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Entry 22 The Girls Who Don't Shut Up

"My mom said I could do clubs after school," Atalaya told me as we walked from Honors English to biology lecture Friday morning. "Actually my dad talked her in to it. I have a step-sister who goes to Bryn Mawr."

"What's Bryn Mawr?" I asked.

"It's Seven Sisters, like the Ivy League but they started out smaller and all female."

"It's a college."

"Yes, it's in Haverford, outside Philadelphia. Anyway, Vasti, my step sister she's real smart. We text each other and IM each other at night. We used to go skiing together when we lived out west. She had bad ankles and feet, but she could still ski really well. We'd race eachother down the hill and uphill through the back country, you know side stepping."

I did not know anything about skiing. I tried to picture the runt on skis.

"Those skis must be bigger than you," I said.

"Yeah, but I can control them. So can Vashti. Fat kids can still ski and ice skate. Vashti's real fat. People always make jokes when they see us together. I mean people come in different shapes."

I couldn't fathom that one. I mean, no one makes jokes about Stasch and me, but then again we both are fair haired. Stasch is blond, and my hair is light brown but our hair is baby fine and Stasch wears a full cut bowl bob and I wear a pony tail. I like having long hair.

"And please be real gentle to Koli," Atalaya switched tacks or maybe it was tracks. "Her parents are giving her a rough time about chores and Legion D'Honneur and Model UN. I hope Joshua's parents can talk sense in to them. I mean, she's the best French student in the school."

We were at the auditorium and headed in for lecture. That meant the end of Atalya's monologue. We hd Koli, Joshua, and Lenny sitting with us. If we bunched up we heard less of the idiots in the back of the room. Do not ask me why we always had to watch out for idiots? Perhaps idiots are just a fact of life.

We had a quiz instead of lecture and the teachers said it would be graded by 3pm. Then they started lecturing on parts of a cell. It was neat to copy the diagrams from the data projector and the electron micrographs looked unreal. I guess anything that small looks artificial. That is why I like classes like metal shop and fixing bikes and even geometry with its big drawings on the board. If you draw something it is not abstract because drawings are real. I like real things I can make with my hands and understand with my mind. Itty bitty cells don't cut it, though again the diagrams aren't half bad.

Economics now had the thrill of the chase. Atalaya caught the teacher in a debate over whether the model of intersecting lines we'd been using for supply and demand was really a good description of reality. You, reader, all ready know the answer. If you don't know, then think about it. I might study and learn the algebra of the lines, but Atalaya was the one wtih the bigger questions.

She asked if businesses were in perfect competition and whether advertising distorted the curves and whether consumers were rational in their sole consideration of price. Then the teacher got bored with Atalaya and gave a quiz. She got extra paper out of her looseleaf and wrote paragraphs next to and below all her diagrams. She was going to do it her way... and come Monday she was going to be in trouble. I did not feel good about this. I knew this was a fact of life. I wished poor Atalaya who really likes economics had steered clear of this.

"This isn't Bryn Mawr," I told her as we headed for geometry.

"I don't want my social studies dumbed down," Atalaya protested.

"Of all the things in the world to fight for," sighed Koli.

"What do you want?" Atalaya asked her.

"To do good and go to college," she replied. Then she stopped. "I'd like for my grandmother to either get better or die. She's been in a bad way for so long we just keep going round in circles. She's old. Maybe it's her time and she doesn't know it. I'm sorry."

"It's all right," answered Atalaya.

"The new preacher was at our house," said Koli. "He sweet talked my parents. He wanted to sweet talk me, but I don't like him."

"He's got no depth of soul," the two girls returned to chopping on the preacher. I tried to tune them out.

You can tell, I couldn't tune them out. "I mean, I don't want a clergy person who is just like me. If I wanted that, I'd look in the mirror."

"What do you want?" I asked Koli.

"I want a man who's learned in scripture. He doesn't just use it to bang people over the head with it though. I want the poetry to come out. I like poetry. It has class. I want the preacher to say sad things because grandma is fixing to die some day and be sick a whole lot longer. I want him to offer up fancy prayers when we take Grandma to Louisville for treatments. I want him to pick out the prettiest psalms. I want it prettier than here and better than here. If you believe in a better world in the next world, then you want a little bit of it for here."

"Wait until we have comparative religion in social studies," Atalaya said to Koli.

"Yeah, but this is not just for school. It's for living."

It was time for geometry so the girls had to shut up then. It was time to take the board and crowd out the slackers. I hoped our teacher would just plain stop counting them soon.

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