Easily Amused chapter 5: Women behaving badly

Lola is still sitting on her couch holding the phone and pondering the harshness of life when she hears a car pull up outside. It’s a “rusty junker” that’s just dropped Hubert and is pulling away.

(Interesting note: why doesn’t her neighbor walk him inside? Is he afraid to run into Lola Bunny?)

Hubert bought bagels and cream cheese and therefore declares that “Life is good.”

Apparently no one had told him I was mad as hell and that he no longer had a girlfriend or a place to live.

Lola begins to scold him, pauses to reflect that she sounds like her mother, then keeps berating him. Usually “oh god, I sound like a person I always dreaded being” is followed by, I dunno, not doing what you’re doing. I guess it doesn’t bother her all that much.

Hubert left a note! On the fridge. That’s kind of a bad place to put it, since it’s tucked in with carryout menus; the counter would be better. Still, how hard could she have looked to not have checked the front of the fridge?

Ben Cho is the son of the  neighbor who let Hubert in; he came over in the morning to bring a spare pair of shoes and they went to get bagels together.

Possible Stereotyping Alert:

Korean-Americans always rally around the new person to help them get situated, Hubert explained.

Is this actually a Korean culture thing, or is this as weird as it sounds? One of those “Asians are so much better than everyone else” stereotypes? Mrs Cho’s husband owns a Tae Kwon Do parlor, yet another instance of the book shoving people into little boxes based on outward appearance and leaving them there.

“He came here twenty years ago with nothing and brought the rest of the family over a few years later. Now they have a house and a business and are living the American Dream.”

I’m not sure if this is more racial stereotyping or just really boring, lazy writing. “Let’s see, what attributes can I associate with this family… well, they’re Korean, so, recent immigrants, overly friendly and helpful to white folks, teach martial arts, and um, for variety’s sake, eat bagels. Done. Next up: crazy cat dog lady.”

Oh hey, they attend Brother Jasper’s church. Or at least help set up at it. Hubert, not being a church bigot, offers to help them set up their folding chairs. They go to a bakery three blocks away that Lola’s never been to, and I must be getting starved for good writing because I actually feel a little bad for Lola since her world is so small when there’s so many interesting places just down the street.

Hubert borrowed stole some money from the guest bedroom nightstand to pay for the bagels. Moral issues aside (he does promise to pay her back, but still, that can’t be helping her security issues) who the hell keeps piles and piles of cash in the nightstand int he guest bedroom?! I’m not even exaggerating here:

“The drawer’s crammed full of cash. Mostly singles, but some fives and tens too. And there’s a bunch of change in the bottom. You didn’t know this?”

“I keep meaning to go through Aunt May’s stuff.”

What has she DONE since moving in four months ago? Nothing. Nothing at all. She’s not gotten to know her neighbors, or the area, or unpacked, or gone through her aunt’s things, or anything at all. Jesus christ. Nobody ever accuse her of looking a gift horse in the mouth — she doesn’t even know what color her gift horse is!

Oh yeah, and then she’s reminded that Hubert’s homeless.

Better to tell him outright or do the soft-shoe shuffle?

I dunno, maybe have some sensitivity and tact instead of your usual bitter sarcasm mode? Is that too much to hope for? Readers, I’m a little apprehensive to turn the page and find out what she DOES say.

The last time I’d felt like this was in fifth grade when I said good-bye to Whiskers right before my dad took him to the vet’s to be put asleep.

“to sleep” is the usual idiom. And listen. I know giving little details like this is supposed to give us a sense of the character and her history, but Lola’s life is so fucking boring and generic that I just want to get this scene over with so I can move on with my day. Stop it. Just stop it. Does Whiskers matter to the story? Does he ever come up again? Is that some kind of checkov’s cat? No? Then STFU about the stupid cat and progress your lagging, failing plot. 14% of the way through the story and we haven’t gotten to what the back cover promises the main conflict is and I already hate all the characters except Ben Cho.

And that’s only because I don’t know Ben Cho. I’m sure if he gets more screen time I’ll hate him too.

Lola tells Hubert to call home and hear the message for himself. Well, that’s better than I feared. Kelly has no tact either, but at least Lola’s not making it worse. It’s too much to ask for her to try and make it better. Hubert walks into the next room… he’s dialing… time is slowing to a crawl to build suspense… Lola walks out of hearing range.

Wut. Why.

Okay, novel, let’s see where you’re taking us. Out to the porch. Shutting the front door.

It was the kind of warm spring day I’d yearned for all winter long as I shoveled my front walk and brushed snow from my windshild. The air had the after-rain smell I’d always associated with worms when I was a kid. Across the street a delivery truck pulled up in front of the mystery man’s house

Why are we out here.

What is going on.

Lolwut.

LE GASP! We have TACT!:

“Hubert, I’m really, really sorry this happened. I know I wasn’t always that supportive of you and Kelly, but I know you love her. This has to be really painful. [...]I know it’s devastating, but maybe it’s for the best. Honestly, I never thought you two were a good match.”

Or almost, but hey, that’s fucking wondrous for her. Hubert grins and…

the kind [of grin] I always secretly thought of as his “happy monkey” look.

DIAF. Anyway, Hubert’s in denial. Entirely in denial. He says they’re not breaking up and it’s a phase. First of all you don’t get to decide you’re just, what, not breaking up? And secondly, if you can’t trust someone to be honest about their feelings with you then you don’t have a real, mature relationship.

“She’s probably forgotten about it already.”

What is she, a fucking goldfish?!

“Most of the time she’s the most caring, charming person you’d ever want to meet. [cut: Lola snarking] She just has this other side. It looks like meanness, but it really stems from insecurity. Kelly just acts out. She’s getting better, though. Relationships aren’t always easy, you know.”

omfg. I’m out of words.

Yadda yadda, Lola only had two serious boyfriends (one of whom “moved away in seventh grade”, that’s not exactly an adult relationship). Her mom calls her picky, her dad calls her shy, her sister calls her socially retarded, she has low self esteem, blah blah.

Hubert has blind optimism, yadda yadda, asks her to drive him home… waitaminute.

“It’ll be the last favor I ask of you. Promise.”

….

is this all an elaborate ruse and he’s actually depressed as hell and hoping if he picks a fight Kelly will shoot him or something?

Okay I’m imagining a much deeper book I think.

Oh look, we did a whole chapter!

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One Response to Easily Amused chapter 5: Women behaving badly

  1. Jarred H says:

    Anyway, Hubert’s in denial. Entirely in denial. He says they’re not breaking up and it’s a phase.

    This actually makes sense to me. I’m picturing Hubert as a truly needy and codependent person. Kelly is the latest abusive/out of control person he’s latched onto so that he feels like his life has meaning. And if Kelly is as controlling and manipulative as she seems, I can see where the “We’re over” tactic has been played so much that Hubert doesn’t even take the threat seriously anymore.

    Granted, that makes it a horribly unhealthy (non-)relationship, but such things exist.

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