Instead of going to the mall, Ruby decides that heading over to The Douche bag’s place is a better idea. Okay I know this is not going to end well. There is a reason why I refuse to call The Douche by his given name. Actually I might need to refer to him in correct terminology so that newcomers know to whom I am rubbishing – Marshall. He lives in a pastel coloured apartment complex which sounds pretty darned awful. I can barely tolerate pastels as a clothing option, let alone as a residence hue. Rogerson, The Douche’s roommate, let’s her in after an inordinate amount of time knocking and waiting. I don’t really have a problem with Rogerson but that could be due to me not knowing much more than he has dreadlocks. Dreadlocks – I suspect are a breeding ground for cockroaches and spiders- but i have to admit they are pretty darned cool. Where they live basically amounts to boy squalor and I am reminded of that stinky and memorable scent that permeates my little brother’s living quarters. That being said, Rogerson and Douche don’t appear to have a scarily large collection of horror movies on display. Oh well.
Ruby likes skinny boys. I guess he had to have something going for him. It seems really cold of The Douche to try and shuffle her off without any questions about her welfare. This is the second time we’ve met this guy and he’s just as disinterested in her as he was previously. I consider adding an uber before Douche – UberDouche has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? The one question he does ask, allows him to insult her new school and we realise he does know a little about Ruby’s new circumstances, unfortunately not from her. Now I am going to infer that she sleeps with him. It wasn’t said but there is a time lapse with her waking ‘curled up under his blanket’. Apparently The Douche didn’t have time to talk but has enough for sex. What an ass. And Ruby clearly has the self-worth of a stick of gum.
And that’s the extent of that. Ruby continues onto the mall with no real thoughts about her “boyfriend’s” (and I use that term loosely) callousness. With two hundred dollars in her pocket, Ruby buys a mass of uninspiring clothes and then feels sick for spending money on herself. Old habits kicking in, the idea of a job sounds appealing. The jewellery (can I just interject and say that the American spelling of this word looks really weird to me) stall sounds like one of those that I would normal walk past and immediately be inflicted with a headache, like being in the perfume aisle of a department store. Incense can be evil, I swear it can. This stall could only be worse in my imagination if it had a resident cat. We meet Harriet again, sweet, eccentric and calming (to me) Harriet. This is perfection – a jewellery stall and Harriet – it is delicious. After a quick introduction, admiration of Ruby’s necklace and a mention of Nate, Ruby finds herself newly employed. Clearly this job is not for one that is easily rattled, hence Ruby being perfect for it. A hand shake seals the deal and I have decided that I like Vitamin Guy too. Anyone trying to assist one to kick a coffee habit is a winner in my eyes, especially when he’s scoring money out of the deal too.
Working for Harriet sounds worse than working for McDonalds, except you don’t have to watch the training videos and I am not sure they give pop quizzes. Control freak? And there I thought Harriet would be soothing due to her nutso qualities, we can’t be right all the time.
We learn that Vitamin Guy has a name, Reggie, and that Nate’s a part of this little Mall Posse. There are heaps of little mentions of their relationships with one another and it is great to sit back and take it all in, as Ruby does also. Shark cartilage, B-complexes, Harriet’s insanity and smoothie swapping. My head is spinning a little but I like it. I love Harriet’s litany of further things she’ll have to teach Ruby-
· Display organisation
· Setting up and closing
· Alphabetising of stock
· Padlock code changes, and
· The emergency-response plan.
All ridiculous and yet on some level making complete and utter sense. I find it peculiar that after Harriet’s compliment of Nate that Ruby remains silent. But I enjoy Ruby’s thoughts that in some way Harriet and her are kindred, needing control and experiencing a certain level of reluctance with the world.
