"The most accurate cross-section in months"

6:45 The edge of my consciousness perceives less light in the window than usual at this time of day. Maybe it will rain for once
7:30 Wake up to the sound of my roommate getting ready to go to work. For some reason, I decide this is a valid excuse to roll over and sleep for a few more minutes
7:40 Wake up and realize I have to get to class by 8:20, and since my bike has flat tires, it will take about 30 minutes to get there. 60 seconds washing hair, 90 seconds of assorted daily hygiene, 30 seconds making a lame-ass ham sandwich, 30 seconds filling up a water bottle, 60 seconds packing and unpacking y backpack, 15 seconds finding my guitar case, 60 seconds filling it with guitar, notebook, sandwich, and homework due in class at 8:20, 15 seconds locking the door on the way out, 30 seconds unlocking the house , grabbing water bottle, and relocking, and I'm on the street by 7:55
8:15 Arrive at classroom, join others sitting outside. Members of the 8:10 group realize the TA is not going to tell them when to come in, so they go in to find her waiting.
8:25 The 8:10 group stops singing and starts leaving, so I lead the 8:20 group in entering the classroom. I open my guitar case and discover the assignment I grabbed was my probability theory homework, and not my voice class homework. My group practices singing Simple Gifts a few times (an octave above middle C seems to push my vocal range), gets a few enunciation and dynamics tips, and then turns in the homework. I'm forgiven and given till the end of the day to turn mine into the TA's mailbox.
8:35 Begin the new and improved 20 minute walk to my house from the Music building
9:25 Arrive at my next class, which is closer than the Music building to my house, and briefly wonder why every trip back and forth is taking a different amount of time than I expect. The professor teaches us rudimentary MIPS assembly instructions that we all had to learn out of the book to complete the homework that was due on Monday. I pass the time playing a fighter plane game on my friend's Palm V, asking him questions about Final Fantasy V, and dozing.
10:45 Wake up and leave the classroom, to meet a friend of mine for lunch. She didn't have time to pack one herself, so we walk to a Chinese place across campus. She has to study for her Psychology of Gender class, so she practices by reading and explaining her notes for the past month to me. Interesting stuff. I take her notes, quiz her on things, and we discuss points her professor failed to account for. I could have been a Psych major, I understand it so well, she tells me. I refrain from saying that I could have been anything I wanted, if I'd realized engineering wouldn't satisfy any of my creative needs a little earlier. She stops eating and puts her napkin on her plate. I'm shocked she didn't take the opportunity to consume all the vegetables on her plate, and tell her she should do so. She gives me a look I cannot interpret, then throws her plate away a few minutes later.
12:20 Walking through campus, my friend points out a few girls who are breaking social gender norms by wearing certain articles of clothing (backwards baseball cap, for example). I tell her good for them, they're experiencing and teaching others open-mindedness, if in relatively small doses. Why should social rules dictate our behavior? She counters that when you break those kinds of rules, you're still being controlled by them... I can't phrase her reasoning very well at the moment, but you've probably heard or thought of it before. I tell her this is something my friends and I realized in high school... by choosing not to "conform", and dying your hair or wearing all black, you're just conforming to the anti-conformist camp, and you're no more individualistic than anyone else. This seemed quite a quandary at the time (we all wanted to be "cool" and non-trendy, but this logic made it seem impossible), but I recently realized (I explained to her) that there comes a point where some people stop caring about how others will perceive their clothing, and this is the catalyst that frees some of us (I like to include myself in this group) from the social rules game.
12:35 Go to work. Very little to do, as usual. I check my mail and am glad to hear my friend up in Phoenix hasn't been asphixiated due to the smog yet.
13:15 Leave for my guitar lesson. I'd been planning on walking the mile and a half, but I see a crowd of people at the bus stop and realize that the bus strike must be over. I pay my dollar and get a transfer upon boarding.
13:25 Get off the bus at Campbell. There's a girl at the corner on a bike, and she greets me, and I realize too late (1 second after my awkward "uh, hey" and 1 second before the light turns green and she rides off) that I met her at the djembe class on Monday. I sit alone at the second bus stop for 10 minutes before I remember hearing that the strike is still on, but bus service is still available on the most frequented routes... for example, the Speedway bus I was just on, but not the Campbell bus I'm waiting for now.
14:05 My guitar teacher is not there when I arrive. I sit in his room and practice Paranoid Android until he shows up, at which time he makes a comment about the WTC bombings (and the reference fails me for about 10 seconds) and then says that he's really exhausted, and would I mind just hanging out instead of having a lesson? This saves me \$13, so I say it's fine, and he tells me about the recording studio he's been adding onto his house. Then we go outside, and he sucks down a cigarette while discussing the logistics of the plane crashes, and how many times he's watched the towers collapsed. I note that I've only watched two minutes of news coverage, and wonder why everyone is so glued to the TV. The same reason everyone slows down to look at car crashes, he says. After hearing that I'm about to walk back home, he offers me a lift.
14:45 Right before it's too late, I remember that I have to go back to campus to drop off my voice assignment, so he drives me to the music building instead. On the walk back to my house, I see a Korean grad student I know from work, and he asks me why my shirt is so dirty. I show him that it's not dirt, that's just what the inside of this shirt (I always wear it inside-out) looks like. He laughs heartily, as he does at anything that seems strange. Like the time he saw me standing on a grassy field, staring at a solitary Pepsi cup from 40 feet for no practical purpose (he thought I was performing some kind of wind experiment), or the time he saw me crawling up out of the wash next to my house (I didn't tell him I'd been toking down there, but he told me he'd be scared of seeing snakes or dead bodies), or the time he saw me wearing my You are dumb shirt.
