1-800-799-7233 / 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) / http://www.thehotline.org
tho maybe they can pool all their homelessness resources and get a nice refrigerator box under a bridge for Ruth and Becky and if someone bothers to turn in Jason
ONE BIG HOMELESS FAMILY
“A homeless Webcomic by David M Willis” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it
Maybe he could use “(Cardboard Box) Roomies!”
Ruth and Jo would probably get along amazingly well.
I assume you mean a Jo from the Walkyverse, but that still holds true for the one from Between Failures.
Pretty sure they are talking about the webcomic Go Get a Roomie right now.
Slumming of Age: A new webcomic about the homeless and abandoned. Brought to you by the creator of Shortpacked and Roomies comes a new comic full of laughs and tears as young girls struggle to survive on the cold strrets of Indiana.
Watch as Ruth Lessik and Becky Macintyre two girls on their own live in a refrigerator box under a freeway! It’s like Two Broke Girls except with increased chances of someone dying of cold and starvation! Slumming of Age. Look for it spring 2017!
Slumming of Age aka “Don’t expect anything to happen to the characters.”
Where would you like your Internet delivered?
Is there a horse? I’d watch it if there was a horse.
It would be called “Homies”
If we’re throwing out resources, Ruth could also benefit from the Trevor Project Support Center, focused on suicide prevention for queer youth, including support for dealing with abusive family and worries about homelessness or returning to abusive situations:
“bothers to turn in Jason”
Wait, Jason is homeless as well? When was this revealed?
Yeah, it’s like everyone just kinda ignored the Jason bit.
2 people know about them banging. One of them, the one with things to lose, quite frankly has no interest or care in reporting it. Marcie might have worked it out, I guess, but she would probably not do that without Sal’s approval, given that Sal is sort of facing the opposite of pressure to bang him.
My guess is that they meant if someone turns in Jason for sexing it up with Sal (say, for instance, whatshername who was sexing up some other students), then Jason’s probably going to need a new job, too.
Jason came to the USA to complete a math degree. He’s probably from a well-off background. He’d likely make it back to Britain, and either take up again in a school (Yes, I know, given what he could be fired for, he shouldn’t be able to. I’m not sure how well schools across the pond ask for this sort of thing. Businesses sure as hell don’t check anything like it.), or take up work. It’s very unlikely a fired Jason is /that/ badly off.
He would have to pass an enhanced DBS if he wanted to work at a university in the UK, which wouldn’t show anything that happened in America. Unless the university actually fired him on the grounds of sleeping with a student instead of just finding another excuse to terminate his employment, as is normal, and the potential employer in the UK actually checked with the university, they would never know.
oops forgot to close tag hope that works
That’s about what I figured, based on private-sector employment from across the pond.
It’s shitty that Jason’s wouldn’t follow him (given what it is), but BOY HOWDY I’m pretty sure I’m looking forward to this fresh start, if only for my unpopular opinions.
If he’s in the US on a student visa, he’ll become an undocumented immigrant.
I’m pretty sure he is given ample time to return home, rather than immediately becoming an undocumented immigrant.
Also, he should have plenty of documents (Indiana driver’s license, IU ID, passport). He would be illegal, in this instance.
DEPORTING OF AGE
hmm, yeah I don’t know the procedure if someone’s Form I-20 is revoked, other than “you can’t work anymore”
Cue closeup on Carla as she groans
~Everybodyy haaaates Carlaaa…~
Racking my brain for groans, but can only find the one used for when you fuck up golfing on Wii Sports.
nah, I thought of that one, too.
Also the stock one that was constantly used in the late 80s and 90% of the 90s.
So Carla is this year’s Sarah.
Yup. Something that is not lost on Sarah.
They should form a support group.
And add Danny. He made an attempt at helping Amber and look where it got him.
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions” Club
And I’m a founding member of the “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished Support Group”.
“We Were Trying To Help Your Dumb Asses, Dammit” Anonymous.
The “Well Excuse Me for Giving a Damn” Group.
“At least I still believe in justice!”
“At least I still believe in Justice!” You destroyed the city Carl, you destroyed the city!
The lesson is: never try
The Damned if you do, damned if you dont League of Ladies and Gentlemen
How about “The At Least Leeroy Jenkins Got Some Chicken” support group?
ohh, that’s why she stood back while Joyce and the group left for the hospital.
She’s been here before. Doesn’t want any part of the rerun.
I think so. And what she’s reliving in the last panel here
So just how bad IS ruths grandfather? If it’s by any means physical than I think she’s more than capable of standing up for her self at this point, Blaine, and if it’s just verbal abuse from some frail old man who can barley stand then winning is as simple as leaving even if it’s just temporarily. Lastly she’s a legal adult (20 right?) She doesn’t have to go back. Well, there is Howie, I don’t know if he’s oblivious to the feud, numbed to the point of not caring, or simply not engaged (like his grandfather never “attacks” him). Unfortunately, she’d be left with going off on her own (since I’m pretty sure no state would award custody of a minor to someone who recently was admitted for suicidal possibility) or going back to her grandfathers just to make sure Howie’s safe.
I start to believe who had a certain someone in mind when she took down Blaine…
She did offer high fives to Amber when Blaine was in the hospital. She implied this was from experience.
We haven’t seen what exactly Ruth’s grandfather is like, but all he’s had to do is talk to her on the phone, and she ends up breaking down crying, so verbal and emotional abuse are most likely here. We also know he does it to her and her brother. Feeling the need to call him “sir” doesn’t bode well as for how tolerant he is. Ruth may have PTSD to some degree after losing both parents and she obviously has depression. May be the case that he doesn’t believe she has any “real problem,” but for now it’s all speculation.
We don’t know specifically how bad it is, only that it’s bad enough that Ruth is terrified of him. We also don’t know that Sir is frail and weak. Being a grandfather doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not strong enough to hurt someone. But even if its “only” verbal / emotional abuse, that kind of treatment from someone who is supposed to love you, especially if it starts while you’re young, can screw with the head of even someone who might seem too strong (mentally and/or physically) to allow something like that to happen.
Even if Ruth could stand up to him or walk away (and again, even emotional abuse can fuck with a person’s head and make them think that the can’t fight back, or just deserve the abuse), there’s still Howard. Grandpa may lash out at him out of anger about Ruth’s disobedience, or deliberately to punish her for it. She certainly will (and already does) blame herself for all the abuse she can’t protect him from.
You’re right. People are very dismissive of abuse and that does put victims in a lot of danger.
I’m not even going to touch the “capable of standing up for herself” part, since Fart Captor put it pretty well and it took me ages to figure that one out, but I seem to recall her saying something about her granddad maybe going easier on Howie if she weren’t around.
If it’s by any means physical than I think she’s more than capable of standing up for her self at this point, Blaine, and if it’s just verbal abuse from some frail old man who can barley stand then winning is as simple as leaving even if it’s just temporarily.
Written like someone who doesn’t understand how abuse works.
1, It’s not a matter of not being physically stronger than the other person. Emotional/psychological abuse is also a thing and it’s the primary weapon of most abusers I’ve encountered. IME, it’s more damaging in the long run because nobody acknowledges it or believes you unless they do in which case the abuse is your fault for not “standing up” for yourself.
2, It doesn’t magically get better once you stand up for yourself.
3, It is a fuckload harder for a 20YO to branch out on their own than most people are willing to acknowledge. Like, let’s consider my city. Minimum wage (all you can get with just high school) is like $10/hr. Income taxes Taxes take away 22% of that, so you have . Rent on a bachelor is $900 a month. Utilities are an additional $300/month. Phone/internet an additional $100/month. Without even considering the 15% sales tax, you’re already in the red working full-time hours, and we haven’t even gotten to food yet.
You might be able to afford a room in a place ($350/month) or sharing an apartment with roomies ($400-$500/month), but you also have laundry (Easily $100/month), transit ($85/month and better hope you live close enough to the grocery store that you can walk your groceries home or there’s going to be an additional $40 a month at least in cab fare getting groceries home and also better hope you don’t have night shifts because transit stops at 10 and better hope you don’t work Sundays because this city’s transit system doesn’t run on Sundays) and groceries (probably close to $300/month for a single person, especially where I live – groceries here are pricey). Even if you do manage to eke out an existence, it’s an unstable one, dependent on cobbling together full-time hours, likely from several different part-time jobs, all of which will have differing hours and most of which are not exactly conducive environments for mental health recovery and most of which are seasonal so you’re going to constantly be in a panicked job-hunt mode.
And that’s assuming you succeed at it, and that you don’t run into wage theft from an employer. Many don’t or wind up victims of wage theft and wind up homeless.
In Ruth’s situation, she probably psychologically can’t even try to succeed at it right now. She can’t even get out of bed right now.
Aside from the “it’s hard to stand up for yourself against an abuser” aspect, there is also the part where if she did stand up for herself (i.e.- hit back), then her grandfather could very easily call the police on her. At this point, it would be her word against his as to who hit first (or at all). To make things worse, there are some considerations: 1- he’s been abusive long enough that he probably knows how to hit so that it hurts but doesn’t really show much by way of marks and what marks do show can probably be explained by other things. 2- he’s an old man who is probably well respected in his community and she is a disturbed young woman who has a documented history of emotional distress. Her claims of abuse very possibly won’t be believed if she says something. and 3- In the US (not sure about Canada), in most domestic abuse cases, the victim is usually designated as the person who reports the incident. So, if he hits her and she hits back, then he calls the police on her, she will be the one getting charges. And since he is her grandfather, it might fall under the umbrella of elderly abuse which falls under the same category as child abuse.
The best strategy she could use is to call and report him, but as someone who often works with Children’s Services, I can say that they often can’t do anything. Their mandate encourages them to keep families together whenever possible, so they often keep children in abusive environments if they don’t have enough proof or if (and get this) the parent promises not to abuse the kid anymore. At this point, Children’s Services keeps an eye on the family by sending workers out every few weeks to check on things. Any abuse during this time may be kept subtle enough that the worker won’t find out about it or won’t be able to act on it (since they need clear proof of definable abuse) and nothing really changes. The end result is that few people actually come out of contact with Children’s Services happy, least of all the Children’s Services workers who got into the job to help children.
I’m curious as to where you live. Rent estimate on a bachelor sounds about right, but your estimates on utilities, internet, phone all seem high to me. I’ve got a 2 bed 1 bath house with my wife and two dogs, and utilities are half what you mentioned (everything – gas, electric, water, sewage) and some rentals in the area will cover some of those themselves. Phone and internet are probably close if you are getting nicer stuff. To compare again, $120 for phone but that’s 3 lines and 6 GB data, and $55 for internet (promo offer for 1 year, goes to $75) but it’s also a higher speed line because I like to game and I can afford it. Basic internet should be cheaper than that and a phone is as easy/cheap as a pay as you go plan.
I get where you are coming from though. Financial costs aside, there are additional struggles of adjusting to living on your own as, for the first time in your life, an adult.
Basic internet here winds up being more expensive because hidden fees etc, most places in this city are electric heat (in Canada in a province with relatively expensive electricity). Water/Sewage is cheapest and that’s about $75/mo. Electricity varies by time of year but averages out to the balance, and I don’t get gas. And I pay direct – but there’s nothing preventing landlords from applying a “utilities fee” and marking it up here, which happens a lot. Plus Canadian dollar so 30% less buying power.
I’ll admit I didn’t have “all of my ducks in a row” when I made that comment. I mostly wanted to know what the situation was. What’s he look like? what’s he capable of? How far does it go with this guy?
Wow thats a lot more expensive then in Utah I could get my total expenses down to around 500 a month if I really needed to, granted minimum wage is only 7.25 an hour but the average no skill required job pays around 9 and a high school degree and a bit of intelligence can get 11-12 an hour pretty easily, my art degree has left me depressingly familiar with this subject.
Does laundry really cost that much in bigger cities? In San Diego the laundromats are $1.25-$2 per load. I’d have to do 25 loads a month ($2 for wash, $2 for dry) to spend $100 a month. I think I do 5 a month at most.
The number of ways an adult can fuck over a college-age student are incredibly numerous, and let’s not forget that Sir still has Ruth’s little brother there. It’s entirely possible, given the fact that he seems okay-ish, that Ruth is taking the heat in order to keep him safe, and. Well.
Can somebody talk to Leslie about all this, like, NOW? Immediately? I know it’s still Sunday but PLEASE GOD LET THEM HAVE GENDER STUDIES TOMORROW.
I know! She may not be able to just swoop in and save the day for Ruth or Becky, but I still can’t wait for her to get a chance to help
And now I’ve gone and pictured Robin and Leslie adopting Becky and my brain had to shut down for a bit
Might not be so bad. Dana was fun which is why people hate her. Ruth was a bully loved only by Billie.
Until Billie spreads it around that Carla’s intervention sent Ruth back to an abusive home. Let’s see how well that goes over with anyone…or even Amber, for that matter. We already know Sal’s dealing with the stress of a vigilante targeting her for no reason she can discern; what happens when Carla’s also dealing with it? What happens when Mary inevitably catches wind of it and tries to use it to her advantage?
Given Carla’s abrasive tendencies she’s not going to be seen as a hero after this, but I doubt anyone will turn on her. I don’t see the status quo for her changing at all. The residents might feel more sympathetic for Ruth knowing all this. They certainly didn’t want her to die, but considering how she ran roughshod over everyone they really won’t miss her. Moreover, Dana was on the verge of becoming like Ruth until Sarah intervened so people can say she was just grieving and she overreacted. With Ruth you have someone who really was on the verge of suicide so Carla’s actions have more justification. As for Mary I think Chloe or the new RA might be better at handling her since she’ll have no leverage.
“You should have known this was happening. It’s your job to know, isn’t it? But Ruth was physically abusing her residents, emotionally intimidating them, and had sex with one of her own residents. Repeatedly, after throwing her across the room. In public. At a floor meeting.
“You tell me how consensual that relationship probably is.
“Not to mention Ruth trying to drink herself to death, and encouraging Billie to join her. And some homeless kid who doesn’t even go to this school living on the floor, and her armed, psycho dad coming to get her.
“All that. All that, happening right under your nose, and you didn’t do a thing to stop it. It’s your job to know about things like this, and yet, somehow, all of that happened without you knowing. Or did you simply not care?
“I’m pretty sure your bosses would want to know what’s been going on on this floor, wouldn’t they? Under your watch…”
‘No leverage’? Naw, I’m pretty sure Mary will have buttloads of leverage. :/
Questing of Age
Joyce, Becky, Dina, Sarah, Jocelyne, Walky, Dorothy, Amber, Ethan and Hank land just outside of Paris.
Joyce: So this is where our mysterious man is supposed to be?
Hank: Yep, Paris, France.
Dorothy: I came here with my parents.
Ethan: we’d better get going, if we want to find a decent hotel before dusk.
They settle into a relatively inexpensive hotel.
Joyce, Becky, Dina, and Dorothy lay in their hotel room.
Joyce: I’m going to go search for clues.
Becky: I’ll search the left side of town.
Joyce: I guess I’ll search the right.
Dorothy: Well, were far enough away from your mom, just don’t get kidnapped again.
Joyce: I wasn’t planning on it.
Dorothy: Hey, do you have that card that told us to go to Paris on you?
Joyce fishes around in her pocket and pulls out a slightly bent card.
Dorothy flips the card around and looks at the back.
Becky: What are you looking for?
Dorothy: The last card had a graph on it, I’m hoping there’s a clue on the back of this one.
Dina: Did you find anything?
Joyce: Well that sucks.
At this point Walky sticks his head in.
Walky: Yo! What’s up?
Joyce: We were hoping that there would be a clue on the back of the card, but there’s nothing.
Walky walks up and grabs the card out of Dorothy’s hand.
Walky: Try this.
Walky places the card over a lamp and switches it on. After a minute or so a simple drawing of the Mona Lisa starts to shine through.
Dina: Invisible ink.
Walky: I used to use that stuff all the time. Taught Billie how to do it.
Becky: Wooo! A real clue on the first day.
Dorothy: We’d better get over there, I’ll get the rest of the guys.
This is really getting good.
Well with the benefit of hindsight……
Hindsight is always 20/20. I just tell ’em my rear is blinking, and it ain’t a turn signal.
Hindsight sucks, I’ve got better than perfect forward, but I keep missing things in the past!
Agreed; Carla had to take the path of least harm now and that meant reporting Ruth’s condition to the authorities. They’ve just got to all try to limit the damage going forwards too.
But she didn’t have all the information, and thus she didn’t know it was the option of less harm.
As happy as we were, she acted recklessly.
If everyone waited until they have the “full information”, then nobody would do anything.
She saw someone in danger, she acted. I’d’ve done the same.
Well, that’s a “wait what” expression on Carla’s face if ever I saw one.
Remember that for Carla, home is the only place that is safe.
Yup. Home was where she could run to when people were doing “stuff” to her in response to her non-normative traits. Home was full of people who loved her no matter what, even when no one would get her back. Home had Ultra Car and parents who would give her the world.
This is literally the opposite of her own life experiences.
Parallel to Joyce thinking Dads fix everything when Becky first shows up.
Definitely. Will be very curious to see Carla’s response to this.
I’ve got my fingers crossed for “The Ruttens adopt Ruth.”
The true face of “oh shit.”
Billie, I know you want to blame someone, but there is no disputing the fact that Carla did the right thing.
Don’t try to reason with her! It’ll just make her more angry!
blame mary, she’s the one who started all the drama
she set off the drama bomb, the D-bomb, the big one, the bomb to cause all the drama (admit it, you read that as krunk form the emperors new groove)
Willis, send her back to the Walkyverse
Mary and Sir are definitely the biggest two villains of this arc.
Without them, the options are way different, the stakes less and the time limit less oppressive.
If Sir was out of the picture, then the worry about a stint home wouldn’t be a thing and Ruth could take some time to repair her self-esteem without worrying that every call from home would just remind her of her “failures”.
And if Mary was out of the picture, she could have continued trying to build stuff with Billie, maybe eventually take the relationship in a less co-dependent direction or at the very least, be able to function more day-to-day without being kicked while she was down and made to roll into a fetal ball in fear.
And it would no longer be as big of a deal if Ruth was outed or if Ruth got fired. And Ruth could focus more on getting better rather than desperately trying to maintain what little escape she’s managed so far.
If Sir’s out of the picture, wouldn’t that leave a homeless, jobless, and suicidal Ruth as the legal guardian of her 16 year old brother? Not trying to argue that he’s good for her to have, just… I dunno. I chose not to run away when I was younger on the grounds of “even a shitty home is better than total uncertainty, and this way I’ve got a bit more of a foundation for however long I’m allowed to keep taking advantage of it”, so from my perspective, she’s in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t sort of a situation, and got incredibly unlucky with how and when everything she’d been building up came crashing down around her. It’s not that I think she’s at fault; I just think that being given the care of her brother and the stress and worries of being a parent could push her completely beyond self-care.
Well, if we’re going back, Sir out of the picture would have meant foster homes which wouldn’t have been great, but might have been less abusive that Sir turned out to be.
Except that Ruth is not a minor, therefore, Ruth cannot go into foster care.
Well, I meant more if Sir never existed. If Sir were to keel over dead now… I dunno, she might use having to care for Howard to kind of limp forward like she did with Billie. It wouldn’t be pretty, but she might be able to manage it.
She was at one of her more functional states when he visited and he’s 16, so it’s not like trying to care for a small child while suicidal and theoretically she would inherit Sir’s house so she wouldn’t be homeless. Just temporarily jobless and suicidal.
From what I understand, Cerberus implies “if Sir never was in the picture to begin with”, Ruth and howie would have ended in foster homes when their parents died.
I don’t know if it’s still a thing, but aren’t foster homes a risk to get separated from your sibling(s) ?
Is Sir the last of their surviving biological grandparents, or is he their only living relative? It seems like custody went to him by default; there must be someone else in their extended family who could possibly help.
The first step on the road to disappointment.
It seemed like he might be. Though if he was out of the picture, Ruth is technically an adult now, so she’d probably take over as Howard’s legal guardian for the next year until he was a legal adult as well. Certainly if there are other relatives, they haven’t done much to protect Ruth and Howard:
I’m also no fan of Chloe, chill as she is, her neglect left Ruth in an impossible situation FAR too long. I’m not sure if any intervention from her side would have made things better or worse, but that doesn’t change the fact that an RA in her charge came very, VERY close to drinking herself to death on her watch.
