June 28, 2010

So long, JDate.com (a very short play)

My Fantasy Date

MFD: Hello, Lydia, I'm your Fantasy Date tonight. Nice to meet you.

LS: Hi. I must say, you are very attractive. In fact, you are considerably more attractive than anyone I have ever gone out with.

MFD: Thanks for saying so. I am also well-groomed and I smell good.

LS: Are you on a dating site? How did you find me?

MFD: It's beshert! Nah, I read your terrific bio online. Your pictures are really cute and your fake age is easily believable. And, I'm into short women, as long as they aren't too slender.

LS: Cool. What about you? What do you like to do in your free time?

MFD: Hey, I am your Fantasy Date. Our interests, politics and outlook on life are absolutely compatible. Besides, I'd much rather pretend to be interested in what you have to say.

LS: Well, um, er . . .

MFD: . . . don't worry at all about making a good impression. I like you a lot already.

LS: This is turning out very well. Did you have anything in mind to do this evening?

MFD: Dinner and theater? I'm thinking either sushi or Middle Eastern. Then, would you prefer a big downtown musical or a little off-loop storefront production? I have heard great things about both. If you prefer, we can stay home. I'll cook dinner, then we can make out.


June 9, 2010

Truth and Consequences

Someone told me a lie. Not a you-don't-look-fat lie, but a transparent falsehood. Sure, it's dismaying to be lied to, but after a while, I began to appreciate the grace and kindness in the lie.

We tell ourselves, and our children, that we want complete honesty, but do we? I have decided that I'd much rather hear, "I'm sorry, I'm busy," than, "Dinner with you? Not if Halle Berry, Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp are coming, and Paul McCartney offers to pay!" Clearly, sometimes it's more compassionate and less hurtful to fib.

Hart and Jeff are unlikely ever to master such sophisticated social interaction. Both are fans of the unvarnished truth. Well, in Hart's case, the truth as he believes it to be, and in Jeff's case, the truth as he wishes it to be. Either way, blunt, thoughtless blurtings are my household's M.O., as a musician friend found out when he offered,"I'll get my guitar and play a bit for you," and Jeff replied, "No." (I'm long past being mortified by these gaffes.)

"Let's try to cheer up Hart on the phone by talking about his upcoming visit," I recently suggested to Jeff. "Too bad you can only come for one day," Jeff said when Hart came to the phone.

I am concerned that my own social skills have deteriorated because I am in the habit of making direct, bald statements to the boys. "We are done talking about that now." "Your voice is too loud." "That sounds like teasing." I actually said to an adult visitor recently, "No more questions now" because I have so internalized the household limit of three. (Sorry about that.) I often feel like the playwright, director and actor in our conversations. I have even learned to distill complex emotional ideas into simple statements. "I hear that you are angry, but your words are mean and disrespectful and make me feel bad."

This is not the type of dialogue adults appreciate, so I really came to admire the nuance and subtlety of that lie. There is a life lesson I would like to impart to Hart and Jeff:

To communicate a harsh truth, sometimes you have to tell a gentle lie.

June 7, 2010

My Lazy Day (video)

Carolyn and Lydia re-enact some funny moments from past barn dances. They performed this song for the '09 summer Sunday Social . . .

WHQODJYS Singers, YouTube channel