Tuesday, June 06, 2006

With vs. Without Baby: The Play

Based on several more or less true stories!

Waitron: Jeanne Garofalo
Dad: Tony Roberts (circa 1976)
Mom: Diane Weist (circa 1979)

Act I, Scene 2:

Scene: Local restaurant serving "California cuisine."

(DAD and MOM finish food, pay check. WAITRON stops to talk.)

Waitron: Hey, good to see you guys. Where's the baby?
Dad: At home with granma. We're on a "date" (makes air quotes).
Waitron: You guys look really different without the baby.
Mom: Yeah? How?
Waitron: You look like a hip young couple out on the town.
Dad: What do you mean?
Waitron: You just look different with the baby.
Mom: Not young? Not hip?
Waitron (stuttering): No...not like that..just different.
Dad: Maybe it's the fact that I'm wearing all black?
Waitron: You always wear black.
Dad: It doesn't stain as easily.

Act I, Scene 3:

Scene: Affluent street in West Coast city.

(MOM and DAD leave restaurant, walk down the street.)

Mom: Honey, yesterday somebody said that everytime he sees me, I look more like a mommy.
Dad: You are a mommy.
Mom: He said that sometimes he doesn't recognize me right away, that's how different I look.
Dad: You look the same to me. (Pause) Actually, I think you're sexier.
Mom: Why should we look different to other people?
Dad: We're always walking around with multiple identities, a couple in our head and at least one for every person we meet.
Mom: What if you hate the images people have of you?
Dad: You don't want to look like a mom?
Mom: I still don't feel like one. I keep trying, but I don't feel like a mommy.
Dad: That's OK. It's OK.

(MOM and DAD walk a block in silence)

Dad: Maybe we should try out other restraurants?
Mom: Yeah. Someplace where they don't remember us being a young, hip couple.


What's the point of this? No idea; it's just a synthesis of conversations I've had recently.

"Is the true self this which stands on the pavement in January, or that which bends over the balcony in June? Am I here, or am I there? Or is the true self neither this nor that, neither here nor there, but something so varied and wandering that it is only when we give the rein to its wishes and let it take its way unimpeded that we are indeed ourselves? Circumstances compel unity; for convenience' sake a man must be whole. The good citizen when he open his door in the evening must be a banker, golfer, husband, father; not a nomad wandering the desert, a mystic staring at the sky, a debauchee in the slums of San Francisco..." - Virginia Woolf, "Street Hauntings"


Anonymous said...

It does take a few years to get used to not being the cool young couple... And a second kid makes reality really hit home, you kind of even forget that phase of your lives.

The way we solved it is that we just picked up and moved to a totally new place where people only knew us as mom and dad of baby(ies). And by this point, we're way too old to go back to being that young cool couple who used to hang out in cafes and restaurants in NYC... I'm starting to understand the meaning of getting old.

Sorry, don't mean to freak you out or anything. :-)

Jeremy Adam Smith said...

Personally, this topic (aging, changing identities) does not freak me out at all, anymore.

We've talked a great deal about moving...mostly for financial reasons (SF is freaking expensive), but also to make a break with the past along the lines you describe. It's just very tiring to raise a child in a city like this...a year ago I interviewed for a job in Arcata, CA and talked with a bunch of parents who had moved from San Francisco...they all agreed in was much easier to be parents in a small, more family-oriented community -- this was the pitch to convince me to move up there, anyway.

I feel compelled to note for the record that "Act I, Scene 3" is drawn from two different conversations with different mommies, neither of whom are my wife!