And SHE is not a stupid college kid. SHE is an adult who is paid to look after stupid college kids. I think that’s what she is getting at herself in the final panel here.
Yeah, how was Carla supposed to know that Ruth’s home is a horrible place? She only wanted for Ruth to start the therapy.
“What we’ve got here, is a failure to communicate.”
For the short term… yes. Ruth was essentially trying to just waste away in her bed, was only finding comfort in someone slightly less suicidal and alcoholic as she was, and had a holier-than-thou bully blackmailing and trying to drive her to a quicker method of killing herself.
In the long term… I don’t think Ruth’s grandfather is going to be sympathetic to her mental illness or the fact that she lost her free ride for college…. at least not in any way that isn’t superficial and meant to put on a good show/face for doctors and school officials when they contact him about what happened. If Ruth gets sent back to his home to ‘recover’, he’ll make her life a living hell to punish and ‘correct’ her being attracted to other girls, her ‘laziness’ and “being sad for no reason other than to get pity”, etc. Maybe she’ll be watched closely and forced into a state of pretending to be ok and conforming to what is expected of her as well as keeping her away from any sharp objects, guns, pills, chemicals, etc… but given how bad she is now, treatment like that would break her to a point of finding a way to end it all in some other sneaky or impulsive way… like jumping out of a car door driving down a highway at 60+mph… or just parking in the car in the garage, closing up the doorways, and leaving it running.
Fact remains, though, that Carla was essentially manipulated into trying to deal with something she is not at all qualified to. She saw a desperate situation and jumped for what was the seemingly easiest solution. She put the dots together that her and Billie were an item when Billie begged her to check in on Ruth and then yelled at her for not doing a good enough job, saw that Ruth was practically catatonic, then went and told Billie to get back together with her THINKING that maybe the way non-asexuals get out of funks is to be non-asexual with each other.
Blaming Carla for what’s happened is wrong and Billie is just looking for someone to blame who will take her lashing out and not create a feedback loop of making her angrier by quoting the bible and making comments that “faggots don’t have souls and should just go die”. Hence why she’s honing on Carla to begin with, and not embedding her teeth into Mary’s facial bones.
Yup, all of this.
And yeah, protecting Ruth from Sir is important but making it so that Mary wasn’t lording over the futility of her efforts every time she managed to make it out of bed was WAY more important for her ability to survive in the short term.
Carla was given a shit sandwich with no good answers and certainly was not going to pull the Billie route (prolly the one Billie wanted) of personally waiting on Ruth 24/7 and caring for her at the expense of her own life.
Have we been given reason to think he’d care about her sexuality? I think abusing Ruth by constantly belittling her accomplishments and berating her for her alcoholism, dismissal, “laziness,” et cetera would be more than enough to inspire the reactions we’ve seen, and if he had opinions on that then Ruth or Howard might have expressed some recollection of them.
Now that I think about it… no. He could very well be accepting of that.
However, how often does that happen?
I’d wager his berating and demanding she be a perfect child partially hinge on her being heterosexual and fulfilling her duties as a woman to get married and have kids as well as complete her education and have a perfect and successful career.
Perfect perfect perfect.
Sorry, no. Carla did make a mistake. She jumped without finding out all the information. She never sat down and talked to anyone about it. She assumed she knew what was right. She never had the full picture, and kept making mistakes because of it.
You specifically cited the problem. She jumped to the immediate solution. Seeing as Ruth was not in any immediate danger, that was the wrong choice.
I’m a big fan of Carla, and I didn’t actually see this before. But now that Billie has brought it up, I realize Carla did make a mistake. And Billie has every right to call her on it.
It would actually suck if Carla were perfect, so I’m glad this happened. And, fortunately, her mistake is not that bad. The main problem is that there was no place set up for Ruth to go to before this started.
And maybe there still wouldn’t have been. But it would have been nice to be able to try.
Everyone else was wrong to do nothing, but Carla went a bit the wrong way, and was a bit too rash.
This is why she wouldn’t be able to fix everyone else’s problems like that. She has some growing up to do, too.
Totes. Carla is still a fuck-up kid in some ways. Makes her more fun of a character. And yeah, her rashness, not checking in, was a flaw. She might have gotten away with it in this instance, but it was a high risk maneuver so it is good that she’s getting yelled at a bit by Billie for it.
Sat down and talked to who? Ruth was unresponsive.
She told Billie Ruth wanted to die and was told that was normal.
I’ll just say this, while I ultimately agree with what Carla did because Ruth definitely needed professional help she probably could of handled it better. Forcefully carrying Billie while loudly annoucing what’s happening wasn’t the best, cause now everyone knows. And while most everyone in the girls wing will probably be open and supportive or at least indifferent about Ruth and Billie’s situation it’s also none of their business. Not to mention Ruth potentially being sent to an abusive guardian on top of everything else. So you know, practice tact, sometimes actions have unseen consequences.
OTOH, even going quietly to the RM likely leads to everyone knowing – at least about the depression. There’s going to be a fuss when the RM hauls her away and some kind of explanation given. If Billie goes with, then we’re in basically the same state, if not then Billie’s not getting any help.
Just quietly sneaking Billie in leads to them lying down and dying together.
I’m not sure what better outcomes Carla could have arranged for.
Carla was given minimal information and her primary endgoal in agreeing to check in on Ruth to begin with was to be able to have free cookies.
She was never invested to begin with and was never told anything that would have made her invested (aka: concerned), and that was done on purpose. Billie made her a tool to indirectly have access to Ruth, but at the same time was afraid Carla would go “Um… this is fucked” and tell someone if she knew the details of why Ruth needed to be checked in on.
Not saying that Carla is a good person for what she did or that what she did WAS good, but her actions are understandable given her desires to no longer be involved with the problem AND at the same time wanting to find a quick way to resolve the problem so it doesn’t bother her anymore.
Yeah, no. Carla is a good person. The comic has consistently portrayed her as such. She thinks she’s an asshole, but she’s actually a good and kind person. There is no way someone just wanting to get the problem out of her hair would do it this way.
She did what she thought was best. But she was a bit rash and missed an important part–making sure Ruth had somewhere to go.
Because there was no one there to tell her that information.
Her action in the circumstances wasn’t rash: it was correct.
It has consequences, sure. But we have no idea if some those less pleasant consequences will be fulfilled. Ruth may have to go home, she may not.
Some jobs do allow people to be off sick for a while, then allow them to go back to their previous roles.
Billie doesn’t know that. Billie, bless her heart,built up this role where she was indispensable to Ruth, in her mind. Unfortunately for Ruth, her behaviour really wasnt helping.
Based on the information Carla had, she certainly made the right call. And even given this, I’m inclined to think she did the right thing. But Billie /does/ know Ruth better than either of us. Billie might be extra scared for very good reason.
“Right Thing” is a loaded statement. Did she have good intentions? Yes. Are some of those choices good in a vacuum? Yes.
But in the Macro, unless things turn out better, absolutely not. Not the right thing.
“But Carla didn’t know” is an excuse, she didn’t really put any thought into the fallout of her actions or the situations of those people she -did- agree to help.
She screwed up in this scenario. That is a thing.
Should she get all the blame? Absolutely not, but there’s definitely blame to go around here, and she gets a helping in this buffet of consequences.
So what is the Right Thing? I assume you’ve got some nice clean solution that doesn’t leave Ruth lying on her bed waiting to die?
Sometimes there is no “Right Thing”, there’s just the “Better Thing”.
As I stated above, Carla’s intentions have never been a secret. She only agreed to help to get free cookies, and that was solely because she saw Billie had cookies and then by seeing the cookies Carla craved cookies for herself. Her intentions have always been selfish, but she fulfilled the deal agreed upon to get the share of cookies she was promised, either due to some personal moral code of “fulfill your agreements” or simply because she didn’t want Billie hassling her about not completing her end of the cookie deal.
Her actions have been immature, as we saw when she got revenge on Mary, but she was never obligated to be anything else. Would it have been admirable for her to be more empathetic? Sure, but she’s a student. She’s not a professional qualified to deal with super depressed and suicidal people, of whom would have only acquired permission/license to practice by not only proving qualification, but signing an oath saying that she would use her qualifications to try and remedy problems like this as soon as she became aware of them.
I still can’t see how you get this out of the comic. Carla already ate the cookies. And the only thing she was required to do for them was to give the rest to Ruth. She chose to take it further, even when Billie was a jerk to her.
She is not motivated by pure selfishness. Hell, a purely selfish person would not have done anything about Ruth the second Billie didn’t seem to care. But Carla did care, and did what she thought was right. Do you think she’s lying in this comic, where she says she did it to save her life? Or where she volunteered to solve everyone else’s problems?
The only issue is that she was a bit too rash. She started with the wrong idea, thinking it was just a breakup, and never asked for more info. When she got more information, she still didn’t sit down and talk to anyone. She just acted.
And, because of that, she missed something. She missed that going home would not necessarily be a good thing for Ruth. That she might not have actually saved her.
Finally, I don’t know about you, but I do think empathy is an obligation for all people. Having a character show empathy is how you show that they aren’t necessarily completely evil. It is Mary’s lack of empathy that pretty much defines her character, and it is Carol’s, John’s, and the rest of the church’s lack of empathy for Joyce and Becky that showed them to be bad. And it is Hank’s empathy that shows him to be good.
And part of the reason people grew to love Carla was her empathy. It’s definitely why I fell in love with her.
Yeah, I’m seeing some pre-emptive “Carla didn’t do anything wrong so this arc better not focus on how rash and thoughtless her behavior was” commentary coming up and it annoys me. Carla’s not a saint, she can and does screw up, and no matter what her intentions were, she DID screw up here. There were better avenues to take, and because of her personality, she didn’t take them.
Out of curiosity, what were the better avenues?
Actually talking to Billie at length before hauling her into the hallway, for a start. Or reaching out to an authority figure in private. Both clash with her propensity for grand gestures and blunt no-bullshitting, but both would have been far less traumatizing than (unintentionally) outing Billie and Ruth to the entire floor.
Ouch, ouch, ouch. Between Ruth, Billie and Carla there are enough guilt, fear, mistakes, bad decisions and in general bad conditions for decision making that this situation HAD to end badly someway.
I really hope Billie and Carla manage to get on the same page enough that they can help Ruth with whatever comes next.
I really hope that the others aren’t far behind Billie, she’s ready to do something she and/or Carla will regret later.
Well Billie you put Carla between a rock and a hard place and she chose the best option available
Frankly, Billie, you are the ine that asked Carla to do a job,without giving her all the information needed to do that job. For no other reason than, Carla likes cookies. All in all, this is a better outcome than could have been expected.
CARLA! PROTECT YOUR FEMURS
I’m reading every comment of yours in Becky’s voice. The ava is like, perfect.
It is, it really is
Your Gravatar is giving me mental images of Becky dressed as Sakura Kinomoto.
They’re nice images.
Like this one.
rest in pieces, carla. we loved ye well
(also wow never got to a strip this early before)
Oh man, Carla’s weakness is her blindspot for the fact that shit parents exist! She shares this blind spot with many a well adjusted 19yo, actually.
That is so amazingly huge when you stop to consider that that’s not a blindspot most trans people get to have.
Yes. Carla doesn’t have all the traits typical of most trans people.
Sigh, you’re right, but still I can’t wait to live in a world where having hateful unsupportive parents is not a trait typical of most trans people.
Kind of a common trope that trans characters have miserable lives with parents who decide they hate them for being different, along with the trope that trans people are there for a crime to be committed against them, to end up on an autopsy table, and to provide a tearjerker story that motivates someone else (usually some cops) to find their attacker and bring them to justice…. of which is uncharacteristically FITTING for the crime, despite reality showing a different pattern…. unless of course the storyline is a critique of how fucked the justice system is…
I’m looking at you, Law and Order…
Maybe it’s not typical and true to the majority of life that a trans child would be born to parents that would accept and love them despite wanting to ‘change’ to something not what they were first assumed to be… but perhaps it’s to go against the grain a bit and say “Hey, it is possible for someone to be born different AND have a good home life with parents who support and love them”.
Carla’s character really hasn’t been explored much beyond her being kind of an ass with her behavior, yet also helpful when not expected (when Amber had a bleeding head wound), being the child of rich, successful, and highly intelligent people that own a well known robotics company, and her being highly intelligent as well as cunning.
Ugh, yeah, the tragic corpse arc is one of the five big trans stereotypes that pop up again and again. People want to see us die tragically, oh, so sad, poor deluded thing, sure taught main character a thing about progressivism or something or learning to love life. I dunno, but it sure was deep because a cis male actor played a woman and wasn’t it brave of him to have done so.
But few want to see us live and fuck up and grow and be full complete people who are not just tragic blips in the life of someone somehow more deserving of focus or life.
And for those who are curious, the five big stereotypes are: the tragic corpse, the deceiver, the pathetic (usually seen by having a big buff guy play a trans woman and she’s trying so hard to be femme, but it’s so funny, because she’s never going to be taken seriously, ha ha ha [now look as this trope is used to justify anti-trans harassment]), the sexual predator/agressive hypersexual, and the psycho/murderer.
At least Silence of the Lambs specifide that Bill wasn’t really trans, he just hated every aspect of himself.
Then they played up the trans bit as creepy…
And many a ≤19yo who just thinks they’re well adjusted, and that the things they’ve been through are perfectly normal and not a case of shit parenting.
Not just well-adjusted 19YOs.
Also abuse victims (both the 19YOs) who’ve so normalized the abuse they think that how they were treated is how normal loving families work (hi, this was me at 19 and as I’ve said before my dad was a Blaine through most of my teenage years so it’s very possible).
Also more than a few Joe types who have enough privilege that seeing the shit side of the oppression stick is actually a choice for them and because seeing it means feels, they have retreated from it every time in a Walky-like refusal to let go of childhood illusions. Think Joyce’s brother Jon – who deals every day in India with the less fortunate, and yet has managed to learn exactly nothing from it.
First set of parentheses in my above comment should read “both the 19YOs and the sub-19YOs and even older folks)”
Because yeah – the number of middle-aged and older people I’ve spoken to who try almost desperately to convince me that hitting children / screaming at children / controlling a child’s every waking moment / threatening to kill children / etc isn’t wrong because it teaches “respect” and it’s what their parents did and they turned out “fine” is alarmingly large in my region.
Yup, if that’s the only “healthy family” you’ve seen and your abuser takes a lot of time emphasizing that this is what familial love looks like and this is what family means, it becomes hard to see past that and figure out what an actually healthy family looks like without encountering that.* Not impossible as many people who’ve escaped their abusive families can attest, but definitely harder.
*And encountering can sometimes not be enough, because abusers sometimes love selling the idea that actually healthy families must be secretly broken just like their families or that they are the real toxic pits because they don’t teach “respect for elders” or are “overly permissive”. So that when their kids see it they assume that that’s what a “bad family” looks like or that it is secretly just as bad as their own family.
Sorry, but if I knew someone was suicidal I’d act to deal with the suicidal part. I’ve done it. Yes, there can be underlying issues that can make things more complicated to varying degrees, but you can’t deal with those issues if you’re dead.
Strange to see these characters we’ve gotten so used to thinking of as (more or less) responsible adults and parents acting like teenagers.
i know intellectually that this kind of response is probably beneficial, but i also remember being the one subjected to intervention that i neither wanted nor needed the moment i expressed my recurring suicidal ideation so like
i really do sympathize with billie here
As someone who was also on the receiving end of that, I feel you.
Largely agree, but (with the benefit of third-person omniscience) we know that her grandfather is a significant part of WHY she’s suicidal. Sending her back to him doesn’t actually deal with the suicidal part.
I never said I don’t sympathize with Billie. Should’ve made it clearer that I’m hoping the issues come up during Ruth’s treatment so something actually productive can be done.
I’ve been the one who needed the intervention before, but hid it well enough people didn’t notice how bad it was. What kept me from getting too bad was the reminders that some people DID give a damn what happened to me. Billie’s that reminder to Ruth right now, and hopefully others will be able to get through to Ruth that they also care.
My suicidal ex-girlfriend yelled at me for calling an ambulance on her when she was feeling suicidal. It gave her hospital bills she had to deal with for years. There’s a lot of reasons people don’t get professional help for this kind of stuff.
Would I have done it differently? I dunno. Her best friend thought it was the right call too, and she was refusing to get help otherwise.
It’s tricky when dealing with a situation where there’s suicidal planning and the person is also suffering familial abuse. An ideal approach does indeed put the intervention on the suicide plan first and getting the person safe no matter what, even if it means a solution they are scared of (like being sectioned).
But it’s also important to try one’s best to protect them from potential fallout with an abuser.
Though I say all of this from the perspective of an educator for whom keeping my kids alive and as safe as they can be is part of my job and moral duty as the “responsible adult”. Carla was a scared 18 year old massively out of her depth facing probably the first suicidal person she’s met face to face and only knowing the terrifying statistics on queer teen suicide rates and watching Ruth get steadily more terrifyingly broken.
She made the best choice she could have in that panicked state and it succeeded in her prioritized goal which was to end the blackmail she assumed was the main thing driving the depression and try and keep Ruth alive by any means necessary.
Seeing as Carla’s trans and asexual, she may know more about it than you think.
As a trans teen, I’d expect Carla to have had trans aquatences with depression, who have been abused, ect.
As rich and tech savy as she is, her parents probably sent her to a few support groups, if she didn’t persue them on her own.
Maybe. But Carla hasn’t really mentioned Trans Support Groups or even hinted that she’s known other trans folks in real life. All her trans connections, if she has them might all be online and it’s one thing to support a person online and another to be supporting a person and dealing with stuff in person, face to face. A lot of pre-planning about what you would do tends to fly out the window.
From experience: I was in an almost-identical situation to Carla at one point (except the Ruth was one of my relatives) and I reacted in an almost-similar way as her (namely nope the fuck out of there and get someone I thought could deal with it). I was younger than Carla by a good 3-4 years at the time.
I wound up wishing I hadn’t – not because of the fallout but because basically to make a long story short the relative’s parents got involved and instituted their own version of a suicide watch which drove relative to an impulsive attempt and long story short when all was said and done the relative in question had a four-month inpatient stay and three new mental illnesses to deal with on top of the pre-existing depression. Objectively, my actions probably made things worse. Also ruined my relationship with the relative in question for a decade and counting.
And yet, put me in the same shoes and I don’t see what I could’ve done differently – relative in question had an active plan and had amassed the resources necessary to get it done and had set a date. It was an active crisis situation. 15YO me did not have the resources or experience necessary for the only better way that Adult Me can see, which is convincing the relative in question to voluntarily come to the hospital and then taking the relative there and involving the parents only after the admission is dealt with in hopes that the parents weren’t going to bungle things enough to result in a situation that caused PTSD for said relative.
But yeah – all I can say is, hostile intervention is probably not the best way to approach a suicidal crisis. Any time I’ve seen it happen, it’s made the situation worse – often by inducing impulsive attempts, sometimes by causing new mental illnesses, etc. Sympathetic interventions of a variety that convince the person to get help actually are helpful and one such saved my life without causing a huge pile of splash damage in my life for me to deal with later.
In regards to your story… well…
You can put a lot of hot sauce on a shit sandwich, but in the end, you’re still stuck with a shit sandwich.
You might have been the one to blow the whistle on your relative, but what followed wasn’t your fault. The onus was on the parents of that relative to be responsible and not make things worse. A 15 year old is never to be expected to know a perfect solution to a problem like that, especially when the options are “Tell someone, or risk relative succeeding in killing themselves”.
Effectively your options were: Eat this shit sandwich plain, or eat it with some hot sauce
* there can be underlying issues that can make things more complicated to varying degrees, but you can’t deal with those issues if you’re dead.
And not only that… if Ruth is really depressed/suicidal and not attending class, she’s likely to fail her courses and get kicked out of school anyways. So rather than getting treatment, she ends up at home still depressed. Not exactly an improvement,
And this way, at least maybe she can get a medical resignation or deferral instead of being kicked out and losing her job for not maintaining a high enough GPA? Is that an option here?
