conventional prisons could not hold them is a "Time Loop" -- the character would be incarcerated not in a jail cell but in a period of time a certain length long. One of the most severe examples is one character who is trapped in an eight second loop: forever repeating the same eight seconds.

This summer has felt like I'm trapped in a time loop; reliving the same day (or, if I'm lucky, week) from some summer during high school. Sleeping, diving, arguing with my mother, napping, diving, arguing with my mother some more, eating, maybe seeing a friend if I'm lucky (and these are exclusively high school friends, only serving to accentuate the feeling of a dream) and then going to sleep again. It feels like months, years, eons have passed and no progress has been made - that the years I have lived have sort of folded in on themselves and I'm back at the start again, no different except perhaps a little bit worse for wear. Perhaps the most interesting thing is that it isn't my time in Chicago that feels ethereal and dream-like. It's this summer, now. I keep thinking I'll wake up in the apartment on 54th, or in the dorm, and I'll be back to my old life (my real life), the life that was mine and not my mother's or my parents'. (The life that I almost screwed up completely, several times, but somehow managed not to). The life with the people that my parents don't know, and the places that they barely know, and the wonderful wonderful city that they only think they know.

And, fittingly enough for a dream, everything seems to revolve around Chicago. Like a beacon, drawing me back (or an anchor keeping me from drifting away). From things like a report about a beetle that kills ash trees (from China by way of the Midwest) invading a DC suburb to things like my ex moving out to Chicago to things like movies being filmed there (I cannot wait for Dark Knight, but did you know Wanted was filmed and set in Chicago?) or television shows mentioning it (apparently Wicker Park/Bucktown is now the "center of cool") or the baseball teams doing well or that one commercial for Aquafina water that seems to always be playing where Lou Pinella pretends to yell at that umpire. I realize it's just my memory, my own predisposition to now notice things Chicago-centric causes me to see what I ignored before, it's just my brain playing tricks on me. But my brain is doing a very, very good job at it; at accentuating the recursion, and the surreality, of my current existence.

I've started telling people I'm from California just to make the time I'm going to spend at Stanford more real. Maybe if I started seeing San Francisco in everything, rather than Chicago, it would make this transition easier. The problem, of course, is that then they ask questions that I cannot answer. If I said I was from Chicago, I could answer more of their questions. Perhaps because I almost am from Chicago. Not quite, but almost. I tried wandering around the District when I was in a mood, and it feels like it ever felt -- a memorial, a monument to our greatness, a palace to the federal government, in the style of the Greeks and the Romans. Not a real city. Not a real city where you are dwarfed by the buildings and feel the press of the masses around you. It felt more like Hyde Park than downtown Chicago. My sense of direction was nonexistent (or rather, perhaps, it was just that I didn't know where things were; I didn't have the lake to pinpoint east). I did better than some of my friends who went to rural or suburban campuses. But mostly I just felt vaguely lost, like it was a miracle I made my way to my destination at all.

When Kevin came to visit for Graduation, I gave him directions on how to get from O'Hare to Hyde Park -- take the train downtown and a cab from there. He says that when he stepped out of the subway station into downtown (Blue line to Clark, I believe) he just sort of stared for a second, thinking "Oh, I really am in a city." When I set foot in San Francisco I had an almost-similar reaction. I stepped out of the subway and stared at the buildings for a second thinking either "Where did this hill come from?" or "I'm home" -- I can't really identify which one, or what combination thereof, it was. But the funniest thing for me, the most drop-dead hilarious part of that, was the fact that I was traveling with two people from the area, from Berkeley I believe, and I was the one who found our hotel. Admittedly, the hotel was two blocks away and I only really needed to be looking for the signs. Admittedly, I didn't know what neighborhood it was in or where that fit into other neighborhoods, which were good or bad or ugly or otherwise whatever. But the point remains that it felt comfortable, good, solid; it reminded me of home.

That, of course, could not have been the suburban DC home in which I was raised, or even Rogers Park or Hyde Park. It was downtown Chicago, which has for some strange reason been connected with "home" in my mind even though I have never lived there. (Maybe it's subconscious, a lost memory from my third-or-some-such day of existence; I was born there). I already know, going in to Stanford, that visiting the city once a month will not be sufficient for me. That I will want to be a part of the city as much as I was a part of the city living in Hyde Park (perhaps more, since it is one of my regrets that I didn't get to know Chicago better than I do). That I will want to (need to?) feel the press and the peace of urban anonymity - surrounded by strangers and yet completely and totally alone. I find it funny that I think of a crowded coffee shop in the middle of a city as being just as peaceful and centering an experience as standing alone on top of a mountain. And perhaps that's because your chances of meeting someone and starting a conversation are about equal in either place; because the chances that you will be noticed in either place are about equal. There's something nice about watching the world churn, watching society shuffle and sprint about and feeling a part of it all and separate from it all simultaneously.

