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19:22 - Saturday, Jul. 31, 2004
I was brushing my hair and it had two white-gold streaks in it like I had done them with lemon juice. Also, we watched capuchin monkeys for half an hour. They were peeling their own bananas and cracking pine nuts on the bars of their cage. A gorilla kept regurgitating its leaf diet into one of its gigantic hands and eating it again, showing its teeth to onlookers so they would know the gorilla didn't want people to watch it vomiting.
Almost the best exhibit in the zoo were the peacocks, which roamed freely with their tail feathers up and shaking to demonstrate their need for a mate. Children kept running by and plucking tail feathers from the peacocks' plumage. One childless man yelled at a little boy, 'How would YOU like it if someone pulled YOUR feathers, YOU LITTLE BRAT?!' Another mother told her twins that if they were to pull any tail feathers, they 'can't watch that movie.. for a WEEK!'
Leaving the peacocks, there was a girl walking in front of us in platform shoes and a short pink shirt that showed off the tattoo she had on the top part of her ass: 'Fiesty', in cursive.
I think... no, I KNOW, that it would totally suck to have something tattooed on your ass permanently that's spelled wrong.

22:16 - Thursday, Jul. 29, 2004
the day geology let out early
The Day Geology Let Out Early

The day geology let out early was a day she never thought would actually come. Geology was a two hour long lecture that came at the time of day when the sun was at its strongest, and it was a class that took place in the basement of a building air-conditioned to 45 degrees. Geology covered things like minerology and how metamorphic rocks metamorphized. She would usually just sit in geology and think about other things; things that didn't take place in the mantle, things that were not heated by volcanic rock or affected by dissolving water.
Today she was sitting a few people down from the girl with the lip ring. The girl with the lip ring often wore huge shell necklaces and long ruffled skirts and always talked about how baked she was the night before. Her lip ring caused her to constantly hold her bottom lip rigidly out from her gum and talk like she had a mouthful of water, but it also cradled her mouth as snugly and naturally as an oyster cradles its pearl. The girl with the lip ring smoked a lot of cigarettes outside during breaks and draped her arms around a guy with a buzz cut and a missing tooth, resting her head on his twitching T-shirted shoulder. The guy with the buzz cut and missing tooth who twitched all the time like he was on crystal meth pretended like she was bothering him by doing that, but when she went away he would smile dreamily into the sun with his eyes that looked like they could beat the sun in a fair fight, being so bright with chemicals and all.
She thought about how if she were the guy with the buzz cut and missing tooth, she would never pretend she didn't want the girl with the lip ring resting her head on her shoulder. She would know that if she pretended well enough, the girl with the lip ring would eventually go away and find someone else. She thought that even while the girl with the lip ring was smoking cigarettes and recalling being so stoned she couldn't lift her head, she was beautiful.
Instead of being in geology, she wanted to be at the beach in Chicago in 1994. At the beach in Chicago in 1994 the last of the dead alewives had just washed or been cleaned off the shore, and she had one beach token for herself and one beach token for her best friend who lived across the street. She also had a brand new pink bathing suit and a tan that she had gotten from rotating like a spit in the backyard on a towel with a Judy Blume book. That was the summer when her best friend across the street got a Super Soaker. That was the summer when they had Super Soaker wars with the rest of the kids on the block, and always won, because their parents had been willing to buy the newest kind with the double barrels and secret emergency supply trigger.
In geology, the boy sitting in front of her took out a blanket and covered his sandaled feet with it. She wished that his blanket were long enough to extend back and cover hers, too. Girls in tank tops surreptitiously tried to cover their nipples, which were sticking out from the cold. She could see the sunlight filtering in from the windows by the ceiling. The teacher was talking about plate tectonics. He was impersonating a farmer who had just had his crops destroyed by a earthquake. He was hitching his pants up and curling his top lip over his bottom one and affecting a dumb, slow-sounding Southern accent as he complained about the earthquake that had just made it impossible for him to grow his crops. Then he transformed back into prizewinning geologist form and explained how the farmer was stupid for setting up his farmland on top of a faultline.
She thought about how the farmer would not be able to eat or feed his family until his crops started to grow in a new place, or if he would even start farming again. She thought about the farmer working in a Safeway. She pictured him in a red, white and blue uniform putting thousands of tons of fruit in pyramid formation on the display shelves. She was still thinking about it when the teacher dismissed class.