Her GPA has nothing to do with it. She can’t afford to stay without her job as an RA, and the university can’t leave the position unfilled for very long.
Universities are very good at arranging loans for students. They’re a terrible pain to pay off, but they exist.
If you have no income you are going to have a very hard time getting a loan. Banks like to think there’s some possibility of being paid back.
Worse yet, it’s implied that Ruth’s grandpa is rich or at least comfortably upper middle class, given Howard’s comment about getting new stuff more frequently and given Sir likely feeling entitled to yell at Ruth because of having “paid for her to attend”. So that would be used against her in the seeking of any loans, because in the minds of the student loan companies, Sir can just pay for Ruth to attend.
People who escape abusive rich family can be in a really bad place when trying to still continue their education for this reason.
No, her GPA is very relevant. Universities often require RAs to maintain a minimum GPA in order to keep the job. If Ruth’s GPA drops below that minimum because she’s been too depressed to go to class or study – and from what we’ve seen, she is – she’s fired and goes back to Sir immediately.
Ruth cannot continue in the job in her current state; it’s not healthy or safe for her or anyone else on the floor. One way or the other, she was going to lose the job soon. At least this way she gets some help and has some time in hospital before she has to worry about going back to Sir.
From Chloe’s reaction and comments, it’s not entirely clear she’s losing her job.
With the depression under treatment and some arrangement or resolution to the relationship, there’s no reason known to the adminstration that would require her to be fired.
Of course, if the depression can’t be brought under control, that’s a different story.
Chloe seems sympathetic to Ruth’s plight, which is great, but Ruth won’t magically get better after a trip to the hospital. I could see Chloe taking the view that allowing Ruth to be an RA while she’s recovering from suicidal depression does not help anyone, especially Ruth. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Ruth is out on the street (maybe Chloe can pull some strings?), but she definitely can’t be in a job that requires her to solve other people’s problems.
Someone’s gonna have to remind me, why is Ruth’s home not safe?
Her grandfather IIRC, who emotionally abuses both her and her brother. Basically the cause of her depression.
Abusive parental figure. IIRC, a grandpa since both her parents are deceased.
He doesn’t seem to be yelling or insulting. Just saying he’s very disappointed in her. Then again, I came from a strict household which didn’t involve verbal abuse but did involve strong hierarchy.
That’s one phone call, and she shut down. Hard. Think a minute about where that might come from.
Ruth shuts down hard from Billie too. I’m assuming Occam’s Razor here but just thinking aloud.
(Game of Thrones season 4 spoiler)
Given Howard’s Game of Throne interest I picture their grandfather as Tywin Lannister. Obviously the best solution is for Howard to go all HALFMAN ON HIS SORRY ASS!!!
In the end, Grandpa Lessik did not, in fact, shit gold.
I hope they did that scene justice. I really should get around to trying the show.
I would suggest reading the books first.
The implication of hoping they did the scene justice in the show is that I already have read them.
Room, board, and tuition don’t matter if you’re dead, BBillie(aka dumbass)
But if Ruth gets sent home, she’ll end up dead anyway. Discreet counseling is what was needed here, not a public outing or calling of the Boss R.A.
Yup, Carla’s actions were high risk and they were high risk for this exact reason. This is why outing someone is a dangerous action.
I get why she chose it and her face and words in panel 2 show it wasn’t a decision she made lightly, but still, not the ideal way to handle any of that.*
*Though I may be biased coming from the perspective of being a teacher with students dealing with familial abuse and trans identity stuff at the same time, where it’s critical to protect them from their parents by not accidentally outing them in missives home.
I was genuinely surprised at the time that Carla was so quick to choose to out someone. I expected her to be more aware of the consequences of that.
But for me, Billie or Carla are equally responsible for what happened. Once they saw what Ruth was doing, either one or both could have gotten her come to the Health Center by threatening to tell the RM (or her grandfather), without involving anybody else.
Of course, if people in stressful and unfamiliar situations made perfect decisions, it wouldn’t be “Dumbing of Age”, would it.
Carla would never have involved the RM. In her eyes, authority figures make everything worse. But throwing Ruth’s gf at her in the hopes that she’ll have a better idea on how to make Ruth no sad, stop cry?
That’s more her speed.
Billie on the other hand… but then she also knew that telling the RM could mean Ruth being in a worse position with Sir and thus more suicidal.
So it kind of had to be Rachel to make the call.
Note that I said threaten to tell, not tell. Ruth was in no shape to call their bluff. Both Carla and Billie have shown their capability at using threats. They could have both discreetly helped their “ill” friend to the elevator and to the Health Center.
Of course the H.C. might still have informed the RM or Sir anyway. Patient confidentiality exists more on paper than in real life.
If Billie had threaten to tell Ruth’s grandfather anything or in anyway tried to manipulate her using what Ruth had told her about him, I can only see that ending really badly. Ruth would absolutely feel betrayed, and would probably try to cut Billie out of her life completely for just trying to do that.
Especially true if any of your relatives happen to be physicians. I and most of my relatives get it put in our records very early on that our physicians are strictly prohibited from discussing our cases with a certain physician relative of mine. And even with that explicit instruction, it’s coin toss whether something we reveal in the doctor’s office finds its way back to physician relative.
Except in Angel Beats!
This is the very false dichotomy that Carla was working under. There are other options. And if she’d have sat down with Billie–who is not a dumbass by any means–she might have been able to work on one.
Carla was rash. It seems to be her main flaw. She makes assumptions without all the data. She doesn’t think to talk to people.
It’s okay to think that Carla messed up. She still did better than what Billie and Ruth were doing, which was nothing.
And at what point did you decide to tell Carla this? Oh, now, after it would have been useful to know. All you told her was to ‘check on her, make sure she’s alive’. Which Carla has done, and more! The home situation and everything-that’s all on you, Billie.
Yeah, I mean, yes, 100%.
What Carla did was hella risky and it was hella risky for this exact reason, because not everyone’s home situation is safe and because sometimes or rather often outing someone can put them in extreme danger. Hell, there’s some clear parallels here with Carla’s attempt to help and Sarah’s attempt to help Dana not knowing that her dad wasn’t fully safe.
But Carla was thrown in the deep end with no forewarning. All she was given to start was, oh, hey, how’s my ex, can you check in on her? And that evolved into “oh, by the way you’re the point person on someone in full-on crisis who is deeply suicidal and unsafe to leave on their own”. Like, Carla was in no way capable of handling this, did not sign on for any of that, and had her right to consent to what support and boundaries she was comfortable with heavily infringed upon.
She saw a crisis, Billie gave her no warning about the stakes or the situation, so as far as Carla was concerned, Mary was blackmailing Ruth about her relationship, people were being emo, and then a woman said she wanted to die and that was Carla’s limit and so she tried to keep that person alive as priority one.
It’s gonna have consequences (though less than if Chloe was not sympathetic and empathetic to Ruth’s situation), but this definitely feels like Billie’s MO this entire time with Carla. Don’t tell her important details about your request and then yell at her for not reading your mind.
But hey, she’s upset, she’s scared, and she’s worried that she’s ruined a really fragile status quo and worse, she has to face herself and her situation without running into a comfortable fairy tale to avoid it. But still, yeah, not cool on Billie’s part.
Let’s be fair to Billie, she thought she was only asking for Carla to be a go-between. She had NO CLUE how bad Ruth had gotten until Carla told her and then Billie decided screw subtlety. And neither Billie nor Carla called in outside support, that was Rachel.
Very true. I don’t think either acted fully wrongly in the scenario. They’re scared kids and they each tried to put what they viewed as Ruth’s most pressing need first and tried to make the best decisions they could given that situation.
Neither fully succeeded and both messed some stuff up, but that’s what happens when you’re a scared 18 year old encountering this stuff for the first time rather than an old experienced hand at being emotional support or a trained clinician.
Even experienced people and trained clinicians mess stuff up sometimes! Hopefully less often and less badly. This is legitimately difficult territory.
I think this comment best sums the entire mess up. Nobody did the right thing, everybody’s actions were in some way harmful, but nobody really did anything WRONG. And everybody’s blind spots just happened to align in the worst possible way.
There’s not really anybody that can be lashed out here as Causing This Mess, which is what makes it so hard. (Except for Mary, but like, hating Mary is so much of a default position that it doesn’t have any of the catharsis of blame anymore.)
Carla did the closest to the Right Thing by quickly realizing she was over her head and calling in the big guns. (It would’ve been even better to try doing so privately, but calling them in was by far the most important thing.)
Ruth did a Right Thing by accepting that she can’t do her job (‘tell them to hurry up’) and accepting some help (allowing herself to be taken to the health center). This is mainly because she is too catatonic/exhausted to resist, but still, that’s often super difficult to do, and it’s worth noting.
Walky did a right thing by calling in the medium-sized guns to help Billie (Billie’s RA). (He couldn’t have known that, unfortunately, Ruth was part of Billie’s problem.)
Billie did a Right Thing by caring tons about Ruth, but a very foolish thing by trying to handle everything herself (with the help of a random drafted student). Carla’s quick thinking is finally mitigating Billie’s blind-spot in that regard. Billie will now need to communicate with the health center, to find alternatives so Ruth doesn’t have to return to ‘Sir’.
Ruth’s grandfather, ‘Sir’, did the wrongest thing, of being an abusive terrible person, and he sucks.
oh yes and Mary sucks too, she actively tried to prevent help from happening (so that she could continue blackmailing the RA)! As you said, though, Mary being terrible is a default at this point.
Hey also while I’m being positively and negatively judge-y, Hank’s coolness kicked in during this whole debacle, when he remembered and fully saw Becky as a real person. That was an important shift for him, it’s what allowed him to step up and be the Good Dad, and I don’t see how he’ll ever shift back, that is great.
I agree strongly with both of these. A lot of people did the best they could and it looks like Ruth and Billie might be in a better position because of it all. Sir and Mary being the ugliest outliers and most to blame for a lot of the ugliness and fear.
(whoops, reading others’ comments, I misremembered, Carla didn’t call in the big guns, Rachel did. Good job, Rachel!)
Precisely. Why blame Billie? She had no idea that Carla was doing this. About the only thing she could have done is shut up in the hallway when Carla decided to physically carry her to Ruth’s room.
If there’s anyone to blame for Billie not telling her, it’s Carla, who didn’t sit down and discuss it before deciding on her own course of action, which was basically to out to everyone about their relationship, so they’d have to get help.
Well, we can blame Billie for setting Carla on a suicide watch and giving her idea that’s what she was doing.
We can blame Billie for reacting so casually when Carla told her Ruth wanted to die, because that’s what pushed Carla over the edge to carrying Billie to Ruth’s room.
We can also suspect that if Carla had conveyed how seriously bad off Ruth was at first, Billie might have reacted similarly even if the secret wasn’t out yet, blowing it herself.
Or we can not blame Billie because she’s also a depressed, suicidal alcoholic and she’s not thinking clearly.
And I’d really say that Carla’s decision was to force Billie to go help Ruth. Outing them was a side effect.
Billie has the stranglehands! Danger! Stranglehands! Danger!
Don’t worry, it won’t be Carla’s fault. She’s far too rich.
Well, that, and she’s not Ruth’s abusive grandpa. This shit is entirely on him.
She’s also not clairvoyant, which she would have to have been to do things “right” by Billie.
Definitely that. Carla had no warning on what the request actually was. Because Billie didn’t really want to say it out loud, because she was still being heavily watched by Mary.
She’d have to be God to do things right. There is no good solution to this situation.
Carla is perfectly cognizant that this will cost Ruth her job. She does not know why this will screw Ruth over in the particular, but you know, that is a thing that hurts people. She also doesn’t know that, for instance, Ruth has a home to return to at all. That’s a thing that happens to people. She does not know that costing Ruth her job is a thing that will have relatively minimal long term effects.
I’m not angry at Carla. I think, on balance, Carla did a good thing, even putting aside that Willis is not going to kill anyone. But I am not going to pretend that Carla barrelling through long term consequences is a thing that only the prescient could see a problem with.
No. She would not have to be psychic. She could have just talked to Billie about it. Why does everyone keep ignoring this possibility?
She actually tried. Not well, admittedly, but there was attempt at several points to talk to Billie before she went with Plan “Bodily Carry Billie to Ruth”.
In reverse chronological order, we have the outing. Except Carla was in panic mode and fix this now mode because Ruth actively wanted to die and Carla saw that as hyper-dangerous, so she went to grab Billie and told her to get out there and sex up her gf in front of Sal, but Sal’s pretty good with secrets.
And then Billie went off on conversational tangents, worried more about being outted and secrets, didn’t say anything about abusive grandparents or anything like that. Carla even interrupts that conversation to say “Ruth wants to die”, hoping that will inspire action towards how to stop that:
And it’s only when Billie admits that Ruth’s been that bad for awhile that Carla assumes that she’s just been called in to referee a suicidal death pact and is having none of it.
So plenty of words without action, some small manner of privacy, but there was a time limit.
Her action before that, she tried to have a conversation with Billie when Billie gave her the key and yelled at her to figure out what even the fuck Billie wanted her to do if it wasn’t delivering her food and stuff. And Billie orders her to shut up, gives her some orders and stomps off angrily.
There’s an interlude where she gets the cookie box, but she’s intentionally being spied on by Mary so Billie wouldn’t have wanted to talk. And the interaction before that is the cookie promise.
So, there was effort. Not enough. Not nearly enough, especially before taking an action as risky and potentially destructive as outing someone. And she definitely didn’t have clues on what exactly Billie wanted and was hinting at and Billie wasn’t of a mind to elaborate, because she was focusing on keeping Ruth safe by staying away so Mary couldn’t get any more info for blackmail.
She’s also someone who presumably knows how damaging and hurtful it can be to be outed. You don’t need clairvoyance to not try to bodily haul Billie to Ruth’s room while blurting out their secret to anyone in earshot.
Honestly, it’s refreshing to see Carla’s “wacky” brashness finally catch up with her. I don’t care if she had good intentions. They’re not magical. I don’t care if she didn’t know the specifics of the situation. Her much-vaunted empathy and her own life experiences should’ve led her to be a little more considerate of their need for secrecy.
Totes. It’s a good reality check to get in a situation that seems to have gone relatively well so far. That brashness and rushing into action to “help” can actually hurt a person in other ways and it’s important to be cognizant of things like that rather than assuming that good deeds carry one forward. Hell, it’s a skill a lot of well-meaning types have to learn as young adults, often by completely stepping into a shitty situation and making it worse by accident.
Though, I just realized another aspect to this. We know Carla carries some bitterness from her schools and peers doing nothing to protect her beyond making vague promises in her general direction. So to her, direct brash action may have been something she always wished someone would do for her and something she promised she’d do for people in crisis (and which she’s done in minor ways before this [promising to help Ruth, patching up Amber, rushing to Malaya when she got hurt]).
So that might be making her more likely to be “action now, try not to just gawk” or freeze.
Still a good lesson to learn though, especially as she’s extra in need of it if it’s something she sees as a potential universal good because of her own experiences of being in crisis.
Ohhhh shit, that is an INCREDIBLY good point that casts her actions in a very different light. Thank you for the insight!
The problem where Ruth is alcoholic, depressed, and suicidal has been…not solved, but at least handled. Progress is being made. The NEW problem, that Ruth’s home has at least one abusive fucknugget in it, can be dealt with at some point in the future. All in all, I’d say Carla moved things in the right direction, at the very least.
I agree. The abusive home is an extremely important underlying problem, but the suicidal alcoholic depression is like being on fire right the hell now.
Plus, Ruth was heading towards being totally nonfunctional anyway, she probably wouldn’t have been able to graduate under her own power til she gets significantly more healthy. What’s worse, being in a hospital with an adult asking where she will go, or having to run home without anyone knowing about it, a semester of loans poorer, because she’s flunking out?
(Granted I’m jumping to conclusions. Her depression hasn’t been shown to destroy her studies at this point, her cycle might be terrible but short enough that she could’ve passed. But dang that is a very steep risk.)
* chuckle* you know where this is going? Carla is now the new Sarah…. enjoy that new revelation.
Yup! All of that. Both tried to do right and that might have long-lasting consequences that put people with abusive family back with abusive family or at least more under their control without realizing that that’s what they did.
Uh…. Sarah’s old roommate’s family was never out right stated to be abusive at all? I mean it’s /possible/ I suppose (Dana said the girl didn’t agree with her situation being improved currently) but we’ll see I guess?
I honestly don’t trust Dana’s judgement on the situation be it during or the aftermath. Like at all. She thought her friend was fine back then and she was clearly not. She didn’t listen to Sarah. If she had actually taken things seriously perhaps things would have gone differently: perhaps not but still part of the responsibility lies in her own lap.
Tbh Billie was once gross to Sarah about the situation (probably because she was stuck on I want to be ~popular~ mode) so I’m honestly suspecting a Dana and Billie team up or a meeting of bitter minds in that ‘how dare that one person stuck in a terrible situation try to do right as I tried my best to pretend things could work out as they were’.
Sometimes people hate not who caused the problem but who drew attention to it, as if they caused said problem to exist. It’s pretty common in real life.
Maybe, but a lot of that tale tripped a lot of red flags for me from my experiences as a teacher. It may be that this was the best choice for her and she’s just complaining about it half a year later and still thinking it was the worst, but that type of persistence and being yanked out of school speaks to some bigger issue.
I’m totally prepared to be wrong and I hope I’m wrong, but I think Sarah may have unwittingly put Dana in an abusive environment.
Hmmm, I guess that’s understandable. (Though as a note Dana wasn’t Sarah’s roommate- Dana’s the prime leader of the girls pissing at Sarah currently for the situation- I’ve honestly forgotten the ex-roomate girl’s name though).
Actually scratch that Dana WAS her name. I don’t know the name of the bullying girl on Sarah. God I keep getting these small time characters mixed up.
You’re thinking of Raidah
For me the big red flag with Dana was that Dana went home only long enough for the funeral.
That’s a BIG sign that “home” is not a safe space where Dana can mourn.
That was another big red flag. She didn’t stay an extra week and help with the planning or mourn with supportive family. Hell, didn’t even mourn openly when she got back. Which suggests a home environment where the mom was serving a similar role to Bonnie in protecting the kid.
We don’t know how long she stayed. All we know is that Sarah asked how the funeral went when Dana got back, which is a thing she might have said whether Dana had just returned from it or stayed for two weeks after.
Not feeling able to mourn openly, though, yes, that could definitely suggest problems at home.
Not to disagree with you, but I do see another possible explanation. We know that Dana was good at putting on a cheerful face when she wanted to — she had all her friends fooled about the depths of her depression, and only Sarah figured it out. So it’s possible that Dana pulled the same trick with her family, too. “I’ll be OK, I just wanna get back to my normal routine with my friends at school, and I need to keep up good grades to get into law school.” She may even have believed it herself, at first.
Possibly, hell, probably true, because we’ve seen from Becky that being able to perform happy usually has an origin where that skill was needed.
But that still leaves her being unhappy and thinking this was the wrong move a year later and that for me is the biggest red flag in the whole thing.
Just to note, Sarah’s old roommate was Dana. I think you’re referring to Raidah as Dana here?
But yeah, we have no reason to believe her family were abusive. The only thing we really know is her Dad apparently runs a law firm.
Which means that it is all but certain that Becky will room with Carla.
“Heeeeloooo! I’m the perky christian goofball who will be your ray of sunshine for this semester.”
… shouldn’t there be another ‘l’ in there?
I mean, unless Carla is a Viper pilot now, but I think she might take exception to being identified with a male character
It took me forever to get this, because I thought that was an upper case ”i”
*switches the hacked Muzak to a performance of Swan Lake, set on perpetual loop for the duration*
thats me being very distressed
Ruth is an adult. This is a college town. There are support systems and jobs to be had. She’ll make it through this as long as she’s in the right mental space to access them, rather than focusing on the hopelessness that is going back home.
The pits of depression is not the right mental space. Ruth bit off more than she could chew, and Carla did the right thing by making her cough it all out.
Thank you! There ARE other options besides “go home and die”.
You dramatically overestimate the quality of the safety nets we have in this country.
She will be homeless, jobless, and severely depressed. Her health insurance is either through the school or her grandfather, so her continued treatment requires Sir to continue paying for it. We already saw Becky scour the town for job openings for someone without only a high school education, and in a college town, there is not much to be had. And again, severe, untreated depression is not something conducive to holding down a job, much less finding one.
