A week and a half in, I'm proud to report that Operation Keep Ashley busy is a resounding success. Not only has having an activity keeping Ashley busy until 5 most evenings and 7 other evenings, having that activity be cross country means that she is absolutely exhausted when she gets home. I think she must be up to running three miles a day, which is more than I could do back when I had my relatively fit body, and probably 12 times farther than I could run in this one. She barely has enough energy for her homework and eating dinner before she passes out, no time to sneak out scantily clad on a school night. Now I just need to keep her in line on the weekends.
Earlier I had mentioned that my weekends consisted mostly of sleeping in, doing chores, and catching up to whatever else needed catching up to. Lately they've included college football, which drew a confused line of questioning from Ashley as to why I all of a sudden thought sports were so important and why I wasn't rooting for one of the two major programs in this state. I shrugged her off and hoped the curse would keep her from being to suspicious. I may have to pretend to be a Latina Secretary, but I'm not going to miss game day, even if Syracuse sucks this year. My recent bout of homebody-ness has attracted attention...from Kari.
Whoever cursed the Trading Post Inn lived so long ago that the couldn't have imagined things like Facebook or Twitter, ways for cursed guests to keep track of their old lives even several thousand miles away. Its probably a good thing they couldn't conceive of something like the internet, otherwise they might have included it in their curse to prevent blogs where people can congregate and work their way around the curse. Anyway, that's precisely what the real Kari had been doing. She's been logging in from her Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, liking and retweeting and occasionally commenting on her friends' photos. This apparently led to all sorts of social media messages from her core group about how they never hung out anymore and they were worried about her mental well being and this affected Kari so she gave me a call.
"You need to stop being a shut in" She said "People are starting to suspect something is up with me"
Its a good thing this was over the phone, because I was seriously rolling my eyes at her. She doesn't leave a note, doesn't keep in contact, never calls to mention or check up on her daughter. Never gives advice on work or even thought to tell me that there was a sordid affair with her boss, but she calls to tell me that her Instagram feed could use a few more recent photos.
I bit my lip, wanting to yell at her but not wanting to cause drama. "If I hung out with your friends, they'd DEFINITELY know something was different."
"If you stay inside the whole year, I'll lose all my friends" She said, almost pleading "You don't want to mess up my life like that, do you? Isn't that what your blog is all about, keeping appearances?"
She kinda had a point. I don't know how much of this blog she's read but the unwritten rule is, if you're going to be someone temporarily, you need to try not to mess things up. Its why I stick at this job that I hate, I don't want Kari and Ashley to be homeless when she gets back. I could've headed back to my apartment and lived off of my savings for a year, but with all due respect to Jordan, that's kind of a dick movie. Even if I didn't know about Ashley at the time, I'd still be drastically messing up someone's life and I don't want that on my conscience. I think as long as it's not anything immoral or truly uncomfortable, I kind of have to do what Kari would do. So as much as I'd love to sit on my butt and watch sports this weekend, I'm going to have to socialize. (It helps that as I type this the Yankees are failing miserably to score a run).
As much as I asked Kari about her life, I never really asked her about her friends. For some reason I didn't bother to ask who she hung out with or how close she was to people. We spent the next hour going through her facebook friends, all 300 or so of them, and she mentioning how she knew them. Most were school people or passing acquaintances, there were only about 10 she would see on a weekly or even monthly basis. In the process I got a lot of questions answered that she hadn't been so forthcoming about earlier. Details on co-workers, family, neighbors...things that she just didn't feel up to talking about the few times I'd called her before.
The person I most needed to talk to in order to fit in with the social group was Rosie, her best friend since high school who lived in the town just north of here. When I first texted her she didn't seem surprised about the long layoff between contact, because the real Kari had been sending her facebook messages here and there, but she was pleased to hear from me. A little organization and scheduling and she's coming over here Saturday night and we're going "out".
I'm not entirely sure what that's going to entail, but I'll do my best to roll with it and not screw anything up.