Thursday, December 28, 2006

Arthur: Busy holidays

I haven't had much time to write lately, because it's been crazy around here. I understood, in a vague way, that Christmas was a hectic time for families, but I hadn't really encountered that first-hand in years. My mother has been sick, and before that we'd sort of been cut off from the rest of her family. I won't get into the reasons why; it's tied up with why we didn't talk with my father, even up to the end. It's private, it's got nothing to do with the Trading Post, and that's the last I'll be talking about it.

This year was something else again. Suddenly I've got to shop for a brother, a sister, a mother, a father, a nephew, uncles, aunts, grandparents, and, oh yeah, a boyfriend, only one of whom I've spent any particular amount of time with. I've got to do this with more time spent at work, because the studios are just starting to roll out their prestige pictures, and we're sort of a prestige-picture theater.

The real Liz's letter was a big help. She's been window-shopping for her family up in Montreal, seeing things that she thinks Tara, Winston, or Billy would like and wishing she could buy them and send them down. I was happy to do what I could, of course, because I figure I'm just minding the store until she gets back. Advice like that helps me do so better, and makes me not appear to be a complete idiot when exchanging gifts on Christmas morning.

Now, that was strange - all last week, I had Liz's mother calling me and asking if I was going to stay over Christmas Eve. I told her I had to work, but she said that was okay, any time I could get there was fine. Apparently, even though Liz is a grown woman, since she's still single, she has to adhere to the kids' rules at Christmas and stay at the family house. Of course, since Ray was in the same position, we wound up driving out to the suburbs at eleven o'clock on the twenty-fourth, with him dropping me off at Casa del Lee. Sleep fast, because Mother Lee is going to be up at five to put a ham in the oven, even though Tara, Dae-su, and Billy won't be out until at least ten. It was very American, even if Liz's mother did say grace in Korean before dinner. Still, there was a lot of talk about getting married during that dinner, and there's really no subject that makes me more uncomfortable.

It was a huge relief to get to work afterwards, even if it was a shift and a half with Stewart. That relationship is just becoming weirder and weirder to me - the ability to feel honestly deceptive is nice, but he's started to flirt with me at work, although it becomes slightly more cryptic double entendres when Zoe is around. I get the feeling he's wanting to move the relationship public, and that really messes with my head: I know this is what Liz wants, but I don't feel up to making it happen myself. And since I'm so unused to this side of the male-female dynamic, I don't know whether I really trust my reading of hte signals.

Anyway, it was particularly annoying on Monday because I was looking forward to a full day at work where I can just put in my time, be the boss of the high school and college kids (along with a senior citizen or two) in a nice, organizationally-decreed dynamic, and think about practical matters like making sure that the concession stand has enough popcorn, regularly emptying the box office's drops, and communicating to the guy in the booth that cinema one is out of focus or that they're using a flat lens on a scope film. I don't need that time to be fraught with personal business, where I have to be Elizabeth Lee, human being, as opposed to Miss Lee, Assistant Manager.

Fortunately, it's been a busy week, and Zoe has been kind enough to catch the flu and require me to cover her shifts, so there's been little time with Raymond, who has an uncharacteristically light schedule this week and apparently got some talking to from his folks about being unmarried. It's starting to feel like I can't just keep the status quo going, which scares the heck out of me. I really don't want to mess Liz's life up for her.

Of course, Jake probably loved the holidays just because of all this togetherness and drama, but it just feels like trouble to me.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Art, it seems to me that if Liz wants to move the Stewart relationship public, that she has made her choice. If that is what you are saying.

Then it seems you do not love Ray, and she does not love Ray, not in the live with you and have sex with you kind of way, and you should talk to her about getting out of there.

Even if you are paying half of everything, it seems you are not being honest with a decent guy (Ray) and should kindly cut him loose (if Liz is sure). She should probably not be living with him anyway if she is sleeping with someone else. If you mention that to her directly, she might agree and appreciate advice from a friend who knows about her double life.