2009-09-30: Normal Conversation



Date: September 30, 2009


Meeting in his favorite Starbucks, Gene comes across a new lady named Sydney and engages in what is likely not TRUE Normal Conversation.

"Normal Conversation"

Starbucks of Destiny

Having finally finished teaching for the day, Sydney Falkland has found her way to Starbucks—the glimmer of hope for all coffee addicts. Of course, as usual the line is considerably long, but Sydney doesn't mind; rather, she stands in line, reviewing some dissertation material on her blackberry. "Ma'am?" the woman behind the counter attempts to get her attention as it's Sydney's turn to order. Looking up, Sydney wrinkles her nose at the thought of being labelled 'ma'am', with a half-irritated sigh, she orders semi-robotically, "Tall, non-fat, half-sweet extra hot pumpkin spice latte." And then she tags on for good measure after clearing her throat, "Please."

Gene Kensington, the so-called Geek God is here. Dressed in a nice hunter green dress shirt and a pair black slacks, the young man is seemingly business causal, lacking a tie and letting the first button of his shirt remain undone. He has on some black dress shoes, which have a couple of scratches on the toe (much to his hidden dismay).

Moving to be in line, Gene moves behind Sydney, putting in his order soon after. "Mocha Frap. Big. And before you ask, I refuse to say the v-word. Thank you and have a nice day." With that, he moves to wait by the counter.

The display that Gene and his R2-D2 have made draw Sydney's attention. The young woman's gaze lingers long enough for others to notice, but she stops herself before anyone would openly accuse her of staring. A smirk is given as Gene orders a 'Big' beverage. "It's a wonder they give their coffee-sizes such fancy names," she observes as the barista makes her latte.

Thirty seconds or so later, the barista goes to hand the latte to Sydney, only to accidentally fumble it, spilling extra hot latte on the young woman and her white blouse sleeve, "Gaah!" The barista is instantly apologetic, passing copious amounts of napkins to the patron.

"Seriously," Gene replies as he looks over toward Sydney with a small smirk. As he waits for his own drink, he notices with wide eyes the accidental assault of coffee. Gene tries to help, taking a few napkins to dap. "You okay there?" he asks as he tries to dap either the counter or the sleeve, depending on which is easier to get to.

A nod of thanks is given to Gene as he daps her sleeve, "Yes, I'm okay." Sydney's lips curl down into an irritated frown, "But this shirt is toast. No amount of bleach will get this out." She forces a smile anyways, "Thank you though. I appreciate your—help." She shoots a dirty look to the barista who is now frantically remaking Sydney's latte before returning her attention to Gene, "So a big coffee? Is that how you always order?"
Balling up the used napkin, Gene makes a short for a trash can on the other side of the counter. It bounces off the rim before falling onto the ground. Almost. "When I feel like it, yeah. Sometimes I want to blend in… Other times," Gene pauses in his words as he looks over toward his robot. "I just can't help it. So how about you, lose many outfits to the coffee cause?"

"A couple," Sydney nods slightly. "Although I'm normally the clumsy one. I've never had anyone actually spill it on me. This certainly was a first." The barista finishes making Sydney's latte, but this time the young woman waits for the barista to place it on the counter before putting a lid on it and grasping it. "So, do you take R2 with you often?" She arches a single eyebrow as she sips her latte.
Now waiting merely for his own, Gene shrugs. "Often enough, I guess. Taking him out in public can be tiresome at times, but there are some perks. Get some attention, got a few decent job offers when I tell them I made him, stuff like that. He also has a good battery and a powerful phone connection in him… Lets me power up my phone and laptop and be online from just about anywhere. Kinda handy."

Leaning against the counter, Gene turns mostly toward Syndey. "So, how about yourself? Keep your odd side hidden or do you flaunt it from time to time?"

"Wait--wait—wait, you /made/ him?" Sydney raises both of her eyebrows at this. "I can't say I've met anyone who's made a robot before." She sips at her latte again and then stifles a slight chuckle, "I can't say that I do very often anymore. Haven't let that side out since high school. And I've been out of high school for awhile."

"There are tons of 'em. Most work at Disney though," Gene replies with a chuckle. Taking his drink, he sips from it before continuing on. "And never? Come on now, I might be a geek, but I know /everyone/ has a side of them that's odd. You never grow out of odd, just learn to feel bad about it or hide it better."

"I suppose it depends on what you call odd," Sydney muses as she considers her little quirks and habits. "Everyone's unique, but I don't think that necessarily makes a person odd." She shrugs again, "I suppose I have an odd love of school." She shrugs ever so slightly. "That just doesn't seem nearly as odd as my older… quirks." She chuckles a bit.

"I see… Now you have to tell me. If you're a teacher, you should know it isn't nice to tease," the young man offers with a wink before he moves toward a table after pointing toward it, clearly expecting Sydney to follow along.