Her odds of surviving on her own right (even in a shelter) are extremely poor.
Ruth was already trying to survive on her own. She failed.
Becky scoured the town over what, a few days? And she found a job at a Chick Fil’ A without any of her important documents or resume to speak of. Ruth has access to the internet, far more dollars than Becky (granted that isn’t a high bar) and someone who’ll obsess over her well being. Being fired as the RA doesn’t meant she’ll be evicted. A college town has plenty of job openings, Becky just had far less of a time cushion that Ruth does. Indiana’s not the most liberal state, but it’s not Oklahoma either. Ruth is in a far better position now than she was before, by virtue of getting treated earlier than she otherwise would. She was losing her job either way.
Becky doesn’t actually have that job yet, only the application. She still needs to get a new social security card, so she can fill it out, and so they can legally hire her. College towns DO tend to have lots of low-skill job openings, yes, but they also tend to have lots of college students competing for those openings most of the year.
And yes, it almost certainly means she’ll be evicted, because free room and board were part of the RA job. And again, even if her treatment continues getting paid for (lets just ignore how for the moment) she’s already demonstrated that she’s not currently functional enough to handle a job right now. That’s not going to change overnight.
Yes, she can find a way through this, but all of her options right now are rough.
Ruth not going to be able to handle a job was already a present situation. A suicidal person cannot do a regular job. Carla’s intervention has no relationship to Ruth’s ability to do her job. Ruth getting fired is her own fault.
You seem to have a very different interpretation of college towns from myself. My interpretations is that the competition is not a match for the openings, and finding a job is relatively simple here compared to other places. You seem to have a different impression.
No free room =/= eviction. I don’t see a suicidal, depressed person getting evicted just because they’re fired. Ruth will have a chance to pay rent. Whether she gets the supports she needs to do so is another matter. Besides, dorm rent is ridiculous, so it might benefit her to move soon anyway.
Well, they can, it just takes a lot out of them and Ruth is already mostly out of spoons to begin with.
I get that Ruth may not be in any shape to look for a job. Frankly, Ruth was losing her job anyway as a best case scenario even without Carla. At least now she’s lost her job while also getting treatment for her depression, and she’s alive.
Plus, she’s not even fully lost the job yet. Unless I’m misinterpreting Chloe, it sounds like the current plan is to rehabilitate her and give her a second shot with tons of observation and official support/checking up.
But yeah, definitely agree on “can” not necessarily meaning an individual depressed person will have the spoons to manage. Ruth was pretty close to the end of her rope and dropping off key duties long before Mary came around and that just made things even harder.
Probably. Where I went to college, the town’s population dropped by a third over the summer. The only jobs to be found as a student were the ones created by the increased population. I’m probably also a bit pessimistic in this area.
In any case, I wasn’t disagreeing about whether Carla made the right choice. I think she made the best choice available to her. I rejecting the implication that (as I read it) the consequences for Ruth weren’t THAT bad.
It depends on the school. Ruth’s room may be a designated RA room, and use of that room may be tied to the position, rather than her ability to pay for it. Of course, that doesn’t stop her from getting another room on campus (space permitting), or finding a place off-campus.
Almost certainly is. It’s a single. A replacement RA would need a place to stay on the floor. That’s it.
I suppose a replacement from the floor could stay in her current room or swap, but that wouldn’t be standard practice.
Yeaaaahh…this isn’t Carla’s fault. With Ruth being, y’know, alive, there’s the potential for her to figure out a place to go besides home, or at least to survive home as long as she has to. I can sympathize with Billie wishing there’d been a way to help her while avoiding getting her fired, but if she wanted that she shouldn’t have gotten Carla involved without telling her more things.
Agreed. Carla thought she was just making sure Ruth didn’t get “Watching Disney movies while crying and eating a tub of ice cream” depressed. Not suicidally depressed.
The lack of information provided by Billie was pretty much downright negligent. Perhaps I don’t remember the exact details, but Carla believed that she was dealing with an issue an order of magnitude or less than what she actually was. Even if Carla didn’t make the best decision based on the information she had, that can still largely be blamed on her having pretty much zero time to adjust herself to the degree of seriousness of the situation. Which ultimately goes back to Billie.
Which is why I think that any plan centering around Billie wasn’t going to result in long-term Ruth survival. She’s not a particularly bad person, but she’s really not up to this job, and trying to do it alone, or with the help of an extremely underinformed, slightly co-erced assistant, is just further proof.
This is starting to make me angry! Yes, Carla made a mistake. She had plenty of other options besides dragging Billie to Ruth while loudly announcing it to everyone.
And, no, it’s not Billie’s fault that she didn’t tell Carla anything. She literally had no ability to do so at the point when she found out what was going on. Before that, she had no reason to think Carla would react as she did.
AND KNOWING THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT. YOU COULD FUCK SOMEONE OVER IN REAL LIFE IF YOU ACT AS RASHLY AS CARLA DID HERE!!!
It’s important to know how Carla messed up, so you won’t do the same thing. No, it doesn’t make her horrible or anything. And, yes, things may get better.
But she did not take the best course of action. That would be to talk to Billie about it, then form a plan. Outing her relationship was not the best course of action. It was a rash one.
No. I don’t care. You don’t put someone into Carla’s situation without letting them know and then blame them.
If you can’t trust them to know what’s going on, don’t beg them to sit suicide watch without even letting them know that’s what you’re doing.
Because, if they don’t know, then they’re likely to do something rash when they find out. Especially when they do come you to talk about it, obviously distraught, and you blow them off.
And then there’s all this. Yeah. Billie really messed up the asking here. She didn’t give Carla any forewarning that this was a suicide watch and downplayed it like a minor thing because she was desperate for someone, anyone to check in on Ruth.
Which, yeah, as you note, means that the person dumped into the situation with no warning and no clues as to what’s going on and then yelled at for doing any part wrong is going to be much more likely to panic when the actual enormity of the request becomes clear.
It also impaired her right of consent to do it or not, by just expanding the definition of “checking in” every time she attempted it so there was social pressure not to say no, because “she promised”. (Which is not to minimize the same lack of regard that Carla showed regarding Billie’s right to come out on her own terms later).
And it’s also a douchey thing to do. “Hey, feed my cat while I’m out” “All right” *tries to feed cat, turns out its a tiger with a medical condition requiring care every 30 minutes* “What the fuck, it’s a tiger, I didn’t sign on to this and I have no idea what medicines you’re expecting me to do here” “Shush, it’s a cat. No one can know it’s not a typical cat, because I shouldn’t have a tiger” “Still doesn’t help me, here. Fuck it, you deal with it.” “No, everyone will know about the tiger”.
Carla has a point in that problems can only be dealt with if you’re alive to deal with them. Any solution that keeps Ruth alive retains the possibility of resolving the depression, alcoholism and toxic home life that are at the root of her suicidal ideation.
Of course, Billie has a point that unsafe, hostile, toxic environments are just about the worst places on Earth to deal with problems. A solution that sends Ruth home to her grandfather may not be one that does anything to keep her alive for an appreciable length of time.
Given the information she had, I think Carla made the best decision she could and I don’t think she was in a position to take her time and gather better information before acting. When someone is in a depressive catatonia and tells you they would like to die, you can’t safely assume that time is on your side.
Still, we have information that Carla doesn’t. We know that the consequences of getting the help she needs could be catastrophic. While I don’t fault Carla for what she did even if it has undesirable consequences, I genuinely don’t know what the best course of action would have been.
She had plenty of time to get more information. Ruth was not in any danger of killing herself right then.
Best course of action–sit down and talk to Billie. Find out that Ruth may need a place to stay. Get her a place to stay with her parent’s money.
Don’t out Billie, but go offer this to Ruth.
Minor point, but I have no idea how Carla would know that. Like, you or I would, we’ve got more experience with this sort of thing. But to your average teenager only exposed to suicide as some big scary headline thing that people talk about “happening all of a sudden”?
She doesn’t know about the difference between ideation and planning and had no idea whether or not Ruth wanting to die meant she was about to take something to help that happen.
Also, it’s not a small imposition to ask your parents to house someone you don’t know or buy a place to stay. Especially when all your interactions before hand are the person being really disappointing and letting you down like every other authority figure before her.
Like, she might do some of that now out of guilt. Or at least make some offer to help in a way similar to that because she didn’t know about the abusive grandpa and probably feels like an ass. But it would not have been typical of anyone to offer that much to a relatively unknown person in suffering.
Also, a place to stay was not her immediate need. Not dying was. But yeah, working out better plans would have been an ideal situation for someone more aware of how these situations actually work.
We know that Ruth wasn’t in immediate danger because we have the benefit of 3rd person omniscience. Carla only knows a small fraction of what we do. She knows Maty was blackmailing her over her relationship with Billie. She knows Billie told her that Ruth needed to be checked-up on. She knows Ruth is nearly catatonic and expressed her desire to die. She then went to Billie who told her that she knew Ruth was suicidal and that it has been that way for a while.
As Cerberus said, Carla doesn’t know if Ruth was planning to take something to kill herself or, given her unresponsive state, if she had taken something already. She did go to Billie first before immediately seeking professional help, but Billie made it clear that this problem was not new and was not something Billie was taking positive steps to help. That’s when she panicked and took the most direct path at hand to getting Ruth help.
Yes, she might have made a better choice if she had better information. She might have had that information if Billie had been more forthcoming. Unfortunately, she, like every other character in this story, is a teenager who is neither emotionally or intellectually equipped to handle the shit being thrown at them.
I love this strip so much.
Carla was right to put an end to the Sexy Lesbian Suicide Pact, because Ruth was about ready to go through with it regardless of Billie’s romantic fantasy of saving her from depression. It needed to be ground to a halt and for Ruth to be sent to the hospital.
But then, Billie ain’t wrong either. Carla bulldozed her way through a situation she was strongarmed into, but her way of doing so was to publicly reveal Billie and Ruth’s relationship. Apart from the inherent sketchiness of outing a queer woman, Carla made sure that Ruth couldn’t get help without being fired, when if they tried to approach this with maybe a little subtlety they could have gotten Ruth into the health center without compromising her job, but then at this point Ruth is probably too far gone for anything short of crisis intervention.
Billie is right that this can land Ruth back with her grandfather, that now she’s lost all independence from him, but what’s the alternative? Billie wasn’t trying to get Ruth outside help; she thought she was helping by drinking “in moderation” and holding hands in the dark until Ruth is cured. Whenever Billie steps out the door Ruth stops functioning, and while that would push Billie to just be a “better” partner, we’re probably lucky it ended now before any serious damage could be caused. Ruth needs help now. Regardless of the terrible home situation waiting for her, at least she’ll be alive to face it with Billie helping her in what ways she can.
And now I’m wondering if maybe Carla’s had experience with this before, and that’s why she was so done with Billie sidestepping the reality smacking her in the face.
Well fundamentally, Billie strapped a person she hardly knew with the difficult job of keeping track of her suicidal girlfriend, so I don’t know what she expected. Carla had extremely limited information, limited ability in solving other people’s problem, and clearly isn’t able to magically regulate her level of personal involvement in a problem when it happens to look like it’s life-and-death and currently her responsibility. Stack on top of that the fact that she hardly realized how bad off Ruth was until quite a while into her having had the responsibility, and I don’t think things could have gone any better.
The fact of the matter was that this wasn’t going to end smoothly no matter what was done, and the casualties suffered are no more severe than they might have been any other way.
It was a no win situation.
Carla prioritized survival. And it’s hard to argue with the results. Chloe seems sympathetic and like she’s trying to make sure Ruth gets better and is hoping for her to return back to work in a relatively soonish manner. Ruth and Billie are finally getting medical attention, therapy, and ideally, anti-depressants, and Ruth is under real observation, not a co-dependent gf out of her depths scared that every closing of the eyes or every class attended would be the moment she lost her forever.
And Mary has been driven off from so actively trying to bully her to death.
But it was a hell of a risk on Carla’s part, so Billie’s anger is totally understandable.
1) While Carla did start carrying Billie to Ruth’s room, thus revealing the relationship, as soon as she described how bad off Ruth was, Billie finished the job herself – running into the room and curling up with Ruth on the bed. It’s not at all clear that something similar wouldn’t have happened if Carla had described Ruth’s state more privately. Billie certainly didn’t seem at all interested in a subtle approach at that point.
2) Billie was not in any fashion helping Ruth drink “in moderation”. There was no moderation involved, unless not actually drinking yourself to death that night count.
Everything in this sub-thread.
It was good of Carla to stop the relationship, it saved Ruth from dying, but it was also… REALLY bad. It’s excusable, she didn’t know she had an awful granddad, but holy shit I need to see where this goes
*withholds joke about suicide pacts due to uncharacteristic good taste*
It seems like every solution in the real world is really just half of a solution, doesn’t it?
1. Sarah and Carla need a club going. Danny sorta qualifies for admission into it too for not enabling Amber and getting dumped for it.
2. there are so many cute girls with glasses in this webcomic and I love it.
50% of the US female population is estimated to have glasses so this is like the most reasonable comic to feature a good portion wearing eyewear.
I hope you know of Frivolesque(.com) web comic. Cast is almost all “cute girls with glasses” because the author likes, and is very good at, drawing girls with glasses.
So Billie’s saying whatever Ruth’s got going on before is PREFERABLE to wherever she came from.
That’s pretty heavy alright.
Billie will thank Carla later.
After a couple of hours of blaming her that Ruth has more problems now thanks to her.
WAIT A MINUTE ! This semester is not over yet and I would have thought that her tuition for that semester would have been paid in full. So she has until the end of said semester to find a new job… depending on how long she has until she gets out of the hospital and recovers that is.
Her room and board were probably paid for by her position as an RA. She won’t get kicked out of class, but she could get kicked out of the dorm.
Eww, I don’t want to be Ken’s roommate. Let’s try a different email address.
This, the real risk is the loss of the free dorm room and more important is the freedom from earning one’s own living, which tends to do a lot to drive off the hyper-controlling type of parental-figure abuser.
TMI, my gf grew up with a physically abusive father and she stated how important having her first real job and paying her own way and having an apartment paid by her earnings rather than her dad’s “support” went a long way towards getting him to “settle” down his active abuse of her, because he realized that in order to keep her in his life so he could continue to whittle at her self-esteem and self-worth, he would at least have to fake being reasonable and supportive-ish.
And the sense of power in being somewhat self-supportive gave her a lot of ability to start working through a lot of the damage (which ended up all being undone later by a bad financial turn and an abusive mother with bad boundaries, but that’s a separate thing).
So yeah, that job is way more important to Ruth than it would be for most, because of all it represents in some manner of freedom from Sir.
hi yes this.
I often wonder how much of my father’s mellowing has to do with the fact that he’s actually mellowed and how much has to do with the fact that he’s very well aware that I am now in a position where could do to him what he did to his abuser and just cut him off, and I have a good enough job that I’d be fine.
(It’s a thing I realized about three ish years ago – and actually wound up enacting by walking out in the middle of a visit. The knowledge by both parties that I am able to survive on my own without their “help” completely defangs a lot of their prior tactics, and they haven’t yet figured out how to respond to a kid that is in a position to walk away and weather the fallout whenever they need to)
Her tuition is presumably paid up for the semester, but it appears her room and meal plan were not prepaid, and are a benefit of her RA position. I can’t find ISU’s compensation in particular, but University of Mississippi provides a private room and meal assistance to their RAs.
That actually is a good point. It’s really weird that her room and board isn’t already paid for at least the rest of the semester. I don’t know anyone who made payments on that sort of thing, and I wouldn’t expect the college to do that.
Does anyone know how this actually works at IU?
Unsure, but it’s not so much that they’re paid as that she gets free room & board as an RA. What happens if she’s no longer an RA isn’t clear.
She certainly can’t stay in the RA’s room on her floor because they’ll need that for a replacement.
Of course, it’s also not clear she’s fired.
Wow, this is just… a really difficult situation, isn’t it. I mean, Carla did the right thing, except she didn’t, except she couldn’t have known, but…
Aside from the recent strip where Ruth alludes to her problems at home, where’s the rest of that backstory? I’ve read this strip from the beginning, but I’ve drawn a blank on that part. Can someone point me in the right direction?
I’m pretty sure we don’t know about it yet. Ruth presumably told Billie about her home situation off camera.
There was a strip (a long, long time ago) where Billie was hiding in Ruth’s closet to try to get her cheerleading uniform back, and she overheard Ruth apologizing again and again for being a huge disappointment and calling the other person “sir.” After she hung up, she drank herself to sleep. Billie thought Ruth was talking to her father, but it turns out Ruth’s father is dead and she had been talking to her grandfather.
I’m confused about what Billie’s problem with Carla is.
Carla only did exactly what Billie asked her to do. Checked in on Ruth, relayed to Billie a 100% factual and accurate report of how Ruth was doing.
Billie was then the one who decided to make a public display of barging into Ruth’s room and got Ruth fired.
She’s not being rational right now, she’s just angry and frustrated, and since Carla was the one who blew everything wide open, she’s the most convenient scapegoat for her to lash out at
Also it was Rachel that called the Residence Manager. Not sure how Carla is at fault here. She didn’t even make any clear statements about what was going on when she was asked.
Billie was in Ruth’s room with the door closed when the RM was called and may actually think Carla called her.
She shouted what was going on, which is why Rachel knew what she told the RM in the first place.
Carla ruined the status quo after Billie tried so hard to keep Ruth’s job safe.
But more, probably just that Billie is angry and frustrated. She’s having to go to therapy, the fantasy world she propped up around Ruth has collapsed and she’s scared of Ruth being taken fully away to an abusive environment she can’t protect her in and keep her safe in, she’s been warned off of continuing to date her or even be with her while she’s in crisis, and she’s scared that she’ll be seen as the damaged girl with stockholm syndrome and mocked by the hall like Carla was when Carla was delivering food to Ruth.
She’s hurt and angry and upset and this is a rational and relevant thing to be upset about, something she couldn’t get out earlier because of various reasons, so she’s shouting it now. Dumping some things on Carla because she wants so desperately to just go dumping it all on herself, because even though she’s been released, she’s also depressed and has flirted rather heavily with suicidal ideation.
Yeah, planning and analysis aside, Billie just plain HURTS, and she doesn’t do swimmingly either, depression-wise. Lashing is not an unexpected way to deal with it, especially after Carla straight out ignored her pleas to stop.
No. Carla started carrying Billie to Ruth’s door. Billie tired to get her to stop and discuss it, but Carla wouldn’t let her down. She was going to out her anyways. Billie just got their first.
Not every strip needs to be funny.
This is a perfect illustration of “there is no good solution” and “good intentions have consequences.” Carla couldn’t do nothing, and she did what I think most people would do in that situation with that context. Carla is also right, to a degree, that Ruth and Billee can’t just keep trying to avoid the root problems or act as if things like the suicide pact were former quirks of their courtship. So, I can understand Carla not wanting Billee to yell at her, especially since Billee kind of put that on her shoulders (which, I get, Billee was having trouble, but Carla still got put on the front lines about it and has many reasons to believe it is unhealthy for both of them).
And Billee is right. This will have serious repercussions for Ruth, and being forced back into that bad home situation is one of them. And that could be extremely damaging and be as harmful as the current situation.
Ideally, Ruth could be put up somewhere away from her home AND campus, so she can recuperate without having either situation too close. Close enough that Billee could be sure she’s getting help, and vice versa, but so Billee doesn’t have to keep hoping their romance will be enough, and Ruth can regroup a little bit without a bad family or dwelling in the unhealthy elements of her and Billee’s relationship. Not that I want Billee and Ruth forcibly separated or Ruth to lose that support, but some distance for both of them could be, in the end, beneficial.
Ruth blames herself, Billie blames herself, Walky blames himself, Becky blames herself, and now possibly Carla will blame herself. There’s alot of talking to each other that needs to be done.
Very, very true 🙁
Also, isn’t Billie’s backstory that Mom and Dad only show affection with cash? They might be willing to help out little Jennifer’s girlfriend.
If not, I doubt Carla would let Ruth go back to her abusive grandfather without asking her (Carla’s) parents if they, being rich, could do anything to help now that Carla has been forced into involvement. Might give Becky a home too.