Ruby returns home to see a party in full swing at her house. Did Cora even warn her that this was going to occur or have I forgotten something? We immediately learn more about Cora’s baby issues when Ruby eavesdrops on her conversation with friends. Turns out that baby comment was very relevant. Further emphasising my belief that Cora is trying, is the concept that she planned a day shopping on the same day as her party. She was committed to their girl’s day, I stand by that. No one else in the sane world would schedule those two things on the same day. Not only is this a general baby issues but cycle charting and temperatures are mentioned. Clearly Cora is having some fertility issues that are weighing on her.
I like Denise and Charlotte. Particularly Denise who Charlotte describes as-
“She feels like she always has to say something, even when it’s completely inane.”
We all know people like that, those who can’t deal with silence or even pauses. They are usually a great target for laughs though. On occasion, I actually think that I hold the ‘inane comment maker’ position in my friendship group and having re-read some of my blogs I am pretty sure that is the case!
Cora expresses some concern at Ruby’s new job and I can understand where she’s coming from in terms of academic expectations. But then again, millions of teens work their way through high school world wide. Cora brings up to topic of college, something I am guessing Ruby never thought possible. Again I see this scene through Cora’s eyes despite it being written from Ruby’s perspective, she wants her sister to have the opportunities that she didn’t. To be without the hardships that she experienced. Ruby, true to form, starts rebelling but censors herself for the first time. Her noting of Cora’s previous sadness strikes a chord and she acquiesces. I love the way this section ends with Ruby pondering her similarities with Cora.
“Maybe my sister and I shared more than we though. We were both waiting and wishing for something we couldn’t completely control: I wanted to be alone, and she the total opposite. It was weird, really, to have something so contrary in common. But at least it was something.”
Yeah it was something, it was the discovery of common ground. A foundation, in which to build a new relationship on.
After the initial scare that Roscoe may have been victim to the new Stonehenge pond, Jamie and Ruby share a moment of shared relief that our favourite deranged dog is in fact, fine. After a hunt she comes across Roscoe cowering before a peeved Mr Cross (Nate’s father) who seems equally smarmy and dangerous, like a shark or a car salesman. The thought that anyone can wrap their hands around an animal’s neck, for non-food related needs, horrifies me. I cannot see how this man can be the father of such a nice guy. I am really worried for Nate and what this man’s anger and aggression means for him.
Jamie can play guitar and sing. Be still my beating heart. Jamie is this close to replacing Pacey Witter as my dream man, who is also fictional. Pacey is number 3 though, both Mr Darcy and Edward Cullen outrank him. Ruby runs into Denise who replies in turn to Ruby’s note that it’s a big party –
“They always are… That’s what happens when you’re overwhelmingly social. You accumulate a lot of people.”
“Jamie does seem kind of magnetic that way.”
“Oh, I meant Cora,”
It reveals so much about the inconsistencies of how Cora is seen and presents herself to Ruby compared to the rest of the world. Denise continues to sing the merits of Cora as this paragon of empathy, sympathy and maternal nature. Not only that but Ruby learns that Cora talked about her a lot at college. This party has been one big moment of Cora clarity between the fertility and Cora’s own friendship circle. Perhaps Ruby will start easing up on her?
The last moment of the chapter is all about Cora and Ruby sharing a moment without being near. The ties that bind us, or in this moment the Bonnie Raitt song that links them. Hearing Cora sing this song that she connects so strongly with her mother is a catalyst for Ruby-
“…prompting a stream of memories – us in nightgowns, her reaching out for me, listening to her breathing, steady and soothing, from across a dark room – rushing back to fast to stop. …But even as the tears came I wasn’t sure who I was crying for. Cora, my mom, or maybe, just me.”
A Note from Adele
Thanks to everyone who is downloading the podcast. Another one will be up in a few hours where I will discuss the meaning of a name.
I don’t want to clutter SDD with pop culture bits and pieces but if you wanted something along those lines, there is my personal blog – Persnickety Snark. The link is on the left. Newest is my review of Mamma Mia (why oh why did they choose Pierce Brosnan as the male lead) and the newest Australian turned American tv show, Kath and Kim.