Last weekend I went to see a story-reading show at the M-Bar in Hollywood. Everyone on the show has kids and read a story about the more gory/dark-side/difficult side of having kids. Funny stuff. What’s interesting about this Jen? Nothing. So let me rewind.
I’m running late for the show. I’m not having the best day.
I pull up. I valet and I walk inside. I see a big line out the door. I assume that it’s the “We don’t have a dinner table but are on the wait list line.” I try to squeeze my arms next to my side, get invisible and I say, “Excuse me.” I tap people on the shoulder and allow them to step aside before I barrel through. I was in a hurry but not spazzing in any way. I got to the front of the line and the guy that worked at Mbar stopped me. He said, “$10” please. I said, “Oh!” I knew that there was a $10 cover but I thought that it would be included in the dinner bill for those of us who chose to sit at a table. I realized that I had just cut the line and I felt stupid.
So I said to the guy at the door. “Oh, I just cut. I’m so sorry. I’ll give you $10 but I just want to let you know that I have a table and my friend is waving me over. Should I pay you now? Or get back in line? Either one is fine.” I realize that I’m so used to performing in shows that I’m a bad audience/line person and I’m totally embarrassed. I don’t think anyone else thinks it’s a big deal. The door man gives me the option to pay him and ‘cut’ or get back in line. I want to be a non-dick so I get back in line. And in a moment of haste I step backwards before I turn around. I have no sensation of stepping on anyone’s toes, or bumping anyone and no one makes a sound. Except for one man behind me who says,
“Don’t worry about it. My wife’s not pregnant or anything.”
I turn around. I see a pregnant woman and her husband; a Woody Allen-esque man, minus the cute neurosis, his neurosis are flaming and breathless and angry like a bull. I say, “Excuse me?” He says, “You’re flailing around. You just bumped into my pregnant wife.” She says nothing this whole time. I apologize profusely to her. He says, “Yeah, well, she’s pregnant. Just go ahead. Pay the guy. Just go inside.”
First of all, I don’t want to bump into anyone, pregnant or not. I said to him, “Whether or not your wife is pregnant is irrelevant. I’m sorry I bumped into her.” He argued that it was relevant. He argued that I almost hurt the baby. I started to laugh.
Since when are we such wimps? Aren’t women in some parts of the non-Western world, especially the non-pampered, L.A. world, doing heavy labor while pregnant? Our bodies, created either by science or God are built to last. And I trust the way they are built.
I pointed out that his car ride over to a bar in a shit section of Hollywood is equally as dangerous as me backing up in line without looking. If the woman had ended up on the floor or even seemed to have been off-balance in the least maybe I wouldn’t have been so angry. I feel like the man implied that I have to stop doing what I’m doing to accommodate her pregnancy. When in fact, the opposite is true. And in general, we should all accommodate one another.
He made me feel so bad about myself. I suddenly felt like Courtney Love, Animal from the Muppets or The Tasmanian Devil, whirling in somewhere, “Rah Rah Rah!” and whirling back bumping into people. It wasn’t like that.
Then this guy says to me, “Well, living a relaxed life is a better choice. Look into it.” First of all, “Look into it?” Who are you David Spade circa 1992? No. You are not. Because Spade circa 1992 was funny and adorable. You are a bearded, spectacled, condescending twit. Second, since when is passively aggressively saying, “It’s not like my wife is pregnant or anything” considered relaxed? I wanted to scream at him that I do yoga. I go to church. I go to therapy. I go to 12-step. I breathe. I’m fucking relaxed! But clearly at that moment, I was not. So I knew enough to relax.
I wish I had just pretended that I didn’t understand sarcasm. I wish I had said, “Well it’s a good thing your wife isn’t pregnant. Because you said it’s not like she’s pregnant, right? Good thing. Because I just ran backwards like a bat out of hell apparently. Good thing!”
I sat down and relayed the story to my friends who appropriately glared in his direction once he sat down. And I realized that maybe I was out of place that night, amongst parents and parents-to-be, all enjoying each other’s stories. And I sat there, un-married and un-pregnant, thinking that I own the place. Not knowing where the line is and trying to just get to my table. Boy, you know, maybe I need to know what it’s like to take care of someone else so that I can have my whole world changed. So that I too, can take a beautiful thing like birth and turn it into a way to feel superior towards others.