This gon’ be good. I hope Carla calls out Billie on all her bullshit toxic relationship and harm she’s causing to Ruth and herself.
I actually like Billie, mind you. But I think she needs someone like Carla to point out her toxic behavior and what it led to, so she can finally get the help she has needed since high school. Someone like Joyce or even Dorothy might sugar coat it, but Carla will make it very clear to her.
I cannot wait until Carla gives her a reality bongo slap of epic proportions.
While I agree that Billie has a lot of issues and really does need to get help, I’m not sure that approach would really be constructive.
Wasn’t the whole ‘sexy lesbian suicide pact’ started in its most recent incarnation after Alice delivered a similar ‘reality bongo slap’ to Billie earlier?
Ruth is in a bit of a sticky situation. Granted that she’s over 18 and therefore doesn’t have to go home to the abusive grandpa. But with no income, she can’t pay for anything so where would she go? Plus she’s in the US as a student. So far as I know, she’s a Canadian citizen and not an American one so she can’t stay in the US indefinitely. Plus with her depression running down her sense of self worth…not a good place to be. Even without Carla outing her state, she would have been found out eventually, either dead or by the manager checking on her because she hadn’t been seen for days. Carla did the right thing, and didn’t do the right thing overall, but from a mental health perspective, being treated was needed.
Actually, if she’s a Canadian citizen, she may well be better off moving back to Canada anyway – they have a functional safety net, no?
Carla did what she thought was the best given the information she had, and was basically put between a rock and a hard place, which honestly was quite unfair to her.
There’s not a single “perfect” decision that could have been made here, at least not by Carla. anything she could have done could have had disastrous consequences; she picked the choice that she thought would save lives.
Could she have possibly made better decisions that had much better long-term effects if she knew more about the situation? Probably. But she didn’t. So she couldn’t have. Remember, she started this out thinking she was being the go between for cute lady-on-lady dorm courtships, not monitoring two suicidal people.
So yeah. It’s gonna have some bad consequences, but it was a bad situation tossed into the arms of a person ill-equipped to handle it with the information that they had. This was never going to end well.
Carla really didn’t see that coming. For her it seems home is the ONLY place that has been safe.
Billie on the other hand has been a stranger in her home since forever, and as an alphabongo she routinely dealt with people who were not face at home – be it from abusive partners or crappy parents.
This is a clash of perspective of epic proportions.
School’s not safe either, Billie.
That’s the horrible truth for Ruth. There were very few good alternatives, and no alternatives that wouldn’t be damaging in some way.
Panel 1: Billie is pisssssed. And I’m wondering how much of it is assuming that Carla’s stunt was “wacky Carla being a prankster” like Carla works so hard to advertise and how much is anger at her own impotence in being able to fully help Ruth and fear over not being able to protect her in her preferred way (because she might be going home to Sir depending on how things go and more because Chloe and the doctors removed her from her co-dependent, now we go into the dark together embrace and might be actively against them continuing to date at all).*
*Which becomes majorly important when you remember that to Billie, Ruth is not just her gf, she’s, in her eyes, the one person she can ever be with, because she’s enough “poison” herself to not be destroyed by Billie’s “toxicity”. Healthy self-esteem. Both Ruth and Billie got it.
Panel 2: I love how serious Carla is. She pranks, but when she pranks there tends to be a reason. And though she wants to be viewed as the merry give-no-fuck skater grrl for her protection, she’s still empathetic and cares deeply about those suffering around her.
She wants Billie to understand in no uncertain terms that her actions were not a joke. She was legitimately scared and went with the best option she knew. Not to be a clown, but because she was terrified and didn’t want to watch someone actually die in front of them or on their “watch”.
And I mean that on a level even above the obvious. Carla is trans and in comic time, she would have been about the same age as Leelah Alcorn when that news came out:
And we know Carla is somewhat plugged into queer and leftist politics. So suicide would be one of those scary big things she’s heard decimates queer and trans folks like her. She may have prepared herself to do something if she ever saw it in person. And once she realized that she was indeed seeing it in person, she decided to act. To make it so Ruth wouldn’t be another terrible statistic.
And she would also know that outing someone is also a big deal and not something to undertake lightly.
So yeah, it’s not a joke to her. She wasn’t ever more serious than in that moment and even at the expense of her image, she can’t let someone believe she would have made as hard a choice as she did for a lark.
I really don’t think Billie think that it was a joke on Carla’s part. Bad idea, sure but no joke. Billie knows enough about FREAKING THE FUCK OUT for worry about people to recognize it in others.
MAJOR TRIGGER WARNING FOR SUICIDE HERE.
As the suicidal person who has had to call the police to save another suicidal person I couldn’t reach in time… the police got there, but Carla did the right thing. Ruth shouldn’t go home, that is also true, but Billie should take this information to someone who can help Ruth (eg. the link at the top of this whole thread) and not lose her temper and lash out at the person who might have saved Ruth’s life.
That was also one of the hardest phone calls I have ever had to make, so, you know, this can’t have been easy for Carla.
*ALL THE HUGS*
Yeah, I really think you are right. Carla did not do this lightly at all. She was in full panic mode, but she didn’t act without thinking it through.
Yup, *all the hugs* and it’s a rough place to be to have to make a choice like that and hope it’s the right one.
And unfortunately, Carla doesn’t really have anyone but her parents (who she was probably just talking to over her Ruttpad) to sort out the emotional weight of it with.
*even more hugs*
Whether it was hard for her or not, I think Carla was thinking the most rationally out of the whole group and did what was right.
I’m proud of her for it.
Billie could even tell the RM, just to make sure that Chloe knows. Chloe seems to really care about Ruth, so even if she had to take Ruth into her own home while she convalesced, I don’t think Chloe would send Ruth to an abusive and unsafe environment.
hello captain hook
Except Carla didn’t call anyone. She just tried to out them. She didn’t save her life. Rachel did.
Panel 3: Oh, Billie…
Two things, she doesn’t know that Chloe has been full of sympathy for Ruth. All she knows is what Ruth is afraid of and the terrible cost it will be for her to lose this job. Avoiding losing this job is what Ruth used to finally push her away to slip deeper into depression. And not wanting to cost Ruth her job is what lead Billie to not follow her instincts and instead try to deputize Carla to be a replacement her and try to help.
So she doesn’t know that Ruth might actually get through this okay and be safe a little longer.
But that leads into the second thing. She’s counting Ruth being in the hospital receiving psychological care as a bad thing. And that says so much, especially when taken in conjunction with her morose over receiving therapy.
And it’s that way because yes, she has Sal for a roommate and Sal is famously anti-therapist given her earlier experiences, but probably more likely because she’s internalized the idea that seeking out professional care is a character flaw. Like, we don’t know much about Billie’s dad, but what little we do now from the hints of racism, the busing of homeless folks, and the general lack of any form of emotional support or even presence, that he’s not a great guy.
And in fact, may even be the sort of “personal responsibility” “depression is for losers and quitters who can’t cut it in the tough world” asshole that tend to hold a lot of wealth and power in the country. Which means, Billie might have inherited a worldview where seeking out actual professional help or even admitting she may be depressed may be something she’s internalized as a character flaw. So in her mind, Ruth being fired and going back to her abusive father may be just as bad as her being in the hospital like an “invalid”, in her eyes. And it may even be worse that she was there too and she can’t delay her own recovery either.
And good on Carla for emphasizing this. We know she loves wlw relationships. That they fill her up with joy and she’ll go way farther to protect them than most because of her own life experiences and politics. Her intervening in this way, calling it playing poly triad house with a death wish, that’s not a position she’s easily come to, but Ruth’s state was just that bad. And like Sarah she believes she made the best choice for the moment.
Hopefully, unlike Sarah, hopefully this one actually will have turned out to be the right choice.
I suspect that part of her internalization of the idea that therapy is for failures is that she may have been forced into some form of counseling after her drunken car crash. If she was, she may see counseling as something foisted upon her for fucking up rather than an attempt to help her resolve the problems that lead to the crash. A hostile attitude from her father regarding therapy would have certainly reinforced the idea of counseling as punishment.
That makes sense. Which would make Sal and Billie very similar in that respect.
A certain web serial I read had a tagline: “Doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.”
I feel it is nearly as apt a tagline for this comic.
Panel 4: Head Cheerleader, Alpha Percussion Instrument, bearer of far too much experience and knowledge about terrible things. Carla may have theory behind her actions and a special fear about suicide, but Billie has probably been there before with helping someone deal with abusers in their life and having to be this many steps ahead to see the long-term consequences of various attempts to help.
Hell, that, her home life, and her being queer and in love with a girl in high school in a likely rich conservative part of Indiana, probably explains a good 3/4 of why she started turning to alcohol to numb it all out.
Carla focuses on the here-and-now and prioritized the suicide, but to Billie, suicide is something she’s gotten more familiar with caring for Ruth and so to her, she’s thinking mostly of Sir on the phone and Ruth slipping into despair, Ruth responding on the bed in fear of what would happen to her brother, of failing again.
I think Billie is yelling for reasons much beyond these, but it’s understandable that she’d want to communicate these things to Carla so she understands what risk she took in outing them. That this wasn’t just her playing house or fully about her own wishes to die, but about her trying to do right by Ruth’s long-term survival in her own way.
And that’s what makes this argument so sweet in a way. Both care deeply about keeping Ruth alive. Both tried a method they thought would best serve that. And that’s what’s putting them at odds. Because of what information piece each has that’s sticking most in their minds*.
*I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Billie’s panels with Ruth today were about the abuse and fear over being fired, whereas Carla’s panels with Ruth today were about how badly Ruth wanted to die. Both saw a very different portrait of Ruth today that is haunting them in very different ways.
It is important to remember that while Billie was also suicidal, she could conceive of a way out. Ruth didn’t seem to be. But Billie? She wanted to backpack through europe and get manicures with Ruth. She thought that was a thing that could happen.
She’s in a bad place. She’s still suicidal. But she’s not as badly off as Ruth. She thinks there’s a happy ending to be had. She probably underestimated the immediate risk, but then, she DID try and get a LITTLE help. And she asked one of the best people in the hall to ask – someone who didn’t give a fuck about authority (And therefore would neither report, nor fear, Ruth), and could be bribed in ways Billie can manage. The fact that she /incidentally/ found a good person was probably a happy accident.
I will say this: I don’t know that Billie’s upper class acquaintances, or their families, give a fuck about the gays. The rich are extremely resistant to sociological scrutiny (Translation: they fucking hate talking about themselves to anyone who isn’t one of them). They very well may hate queer people (And odds are pretty good taht as an aggregate, they /do/ hate trans people), but it’s possible that Billie had an easy time in high school on that front. It’s almost definitely a more well-to-do one.
Also, I really underestimated Billie. I didn’t think she’d thought this far ahead. I always like when I underestimate characters.
In my experience, richer parents tend to be more conservative as well. And ditto on liking it when a character surprises me in a good way.
“Look Ruth, I’m an Alpha bongo. I scope parties for roofies. I sneak friends into abortion clinics. I take down abusive boyfriends.” (emphasis mine)
I hope she figures out how to work her way up to legal guardians… I want to see her and Ruth holding hands on Mr Lessic’s doorstep, delivering a verbal beatdown, and then leaving forever with Howard.
Oh my. That might be sweet.
Good memory. I forgot that was part of the list. So she’s definitely encountered this before and been through the dance of making sure info didn’t get to abusive boyfriends or abusive family while still trying to keep folks safe.
My desire for this arc to end immediately and never be mentioned again so that I don’t have to continue reading this very personally painful shit is so severe I’m afraid I may have to give up on the comic…
*hugs* I’m sorry this is hurting. Please prioritize your care however you see best even if it means taking a break from the comic or stopping reading entirely.
You can stop reading. It can be for a couple weeks, or if you’re worried about being surprised by mentions later, it can be forever. Please, don’t hurt yourself. No comic’s worth it.
Erk. That should be “Please, don’t read a thing that is hurtful.”
IRRC, some people who comment here have done just that- disappeared for a month or two, because it’s less painful to read a distressing storyline all in one go than spread out day by day.
If you want to stop reading for a while, that’s totally okay. It isn’t some kind of mistake or something, and while I do think it’s important that Billie and Ruth’s story is shown, it’s also completely fair that it’s too overwhelming for you because of the painful feelings it pulls up.
I went through the same with the Amber stuff from the last few months due to how it related to my own experiences and it wasn’t until I had some stuff generously explained to me that I felt comfortable with continuing to read about her.
Pause and come back seems like a possible solution. If you do come back, perhaps have someone there to help you though any ‘bad’ parts.
Understand completely. Too many of the arcs hit too close to home and I identify closely with several characters. I too considered stopping, even left for a time, but then I realized the comments section was actually helping me cope. The hundreds of opinions expressed here helps put things in perspective.
Flat out, I could not read the comic without the comments. And for that I thank everyone here. And Willis, of course, for providing all of it.
But everyone is different. You do what’s best for you.
Panel 5: And so it makes sense that Carla is actually getting a little pissed at being yelled at for not thinking about that stuff, because in her mind, she’s being haunted by Ruth’s happy chirble at the thought of dying and nearly just leaving Ruth alone in that state because she foolishly believed that Ruth was fine enough like she said and didn’t see the signs.
Those took priority. Ruth’s alive. And Carla genuinely believed that that wouldn’t have been the case if she didn’t act. Only time will tell if it was the right choice, because as we’ve seen with Dana, being too quick on that draw can mean accidentally putting someone in a worse less safe and more dangerous place.
Panel 6: So, yeah, it also makes sense for Billie to scream at her about her house not being safe. Because Billie’s history and her conversations with Ruth, that’s what hits hard for her. That family can be a danger. And it also mirrors their two very different interactions with Ruth. Billie has seen Ruth at her worst after being hit hard by Sir. But Carla saw it after she was hit hard by Mary with the blackmail. So to Billie, protecting Ruth from Sir is the highest priority, whereas for Carla, Mary and the secret were seen as the bigger threats.
And it’s somewhat heartwarming, because Carla’s face drops in that last panel. She may have heard of abusive families, but unlike Billie, she may never have seen them face to face like that. Her own family is wonderful. As spriteless noted above, home was where she went to to escape abuse and where she received the most support. So, the thought that a house could somehow be worse than a place where she was being actively bullied and harassed and where she was happy at the thought of dying and unresponsive in a dark room is just a whole nother level.
I think Carla will still believe she made the best decision (and given Chloe, it may very well have been, but it’s too early to say for sure), but she’s gotten a bit more real-world experience to make the mental calculations a bit more nuanced in the future.
I like reading your reviews but I think you’re making too many assumptions about Dana and her father being abusive. Being pulled out of college CAN be a good thing for mental health reasons and we know Dana was in a bad place.
You’re of course allowed to make theories, I just don’t think the Dana thing is concrete at this point.
The fact that she still isn’t back, a year later, does seem to imply that Raidah has access to information Sarah doesn’t, and this isn’tt wo rich girls fussing about a minor inconvenience in comparison with Sarah’s future.
It’s not guaranteed, but like, part of being a critical reader is simply making peace with that.
I can’t quite see how you get from Dana is not back a year later to ‘surely Raidah has more information and therefore knows that Dana at home is in an abusive situation’.
Given what we know it just might equally be that Dana is not willing to deal with the stuff she needs to deal with and sees not having access to dope as abusive.
Substance dependency is a serious issue and actually nobody really knows for sure how to threat it. There are just different strategies that help some people.
Dana is in contact with Raidah. Raidah reports that Dana thinks she’s not in a better place a year later. And most importantly, Raidah is still hearing enough to still be livid at Sarah a year later and Raidah is too reasonable in most of her other interactions (minus her “helpful” condescension towards Dina) for that to just be about, dude, you harshed our vibe, yo.
Not to mention that the substance she was “addicted to” was pot and I’m sorry, but pot is not scary as a street drug. It just isn’t. And I can’t pretend it’s even as bad a coping strategy as alcohol, because I live in a state where medical marijuana is legal and I’ve seen it dramatically help folks struggling with anxiety. So, saying, ooh, she was using pot to cope with stuff sounds like “ooh, she was using anti-anxiety pills to cope with stuff” or “ooh, she was ‘addicted’ to anti-depressants”.
And there’s a lot of red flags for me as a schoolteacher with regards to how she spoke of home, how quickly she came back from the funeral and how fast her dad disappeared her in the night like Toedad tried to do.
Plus, stripping someone of coping strategies without putting new things in place for someone with an addictive personality is super dangerous and bad.
So, yeah, I’m assuming. I’d love to be proven wrong. But I think Sarah even suspects that she might have made a whoops, which is partially why she didn’t stay to hear more when Raidah started talking about how Dana is doing. I still think Sarah thought she was making the best choice she could. Just had the same blindspot as Carla in not thinking about how not every home environment is safe.
Fair point, I’ve forgotten how much contact Raidah has with Dana. So yeah, probably if she’s saying “I’m not doing better at all” hopefully that means she was also more up front about what WAS going on that made Sarah call in and Raidah has a more accurate picture now. (I admit, that interaction with Dina REALLY soured me on Raidah and her friend group so I may be kind of biased.)
The pot in itself probably wasn’t a big issue Dana health-wise, but I am still worried about the hours Dana was out to/coming back in that stuff could have been going on. And definitely she was depressed and that can be hard to recover from. But yeah, if Raidah’s still in contact with her things could be seriously bad.
I do not agree, at all. I’m actually surprised that anyone thinks Reidah is remotely decent. The only sign we have of that is that Jacob doesn’t run away from her, but seeing as she’s willing to lie to him, that’s not much.
Every other time we’ve seen her, she’s been horrible. She wasn’t just condescending towards Dina. That was an attack on Sarah to try and take her friend away. The entire point of that interaction was to bully Sarah.
And that’s where she lied to Jacob. She turned Sarah punching her, which was a reaction to her deliberately trying to hurt Sarah, into Sarah being toxic and abusive.
The girl she knows tried save her friend is “toxic.” And let’s not forget she originally thought she was bad because she wasn’t outgoing.
I don’t know how Dana is doing, but Reidah is not in any way proof about that. She wasn’t angry in the moment. She “Mean Girls”ed Sarah.
Yeah, she’s a bully. She’s Sarah’s bully. But she’s that way because she interprets Sarah’s actions as dumping a close friend into a brutal awful situation that she still hates and who justifies it by making reference to worrying about her grades.
In this instance, to Raidah, this would be like if Dorothy reported Becky to Toedad while she was hiding out because she was worried about her own school performance.
This isn’t Sarah’s actual actions, mind you, just how she sees them. Sarah is really bad at expressing herself and her fear and care for Dana and how hard a decision this was for her and she’s got a reason to massively distrust Raidah because Raidah blames her for hurting her friend and bullied her about it for a year.
And to her, being in regular contact, every conversation with Dana probably flares up all her resentment for Sarah for “putting Dana in this bad place”.
But I think there’s a lot of honesty in her interaction with Jacob. She does recognize that interacting with Sarah is toxic for here and brings out her worst self. She actively removed herself from that situation rather than getting herself dragged down and tries to calm herself down and separate herself from that.
Hell, the only other time she shows up after that fight is just hanging with Jacob and not paying any attention to Sarah (and that’s not nothing, the other times she’s been in the dining area, she’s laser-focused over to Sarah to harass her).
And she’s totally condescending, ableist as all fuck, and in many ways a spoiled rich girl, not to mention a bully. But she also checked that one friend of hers when her friend went to things more regularly understood to be ableist slurs and is clearly full of empathy and love for Dana and has taken the step Sarah didn’t in continuing to check in with her long after the fact and continue to provide emotional support.
She’s a really complex antagonist and that’s what makes her interactions with Sarah interesting to me, especially since Raidah has dropped just trying to bully her every time she sees her.
Raidah may have recognized that interacting with Sarah brings out her worst self, but she doesn’t communicate that to Jacob. She says that Sarah is toxic, that Raidah needs to cut her out of her life for her own sake, and that Sarah assaulted her, no context given. All of that puts the blame entirely on Sarah.
