Chapter 8: The Credulity, it is Strained
Hey, remember how I went kind of overboard about the blood that must be on Chelsea’s hand when Vincent kissed it? Well, that was still all I could think about when the next chapter opens on Chelsea and Vincent’s date. They’re having dinner out, just the two of them, and for most of the scene the text continuously informs on how this is so unusual for Chelsea as well as providing more back story amongst the internal monologuing. We also learn more about Vincent’s upbringing—stories like how he had to spend the night before his high school hockey playoffs chasing a cow (since he lived on a farm, not, like, for the hell of it.)
But through all the backstory and the chatting, Chelsea keeps thinking about the palm of her hand, to the point where “sensation…still lingered there” (76). So not only was her hand bloody but Vincent’s lips gave her an allergic reaction? Kidding, kidding. The tingly hand kiss comes up again on the next page, when Vincent reveals he’s trying to prove himself to her, and again three pages later when he takes her hand “his thumb reaching around to the underside of her palm and stroking her there, right where he’d kissed her earlier” (80). On one hand (ha, see what I did there?) this slow building relationship is a nice counterpoint to the speed of the main story. On the other hand, I just wish Chelsea had wiped the blood off before Vincent had kissed her.
I’m enjoying reading this novel, I must say, but I can’t help but feel that the author put a bunch of ideas into a blender and picked a few for each character, no matter how wildly improbable. I mean, the internal logic works, mostly.
- · Jennifer’s sister gets horribly bullied via social media so she wants to create a documentary exposing social media bullying’s dangers but is told she must create a commercially viable hockey documentary first in order to get funding.
- · Axel’s stepfather takes him to a Finnish motorcycle club as a child and he gets suckered into running messages for said group until he joins a hockey team and meets an American billionaire’s son who knocks his tooth out in a fight and whose parents are horrified at Axel’s lack of caring parents and therefore adopt him and send him to Boston College after which he gets drafted to the NHL and now Jennifer’s hockey documentary is likely to make dangerous waves when the old gang sees it
- · Chelsea’s hippie mother made her way by living in a tent and letting men take care of her, which she repaid via sex, giving Chelsea many hang-ups about relationships and accepting anyone’s help. When she runs away she spends years on the streets but eventually manages to get a job in a department store and become an enormous hockey fan, so much so that since she’s already at the rink constantly, she’s given a job in the rink “gift shop”. She’s also working on her BSc online so she can eventually open her own women’s shelter.
Let’s… let’s talk about that last paragraph since I’ve just presented information that was revealed during the date as opposed to earlier. Put aside the fact that I’ve never seen a rink call their store a “gift shop” (it’s usually a Team Store or Team Shop). Set aside the fact that personally I think an online degree is of dubious value in almost all cases, and how the heck is Chelsea going to do necessary clinical work via the internet.
No, my question is far more fundamental. How in the world did Chelsea afford season tickets to an NHL team on a department store salesperson salary? Don’t get me wrong—season tickets in the upper levels of less popular teams’ arenas aren’t too expensive, relatively speaking. Philadelphia is not a less-expensive market, however. The very cheapest seats for Philadelphia (Flyers, not Phantoms) in the 2014-15 season, for example, would be the very highest seats in the mezzanine, which work out to $1848, or $42/seat. Over the course of a 9 month payment plan, I’m sure Chelsea could have swung that. However there’s still two problems with that. First, even if she went to every practice, she really wouldn’t be able to catch anyone’s attention (enough to be given the team store job, for example) from the seats furthest from the ice. If she wants seats at the ice, which to my mind would be practically necessary in order for her to get noticed, then the price is something closer to $9240 or $210 per ticket. Don’t get me wrong—there are ways to get noticed even if you can’t afford seats on the glass, but they’re usually negative attention (I could tell you stories I’ve heard and seen, but I’m polite-ish so I shan’t) and usually requires that the person be seeking said attention, which would be entirely out of character for Chelsea as she’s been written.
The second problem with this scenario is that she also goes to all the away games within driving distance—that’s going to cost gas money and ticket prices, to start with. And then there’s the fact that it would require time off from work, significant time some weeks. Granted, the Eastern Conference teams are closer together, meaning less drive time, but that also means that there are more teams within a doable drive, which means more games that Chelsea is out of town. Even if her job (at the department store) gave her that kind of flexibility, it would eat into her paycheck significantly.
The best way I can see this working is if her apartment is very close to the department store, the arena, and the practice arena and that despite the locale it’s very cheap. Then she could get the cheapest season tickets and get herself noticed by being at the practices instead of the games. But we know from the previous game that Vincent looks for her in the stands every night—which would be impossible from the upper level seats—and that she’s definitely on the lower level at the Montreal away game.
Once Chelsea has the team store job (I refuse to call it gift shop), it’s conceivable that she’d get a deep discount on tickets, so that could explain the home games. But that wouldn’t solve the cost of the away games, and a town like Montreal? A single ticket in the lower level is going ot be exorbitant.
Of course, the easiest handwave is that this isn’t the real world, it’s an imaginary NHL where tickets are cheap, Philly’s team is struggling to get butts in seats, and department stores pay a comfortable wage.
But even that can’t explain away the coincidence that Vincent just happened to take the same online business development class as Chelsea because he wants to get his MBA (after majoring in Math at Michigan State), which he reveals during the date.
I apologize if your credulity has already stretched to its breaking point.