I wrote all of this post earlier in the night, and then I accidentally closed the browser with no draft saved. I don’t know how this happened, but it is tragic. So, for the second time, Attachments 6-10:
Lincoln is both alone, surrounded by no one, and also constantly surrounded by women. His mom, his sister Eve, Sam, Jennifer, and Beth crowd his physical space, his mental space, and his emotional space. These women (or the knowledge of them, the memory of them) are challenging Lincoln to push past this moment in his life, to take time for introspection and motivation and action. Lincoln tries to be passive, but the women create energy; they propel him into motion (or at least try to).
Lincoln has gone as far as to look up Jennifer’s title, because he of course already knows of Beth, hoping to familiarize himself with the people behind the emails that he’s reading. It’s in that familiarity that Lincoln is confronted with a moral dilemma. He is no longer “Just doing his job” when he reads the flagged emails. Now, he’s playing favorites, choosing sides, trying to not scare off the women. He rationalizes his behavior by saying that he’s not even sure what their emails are flagged for, but actively not give them a warning is admitting to himself that he is instead reading their emails for pleasure not work. It’s the worst aspect of his job, and he must confront his own enjoyment of it and what that means exactly.
To make matters worse, this job is the main focus of Lincoln’s life, partly because of the strange hours and partly because of his lack of a social life. When I was 25, I moved home, so I really empathize with much of his conversation with his mom about her packing his lunch. Yes, you can try and live at home only for the free rent, but don’t parent-child roles always resurface? We see, in small pieces, how Lincoln’s mother can be demanding of his attention, mostly in his remembrances of his time with Sam. She both feeds into his commitment to the rut he’s in, by encouraging him to do less for himself, but also tries to persuade him to make a change, to quit his job, to rejoin those living in the daylight.
As we see in his conversations with Eve and his previous relationship with Sam, Lincoln’s current life is probably far from the one he pictured himself having. He excelled at being a student, knowing that he loved academics, but unable or uninterested in seeing what was past formal education. Eve desperately wants him to have not just a job but a career, hoping he will take the opportunity to plan for his future, just as Sam once did. Sam’s list of things that Lincoln is good at was telling — as a narrator, he’s rarely sharing his good qualities with us. But it seems that older Lincoln is not so different from high school Lincoln. Making a change, moving forward, taking action are not on the list. Lincoln doesn’t like his job, but he passively accepts the creepy associations with reading someone’s email. He doesn’t want to fully immerse himself in a life lived at his mother’s, but he takes the dinners she cooks for him and allows her life to revolve around his meals. Even when considering a social life, he admits that he didn’t do anything to make Sam fall in love with him. She did so on her own.
The third item on the list of things that Lincoln is good at is avoiding the issue, and is these chapters, he shows off his expertise.
What else? What else
- I love the small story about Lincoln and Eve’s mom previously having a bong. It explains so much, and yet I want to know SO MUCH more.
- I think we can all agree with Beth that shopping for bridesmaid dresses brings out the absolute worst in humanity.
- I also don’t find Tom Cruise attractive, so I am sold on the idea of this conspiracy.
Although I wasn’t focused on Jennifer and Beth in this post, I’m going to take a cue from their beautiful friendship and how they help each other deal with the impending doom of major life milestones and recommend Playing House on USA. It’s a new show starring Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham from the tragically cancelled Best Friends Forever. The show is hilarious and sweet and treats best friendship as the beautiful and incredible relationship that it is. Watch it!