I mean, you’re right that she’s started leaving Sarah alone, and maybe that’s because she’s realized she’s being a bully and doesn’t like it, but I’ll give her credit for that when she actually says it. (Also I kind of resent her for being like “I’m going to walk away and not get involved in this” when she called Sarah a coward for doing the same thing, but that’s probably not rational on my part.)
No, that’s fair.
So we are expected to believe Raidah when she reports about Dana’s situation?
Wasn’t Raidah not knowing about Dana’s actual situation, the severeness of her grief, (and not believing Sarah, when she told them) part of the original problem?
Well this is indeed similar to Carla’s situation: She informed Ruth’s closest friend about the depression and suicidal ideation and Billie shrugged it of as “normal” – not knowing how severe it was this time.
I dunno. I do, because why lie about that?
Like, she didn’t say, Dana thought you did the wrong thing at the time. She instead responded directly to Sarah assertation that she was in a better place with “not according to Dana”. Which heavily implies a) she’s still in regular or irregular contact with Dana and b) somewhat recently Dana’s still reporting it hasn’t been good for her.
Like, yeah, Dana kept Raidah in the dark before, purposefully, but I don’t know why Dana would be making it out to be worse than it is or why Raidah would have decided to lie about something like that just to win a point in a disagreement when continuing to bring up the past would have accomplished the same thing.
Entirely possible (and I would not be at all surprised if Dana is in a really bad place now), but also possible she’s taken longer to recover between the drugs and the depression, and that she and her dad want to be sure she’s back to 100% before going back to a more independent living situation. Or that she wants to go to community college before considering things, or decided that it’s best to cut off any chance of falling back into the old contact groups and go to another school… Her dad pulling her out and her not being back could be a warning sign, but it could also be one of like a billion innocuous things. Gonna have to wait until Sarah takes the arc spotlight again before we can say for sure.
My only hitch with that and why I’ve assumed that Dana’s dad is abusive, is that if she was taking a while to recover or going somewhere else, she wouldn’t be telling Raidah recently that she’s in a worst place. Like, people rescaling things and slowing them down after trauma, especially after a period of time where she was low-functioning and breaking up with her boyfriend and dealing with lots of stress, don’t tend to go, yeah, those times were way better than now, even if they are still in recovery.
So it is for that reason I presume that Dana is in an unsafe spot. And now only has long-distance friends and no pot to try and handle it in. Hence why she considers it a worse place.
Like that comment here:
Totally screams confirmation of abuse to me, though I’ll admit not everyone is going to read it in the same way and I’m totally coming from the bias of working a lot with abused kids so I put a lot of stock in red flags cause they can give me a head’s up about stuff.
As I said above, I don’t entirely agree with your interpretation of Dana’s situation… but I have very little real-life experience with abuse, and I’m glad you, with your knowledge and sensitivity, are out there standing up for kids at risk.
Huh, this is one were we disagree. I read Raidah very much akin to Mary here. So much holier-than-you and not at all giving real information.
We were already into our different views on pot. I do not think it’s harmless when someone still growing uses it daily, which Dana did. Getting dead drunk daily, especially when you are still growing is also a very bad idea but it seems to kill other parts of your brain and is less likely to induce paranoia.
So let’s just say the situation is not good for Dana but if this because her parent is not good at helping in that situation or actually abusive is quite unclear.
And even if the dad was abusive, Raidah would still be an asshole because she is simply blaming Sarah and never actually doing something to get on an even keel with Sarah, e.g. by explaining that Dana’s father is abusive. She just bullies her at every given opportunity and talks about her behind her back. This is behavior that makes me want the trust her.
The last sentence should read ‘isn’t a behavior ‘
I don’t know what I really think about the possibility of Dana’s dad being abusive. I think I’ll withhold judgement until we see more of Sarah’s arc, but considering that Sarah’s call to him came right on the heels of his wife’s death, it’s also possible he’s overreacting to the situation and smothering Dana out of protectiveness. I could easily see a parent slipping into “Oh, God no, I just lost my spouse. I can’t have anything happen to my child too.” and being too scared to allow them independence.
That could be enough for Dana and Raidah to consider the situation a bad one.
Carla’s definitely going to hit back, though. Something along the lines of “Well that’s the sort of information you give someone you appoint primary wellfare-checker, genius. Along with them being suicidal, genius.”
She’s just too Carla not to.
I dunno about that. Carla’s expression in the last panel looks like heart sank so fast it had to stop for a moment to remember what the hell it was doing.
It’s the response that Billie probably deserves, but fortunately for her, Carla’s just too good-hearted(!) to deliver it.
I don’t think so. I agree with everyone saying Billie has every reason to be angry right now. Sure Carla didn’t fuck anything up on purpose, but I would probably want somebody to shout at after all this myself. I’m hoping Carla will just try to calm her down. Or find some one else to do that
I think she might actually end up half-apologizing later. And I just now realize that the she in that statement could really apply to both of them.
Yeah, I can’t see either of them fully admitting to being at all wrong, much apologizing. Certainly not out loud
Which is what makes me think that the next thing out of her mouth will be something defensive.
Just a couple points in consideration. Dana’s coping action were endangering Sarah in a serious way. First I agree pot isn’t that serious of a illicit drug, but it’s still treated as a Schedule 1 drug by law. There’s a lot of laws that have a guilt by association when it comes to possession. Combined with racial biases Sarah was looking at some bad stuff if Dana was ever busted.
Sarah was willing to initially work with Dana’s use of pot. After her mom died, Dana started to use more heavily and in the shared room, Sarah was understanding if uncomfortable with this.
The problem was that Dana continued to overuse (any coping strategy can be used to excess). Sarah realized she wasn’t getting better, and despite everything she was doing she was afraid she was making things worse.
She tried to get Dana’s friends involved but she sucks at this type of communication. In addition it appears that Dana is just like Becky in showing the world a upbeat or at least not sad persona. Only Sarah got to see the sad Dana, which implies an amazing amount of trust for some one like that.
Sarah spent some serious time trying to find a solution for Dana. I wouldn’t be surprised if she referred Dana to some help lines, etc. Finally her own grades were going down sufficiently that her own tenure at college was at risk. So she made a decision to a) protect herself and b) get help for her friend Dana in what she considered the least damaging way possible.
Please note that it is a thing for caretakers, and that was Sarah, to do incredible amount of damage to themselves in trying to care for others. The ability to say I can’t do this anymore and act on it is a vital thing for caretakers own health. Sarah did the best with situation she was in and with the knowledge she had.
That said I do find Cerberus’s reason of suspecting a toxic family situation as very plausible.
Yeah. Honestly, in a case of rich white girl with lawyer parents and poor black girl roommate, if the rich white girl getting busted for pot wanted to pin it on the roommate, I’d say the chances would be really good Dana walks and Sarah gets busted for it.
Oh very much agree. I think Sarah did everything she could think of as an 18 year old with a ton of idealism and a tendency to try and save people in crisis. Which is why I agree with a lot of the Sarah/Carla comparisons. Both took a super risky action to try and handle a bad no-win situation as best they could when they hit the limit of what they could handle.
Only difference is it all blew up in Sarah’s face and she might have put Dana in a dangerous place she didn’t know at the time was dangerous. And for Carla it could have gone very much the same if Chloe didn’t seem so keen on rehabilitating Ruth and getting her back to work.
Becky, sadly, has the fine opportunity to get herself into permanent or at least decades-long debt to the United States government like I did. They paid for my college tuition for years then milked me for repayments for decades thereafter.
Ruth? I’m not sure about Ruth being able to qualify for government sleazy loans.
While I sincerely doubt that is the actual case in this comic, ****never think someone is making up abuse after all****, I do note Ruth’s impression of her grandfather may actually be somewhat askew. Ruth’s self-hatred and depression may well have influenced her perspective on all of her relationships.
So, you don’t doubt that Ruth’s grandfather is abusive, just her ability to tell how big of an asshole he is?
I gotta assume I’m misunderstanding the point you’re trying to make, because that actually sounds worse than just doubting the abuse itself.
No, I’m asking how much Ruth can judge her situation because mental illness sucks that way.
Ah, yeah. That it does, and abuse is likely the entire source of her self-worth issues, which are in turn making her situation feel more inescapable than it actually is. Its already rough, but poo-tinted glasses aren’t helping
I’m assuming Ruth’s self-worth issues are chemical not abuse based.
Any particular reason, since we have evidence of both trauma and at least some circumstantial evidence of abuse. Not that there’s actually a clear cut difference – a properly screwed up brain makes its own bad chemicals.
I think this is the closest we’ve come to seeing him so far, and I’m pretty comfortable saying the person on the other end of that call is being emotionally abusive.
Really? All it seems to be is her calling him Sir which I do my family and Marcy does Peppermint Patty.
The fact that she calls him sir is not the problem (although probably diagnostic in this case). The problem is that he calls up just long enough to tell her that he’s disappointed in her for something and browbeat her into saying she’s sorry, interrupting her every time she tries to talk. And then once he’s accomplished that, he ends the call, displaying no interest in talking about, I don’t know, how her first week at college is going.
I’d be side-eying this interaction if it was between a boss and an employee. Between a grandparent and the grandchild he’s raising? It’s awful.
At which point, IIRC, she drinks herself into a stupor. Heavily implied to be the direct result of the call, since she was heading out before getting the call.
In theory, that could be the result of Ruth’s depression and alcoholism and maybe her misinterpreting her grandfather entirely. In practice, it’s not. There’s no way Willis is going to write a story where Ruth is wrong about her grandfather’s abuse.
Anymore than Sal is wrong about Linda’s racism.
Anymore than Becky was wrong about Ross.
Anymore than Amber was wrong about Blaine.
I don’t recall the last was suggested, but the other two have been.
Yeah, we have an entire strip right after to see her reaction to the call, and I felt like it was probably implied that the call itself or its contents induced or worsened her drinking that night.
Yup, what the last three said. Calling a parental figure sir is like a yellow card, something that should provoke caution and finding out more about the situation (in my experience strict authoritarian households tend to be more likely to be abusive). But in combination with everything else, that happened around that call, are some major red flags. Biggest one might be the interruption and only communicating disappointment. Like, especially that coming out of nowhere? Big sign of foul play on his part.
“I just couldn’t hand her to a woman that calls her husband sir, it gave me the chills, her life flashed before my eyes and then suddenly I saw her with frosty pink lipstick wearing a dairy queen uniform.” – Baby Boom (1987 movie)
She wasn’t heading out before the call, really. Ruth had just arrived to her room when Billie got her away from her room by calling out “Ruth Lessic is a whore. Then Ruth decides to prioritize her phone over bullying Billie, leading to strip 1 where she receives the call and sits dejectedly on her bed, strip 2 where she just lies down in her bed, and a later strip where Billie wakes up at 3:27 to find Ruth sleeping with her clothes on in a pile of beer bottles. (Though whether the drinking started before Billie fell asleep is unclear.)
Also the ringtone when she received the call was quite surely a personalized one.
Carla’s face at the end: “this is information I did not have.”
Even so, she may well have bought Ruth some time. It’s a terrible place for her to go, but if she did kill herself, that would be it, no hope for improvement. This at least gives Ruth some sort of chance, even if it’s smaller than they’d like.
But even independent of all that, we can only evaluate decisions on the information had at the time. Carla absolutely made the right choice based on the information she had. At worst, given this new information, that only drops to almost certainly.
I suspect this will turn out to have been the best choice, I just feel for Carla’s having to re-evaluate. Especially since she didn’t want to be involved in the first place.
The ironically sort-of-funny part of this is that this is one threat that Carla, despite all the trials she has experienced as a transwoman, could not imagine. She’s been blessed from the start with a loving, accepting family who have done everything that they could for her. The idea that you could be existentially at risk in your own home from your own closest family is something that she simply can’t imagine.
trans woman… its 2 words… trans is short for transgender its not hard?
I’ve never seen it as 2 words.
Both are valid ways to spell the term (as is “trans-gender”). The two-word spelling has gained traction lately, because of a desire among some activists to remove the implication that transgender women are distinct from women that they feel is inherent in joining the words.
I don’t see that implication and will happily refer to myself as a transwoman, but others may feel differently.
I think I try to leave the trans part off completely. I most likely fail at times, though.
So her home isn’t safe?
And drinking herself to death in her dorm room is?
Carla has nothing to apologize for, imo. Because of her, Ruth is going to get help to get on her feet mentally.
Her outlook may not be good, but it’s sure as Hell better than it was. And hey, Billy-you really love her? You’re scared, but stop blaming everyone else and right now just be there for her and take it a step at a time.
You know, Carla does have something to apologize for. She didn’t even TRY to avoid any long term consequences of what she was doing. She outed two queer women. She didn’t actually ASK about anything like that.
Hell, for all she knows, Billie’s dad is as massively heterosexist as Mary. She should probably have taken a somewhat more measured response. I want to be clear, I actually think Carla’s actions were, on balance, basically correct (Barring these caveats). I am, by no means of the imagination, angry at Carla. Ultimately, it is not a bad thing, as someone who prioritizes long term goals in general, to look at the short term, especially when that short term is survival. And it’s worth mentioning, Carla is /19/. She is a regular student, if a queer one. I can’t expect her to know the best things to do, or to think of everything. And I /don’t/.
But let’s not pretend that “bad things happen by telling long term consequences to fuck off entirely”, long term consequences that Carla clearly had some consideration of (She was aware of the job thing, it seems), is something that can brook no criticism. That the lover of the person who’s at risk has no right to be angry about.
Carla is seriously Sarah vibing here.
Future will surely be interesting.
SArah has never shown any repentance. She has also been presented with nothing but two rich girls’ say-so that the actions she took to protect her shot at a livelihood* were wrong.
Of course, she may start to think “shit what if Dana’s dad is abusive”, which is an idea Cerb pitched idk how long ago, and Raidah knows it because Raidah and Dana were close, well.
*Such as that shot is, as a lawyer. Believe it or not, lawyers are not nearly as well off as people are wont to believe. It’s often a shitty place to be, especially if you are doing the jobs that most need doing (In particular, public defenders).
Just to be clear, that’s been true for at least as long as I’ve been reading the comic, and possibly its entirely life. Of course, with a scholarship, Sarah might not have debt.
Dana’s dad works at/is a partner at/owns(? I’d need to look back at the exact phrasing) a big law firm. Not a public defender, and pays much better.
Yes, Dana’s got networking on her side. Sarah does not. And I meant Sarah’s the one in trouble.
Will Carla become party-pooper pals with Sarah now?
I knew I recognized that username from somewhere.
Oh from where exactly?
Dominions 4, Brother Arkio.
I should really know better than to type in this site’s URL when I want something to lower my blood pressure after a medical crisis, especially when the characters are in aedical crisis.
Oof, that sounds rough. Hope you’re doing okay now.
I would recommend ignoring the text and just pretending that one of them has terrible gas and they’re just fighting about which one of them is fumigating the place.
Their expressions work amazingly well for this.
Actually, the text in the first two panels is pretty perfect for that too.
Now that you mention it, the third panel works as well
CHILI NIGHT HAS GONE HORRIBLY WRONG
I was fine the whole way through, but I got extremely nervous.
In a way, it’s a good thing; it means I care about humans enough to be outraged that an emergency room was staffed with undertrained, uneducated, squeamish people and worried for my friend. After about an hour a doctor got to him, and he’s not likely to suffer any lasting damage.
*hugs* Hope they get better soon. Good on you for making sure they got care.
I can’t claim any credit for that. It’s a friend in another state; all I did was drop what I was doing and contact every professional or quasi-trained medic I knew in the middle of the night to ask what the best course of action was when I found out.
And that does not deserve credit?
I mean, on one hand, you might think that this is simply what everyone would have done. And if not, then it is likely you at least believe this is what everyone should have done.
But guess what: Not everyone would. And more importantly, -even if everyone did it, that still does not make it a less good thing to have done-. And having done a good thing deserves credit. So there. End of discussion.
Don’t sell yourself short, you also care enough to go to the effort and stress to make sure your friend got taken care of, and that’s not nothing either
That was kinda what I meant by ‘huh, apparently I do care’ – being legitimately worried rather than only grabbing what resources I could out of an ill-defined sense of it being the right thing to do.
Because that always leaves a sour taste in my mouth and a lot of instrospection. Much easier to have a personal stake.
There’s no way Carla could have known about Ruth’s home situation, since nobody told her after all.
Yup, that’s where I am. Carla did the right thing based on the information she had at the time. Can’t really ask for more.
I don’t blame Carla either, no. But it’s a sobering reminder that sometimes just attempting to do the right thing can end up backfiring in the most horrible ways. There was a story here in Australia some years ago where a young girl was sent back to her biological mother over the grave objections of her carers. 6 months later the young girl was dead from massive physical abuse. The mother and her boyfriend were arrested and thrown in jail, but it’s not going to bring the girl back.
At the end of the day you can only do your best based on the information you have, but it’s worth remembering that despite what books and movies would have us believe, spontaneous on-the-spot decisions driven by emotion don’t always end up with people living happily-ever-after.
Yes. There is. Billie told her to put her down so they could talk. Carla didn’t do that.
Why does everyone keep ignoring that Carla could have gotten more information? That’s the correct course of action when you have limited information.
Though not the solution for every case, psychiatric physicians, social workers, and other professional resources in a hospital tend to fare much better than young college students in the matters of caring for the suicidal with home safety concerns. Ruth needs other help, and she can’t stay in the current arrangement forever. Carla took care of what was foremostly important, Ruth’s life. The point of discrete support is past when hospitalization is appropriate. I realize that not everyone has the same experience, but the health care system has its merits.
While I appreciate Billie’s perspective, there are no faults in Carla’s actions.
I really hope Billie and Carla become friends. This could easily go into long term hatred, or a further feeling of closeness. Both are real options. I hope the latter happens though.
…Honestly, I ship it. OT3. Carla’s still a homoromantic ace. She no longer has an extendo robot hand to engage in sex with while not actually exposing herself significantly to gross body fluids (Inferring from Ultra Car’s reactions here, which might not have transferred exactly), but Billie and Ruth can just bang each other, then cuddle with Carla after.
But that’s honestly not why I hope they become friends here. I think a friend is something Billie and Ruth desperately need. And Billie clearly doesn’t feel she can be as open with her other ones. Ruth… I’m pretty sure her only friend is her lover. Carla has friends, of course, but most of them aren’t people she has any serious connection with. She could with Sal too, of course (And I also ship Sal/Carla), but still.
I hope they become friends too. They’re my three favourite characters and I want to see them all happy together.
I think they will eventually all become friends, though it may take Billie a little bit to stop being angry at Carla.
Billie managed to forgive like three weeks of abuse because she got a glimpse of the complex emotions inside Ruth, and stays friends with Walky and Joyce. I think she’ll manage to stop being angry at Carla rather fast, if Ruth tells her to.
Billie’s general selfishness and desire to pass the buck is one of her less charming qualities. She basically forced Carla into this situation and is appalled that she didn’t act exactly to Billie’s desires.
Oh, they will. I can’t see this setup going any other way. I don’t actually think they’ll be too upset for too long. Carla’s reaction to Billie’s revelation is too sympathetic.
It’s gonna click why they were keeping it all a secret, and then they are going to work out something to do. They both will have a common goal–to fix their mistakes with Ruth.
Plus, I’d guess Carla is in the best place to help out. What Ruth needs is to fix this is something that can be provided with money. She needs a place to stay to avoid going home.
Hell, I’ve wondered why Billie hadn’t considered that route for herself. Get a loan from her parents. They like to give her money instead of attention anyways, so take advantage of it.
Eventually, yeah. But Ruth isn’t fired and in fact looks like she’s got herself a second chance if she can make it to grabbing it. So right now, they’ve got plenty of opportunities to make amends and help out in other ways as Ruth tries to claw her way back up to functional.
Really, for how risky Carla’s actions were, the fallout is impressively minimal so far (and I emphasize so far because Willis is master of the shoe drop).
What Carla did was far from perfect, but she didn’t let perfect be an enemy of the good. Ruth needed quick help, and there really only were 3 people who knew this: Carla, Billie, and Mary. Obviously Mary won’t do anything, and Billie’s attempts just got Carla involved. Ruth has a lot of challenges to face now, but she *is* alive and getting help and that goes really far.
Also, having just noticed it, I see Carla reflexively is covering her tablet. I wonder if Carla values privacy as much as I do, and this factors into why she did not ask about Ruth’s situation in any detail (without the experience that her actions could cause problems there).