15:00 Sit down at a computer in the library, get on E2, and read what Chomsky, McCain and the Dalai Lama have to say about the attack. Remembering how cool the last thing I read by Chomsky was, I read a few more nodes about him, and wrote down the call numbers of some of his books for the next time I want something to check out. Reading his interview transcripts is the best experience I've had all week. I turn to the right for some reason and catch the girl sitting next to me playing some variant on the Memory card game, entitled Fashion Addict. I want to grab her by the ears, look her in the eye and say something so insightful and simple that her fucked-up artifical value system crumbles and she realizes that there is so much more she could be doing in a LIBRARY of all places, but I have less than zero idea how to speak to her on her level. After a few minutes, I write down on a piece of scratch paper (an index card that used to be part of the library's search catalog, before its computerization) something to the tune of "you are a million times more than the sum of the dead animal skins you drape yourself with", but by the time I finish, she has grown weary of the game and left. On the way out, I walk over to where the TV has been set up to allow patrons to watch breaking news re: the attack, and watch a dozen people watch the tube. Then I take a picture of them and leave.
16:30 Home again. I eat some microwave-able Chunky Soup. I call the short-haired girl that I drank a couple (just enough) beers with at her place and toked with at my place and then watched the swarms of people leave the stadium after the game with on Saturday night, but she's not home. I do the dishes and a couple other chores.
17:30 I leave on foot for the apartment-like dorm across campus that I need to take a few more pictures of for a project in my Landscape Architecture class. The girl I just tried to call lives in this dorm, and it was on the second occassion that I shot pictures there (on Saturday) that she saw me in the parking lot and invited me to have a cigarette with her and her friend, and then hang out in her room and drink with them.
17:45 I stop at the McDonald's next to the dorm and sit down at one of the tables. I'm horrified to see that the menus are now displayed on screens which occassionally stop showing food item prices, and in their wake portray dancing, flying and swirling Double Cheeseburgers, cookies, and shakes. Two young boys come in with their mother, and while she goes to the bathroom they sit on swiveling stools and release some of their pent-up energy. Advertisements for shakes appear on the screen. They obediently confide their desire to consume shakes with no one in particular. One of them looks at me, a few times. I wish I could convey to him that this is a bad place, eating this food will make you fat, unhappy and enslaved. But, my unhappy facade only makes him spin less energetically, so I give him an enthusiastic smile and a few eyebrow-raises before walking out of the building. I'm saddened to see that the 'Industrial Waste' sticker I placed under the Golden Arches on the phone booth outside has already been removed. I pick up the phone's receiver and put it back upside-down.
18:30After wandering around the dorm and snapping pictures for a time, I sit down across the street and stare at the building. I take the second-to-last picture on the roll, and stand up to leave when suddenly I see the short-haired girl (yes, I know her name, just omitting it) ride up on her bicycle. At the same moment, a couple in an SUV pull up to ask me where Salpointe High School is. I tell them. They ask me if I'm sure, if I grew up in the neighborhood, if I've been there. Yes, I go to school here, I know this section of town. Once again, west to Mountain, then north to Glenn, you can't miss it. They tell me they're trying to get to a football game there. I let them know I'm sure they'll make it. They drive off and she's disappeared into her room. I sit down near one of the stairwells and stare at a concrete pillar. The patterns on it look like the patterns in a large sheet of wood. I ponder this, and come to the even more disturbing conclusion that I don't know how concrete pillars like this are even formed. I'm stalling, waiting for her to walk past me on her way to the permitted smoking area. But she hasn't, and she's not going to, and she probably thinks I'm stalking her, hanging out by her dorm, waiting for her to get back, but not acknowledging her when I see her (breaking social rules), and... I try to read her mind, and in my frustration, I start walking home, but get distracted by the cool-looking clouds and the trees next to the Wells Fargo building. I stare at these alternately for a while and keep trying to read her mind. I finally give up, and walk through the underpass to distance myself and stop wasting my energy worrying.
19:00 I knock on her door, and ask her for a couple favors. First, I need her to take a picture of me for my project. Also... could I bum a cigarette? Down at the smoking area, she asks me about my week, and I tell her about my bike tires going flat, and having to drop a class, and walking to my guitar lesson and having it cancelled. My bike tires probably got punctured while we were riding to my house on Saturday. She had fun that night. Conversation dries up as she puts out her cigarette, and I watch mine burn down for another 10 seconds. I've never gotten a buzz off a regular cigarette, except for the time I took a drag after breaking the filter off. She'd better get back to her paper.
19:30 I check out a short Noam Chomsky book at the library and start reading it on the way to my house.
19:45 Breaking the rules I set for myself for the nth time, I toke alone in my house.
19:50 I walk to Safeway to see if they can process film there. I pull out the third clove cigarette from the pack I bought specifically so I wouldn't have to smoke a regular cigarette (I'm not addicted yet) the next time she asked if I wanted to smoke and/or the next time I needed to smoke something to get suspicious odors off me. I get no buzz from it. Half a year without smoking cloves, and in two days my tolerance is back to where it was when I "quit".
20:10Safeway can process film, and there's even a big promotion, double prints of 24 exposure, 4" by 6" pictures, only \$4.99. I don't need double prints. But single prints of the same are \$5.99. I decide to try my luck at Walgreen's tomorrow... these prices seem a bit steep for a few lousy photos. It shouldn't cost as much to develop the film as it cost to buy the disposable camera (\$5 from a bum downtown). Leaving the store, I realize that I'm not even high. The second time this has happened in the past month.
20:30 I eat some Cheerios. I have to use up the milk I got on sale before it spoils (two gallons for the price of one), because my roommate won't drink 2%.
20:45 I practice my guitar for the first time in a week.
21:45 I start walking to the library. How many miles have I walked today?
0:00 I finish writing my daylog