Pam Beesly loved her family. She loved Scranton, Pennsylvania, where she’d grown up, lived, and worked her whole life. She loved the winter holidays in the eastern US, with the potential for snowfall, the cups of hot cocoa, the way that little whisps of breath made their way up from people’s faces and made her want to pull out her watercolors and paint their souls floating free.
Really, she adored December at home, and she enjoyed spending the holidays with her family.
It’s just…sometimes she couldn’t help but wish that she could be somewhere warm. Somewhere fun, and not in the “you make your own fun” way but in the actual factual fun that was already programmed in way. Somewhere like California.
So when she got an alert on their shared credit card that Roy had bought two tickets to Santa Monica (well, two tickets to LAX and a hotel for eight nights in Santa Monica), she was excited.
Finally, all those years of hinting and wishing and waiting for her fiancé to notice that she wanted something new and exciting in December had paid off. Sure, it was short notice, but she had no doubt that she could get Michael to approve vacation time (he signed pretty much anything she stuck under his nose if she timed it right, and Toby wasn’t the kind of person to make waves at someone getting out from under Michael’s thumb for a bit). And Chanukah! In Santa Monica! How romantic!
At least, it was until she mentioned it to him when he got home and he had no idea what she was talking about.
Oh, it wasn’t credit card fraud. No, he knew exactly what she was talking about regarding the flight and the hotel room. He just wasn’t planning on going with her.
“Well, Kenny had a bad breakup, and I just figured he could use a break. And he and I always meant to check out Santa Monica Pier, go on a rollercoaster, maybe ogle some girls at the beach, you know?”
No, she did not know. First of all, Kenny had had a “bad breakup” with Sandy, who he’d been dating for three weeks. Second, while she was aware that any human being with eyes could look, there was a difference between being intellectually aware that there were other women in the world besides her who were attractive and actively going searching for Californian girls to ogle, Roy. It was like Katy at the office all over again. And third, it was for the entirety of Chanukah!
“So my family’s Jewish, Roy!” Not like Chanukah was actually that much of a big deal in Jewish culture. Honestly, it was mostly a defensive holiday, both in topic and in application: a celebration of a prior refusal to assimilate (to the Hellenist Greeks under Antiochus) rolled into a modern-day refusal to do the same (to American Christianity, if not American capitalism). But still; she wanted Roy with her when they went over to Bobe and Zayde’s for latkes and she had to watch her first cousins with their wedding rings on top of their engagement rings and listen to Mom ask for the third year in a row when the actual wedding was going to happen.
“Wait, what? I thought you were Presbyterian!”
“Wait…what did you think we went to at my grandparents’ house every year?”
“I don’t know, I never really thought about it!” And that was Roy in a nutshell.
She forced herself to explain for what she realized was too many times to count at this point that yes, her dad was Presbyterian and she’d grown up going to church socials and youth group and so on because it was where all her friends were anyway and her dad was on the session for a couple of years and they’d needed people to actually go to youth group events to justify the cost of the program. But her Mom was Jewish (Helene Greenbaum; her Bobe and Zayde found it in a baby book and liked it, it wasn’t a family name or anything) and that made her Jewish. They hadn’t really been big synagogue-goers or anything, but they did the basics.
Speaking of which…
“Roy, is that why you never come to the Seder when I ask you to?”
“Come on, baby, I don’t even know what Seder is.”
“It’s that big party my grandparents throw every spring.”
“Oh, the one during March Madness?”
And that was Roy in a nutshell. She loved him. She really did. But unless something was actually important to him, she could tell him a million times and it would go through one ear and out the other.
“So…you’re Jewish. And Presbyterian? But also Jewish?”
“Yes, Roy.” She didn’t even bother to mention the chuppah she’d asked his opinion about last week; then again, by now she’d mostly given up on him ever actually agreeing to plan a wedding with her.
“And why is this a problem with my trip to Santa Monica again?”
“Because you’re leaving me alone for the whole week of Chanukah! And because I thought we were going together!”
“Why would we do that?”
And then Kenny called—she was pretty sure she heard him call Sandy “Sharon” as he sobbed over the phone when Roy picked up, which either meant he’d forgotten her name already or his ‘bad breakup’ was over even less of a relationship than she’d thought—and the conversation ended before it could really begin.
And as was typical of Roy, he had absolutely no idea why she was mad at him by the next morning, to the point where he followed her up the stairs to the main office asking why she was giving him the cold shoulder.
Which was how she managed to yell “because you forgot I was Jewish” at him in front of all their coworkers at nine o’clock in the morning.