I may just be reading too much into it. Only the paranoid person I know makes any attempt to do so, aside from myself, but that could just be who I know. This may be common amongst the yoof of today, I sure as hell wouldn’t know.
Yeah, it’s a nice touch.
Is no one considering that Ruth could get another job and/or take out loans? Or are neither of those possible in her situation?
Possible, yes. Trivial, no. Particularly likely… nfc.
Ruth locks herself in her room for days because of depression, and has a CV that would read “Got fired for sleeping with a student, underage drinking, and failing to perform her job.”. She’s not exactly in a great position for getting a job.
One thing I love about this scene: it depicts two young women from very privileged backgrounds, both with extensive familial wealth, interacting in a scenario that highlights their extremely different life experiences. Carla comes from a loving and supportive family, and by default expects family to be loving and supportive even when the rest of the world is the opposite. Billie, on the other hand, experienced no family warmth or affection growing up, and is well aware of what happens when you put a young person who needs familial support in a position of having none.
I think it makes for an interesting triad; on one extreme, Ruth, who comes from an abusive household. On the other extreme, Carla, who has the most loving parents ever. And in the middle, Billie, whose parents were neither loving nor actively abusive.
Completely random thought: I’ve suddenly visualised a ‘Shortpacked v.2.0’ scenario with Ruth and Becky in the place of Ethan and Robyn respectively as the anchor POV characters of any arcs centred around Galasso’s restaurant.
After all, both Ruth and Becky are going to be looking for alternate sources of income near to the college! I would seriously be interested to see their reaction to DoA!Conni…
“Mr Galasso, we’re interested in the late shift wait staff posts…”
I’d read that.
I’d just like to take a moment to stop being serious and note that Carla’s outfit reminds me adorably of D.Va.
We certainly can. Carla’s expression in panel 5 is especially cute.
Also, did she always wear gloves all the time, even when it makes no sense? Or is she trying to be like Sal?
According to the archives she’s worn them in every appearance she’s ever had.
Do we have a history of speculation about this, as with Mary’s wristbands?
I dunno, my memory’s way fuzzier about specific statements on comment threads because I can’t just do the archive search trick.
No, I guess I just never noticed that she always had them before. Probably because we don’t often see her indoors, or sitting for that matter. Just made the gloves out to me
Made them *stand* out to me
Something similar happened to a friend of mine in college. She became very depressed, tried to commit suicide, her roommate called the hospital and she was sent off to the mental hospital for a week. Subsequently she was forced to take a medical leave of absence (or something with a similar name) for the rest of the year and sent home to the abusive family that had triggered the suicidality in the first place.
On the bright side, she survived, returned to school, and graduated.
I think colleges really should be more sensitive about taking actions that force students to return to abusive households, but in my experience, colleges just don’t want people committing suicide on campus because it is bad PR and sometimes parents sue the college for not preventing it. (See, eg, the Elisabeth Shin case at MIT.)
I suspect that they have expensive lawyers very carefully draft their ‘duty of care’ rules so that they aren’t responsible for the consequences of any decision made by the college after they leave the campus (say, being killed by an abusive family member).
Most of us have been saying more or less the same thing Billie does here, but is she stating actual fact (of Ruth losing her position et al) or just voicing Ruth’s fears?
(I don’t doubt her last statement- Ruth’s so called home is definitely NOT safe).
Hopefully, what’s her name?, the RM, will involve Leslie so someone with a perspective can help out with new options.
Someone above mentioned prices for living in a city. From a German perspective, all but maybe the rent are unbelievably high. 30€/month for phone/internet is considered expensive over here.
I think Ruth’s fears on the job front since it seems like Chloe is very reasonable and wants to give Ruth some second chances if she can be physically well enough for them.
i’m wondering if this is the same situation as what Sarah felt in previous year. but i hope this turns out better for Carla and Ruth.
Maybe she and Becky can go have dri-
Something I haven’t seen mentioned here yet – Ruth is an adult CANADIAN citizen. This complicate the situation. Without a work visa there are no legal jobs she can hold. If she can’t afford school ( with the increased costs as an international student) she could lose her sudent visa. With the loss of a her visa she faces the possibility, not of a trip home , but deportation.
Where she’ll be forced to rely on Canadian health care! 😉
It’s not clear what her status is. Since she and Howard are orphaned and living with their grandfather, they may have other than student visas.
If their grandfather was a US citizen and one of their parents moved to Canada, they’re US citizens. If they were born in the US and the family later moved to Canada to work, they may not even be Canadian citizens. I don’t believe any of that has been established.
I don’t know about the details of their citizenship, but from Ruth and Howie’s discussion on Family Weekend, it sounds like they only lived in Canada before their parents died. They’ve been living in the States for a while with Sir (Howie can’t really remember Canada, so probably since he was six or so at the oldest, and he’s about 16 now?), so her residency status is probably less precarious than a student visa.
(Though idk if there might have been things Sir never bothered to do that could fuck her over, and she could be put in a situation comparable to Becky’s if she needs to get her documents and go out on her own.)
I really hope someone gets in Billy’s face. It’s not cool to think you can scream someone into submission.
I can’t really say that this college is a very safe place either, what with the opportunities to isolate oneself coupled with armed toe dads.
I don’t know why I’m going here again when the last time I said something along these lines I got shut down hard, but why does it seem like everyone is always in Carla’s corner? Let’s face it: she rarely seems to think things through and she frequently does and says some pretty atrocious, selfish things. I don’t think it comes from a place of malice, per se… I just think that her life experiences have left her with a look-out-for-number-one attitude and a need to disregard others’ opinions and feelings (because in the past, those opinions and feelings have been aimed at attacking and judging her).
But just because her actions and attitude are understandable doesn’t make them right. I don’t think she did the right thing, here. Her first instinct was to broadcast and incredibly sensitive, private issue to the entire floor and beyond, which was basically saying “I don’t want to deal with this and I don’t care what happens so long as it isn’t at my doorstep anymore!” She didn’t think to ask Billie for more information, she didn’t stop to look for resources on mental illness and suicide, she didn’t even go to a counselor or advisor. She just tried to rid herself of responsibility as quickly and simply as possible, screw the consequences. That’s not doing the right thing, that’s protecting yourself and your comfort at everyone else’s expense.
Not to shut you down hard but everything you’ve said about Carla pretty much is the opposite of her personality. Carla considers herself a jerk and doesn’t want to be anyone’s friend but her own close cadre of them (Marcy, Malaya, and Sal) but Billie involuntarily involves her in Ruth’s life despite the fact the latter did approximately nothing for her when Mary was harassing her (actually–worse, tried to get Carla to commit violence against Mary). Carla did what anyone faced with a medical emergency SHOULD do and tried to help Ruth. It’s not her job to try and defend Billie’s incredibly selfish and shortsighted attempt to medically treat Ruth on her own–which I liken to believing Jesus will pray away the stab wound because Billie is not a Doctor and it’s about as useful as wishes. Carla DID know the consequences and the answer was, “Better than dead.”
No, I appreciate the thoughtful response. My past experience here is more along the lines of being shouted at, accused of trans-phobia, and I believe having my post deleted.
Bearing in mind that I never read any of Willis’ previous work, my main impressions of Carla have been of her saying jackass things, which can be written off as just a snarky personality, and her battle with Mary over skating in the hall, during which I was 100% on Mary’s side up until she pulled her usual, evangelical, trans-phobic crap. Oh, and her interactions with Billie re: cookies. The two good things I’ve seen her do are cleaning up Amber’s head and standing up for herself against Mary. And the second of those was, frankly, for herself (not that I didn’t enjoy it immensely).
Yeah, she didn’t necessarily think things through, but what Carla did here wasn’t incorrect, per se- she recognized that Ruth was actively suicidal and needed immediate psychological/medical intervention. That this would be incredibly disruptive was, in her mind, clearly beside the point- if you intervene, Ruth lives, and if you don’t, she dies. The choice should be obvious.
The problem isn’t with what Carla did, it’s with people’s lack of understanding of Ruth’s circumstances at home. People assume, by default, that people who are sent home will generally go back to a relatively stable, supportive environment- a somewhat faulty assumption to have, and one that people should have done an inquiry about before they went into their standard procedures.
What Carla did was entirely correct, provided there was a support system available for Ruth in her time of need. As has been established, Carla comes from a fairly well-off family that appears to have been incredibly supportive of her struggle with gender identity, and unfortunately, she forgot that not everyone has awesome parents/guardians who will be there for you every step of the way. That’s not a moral failing, but it is a major oversight of perspective, and one that is consistent with the sort of characterizations we’ve seen in this comic.
I’m not even sure it’s a major oversight of perception as Ruth is a woman in her twenties who doesn’t have to go home. Financially, she might, but that’s another kettle of fish.
In broad strokes, I agree with you. But you simplified matters down to two options: intervene or don’t intervene. There are many more options than that, a few of which I listed. She could have said to herself, “hey, something is wrong here,” and cornered Billie into getting the full story. She could have tried talking to Ruth beyond a quick, “u fine?” which would have very quickly told her something was up, at which point she could have tried tapping into the usually abundant university resources for exactly this kind of thing. When dealing with someone else’s sensitive, emotional issues, your only option is not to barge through them like a bull in a china shop and broadcast them to everyone in a mile radius. Even if Ruth had a supportive home to go back to, this would have been an incredibly inappropriate and careless way of dealing with the situation.
If you think Carla screwed up here, you’re right. Carla’s actions not only forced things out into the open in a way that Ruth can’t really come back from, she outed Ruth as a queer woman to the dorm.
It’s just that this needed to happen. Ruth needs immediate intervention. She needs to be in the hospital more than she needs that job, because otherwise she’s not going to survive long enough to face up against her grandfather. If Carla hadn’t been involved than Ruth and Billie would have either continued their alcoholic suicide pact or at worse, Ruth would have ended up going through with it because she was separated from Billie.
And if you think Carla was a jerk when she tried to steal some cookies, backflipped over Amber, and dismissed Dorothy’s ambitions, you’re right there too. Carla, like all the characters in the series, is what you make of her. She’s not a magic sex pixie whose every action spreads miracles and joy, she’s kind of a butthole when she wants to be.
Thank you for acknowledging that, Spencer! I was just bothered by the way so many people in the comments just seem to completely ignore her bad qualities and go on about how she always does the right thing and how awesome she is. I agree that something needed to happen. Maybe not exactly what Carla set into motion, but something. And I agree that some action was betteer than no action. But I also don’t think that she did “the right” thing. There were many better options, and the way she chose was kind of a selfish, dick move.
Note: my last comment was met with “waiting moderation,” so I expect I’m being censored again for reasons I don’t understand and you’ll never see this comment.
You’re new here, right? All new users get that.
What Carla did – after being maneuvered by Billie into a situation where she was responsible for Ruth and suspected of being romantically involved with Ruth herself – was to inform Billie (and Sal, admittedly) that Ruth wanted to die.
It was only when Billie, after recruiting an unwitting Carla into the suicide watch, blew this off by saying “That’s normal”, that Carla dragged Billie down the hall to Ruth’s room. On the way, she described Ruth’s condition more clearly and Billie broke away and ran into Ruth’s bed crying.
It is, I suppose, possible that Billie would have had more control if she’d been informed in private, but not very likely. Frankly, I don’t see a way she could have gotten through that situation without blowing it sky high.
If Billie had taken some quiet action when first informed, there might have been a possibility of keeping things quiet, but that also wouldn’t have gotten Ruth any help.
If Carla had gone for official help, everyone would still have known about the suicidal depression and it’s very unlikely Billie wouldn’t have gotten involved.
Hell, if Billie hadn’t thrown herself publicly into Ruth’s bed, she probably could have stonewalled on the relationship anyway.
I suppose, if Carla had been a brilliant young therapist and motivator, she could have been able to convince a nearly unresponsive Ruth to get up and quietly go for treatment, but that’s pretty much expecting a miracle from her.
I think you and I have a very different interpretation of Billie’s “that’s normal” response. You see it as blowing it off, I see it as reluctantly admitting that that’s why she felt the need to monitor Ruth, which she was trying to do via Carla. I agree that it’s possible that nothing else Carla tried might have ended any differently – except that she didn’t even try. I don’t think she even thought about it, which is sort of my point. Instead of asking herself, “how can I help these people,” she seemed rather to ask herself, “how can I get this mess off of my hands and onto somebody else’s as quickly as possible?”
If Carla had gone through official channels, everybody wouldn’t have known about the suicidal depression. There are these things called HIPAA and doctor patient privilege that prevent that from happening. They would have known that something was going on, but Ruth would have been shielded from much of the public scrutiny. At this point, Carla already knew about Billie and Ruth’s relationship, so I would be surprised if Carla couldn’t twist Billie’s arm until she gave up more information, especially by threatening to do exactly what she wound up doing anyways. And I don’t think anybody could have gotten Ruth to get up and go seek help at that point, because I’ve been there and I know what it’s like. But there were a number of other ways to help, here, and Carla chose the laziest, most selfish one.
Well, that’s probably how Billie meant it, but imagine how Carla took it: She’s freaking out, in a panic and Billie barely even reacts to it: Just “That’s kind of normal.”
And that’s fine! People make mistakes when they’re under pressure and out of their element, which Carla definitely was. It’s a completely plausible interpretation that she panicked and went into survival mode, which for her meant disengaging as quickly as possible and making the whole thing someone else’s problem. That doesn’t change the fact that what she did was profoundly thoughtless, insensitive and selfish. But neither does it make her a bad person. I’m just weirded out by all the Carla hero-worship I see in the comments section, with people falling all over themselves to justify her actions as “the right thing to do” in the face of the evidence to the contrary.
I mean, if Danny had simultaneously broadcast someone’s mental health issues to the floor and outed two closeted homosexuals, I’m pretty sure the comment section would be full of groans and comments about him “Danning it up again!” Maybe it has to do with the Walkyverse that I’m not familiar with, but the discrepancy baffles me.
Where I would disagree is in how you characterize her motives as lazy or selfish. She didn’t panic because she really didn’t want to have to deal with it, she panicked because she is not equipped to deal it. Getting the problem out of her hands was absolutely a good call. She then took the biggest hammer she could fine to the problem, which was not a great solution, but the problem she was trying to fix needed to be fixed, or Ruth might have died.
Her decision to act was correct. Her decision to act immediately was also correct. How she decided to act was where she didn’t do so great, but expecting a panicking teenagert to perfectly handle a situation most adults are ill-equipped to respond to feels unreasonable to me.
Fart Captor, this is why University orientations all have talks and handouts and information about the availability of crisis services, counselors, etc. Maybe it’s because I’m a quiet, introverted, private person, but I simply cannot fathom a scenario in which I would feel that the best course of action would be to run around bleating out others’ private, mental health and sexual preference information to the public at large. The only rationale I can see behind that particular route is not giving a crap what happens to anyone else so long as you get to shed the responsibility that you’ve been saddled with.
The fact that Carla was strong armed doesn’t excuse the fact that she handled the situation completely wrong. It’s not about what needed to be done, but how to handle it. Running through the hall telegraphing that Ruth is suicidal and that Billie is in a relationship with her was foolish on her part. Maybe it would have come out in the end, but if she truly didn’t want to be involved anymore, which is one of her stated goals, she could have simply told Billie she was out and left the entire situation in her hands. Instead she decided, for two other people, that she would tell the entire floor that Ruth was sleeping with one of her charges, which is a guaranteed firing.
Your also saying Billie may have gone running through the hall with abandon even if she was told quietly, but she may not. The fact that she was being carried through the hall while Carla was telling anyone in earshot that she was in a relationship with Ruth pretty much made that choice for her. At that point, why bother acting carefully? The cat was already out of the bag. You’re also saying she may not have gotten professional help for Ruth, but one thing that is obvious is that Billie recognized that the situation was much much worse than she thought, so she may have made quiet arrangements. At the very least she could have kept the relationship part of things secret if Carla hadn’t told the entire floor.
If you want to really play the what if game you can go all the way back to the skating in the hallways incident and say that maybe if Carla had a modicum of respect for other people she wouldn’t have been skating in the hall. This would mean that Mary and Ruth may have continued on without having a power struggle. Carla gave her the opening for her blackmail, which is what accelerated Ruth on this depression spiral.
Honestly, Carla is probably the least sympathetic character on this strip who’s not a villain. She’s selfish and completely insensitive to other people. Regardless of whether or not it was right to get Ruth’s help she should have done it in a more quiet and controlled fashion. At the very least, someone with her past should know how dangerous it can be to out people without their consent.
It’s a relief to know that I’m not completely crazy for seeing things this way. You also made clear my objections more eloquently than I was able to, so thanks!
Forgive me but I find that reaction insane. The proper response to an immediate medical emergncy is not, “Oh, well, better worry about how this impacts them” but to react to deal with said medical emergency immediately. Carla’s horror at Billie saying, “Well, Ruth is always wanting to die” was entirely appropriate because Billie’s reaction was HORRIFICALLY ABNORMAL. As for the damn skates business, yeah, Carla was being rude but who gives a shit? College kids being rude is a thing which happens.
Carla gave her the opening for her blackmail
This is no different than blaming a women for being sexually assaulted because she was wearing a short shirt. Mary committed a crime, and you’re blaming Carla for not being nice enough that Mary wouldn’t feel the need to express her transphobic bigotry.
I feel absolutely no need to address anything else you’ve said.
“The proper response to an immediate medical emergncy is not, “Oh, well, better worry about how this impacts them” but to react to deal with said medical emergency immediately.”
This is true if the medical emergency is a spurting artery, or if Ruth were standing there on a chair with a noose around her neck, but if it’s a mental health crisis then you have, say, five minutes to stop and ask yourself how you might want this handled if you were in a similar situation. Or you could focus instead on how this makes you feel instead of how the other person is feeling, which seems to be what Carla did, and just try to make the situation no longer your problem as quickly as you can without any regard for the other people involved.
“Carla’s horror at Billie saying, “Well, Ruth is always wanting to die” was entirely appropriate because Billie’s reaction was HORRIFICALLY ABNORMAL.”
True. Her emotional response is not what I take issue with. Carla’s subsequent behavior, however, was entirely inappropriate.
“As for the damn skates business, yeah, Carla was being rude but who gives a shit? College kids being rude is a thing which happens.”
I’m going to have to quote myself from earlier here, because my entire point in this post was to point out that Carla, “frequently does and says some pretty atrocious, selfish things,” which you’d never know based on the glowing reviews folks like you and Fart Captor give regarding her behavior. Put another way, when have Danny, Ethan, Amber, Dorothy, Becky or Dina been “rude,” as you put it? (I would have called it careless and selfish, myself). And, those that have behaved that way, how many times have they done so? Because Carla seems to behave that way pretty consistently.
In short, I’m trying to say that Carla is kind of a self-absorbed, careless jerk and I don’t understand why she has this huge fan club that believes everything she does is good and justified.
“This is no different than blaming a women for being sexually assaulted because she was wearing a short shirt. Mary committed a crime, and you’re blaming Carla for not being nice enough that Mary wouldn’t feel the need to express her transphobic bigotry.”
You don’t get reductio ad absurdam, do you? I’m pretty sure CK finds victim-blaming as ridiculous and disgusting as you do. His point is that your assumption, that if Carla had just told Billy she would have gone running through the halls announcing everything to everyone, is as ridiculous and pointless a speculation as it would be to say that if Carla hadn’t annoyed Mary, Ruth wouldn’t have entered her downward spiral.
Both are terrible justifications for acting a certain way because they rely on a bunch “what if”s and implied assumptions about people “getting what they deserve.” The victim-blaming scenario relies on the assumption that Mary would never have done anything without Carla pushing her into it and implies that people who behave obnoxiously deserve punishment, e.g. by trans-phobic slurs. Your scenario relies on the assumption that Billie would have gone nuts and run around yelling the details of Ruth’s situation to the entire floor and implies that people who try to deal with their problems on their own without sharing them with authorities and the world at large deserve punishment via being outed, kicked out of school, and forced to find a way to survive on their own to escape their abusive family situation. CK’s point was that both of those are equally terrible chains of logic.
