Monday, October 09, 2006

Arthur: Thank God I don't have to actually speak Korean

One of the hazards of being plopped into the middle of someone else's life is that I, at least, tend to assume that it will be just like my own life, except in the places where it's different. Obviously, that sounds silly on several counts - everything is different, from biology to location to occupation, and it's a tautology anyway - but the fact is, I expect the new things I encounter to have some sort of similarity to what they were like before the cursed inn changed everything about me. Of course, they never do.

At first, it looked like the weekend was going to be pretty easy, because it would be busy. The Departed opened on Friday, and our theater got it. I have to admit, I had kind of underestimated just quite how much this city loves its Matt Damon, or even just movies that apparently shot here. For example, Raymond seldom shows much interest in Liz's job, but he was asking me if the theater were test-running the prints Thursday night and he could sit in. I asked Matt, who was scheduled to do the production, and he said I knew I didn't have to ask. Ah, well. At least Stewart wasn't working that night; that would have been rather awkward.

I wound up scheduled for five out of a possible eight shifts during the holiday weekend - Friday night, a double on Saturday, Sunday night, and this afternoon. That's just crazy - thirty-odd hours in four days. And as if that wasn't enough, Elizabeth's family wanted us to come to Sunday dinner yesterday afternoon.

To be honest, yesterday afternoon was sort of a blur. I wound up bringing the letter from the inn to work with me on Saturday and studying it and the pictures in her wallet during every second of not-crazy I had. There was a lot of information it seemed like it would behoove me to be up on. This sort of thing shouldn't really concern me that much - nobody believes us when we say who we actually are, and is it even right to deceive them? Still, I'm at least a little afraid of not keeping up appearances - what if I lost this home and job and checking account because people found out I wasn't really Elizabeth Lee? Pretending to be her does beat being broke and homeless. And maybe I'm drawing the wrong conclusion from the evidence, but it does seem like this has been going on for a while without becoming widely known, so maybe there's a reason and there would be consequences.

At least I had a built-in excuse for any time I seemed a little slow, being frazzled from work. I met Liz's two siblings, and they seem okay. Older sister Tara and her husband Dae-su Kim are total suburban yuppie types, yammering on and on about driving, mowing lawns, day care, and investigating private schools for four-year-old Billy. Billy made a big impression on me, literally, I think, when he saw me and Raymond get out of his car and launched himself at "Aunt Lizzie" like a guided missile, knocking me right on my ass. Adorable. The kid likes the running around and making noise, but that's okay since he's not mine. I don't know Elizabeth feels this way, but it's oddly satisfying to see Tara get pulled away from nagging me about not having married and had a kid yet to go deal with him looking like he's going to break something. Then there's "little" brother Winston, who turns eighteen in January and is about a foot and a half taller than the new me. Probably a good kid, but I don't think he said ten words to me all afternoon. Which just means he's a teenage boy, probably; he didn't talk much to anybody else, either.

It was a pretty boistrous family dinner. I hope Liz doesn't usually have seconds of kimchee, because that stuff is kind of nasty. I had some funny theater stories to tell, and Liz's father was pretty excited about hearing what the cool seats at Fenway are like.

I'm sure these are fun events for Liz, but it was nerve-wracking for me. What if people had suddenly started speaking Korean? Bed enough that I looked like a fool when I didn't have any particularly useful opinion to offer on whether The Departed was better or worse than Infernal Affairs because I didn't even realize it was a remake, even though there's apparently a Hong Kong import DVD on Liz's shelf. Might be worth starting to go through some of those movies tomorrow afternoon, at least to give me some more idea of what she's like, just from her taste in movies.

-Art

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