Calendar Girl (July) Chapter 5: Mia Tries Gelato for the First Time and Solves All the Problems

south park dance off, you got served

Calendar Girl (July) Chapter 5:

Heather and Mia find Anton and Maria having a “dance off” that consists of Anton copying one move that Maria demonstrates for him. Now, I’m no dance off expert, but this seems closer to a game of Simon Says than it does to a dance off.

south park dance off, you got served
Now that’s a dance off!

Heather tries to get involved in the conversation, and Mia disapproves of her methods.

“Need us for anything?” The timid sound of her voice annoyed me. That was nowhere near getting her any credibility with the two hot-head, type A personalities before us.

I butted in bravely. “What Heather means is, she has some ideas she was working on with the last choreographer that she’d like to share with the rest of the class.” I glanced at Anton, and he watched me and tilted his head. I made a hello-come-on gesture with my eyes and slight shifts of my shoulders.

Heather sounding timid won’t get her any credibility, but Mia, who was hired to play the love interest in Anton’s music video five minutes ago, speaking up for her is definitely the way for Heather to raise her profile.

Maria offers to go over Heather’s choreography ideas over dinner, and Mia offers to order some takeaway:

I turned and headed to the sitting room. I pulled out my phone bringing up the Grub Hub app. Right off the bat Yummy Chinese and Sushi Bar popped up with over a hundred Yelp ratings as well as an average of five stars. And the kisser…free delivery! Winner winner, sushi dinner!

Wait just a minute here. A couple chapters ago when we went on a journey with Mia to look up the word “player” on the internet, Carlan felt the need to change the names of every website, but suddenly she’s just name dropping Grub Hub and Yelp! There’s no “Food Central” or “Shout!” off-brand action going on.

We jump ahead to everyone being a few drinks in and Heather arguing passionately about her vision:

“No, no, no, you’re not getting it!” Heather’s words were biting and fueled by the top shelf vodka we’d been imbibing. She stood and walked to the center of the room. A third round of fruity martinis was laid out on the table in front of us, courtesy of a Mia’s-badass-bartending-skills special. I patted myself on the back and waited for Heather to make her point. “My vision was a very Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean meets Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl.”

I feel as though Heather is speaking directly to me as it’s true! I do not get it at all. At the moment, the only connection I can see is the Billie/Billy thing. Not to mention they must still be talking about Anton’s obviously terrible song where the lyrics are just “ride it baby ride”, which has no clear connection to these hit tunes. This is why no one listens to your ideas, Heather. They are very unclear.

Eventually, Maria starts showing Mia how to sway her hips, and then Anton tries to get involved:

I did what she said. “Tan caliente,” Anton murmured. He pressed his hands against my hips and rubbed his groin along my ass. He wasn’t hard, but that icky vibe hit out of nowhere and I broke out in a sweat.

What the fuck is wrong with this dude? Mia has been extremely forthcoming with him about what happened to her, and the last time he touched her she was so upset she blacked out, and he starts to grind on her? I don’t care that he “wasn’t hard”, that’s messed up. It’s true they presumably need to practice for the music video, but he could have given her some warning.

Mia takes a break to read a text from Wes saying he’s definitely coming for her birthday. Heather and Anton get involved because personal boundaries do not exist in the world of Calendar Girl. This inexplicably leads to them arguing about how Anton’s presence in Heather’s life prevents her from having meaningful relationships. It does sound like she has a point since he barges into her apartment whenever he pleases (sometimes when she’s in the middle of hooking up with someone!) and calls her baby when he does so.

Anton’s eyes screwed into white-hot points. “You’re shitting me? You’re blaming me for being unlucky in love?”

[…]

“Why do I put up with this?” she grumbled under her breath.

Anton’s shoulders slumped and he lifted her chin. “H, baby, talk to me?”

“Talk to you! I’ll talk to you. I’ve been offered another job. One I think I’m going to take. How about that for idle chat!” Her voice was loud in the cavernous room.

She was going to take the other job because she felt like he never listened to her choreography ideas, and this whole chapter so far has been about everyone listening to her lame choreography ideas! The lack of boundaries is a perfectly understandable reason, too, but this was still such a weird way to introduce the subject.

“What! You are not fucking leaving me!” he roared.

Oh no. Both Maria and I backed up a couple steps until we hit the edge of the counter. Heather lifted a pointed finger. “I’m tired of you not listening to me. Not promoting me!” Her voice rose, and I lifted my martini to my lips. Maria did the same as we watched the fight unfold.

So it’s not about the lack of boundaries? Okay, I am super lost, and also alarmed by Anton’s reaction.

Anton immediately offers her a raise and points out she’s the only one he listens to, and Heather’s reaction consists of, “Uggh”. Like Anton, I really do not understand what else she wants. He tells her he’ll do anything to make things right, she just needs to tell him what that is, but alas, Heather storms off. Honestly, it’s probably a good thing that the argument escalated, otherwise Mia wouldn’t be able to swoop in and fix their problems for them.

The next day, Anton takes Mia on one of his bikes and they go to get Gelato which Mia has never heard of. That makes me sad, but this next comment makes me furious:

I scanned each option. The chocolate seemed far too dark making me think it would end up tasting like the bitter ass cannoli’s you get in Italian joints. Blech. I hated cannoli’s.

MIA. I can’t with you right now. Cannoli cream is sweet, and is usually white, so why is the dark looking chocolate making you think of them? What does Audrey Carlan/Mia think a cannoli is? Is my understanding of what a cannoli is fundamentally flawed?

A wiry, thin fella approached me. His hair was high and slicked back in a very stylish way. He wore a shirt that said, “Gelato-Go, Fresh every day, healthy, light, low-fat, delicious and creamy.” The name tag he wore boasted “Fresh Francesco”, and although he could very well be Italian, it was hard to tell one way or the other.

“Bella signora, how may Francesco help you today?” His accent was definitely Italian. That solved that mystery.

Damn that was like a completely self-contained short story. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the mystery to unfold, not sure of what kinds of twists and turns to expect along the way.

Francesco and Anton both emphasize to Mia how much healthier gelato is than ice-cream and how she can eat it and keep her figure. This is a strange and potentially misleading way to convince someone to try gelato.

They talk about which flavor to order for aaages, and in real life I am here for that 100% but not in this story. So I’ll skip ahead to telling you that Mia tells Anton that Heather should be his business manager/agent and have a PA, and he’s like, “Oh, you’re right!” She also tells Anton he needs to tell Heather she’s his best friend, and he agrees.

3+
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3 comments

  1. Jennifer Layton Reply

    (blink) (blink)

    OK, I read this twice. Then I did some Googling and read Audrey Carlan’s online bio. I also found an interview with her on YouTube. Turns out English IS her first language. I never would have guessed. So much for that theory.

    Yeah, I got nothing.

    5+
  2. wordswithhannah Reply

    I do not give a single solitary fuck about the name of the gelato shop and its proprietor, the caloric intake associated with gelato, what flavors are available, or that Mia has never eaten it before. Same with the tortuous description of how Mia lands on sushi for dinner. How on earth does an author devolve to this kind of narrative wheel-spinning in a novella?

    6+
  3. Jo Reply

    Cannolis do not deserve this treatment!!!
    … Now I want a cannoli…

    0

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