She looked up and it was 3:30, instead of 4:30, when he was supposed to dismiss class. He was closing his PowerPoint presentation and the teacher's pet was asking a question about whether earthquakes happen in Colorado. The teacher's pet wanted to make sure her apartment wasn't on a faultline, and ask when the teacher's office hours were so she could discuss whether or not her apartment was on a faultline in further detail.
The teacher said he didn't have any office hours that week because he was mapping a section of the Front Range over the long weekend. He said that there weren't any major faultlines in Boulder and that her apartment was probably going to be fine. He said it with a straight face, too.
What she really wanted to do, now that her wishes had come true and geology had let out early, was play basketball. She was supposed to play basketball at 4:30, but now that she had the chance, she wanted to play basketball earlier so she could get home earlier and find secret bonus levels on Donkey Kong Country 3 before her roommate came home and wanted to watch Sex and the City DVDs.
She left the geology building in search of a free telephone that she could use to call him and tell him to come play basketball with her. There was a free telephone in the library, but it had been disconnected. Someone had written 'THIS PHONE IS TAPPED' on it with thick black permanent market, and someone else had come along and scratched it out. They had only scratched it out with ballpoint pen though, so it was still visible. A boy walked by and saw her staring at it. He looked suspicious. He looked like he had ants in his nose, the way he was twitching it. She went to the chemistry building instead and used the phone there, outside of a door that said 'DANGER: PROTECTIVE EYEWEAR AND LONG PANTS REQUIRED.'
At his end there was no answer. This was because he was out setting up a scavenger hunt for her to find when she got outside to her bicycle. When she called him, he was taping clue #3 to the underside of an engraved bench. It was starting to rain. When it started to rain, he lifted the clue back off. Then he went to the other clues and removed them, too. He put them in his backpack to use on another day when it wasn't raining. The rain would make the clues soggy and transparent, and he didn't want himself or her to ride around under the spilling clouds looking for clues that would only lead to the basketball courts at 4:30.
By the time she hung up the phone it was pouring. She didn't mind that it was pouring. She was just happy that geology had let out early. Geology never let out early, and she always wished that it would. Geology was the kind of class where one got the feeling that if it let out early every day, they wouldn't learn any less; they would just be a lot more cheerful.
She checked out two books, put them in her backpack, and walked out the revolving east doors of the library. It was raining so hard it was like God was washing his car. The rain was hitting the ground so hard that it foamed back up out of the sewers. People were running around frantically because none of them had thought to bring umbrellas to school that day. There was a woman with the Onion over her head, and the humor was getting all wet. Over in the depression where the library's sculpture was, there were two kids stomping their feet gleefully. Seeing the kids stomping their feet made her want to go over and stomp her feet with them, or at least stomp hers harder and get them all wet. They would have loved it. She knew she would have loved it, back then. It made her think about the last marching band game she played trumpet at in high school, where all the seniors stood under an awning and played the fight song for the last time. She had screwed up all of her high G's because she was looking at the boy who played timpani during the non-football season. His curly hair was getting all wet and growing longer and longer, creeping down the back of his raincoat without him noticing. She looked at him eating M&M's and hugging himself under his raincoat and remembered how he played the timpani in concert: wildly.
Instead of marching home in triple file with everyone else, she and her closest friend who was a flag girl lost themselves in the streams of spectators who were dragging themselves to their cars and complaining about the canceled game. Her friend who was a flag girl took off her flag girl shoes and tramped in all the puddles, getting her flag girl uniform all muddy. She took her friend who was a flag girl's arm and ran in the gutters at the sides of the streets all the way back to the music room, blowing her trumpet the whole way back. The band director was probably yelling, but he didn't want to run in the rain and the puddles and get himself all dirty and wet.
They did want to get all dirty and wet, in one way to celebrate the end of high school, and in another just to celebrate a rainy day.
She was so glad that geology being let out early had made that come into her mind. It was such a nice thing to think about when it was raining and everyone else was terrified.
So she left the library to go stomp water with the kids by the sculpture, and as she was approaching, the kids just beginning to look at her with rounded wary eyes, lightning reached down and switched her thoughts to electricity.
When the boy who had been setting up the scavenger hunt found out about it, it was strange. All he could think about was at lunch that day when she had asked him how he would have felt were he to have jammed grapes down her throat by accident when he was trying to feed her and she choked to death.


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