Easily Amused Chapter 1: Meet Piper

Location 141, 3% through the book. Today we’re meeting Piper!

Piper was already sitting at the bar of Tad’s Dry Dock when I arrived. With her white pants and navy blue halter top, she looked perfectly in keeping with the place’s nautical theme: bar built to resemble the hull of a ship, porthole windows, and fake seagulls hanging overhead. I, on the other hand, looked like I was trying too hard.

So dress more appropriately next time? This place is three blocks from your house, you holds know what it’s like. Again, we see Piper’s clothing before a physical description. Protagonist is obsessed with fashion, check.

She pointed across the bar where three guys in their early twenties hunched over frosted mugs of beer […] they had the unshaven, unshowered look of frat boys just coming off a bender. “Good God, Piper, they look like college students. I’m not that desperate.”

So the protagonist is older than 25ish and also very judgmental. Great. Piper drinks a white wine, a classic drink for older married women, while Lola drinks a rum-and-coke, which is usually a drink for younger people who aren’t used to hard drinking. I expected an appletini or a cosmo.

“I thought when I got my own house I’d be able to have complete privacy, but these neighbors are unreal. I can’t even sit on my orch without someone stopping by to chat. […] All this socializing is sucking me dry.”

Is she going to whine like this the entire book? I understand disliking social interaction but it’s not the world’s fault you like to be alone, you know? Especially when she lies to people instead of telling them “I’m really not a very extroverted person, I like privacy”.

“Neighbors who like you,” Piper said. “You do have problems.”

Go Piper! BFFs forever  [ ]Yes   [ ] Super Yes

“Just tell them you’re not interested in helping with the block party, but thanks anyway,” Piper said.

“Easier said than done.”

“Or you could always tell them you’re twenty-nine years old, antisocial, don’t have anything in common with them, and they should please leave you alone.”

An age at last!

“But I don’t want to be mean about it.”

And therein lies the rub. Girls are often socialized to avoid being “mean” above all else- always  be “polite”, even when the other person has overstepped their bounds and is making you uncomfortable. Personally I don’t see much “mean” about telling the truth in this case, provided you phrase it well.

Everything came easily to Piper.

Cry me a river. You inherited a house from someone you barely knew.

With both hands, [Piper] gathered her hair up into a ponytail and then pulled an elastic band off her wrist, twisting the whole thing into an elegant-looking messy bun. It’s a trick some women do effortlessly, but I’ve never been able to achieve the same effect without half a dozen tries and a mirror.

Actually, me neither. Anyone know the secret?

Piper’s a blond, by the way. She wonders if Lola will sell the house, since it’s pretty large for one person (and houses are expensive to maintain anyway) and she hates the neighbors. She could easily get a condo someplace she likes better. Lola, on the other hand, has spent her life sharing her personal space with people — family, roommates, et cetera.

Most recently I’d shared an apartment with a girl named Andrea who talked continuously. And I mean continuously. About nothing. We became friends

hahaha no you didn’t. Friends don’t think nasty thoughts about each other like that.

When we first moved in together I’d thought her obsession with Celtic music was her biggest shortcoming. Then I discovered that her poor taste in music was exceeded only by her relentless pursuit of casual sex.

Slut-shame much? Jesus christ how much longer do I have to read this crap. Plot needs to happen to interrupt her holier-than-thou judgement of everyone on earth. While I understand how nice it can be to finally feel free and have your own space, her thoughts make her sound petty and greedy:

My yard, my space, my garage. Mine, mine, mine.

This gem had me cracking up:

not to be petty or anything

Yeah. Cold day in hell when you’re not petty. Stop flashbacking and get back to Piper the Awesome already.

Even better was the look on my sister Mindy’s face when she heard the news. “Why you?” she’d asked. […] For once, the family princess didn’t get first dibs on something.

Good god, it’s a family trait. Oh Christ on a cracker, this is still going.

Mindy came out ahead in the good-looks and outgoing-personality department. Not to mention her engagement to her high school sweetheart, Chad.

After all that petty whining and bitching, we return to her conversation and her reply to Piper’s suggestion of getting a condo:

“I don’t think I’m a condo kind of person.”

She can’t even be honest with her so-called best friend. Good lord.

Oh my god, even when she LIKES someone she’s horrible to them:

“Mike [Piper’s husband] has some great ideas for long-term investing, if you’re interested”

[…]I liked [Mike] well enough, but not so much I’d give him total control of my money. Call me cautious.

They then move on to talk about Lola’s job (editor of a parenting publication — wait, why the hell is she qualified to edit a parenting magazine when she knows absolutely zero about the subject matter?). Notice, not talking about Piper’s life at all; this is all Lola all the time. The Lola channel. Another nonstop hour of Lola hits.

I could have talked all night about my job — the staff writer Drew, who routinely made up words (using “anticdote” when he meant “anecdote”), the temperamental heating system, and my boss, who was more interested in ad revenues than the content of the magazine.

