Monday, February 05, 2007

Joan, the phone, parenting is not for the weak

So last night we went out, a rare occurrence. Our glamorous twin teenaged babysitters were available, and it was the last night of the Film Noir annual film festival. I was still feeling sick, and I said to the Sober Husband, "I'm not dressing up; I'm going like this" ("like this" meant a t-shirt from a truckstop where I once spent a day due to a rental car breakdown and baggy camo pants).

"I won't dress up, either, to make you feel comfortable!" said the husband cheerily. This made me laugh out loud for the first time in days (the man has clothing issues. He feels weird when I dress up nicely, because he then feels inadequate in his uniform of jeans and button-down shirts, but it's stressful for him to depart from his personal norm).

We saw "The Possessed" starring Joan Crawford, and we first had to endure a lecture about how very lucky we were indeed to be sitting in one of the few remaining movie palaces of America to see this film as it was intended to be seen. This lecture somehow hit and missed the point: Joan is best seen in the Castro, but not because we're fidgeting on those rumpsprung old seats with no leg room. It's the other viewers, the burly man behind me who loudly, seemingly against his will, blurted out, "She's so fabulous" at a dramatic point in the film, the bearded bear next to me who kept sighing in awe.

While we were gone, a glamorous teenaged babysitting twin wrote a cryptic note that a Michael had called asking for a playdate with Iris the next day. Now it is the next day, and we are clueless. The phone number leads to an unfamiliar voice belonging to a Kathy, not a Michael. We thought it was our gay neighbors, the Mikes, who are taking care of three children while the fortunate parents vacation in France, and we called them. The Mike who answered the phone observed bitterly that there was no way he could contemplate adding a playdate to their schedule; he can't manage the children's obligations as it is. "Welcome to my world!" cynically barked the husband, appropriating MY line (whenever he whines about the children squabbling or refusing to obey or otherwise being unreasonable, I, in a world-weary tone, squelch him with "Welcome to my world").

Parenting is definitely not an easy thing to plunge into. I ran into one of the Mikes last week (one of his charges is in the same private school as our Iris Uber Alles). "I don't know how their parents do it," he said wild-eyed. "I couldn't do this if I had a job," I said honestly, "and I have two, not three children." He shared that he and the other Mike have been bringing in other relatives to assist, as when they are outnumbered by the children they feel threatened.

So it's not the Mikes who called, and I'm assuming it's not my ex, Husband 1.0 also named Michael(although Iris would love a playdate with him; she's fascinated by the idea that I had a husband before Anton). Whoever it is will undoubtedly be pissed we didn't call back, but I think I'll just handle it the way Joan would. She'd express her regret in a way which made it clear she probably had little and that it was probably safest to drop the subject and move carefully away. If the mystery Michael is gay, he may even blurt out, "She's so fabulous!" as he backs off.


Anonymous said...

Wow, you are the third person I know of that had a childless date last night. Must be something in the air :)
We went to dinner, and then saw Smokin' Aces, which not as cool as a noir festival, was still pretty cool :)

hughman said...

we LOVE us some Joan.

"There's a word for women like you but it's usually used in a kennel."

- Joan in "The Women"

ps. does the SH ever get hit on (by men) at these kind of SF/Castro events? if so, i hope you giggle with pride.

Anonymous said...

Boy, do I miss SF. Even the gay men here in Arizona (ok, so far I've only met two) are all libertarian or conservative.

How I long for a night at Martuni's or The Mintor an opportunity to sing-along with Dorothy and the Tin Man at the Castro theatre.

For a year I worked downtown at the Cable-Car Theatre (front of house) during a long gay themed stretch of shows (Party, Making Porn, Dirty Little Show Tunes) And everynight was a continues stream of well groomed men who appreciated me for being fabulous and quirky.

Once I tore the ticket of Teddy, my very first high school Date from Texas, who had only recently relocated to SF. He looked familiar, but I couldn't tell from where. He knew right away. "Honey, I took you to the Howdy Dance our senior year of High-school. Don't you remember? And what was with your shoes?"

He remembered my horrible espadrilles!

If only he'd been out sooner, he could have saved me from a world of fashion blunders.