Following Gene's lead, Sydney takes a seat at the table he motions to. She chuckles a bit as she sits down, "It's not all that interesting, just a misspent youth." She smirks and then explains, "I used to live two lives." Her cheeks flush ever so slightly. "I was the good little nerd that my grandparents were ever-proud of. And when I got to school I was the goth. Black lipstick, white face, fishnet stockings and all—that is, until they found out about it." She shrugs. "And then I just lived that way after school with my friends."

Sitting in his chair, Gene smiles, all but ignoring R2-D2 who follows the creator until Gene sits himself. The robot then turns to the side like some loyal dog, giving a soft 'bleeeeeup' before going into idle mode. Using his straw to sip the iced coffee-shake-thing, Gene raises both brows. The straw is released as Gene replies with a simple, "You are serious? Goth? Did you do that whole vampire LARP thing? Had a goth friend that did that. Kept going on about fighting werewolves and stuff. Made me almost seem boring in comparison."

"Ye—ah," Sydney flushes even more as she cracks an embarrassed smile. "That was my group. We were all about the LARPing. Much to my grandparents' chagrin." She sheepishly sips at her coffee once more after crossing her legs. "Fortunately, I seem to have grown out of it, sort of." She glances around and then lowers her voice, "I still the lipstick though, just in case I want to wear it." She sips at her coffee again. "So is R2 your only robot?"
As Sydney awkwardly shuffles in the brief silence, her movements cause his eyes to wander for just a moment. Coughing with some chagrin himself, he clears his throat before offering a pseudo-MiB voice, "I could tell you more, but I'm afraid it is a classified need-to-know basis." Going back to his normal voice, he adds, "Maybe if you work at EvoSoft you can sweet-talk your way to having one of the other interns tell you what I do for a living."

A slight chuckles and Sydney nods slightly, "Touche. Although, I have to say technology isn't my forte. This is why I work with people rather than machines." She shrugs slightly and then adds, with a slight shake of her head, "I don't think it likes me much. It knows the operator too well." And then finally, realizing she hasn't actually introduced herself she rolls her eyes, "Wow. I haven't introduced myself yet. Sydney Falkland."

"Gene Kensington, good to meet you. Me, I've tended to be the opposite, though it seems I've been a late bloomer or something," the young man replies before sipping his drink. "So, you're a teacher? Let me guess." He puts a hand to his temple, rubbing it slightly. "Middle school English."

"Hell no," Sydney spouts before turning crimson again. "Sorry—nothing against middle-schoolers, but the school system doesn't pay nearly enough to put up with early adolescent pre-teen drama." She flushes and sips at her coffee before adding with a half-smile, "I teach at the University. Psychology mostly." She wrinkles her nose and then adds, "I think that's what most non-math types tend to take. Not that it's math-free, but statistics is a language onto itself…"

"Teach?" The Geek God arches a brow in disbelief, ignoring the fact that his guess was incorrect. "You are in a grad school program as an adjunct, or you one of those hard working girls that never had a social life so they could get their PhD by the time they were twenty-five?"

"I'm not hard-working enough to have my dissertation /finished/. I like going to coffee shops and procrastinating too much to be done," Sydney chuckles lightly. "I'm a PhD student. I registered for a Masters program but got pushed into the PhD track instead." She shrugs. "I like teaching. I can't say I love working on my dissertation though." She nods a bit at this. "What about you? You must do other things than make robots, right?"

The young man swirls the bottom of his cup around, using the weight to figure out how much he has left as his attention is on Sydney as she speaks. Once she gives her question in response, he shrugs. "As I said, my oddness is for all to see. Robots, computers, sci-fi… stuff like that. At least I got a nice paying internship out of my building and engineering at Evosoft. Who knows, maybe I'll make a difference in the world or something like that with the stuff I make and do. I guess that's your idea with teaching to, influence the next generation and all."
Nodding Sydney agrees, "I like the idea of making a difference, but beyond that, I think I like that moment." She presses her lips together and then nods, "The moment when everything makes sense to the student—when the light bulbs turn on and there's some definite understanding." Her lips curl upwards again before she finishes off the rest of her coffee.

"I like the moment when I turn whatever I make right on and I'm laughing my head off like in the movies, because I know that when I build it, it's one of a kind." Gene appears ready to say something else, but his belt seems to be beeping. He reaches down and pulls a PDA from its holster. "Looks like I've got to get going… Have some stuff I've got to get to. If I don't do what I do, end of the world and all that jazz." With that, Gene gets up slowly, finishing up his own drink. "It's been nice to have a normal conversation for a change…" Yes, it would seem Gene considers this entire conversation normal, but considering his last few talks, it really is. "Maybe we can hang out again sometime or something like that."

"I really ought to get back to work anyways," Sydney sighs as she too stands to her feet. "Yes, thank you for the chat. I've enjoyed our chat." She nods as she throws her empty cup into the garbage, "I'd like to hang out again. I had fun. Nice meeting you Gene." That said, the woman opens the door and strolls homeward bound.

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