#864-865 – what serendipity

This one caused some distress, some dividing of the readership into camps of Who's The Asshole (understandable, but not my intention). For me it was a way of showing how thoroughly Eve had missed the tension between her friends. She's once again thinking aspirationally about her their relationships, even as she sits face-to-face with Marek, who hasn't fully reckoned with his own failure. When we talk about "relationship goals", are we being deceived by a still image and what it obscures, or are we purposely leaving out details to suit our own tastes?

Marek was busy with school while Hanna was busy starting a business, and it kept things in a sort of stasis for them. The horizon was determined by Marek's degree program, not any shared goals. As Will is about to describe, it's hard to see a future between two divergent individuals.

12 thoughts on “#864-865 – what serendipity

  1. sheesh, didn't realize til now that's the same mug! love its assertive little stripe, and the other flashes of lime green in panel 2 & eve's hoodie.

  2. Love the detail of the mug in the photo being the same one Hanna is currently drinking from.

    1. Oh, right… that little panel is a digital photo on Hanna's computer screen and not how Marek spend the night after he got off the subway. Gotta keep paying attention!

  3. All the little details are so special… I definitely didn't notice Hannah is using the same mug the first time around. Or the framed portrait of Mary Berry! <3

  4. Mar's the asshole. 'Nuff said.

    1. Oh please, Jane is enough of an asshole for smoking in public spaces in the first place, polluting everyone else's air with that wretched stench, much less pushing cigarettes on an established recovering addict.

  5. quick show of hands how often have we all made that face behind the back of a loved one

  6. I'm only just now noticing Hanna tapping her leg under the table in the second-to-last panel. I think she's channeling the reader's anxiety in this one.

  7. I'm so glad I didn't start smoking like some of my friends. It seems like such a difficult habit to kick.

  8. Is that a portrait of Hillary Clinton on Hannah's wall there?

    1. Mary Berry, I think?

  9. This is apparently a trend for great webcomics with human drama and nuanced characters and comments sections: Readers debating to figure out who's the most wrong in every negative interaction everyone has.

    I always think of this psychology study I heard of from someone who participated in it, where the subjects read a story and then had to assign blame to the characters. The story had a man and a woman who were mugged on the street, and then due to some questionable decisions by the man I don't recall the woman ended up breaking their relationship and going on a ferry to a small island where she died by her own hand.

    It doesn't matter a great deal. The fascinating thing I thought was who the subjects thought were at fault was almost completely dependent on their nationality: Americans would put all the blame on either the man or the woman, while the 10% or so of foreign exchange students tended to argue that bad decisions were made by the man AND the woman, the robber, the ferry driver and everyone else including our society.

    Which, you know, is more true, and more conducive to problem solving. But certain cultures (I really don't think it's just the United States) apparently train you to look for a good guy to cheer and a bad guy to boo and nothing more.

    So that's one more reason I love the nuanced psychological realism of this comic. Mar is wrong cause she started yelling without trying to talk about what's bothering her, but there are several understandable reasons why she'd do that, and Jane is wrong cause she knew something was bothering Mar but didn't want to believe her relationship would have to have struggles, but she has good reasons for thinking that way too.

    And if they can each approach their conflict like that, willing to understand and forgive, they got a much better chance of identifying and solving the problem than if they want to be right and want the other one to be wrong so they win at fighting.

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