Charles, the proper response to an emergency is to seek help, it’s not grab that help and literally drag them through a hallway screaming about their personal relationships. If she’s truly aghast at what Billie said and her primary goal is to get help for Ruth then she should go and seek that help elsewhere when it seems like Billie doesn’t appreciate the scope. Or maybe try to explain it in more depth before just grabbing her and forcing her to do so. Panicking may explain why she did what she did, but it certainly doesn’t excuse it, especially in light of everything else that’s been shown of Carla’s character. And as for the skates, again, being a rude person explains it but it doesn’t excuse it.
Fart Captor, it’s very different because sexual assault victims aren’t eager for the conflict or confrontation and don’t purposefully provoke the perpetrator the way that Carla did. Carla created the conflict by breaking the rules and, when asked to stop doing that, refused and continued on in an effort to provoke Mary. She did that on purpose. Those aren’t the actions of a victim or someone trying to avoid confrontation. It was literally the hook in the plot that gave Mary the opportunity to blackmail Ruth. I’m not blaming Carla for what Mary did, nor am I excusing her actions, but let’s not act like Carla was calmly minding her own business.
and I don’t know why my gravatar changed between work and home but it’s still me!
CK, since a new comic is up I’m pretty much done with this conversation, but I would like to point out that there isn’t as much difference as you might think between the two scenarios. A sexual assault victim that dresses provocatively is trying to provoke a reaction; the reaction they get is just not the one they’re looking for. Similarly, Carla was trying to get a rise out of Mary, but wound up getting something she wasn’t expecting. The only substantive difference between the two is that Carla was actively violating explicit, enforceable rules, but that really doesn’t change anything about the acceptability of what happened.
Unerringly, while we’ve been on the same page for the most part, I disagree with the idea that that situation is similar to an assault. Carla knowingly broke the rules of the dorm. A woman wearing a provocative outfit isn’t breaking any rules. Carla was asked to stop and refused and instead escalated the situation. That would be like if someone asked a woman who is aware of unwanted sexual attention to put pants on and she instead took her clothes off. Though even that isn’t a perfect comparison because it’s not against the law to wear provocative outfits so there’s no basis to ask the woman to change in the first place while there is one to ask Carla to stop. While Mary is still responsible for her words and actions after being provoked, to compare the situation to a sexual assault and Carla to an innocent victim is a bit of a stretch.
She didn’t dismiss Dotty’s ambitions. She rather bluntly said that this shitty thing she was doing was ultimately spawned by them.
Said shitty thing was “not participating in a dumb argument about cartoons”, so Carla denounced her as a fair weather politician.
(unless you were saying that Carla was the one doing the shitty thing. I may have misread that)
Saying “Both sides have good points” is kind of shitty. Your boyfriend
says that the best is the one that has an episode-long fart joke, and Carla says the best is the one that speaks to her on gender in a way basically no other show would, or will in the foreseeable future. These are not equivalent. You can avoid participating in the argument without pulling standard politician bullshit that reduces two disagreeing arguments to merely being equally valid because they’re opposed. This is especially important when Walky is in the middle of being an active shit, and you know this, and you told him in advance what he was doing is shitty. “I’m sorry, I don’t want to discuss this.” at least is not lending a veneer of respectability to what Walky’s done.
And that ‘both sides are equally valid’ thing? That’s a politician (and journalist) thing. Dotty actually cares to be one. That’s a politician thing that is directly deployed against herself, and people like her. “Well, you say you’re human, but these folks say you’re an evil monster, and I think both sides are equally valid.”
Dotty falling into it is not a thing she’s obligated to fucking coddle. The stakes aren’t anywhere near so high here, but that also reduces the cost of, you know, not doing that.
Huh, that’s a really good point I hadn’t fully thought of. Which puts Carla’s dismissive statement in response in a lot of context. To her it would be “oh, this both sides shit I hear every time someone wants to ‘debate’ whether I can piss in piece, nope, never get tired of that false equivalence dodge”.
Sadly, in real life, those raised in non-broken homes have little understanding or appreciation for the depths of the problems associated with them.
In fact, more often than not, those raised in typical households parrot their parent’s disdain for the underprivileged, undervaluing the problems they face.
Ugh, nesting is so terrible on DoA.
My comment was in reply to MrInsecure 😛
I really wish Willis would switch to Disqus or something else with collapsible comment chains. The current option is probably no-fuss no-muss and cheaper to use, but with such an active user community it could seriously use some upgrading.
you said the d word
It’s the only widespread commenting system I’m familiar with…
Does it have a bad rep or something? Am…am I gonna get banned? D:
it was nice knowing you 😛
No, simply that he tried it (on Shortpacked) and did not care for it.
Bans for everyone!
(and nah, you’re cool. Willis only tends to ban people who cross a major line and recommending disqus is only a minor sin at best 😉 ).
i dunno, disqus is pretty bad
It’s not like you questioned Dina’s cuteness or something.
I %100 agree with the original comment.
If you got shut down for misogyny or transphobia or whatever, it’s probably because you said something that implied that. Maybe it was completely unintentional–it can happen. Or maybe you were unfortunately talking while a lot of transphobia was going on, and you unfortunately got lumped in.
My suggestion is only to listen to when people tell you that something is bad, and don’t just assume they are attacking you. Just apologize for offending, clarify what you meant, and then move on. I know it can be hard. Calling someone racist/sexist/whatever is fighting words. But I’ve never seen an angry reaction to that work out well.
All that said, I see absolutely nothing transphobic in what you’re saying here. I do think you misunderstand Carla’s motivations. You seem to be one of those people who sees the text and not the context, and so took Carla’s word for being an asshole instead of seeing how she really isn’t by how she’s been acting.
And, well, you’re right. She did mess up. And I hope Willis understands that. Her reaction in this comic gives me hope that he did.
And, like I said in capital letters above–it’s important to understand how she messed up, so that we won’t do it to others. I have to admit I didn’t even notice until this comic.
So I get your frustration of people making excuses for Carla, acting like she did everything right. She didn’t. It’s more good than bad, and way, way better than what Billie did, but there was a better course of action.
I for one am glad she’s not perfect.
‘always’ in Carla’s corner? That’s… that’s not the DoA commentariat, at all. There’s some folks in her corner, but like, there was still an extended motherfucking conversation on how the damn rollerskates were THE WORST THING EVER and a massive irritant to study through. Like, look at what /you/ said. She’s done ‘atrocious’ things. No, she’s done annoying and jerky things, but atrocious? Man, I wouldn’t characterize ‘a bit of noise during broad daylight’, ‘a revenge prank consisting of a pie in the face and her own name in lights’, or ‘scaring the bejeezus out of Amber with SURPRISE PARKOUR’ as atrocious. Annoying, sure, but…
What she does always has its bad exaggerated. What she did was really short sighted, but it wasn’t like what she actually wanted was to make this go away. What she wanted was to make Ruth ssafe Given that the way she characterized it was ‘managing the courtship of queer ladies’ and not like, an imposition on her personally, her motives were probably better than many give her credit for (Though of course, she was initially bribed).
Man, I am coming to realize that my freshman year of college (and the other ones) was fing TAME.
Zero death pacts, guns, people left quietly in the night. Some people were loud at night.
I had a friend’s drink spiked in my second year – not a rape drug, but a nasty hallucinogen. We also got a violent and self-harming friend expelled and temporarily committed.
A accidental death (or possibly suicide) in my dorm. Out an upper story window in the middle of the night. I heard it, but didn’t actually know the person.
But yeah, pretty tame, relatively speaking.
At the risk of also being unsympathetic, Ruth can’t do the job of being RA and misused her position to violently abuse people while being unable to help others (Carla) because she was being blackmailed for the various ways she misused it. Ruth’s issues aren’t, “Being an RA or I go home” but “not having money or going home.” She needs another job or source of income but to be kept as far as humanly possible from a position she was manifestly unqualified for. It’s like saying Homer should be the nuclear inspector because it allows him to provide for his family.
There’s a bit of a difference in the consequences of being a manifestly incompetent RA and a manifestly incompetent nuclear power station inspector.
Especially given that the rest of the residents are mostly self-sufficient and non-damaging and non-problematic [especially if they move Mary out of the dorm], whereas everyone in Springfield is phenomenally incompetent, including the rest of the power plant staff.
I don’t know, Smithers actually seems to be pretty good at his job. In spite of being a psychophantic yes man.
Like, yeah, by no means should Ruth actually be an RA. But by my own college experience, and the college of experience of a lot of other people I know, a lot of RAs should by no means be RAs.
Honestly, there needs to be better support networks in general as it would make it a lot easier for folks to escape abuse and take off time as they need it to mentally recover from trauma or mental illness.
Hell, there’s a lot of abusers who love the current system entirely because it forces their victims to depend on them to a degree and thus limits their escape options.
The flaw in Billie’s thinking is that Plan A had already failed. Ruth was basically comatose. She wasn’t going to class, doing her job, or even eating. Carla didn’t blow up the situation, because there was no sustainable situation left. Billie’s basically stuck in magical teenager thinking — just hide the problem from the adults and maybe it will go away. Whereas thanks to Carla’s intervention, maybe Ruth can become functional again.
Billie’s also stuck in the limited perspective that the only alternative to the dorm is the family home. Even if she has to leave IU and the US, Ruth might have friends back in Canada (whom she has not completely alienated) who could take her in while she looks for a job, and obviously her health needs will be met back in CA. There are student loans available up there too, although college may not even be the right choice for Ruth now, if she’s not benefiting from classes.
Half of Billie’s fury might be down to this very thing: Plan A failed, meaning Billie failed, and Carla hasn’t been softly-softly when she went ‘this is failing’ (nor really should she)
I can see that. Especially since Billie’s whole self-esteem has been wrapped up in “I can’t do anything but hurt people, but I can at least save Ruth”. So to her, having Ruth in hospital, being outed, not allowed to be there for her? Probably all feels like failure and a personal confirmation that she was not helping.
Not at all helped by Carla calling it “playing house” on multiple occasions and insinuating that her attempts to save Ruth may have just been enabling her self-destructive behavior.
Which on that note, poor form Carla. I know you’re upset and being accused of things, but no need to be a douche about it.
I actually think Billie needed that particular wake-up call because it’s entirely true. Billie was using Ruth as a kind of doll to make herself feel better. That if she cared for Ruth and looked after her, that she had value as a person. Bluntly, Billie was avoiding the actual issue of helping Ruth because SHE wanted to help Ruth HER way despite being completely unqualified for it and in a romantic relationship and not actually helping. Billie needs to realize she needs to get her value from things which don’t actually involve people’s lives in her hands.
I think Billie thinks she could have saved Ruth.
I think Billie is a little over-confident in this regard.
That doesn’t make Plan B correct. It was made with incomplete information even after Billie offered to talk with Carla about it if she’d put her down. Carla made a rash choice without sitting and talking and thinking it through. She assumed she knew everything and could “fix” it. Just because her plan to out them was better than Billie’s doesn’t make it the right one.
Also, Billie knows what she knows from Ruth. If Ruth had other places to be, I’m pretty sure that she would have told Billie.
I mean, I get it. I thought Carla made the right choice, right up until this comic. Then I now see that there were so many other options, from more clandestine therapy to working out a place for Ruth to stay before going public.
I’m a little late to the debate but I think what’s missing from this discussion is that Carla (and Billie, judging by the running) viewed the situation as urgent. It was a medical emergency and you don’t stop to consider ‘what next’ when someone is very suicidal right that second.
Pretty sure you never actually _told_ her that Ruth’s home wasn’t safe, so it’s a bit late to bring that one up Billie
Not really. Billie thought Carla was her ally, and Carla went behind her back without talking to her.
She has every right to be upset with her, regardless of if Carla did “the right thing” or not.
That is to say, the two things are separate matters. Carla may have done GOOD, may have done what was best for Ruth, but she still betrayed Billie’s trust.
Yelling it out is basically the only way they’re going to have a chance to resolve that, and hopefully it’ll lead to them being able to then more calmly consider alternative ways to help Ruth.
Except that Billie didn’t trust her with any of the information that might have helped Carla be an ally or do the right thing.
Because she didn’t have any reason to at that point. And she did offer to talk to her about it, if Carla would just put her down.
But that’s only after stonewalling her earlier attempts to talk about it and acting like it was no big deal that she dumped a suicidal person on her without warning her. I can understand why Carla was out of patience and why she would assume that if she was to put Billie down and return to Sal’s room to plan, that Billie wouldn’t try and distract the conversation back to Sal being Amazi-girl and other off-topic stuff.
She also did talk. She told Billie the situation clearly without specifically outing her to the hall by saying “your gf is X, just ‘she is’ this and ‘she is’ that”. Billie then fully agreed that this sounded like a crisis situation beyond the norm and ran the rest of the way.
Like, that doesn’t strip her intentions. Her intentions were to throw her into the room, knowing that would likely out her to the entire hall. So yeah, her intentions were to out her. But we can’t really say she avoided any attempt to converse.
And then Carla talked without putting her down and Billie took off running.
Yelling it out is also the best way to ensure the rest of the floor learns Ruth’s situation. 😐
Which is a good thing because, again, hiding it was making it worse. I admit to having a strong opinion on it as my wife had untreated depression for most of her life and believed it was best to avoid treating it but instead hiding it. I had to drag her kicking and screaming to getting help for it–and its dramatically improved the quality of her life.
You can’t really call a person an ally you emotionally blackmail and scream at into doing your bidding. Billie’s behavior has been exceptionally entitled toward Carla as she basically acts like the latter should do whatever she wants her to or else.
She should do whatever she wants her to do without being given actual instructions, or information to decide on a better choice.
But, you know, Billie holds no blame for anything that’s happened.
Job clearly wasn’t safe either.
Carla did what she thought was the best thing to do without all the relevant info she needed. This is true.
Carla’s actions might make Ruth’s life (and hell, Billie’s life) even worse than it currently is. This is also true.
Carla could have talked to Billie at length instead of doing her Carla thing and trying to bodily haul Billie to Ruth’s room like a sack of lesbian potatoes. The fact she took the sack of lesbian potatoes approach is a result of her strengths (blunt dismissal of bullshit, empathy behind her obnoxiousness) and her flaws (preference for grand gestures, disregard for subtlety or consequences, projection of her privileges–wealth and a loving family–onto other people).
I’m a little annoyed by these attempts to insist Carla had no other options, Billie is wrong to be even slightly mad at her, etc. You can do the wrong thing for the right reasons.
(Of course, most potatoes these days are just clones, but I’m not sure that has anything to do with it.)
(Joe is demanding a tacky joke about chip stacking.)
Was makin’ a play on “carried like a sack of potatoes,” but with more, uh…symmetrical docking?
Bisexual potatoes, actually!
Well they have so many wandering eyes…
Okay, the phrase “sack of lesbian potatoes” has officially made my day.
Don’t think it would be a good band name, though.
look for the last time, the potatoes are bisexual
“Sack of Bisexual Potatoes” is DEFINITELY a good band name. :3
This is without a doubt the greatest author’s correction re: canon I have ever received. Thank you for reminding me there’s more bi people in this strip, and for making my day.
There’s lots of bi folks in this series!
Danny, Billie, Ruth, Marcie, Mandy, Grace, Sierra, and possibly Dina.
I also like to think Walky is, but that’s just me.
Would Mike count? Or is he just whatever orientation you don’t want him to be?
Yes, but I think “whatever orientation you don’t want him to be” gets filed under bi, or possibly pan.
I don’t know. Do you want him to be bi for this count?
Then he isn’t.
are mandy and grace confirmed bi? i didnt think we knew enough about them to be sure
All the members of Squad 48 from It’s Walky! are bi.
“Sack of lesbian potatoes”
I am now moderately disturbed and/or intrigued by how this suggests a new term of endearment: Spudmuffin.
I feel a sudden urgent need to become (1) a woman and then (2) a lesbian, just so I can acquire a girlfriend and call her Spudmuffin.
(Disclaimer: I’m not trying to make light of gender dysphoria, and I’m frankly amazed by the courage of people who are brave enough to change their birth-assigned gender.)
Am I the only one who’s worried the “treatment” is going to things worse? Because my experience with college mental health care did not inspire confidence. I just hope this doesn’t lead into a
forced institutionalization story arc.
I don’t think Willis would go that route at this point. It’s been too hard getting them there. And they didn’t force institutionalize Billie.
It also would completely break what is supposed to be Ruth’s major problem. It would go from “finding a place to stay” to “getting her out of a horrible place.” And it would kinda make the university itself into the bad guy, and I don’t see him doing that. It would change the direction of the comic too much.
Plus, he’s writing a lot from experience, and I doubt he has a lot of experience in that area.
She’s not homeless. She’s not even fired. She’s just on watch and probably on a real short leash. Unless of course her other bad actions surface or Chloe refigures things, Ruth is actually in the best position she could have hoped to be in after being outed.
Doesn’t excuse the outing, but it’s not like Carla stripped her home and sent her packing to Sir. But definitely way too risky considering that would have been the outcome if there had been a slightly less sympathetic RM.
True story: The homeless shelter in Bloomington, Indiana is only open from October to March.
Aren’t we in October now? That might actually be useful, at least, short term.
True story: the low-barrier emergency homeless shelter (the Interfaith Winter Shelter) is open from October to March. It is intended expressly to prevent people from dying of exposure. It is open to many who don’t qualify for other shelters (though it is, of course, possible to be kicked out for bad behavior).
There are other options. I’m not as well-educated on them, but they exist.
NEITHER WAS HERE, AS LONG AS SHE WAS SUICIDAL, BILLIE
(Also colleges have emergency grants for just these types of things)
A depressing thought I had reading this strip was that Billie can get into Carla’s face, scream at her, and maybe even hit her but Carla can’t retaliate. Ruth tried to get her to do violence to Mary but Carla didn’t respond to that either. This may be because Carla isn’t a violent person but the fact is authorities, school or otherwise, wouldn’t treat her the same if she did violence to Billie or Mary as a transwoman.
Oh, Carla can retaliate. We’ve seen that before. Nobody retaliates like Carla. It just won’t be violence.
It’ll be sweet, sweet pranks.
Not that I think she will. I think she understands quite well how how screwed up Billie is right now and would rather help her than hurt her. Unless Billie goes a lot farther.
Yeah, my gut instinct is that this will spark more sympathy than anger in Carla.
A lot of people are saying Carlas the new Sarah, I’m thinking Carla might be the new Danny 🙂
sarahs a better parallel. im not sure what carla and danny even have in common
I think Danny would probably have done the exact thing given the information he had to work with, with probably the same results
I’m not sure what makes you think that. If acting forcefully to reveal someone’s secrets in the belief that it’s the only way to get them help was a thing that Danny was likely to do, he would have done it around the time that Amber said that Sal had done an awful thing to her by saving her life.
I mean that by disseminating all the available information Carla came up with the best idea that could have, she wasn’t privy to all the information Billie had and yet shes getting flak for it
I personally think that with what Carla had she took the best course that she could have
…and Carla knows what that means. 🙁
Or at least that’s the way I read the final panel. Carla’s parents seem to be great, but she probably knows what it’s like to be unsafe in other situations.
I mean… this is something you made sure to tell the people at the hospital, right? Because there’s not much Carla can probably do (and it was Rachel that actually got someone higher up involved, and she also didn’t know about this).
Yeah, an awful lot of people, in their rush to blame Carla, have conveniently forgotten that Carla was NOT the one who called the manager. I
When you perform CPR on someone, there’s a good chance you’ll break their ribs. And when someone is suicidally depressed, there’s a good chance that putting them in the hospital will put them in the way of some other harm. Broken ribs are bad, and unsafe homes are bad and might kill you. An unattended stopped-heart will definitely kill you, and suicide will definitely kill you.
Would some other course of action have worked out better for Ruth? Possibly. Was what Carla did better than leaving everything in Billie’s hands, which was essentially the status quo? Yes.
You work with the information you have.
Strap in, boys and girls, this ride ain’t over yet.
Skimming over the comments I set were still blaming Carla for everything, regardless of how little sense it makes.
It’s probably too late to get this but I’d love to know how Carla was supposed to handle it without Ruth ending up hospitalized or dead. (I’d also love to know why it’s on Carla to take this action and not Billie.)
no san diego comic-con, the sorries
Who should be doodled inside Book 6?
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