How Gilmore Girls Do Money: Lindsay Lister
Lindsay Lister comes back to Stars Hollow once a year, at Christmas. The snow always looks the same, Doose’s Market always looks the same, her parents look older and she looks past that, letting it slip her eyes and her memory. They look the same. Her mother’s Christmas ham tastes the same. The church choir sounds the same.
Stars Hollow is the only place anyone will ask her about Dean. The questions come every year from the same people who are still hoping for their happy ending, even though Lindsay is gone and Dean is gone and she only comes back once a year and Dean never comes back, not ever.
“He’s in Chicago,” she says, every year. To the people who forget, every year.
For 51 weeks out of the year Lindsay Lister can forget that she was ever Lindsay Forester. For 51 weeks out of the year she lives in Madison and is an Associate Director of Human Resources and holds training seminars where she instructs people never to ask the questions she gets asked every Christmas. For 51 weeks out of the year she is a 30-year-old woman like all the other young women in her office building, wearing H&M and JCPenney and chatting about new sandwich shops and Kate Middleton’s bangs.
They probably have stories they don’t tell, too. Stories worse than hers, things that would make her teenage wedding and subsequent divorce seem as laughable as the jokes they swap at lunch. Did you see what he texted me? But Lindsay never mentions that she’s been married. Not to the coworkers who swap stories of bad dates. Not to the friend who is planning her wedding. Not to the people she meets while online dating, knowing that story should be held back until the third or fourth date—or maybe the third or fourth month.
She talks new hires through their benefits packages but never mentions that she visits a therapist, though she does note that therapy is included in their medical coverage with a reduced copay if they stay in-network. Therapy feels like another game of not quite saying everything: Lindsay is happy, she has friends and an apartment of her own and a good job and a dog that she walks twice a day, a rescue dog named Callie because Lindsay wanted a female dog, because she did not want to share her home with another man. Lindsay is successful, despite everyone’s expectations: she went to college, she got a job, she contributes to her 401(k) and gets the maximum company match. She says all of these things, and she says she feels angry sometimes, but most of the time she forgets to be angry because her life right now is so interesting and so busy. She’s lucky if she gets a single hour, every day, without something to put into it.
She also gets nine vacation days per year, four of which she spends at Stars Hollow. Four days a year she goes back to a place that never changes. Four days a year she goes back to people who still remember her as a silly teenage girl and as a married woman, the two poles of status as far apart as if they were held by a unicycle rider on a tightrope.
But she is neither. She is Lindsay Lister, Associate Director of Human Resources. She is a friend and a dog owner and an occasional runner and a PowerPoint expert and a college graduate, and she’s a year into a Masters program, and she’s going to be fine. She’s happy. When the anger comes she looks past it, because she doesn’t have time to waste being angry at memories. She has her life ahead of her. No, she hasn’t seen Dean recently. She wishes they would all just stop asking.
Previously on “How Gilmore Girls Do Money:” Christopher Hayden