All of which is perhaps a long, rambling way to say "I'm bored, I'm vaguely lonely, I want to make a home for myself, I want it to be in a city like Chicago." It will be nice to visit next weekend, and wonderful to see people and absolutely amazing to celebrate Mia and Ryan and their wedding, but I think it will be strange to stay in a hotel. Sort of detached, or detaching.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Inspired by the word "Tutelage", from several days back.

“I am not your Latin tutor. I am here to speak… profess?… my sincere, ardent, and overwhelming adoration for your sister. I cast myself upon your mercy; with a… demand? Surely you mean plea… that you shall engineer a meeting for us.” She looked up and cherished the pale, stricken look in his face. “I do not believe that Virgil ever wrote that, Mister Clarke.”

He blushed. “No, it is my own creation.”

“Your own creation?” she laughed. “Well, your grammar could use some revision. As could your knowledge of your audience. I have never been known for my mercy.”

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Inspired by the line "You were a Cosmonaut in the space between our chairs" from "Armchairs"

All of her time spent underwater in high-pressure suits could not prepare her for the vertigo of stepping out of the shuttle for the first time, knowing there was absolutely nothing (not even ground after a fall) beneath her. She assumed that all the preparation in the world would be insufficient for that. But as she gazed down at the foreign planet, and repaired her radio antenna, she was filled with a renewed determination. She was almost there – her own home was light-years behind her.

When the aliens had kidnapped her brother, they chose the wrong girl to mess with.

I'm going to say that I took this past weekend off of writing because of my birthday, and yesterday off because of the delayed dive meet. And we'll pretend that it's true and I'm not just lazy.

Also, I'm not going to feel guilty about not being "more dedicated" to a hobby. Because that is silly. If anything, I should feel guilty that I am not doing any science this summer.

Although that is sort of the point.

ETA: So, apparently, I wrote to the wrong quote. Oops! Ayn's story can be found here.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Jekyll and Hyde

Last night, at the fireworks concert (plans changed at the last minute because one friend desperately wanted to see the mediocre concert that they put on to go with the fireworks) Brian Stokes Mitchell (of Broadway fame) sang an incredibly sappy song called "This is the Moment" to Olympic Athletes, supposedly about how amazing it is to have your moment in the Olympic sun.

I was surprised that I knew all the words, and concluded that it had to be from some Broadway show or another, but could not for the life of me determine which one. That's because I did not expect it to be from "Jekyll and Hyde", a show I have neither seen nor heard the entire soundtrack to, but apparently heard excerpts from at some point or another, and they stuck in my memory.

The point is, I suppose, that creating a potion that unlocks the purest aggression and anger in the human spirit and turns you into a violent, brutal monster is really analogous to going to the Olympics. In every way imaginable.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

How I Came to be Standing Here, Half Naked, and More Than a Bit Tipsy, at a Bus Stop, at Two in the Morning (revised)

With a redone ending, thanks to Ayn's comments.

All I’m saying, all I’m say… saying, is… you should listen to what I’m saying. It’s… you would think that maybe you would think about con-conse-consek effects before you’re a real prick to your brother. I mean, it’s basic kindness, famil-famil-family-family-al bonds and whatnot. Bros before… not bros. Blood is thicker than wine?

‘Scuse me. I’m not… I’m not like this. I didn’t drink tonight, I just… well... I had a little bit, just a little bit, you know, to calm me down. You know how it is. It’s just… I just… he’s my brother. I can’t just hate him.

I think this is better, but I'm still not certain about it. One idea I had was to add footnotes; the sober person the next morning explaining what actually happened -- they would be didactic and verbose in tone -- but I don't know exactly how that would work, or if it would work well, either. And besides, I'm not sure they're necessary and I'm also not sure what the story would be that they told.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

One Day, She Just Left

For Pat, who inspired this with his crazy stories of moving in.

“Your asking price…”

“It’s too high?”


“We could work something out,”

“No, that’s not it, it’s half of anything else I’ve found.”



“Well… it’s rather… bright.”




“The walls, they’re bright pink.”

“Can’t you paint them?”

“Um… well… no. The lease said no painting.”

“Well, it can’t be that bad, can it?”

“That’s what we say; it’s rather… cheerful, sort of.”

“Can I talk to the girl who’s moving out?”

“Oh… um… she’s not here.”

“Do you know where she is?”

“Um… I don’t think she can get calls.”


“We don’t… talk about her.”