Someone shoot her. Seriously. Shoot her. She’s a self-centered stuck-up snob who hates everything. How the hell am I making it through this book. I AM NOT PREPARED.

Piper listened attentively to my stories, but when her eyes started wandering, I knew to change the subject and ask about her baby. He was walking now, so technically he was a toddler, I guess.

Wow. You are the best conversationalist ever. Seriously. You get an award. Now go away.

Piper’s baby is named Brandon. Lola is a bitch.

One picture would have sufficed as far as I was concerned. I could have imagined the different facial expressions on my own. “He’s adorable”, I said, which was true enough. Most toddlers are cute by virtue of being miniature, roly-poly grownups. The things that would make an adult ugly– disproportionate heads, rolls of fat, sparse hair — are appealing on little ones. Go figure.

One story about how much you hate your coworkers would have been enough. I didn’t quote about a page and a half (on my phone) of bitching about more coworkers; I can only imagine having to sit and listen to the whole stories.

“Hubert [Holmes] was at your house?” […] I’d tried to get together with Hubert recently, but every time I called or e-mailed he’d brushed me off, saying life was hectic, then promising we’d get together soon. Just last week he’d been too busy to meet for lunch, but he had time to go to Piper’s house and have Brandon smear biter biscuit on his shirt? What was up with that?

What’s up with that is that you are a horrible person and he wants none of your judgmental, bitter ways.

“I guess I’ll have to have a baby if I ever want to see him again.” I knew I sounded grumpy, but what the hell?

I just told you what the hell. Seriously it’s not that hard to figure out.

They were friends in high school, yadda yadda, Lola and Hubert were closer than either of them with Piper but now Lola’s the odd one out, Lola bitches and bitches.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but it’s not always about you, Lola. Other people have problems too.”

PIPER. BEST CHARACTER EVER.

“Hubert’s been going through some rough times with Kelly, and let’s just say you haven’t been real sympathetic in the past.”

Oh, that again.

THAT. That RIGHT THERE is EXACTLY why Hubert won’t talk to you.

Piper hadn’t come to the party, something about having just given birth, so I was basically on my own.

OH MY GOD.

why am I doing this. Hold me.

“I’m always willing to listen.”

“Listening is one thing,” Piper said. “It’s your little comments that put him off. Even when couples are in a fight, you’re not supposed to badmouth the other one.”

“I don’t badmouth Kelly.”

“He said you told him to ‘dump the bitch.”

[…]”That was more like advice than badmouthing.”

 

I hate Lola and all she stands for.

Oh god Chapter 1 is over I can stop now.

 

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8 Responses to Easily Amused Chapter 1: Meet Piper

  1. jenl1625 says:

    It really is easy to loathe Lola, isn’t it?

    Piper was already sitting at the bar of Tad’s Dry Dock when I arrived. With her white pants and navy blue halter top, she looked perfectly in keeping with the place’s nautical theme: bar built to resemble the hull of a ship, porthole windows, and fake seagulls hanging overhead. I, on the other hand, looked like I was trying too hard.

    Huh. I guess dressing in the theme of the bar you’re going isn’t considered trying too hard – but how is it not trying too hard when you throw in that it’s a *halter* top rather than something you’d expect to see a late-20s mother wearing? Or have they come back into style?

    I can’t even sit on my porch without someone stopping by to chat.

    Maybe because most people think sitting on the porch is an explicit invitation to socialize?

    With both hands, [Piper] gathered her hair up into a ponytail and then pulled an elastic band off her wrist, twisting the whole thing into an elegant-looking messy bun. It’s a trick some women do effortlessly, but I’ve never been able to achieve the same effect without half a dozen tries and a mirror.

    Actually, me neither. Anyone know the secret?

    I suspect it’s sheer practice – standing in front of the mirror doing it a dozen times, until you get it right, every day (or every other day) for a few years, until you can get it right from muscle-memory and touch.

    • yamikuronue says:

      …And here’s where I confess I can’t get it right in front of a mirror. I know what a bun ought to look like but nothing I do produces that effect. 😦 I suspect the issue is having curly hair?

      • jenl1625 says:

        I can’t do a bun, either – in my case, my hair’s just too smooth. (It’s not straight, but it’s fine, with very little texture – and then so much volume that it’s hard to contain with a barrette….) Banana clips used to drive me crazy, because it would take maybe 30 minutes for them to slide out…

  2. Jarred H says:

    “Hubert’s been going through some rough times with Kelly, and let’s just say you haven’t been real sympathetic in the past.”

    Oh, that again.

    And that response is a pretty good sign she hasn’t learned to be any more sympathetic in the present.

    Is there any use in hoping that the author intends Lola to be an unreliable narrator at this point in the story? Because if so, well written!

  3. Brin says:

    Holding Brandon in the picture was our mutual friend from high school, Hubert Holmes.

    A-ha!

    I thought a bun was a braid curled up at the back of your head with the aid of large quantities of bobby pins?

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