Defying gravity … and convention
The first time my writing was featured in Blogologues, a comedy show that turns web wackiness into theater, my mom, up to her frizzy brown curls in pride, called all of our blood relations, friends we hadn’t spoken to in years and probably random numbers in the phone book to broadcast the good news. She’d never before told them about my blog — for good reason. When they came here to see what Mom had been crowing about, they were met with a recent post in which I described my desire to engage in lesbian prison sex.
And that’s how my extended family found out I’m gay.
On a roll, Mom then insisted on trekking from Cleveland to New York City via Boston to see the show.
I had tried to talk her out of attending. It was, by all accounts, utterly ridiculous for her to drive more than 20 hours round trip to view my five-minute skit. “That’s four hours of traveling for every one minute of stage time,” I rationalized, mistakenly attempting to reach her with logic. Math was no match for her; she had science on her side. In keeping with Newton’s Law of Jewish Mothering, she already had set herself in motion and there was simply no stopping her.
With a mission in mind, like that crazed astronaut who drove from Houston to Orlando wearing adult diapers to cut out pesky bathroom breaks en route to pepper-spraying her ex-beau’s new lady, Mom packed her bags, loaded her Michael Buble collection into the CD changer and hit the road. She stayed with me in Boston for a whirlwind weekend before we continued on to Manhattan.
Although the performance wasn’t until evening, we arrived in the early afternoon to capitalize on our day in the city. After spending several hours marveling at the prehistoric lizards in the American Museum of Natural History, we crossed the street and transitioned from “Jurassic Park” to Central Park. “I’ve never been here before,” Mom said as we entered one of the world’s most beloved and picturesque urban green spaces. “It smells like urine.”
As Mom made a stink about the stench and I pissed around with my camera snapping photos of the skyline, she approached some nearby tourists and asked them to take our picture together. And because she cannot turn down an opportunity to tell the minutiae of our lives to strangers, she engaged them in discussion. “My daughter’s play is opening tonight on Broadway!” she boasted.
Almost every word in that last sentence is untrue. Except the part about being her “daughter.” Maternity test pending.
The cabbie ferrying us to 1st and St. Marks Place heard the same tall tale. As did the cashier at the museum. As did a promoter on the street who tried to hawk us tickets for another production nearby in the East Village. The incredulous look on their faces spoke volumes, but they all politely inquired, “Which show?”
“I didn’t wri- … there’s no … very off-Broadway … MOM!” I stammered.
I was stumped for a coherent response, too busy wondering whether, at age 31, the statute of limitations had expired for divorcing my parents.
If only I’d thought of that conversation-ending comeback when Mom was telling everyone that I was on track to win a Tony.
Due to last-minute notice and the unpredictable nature of November weather, Mom wasn’t able to come out for my latest New York City showing. But I’d argue she did more than enough coming out for me that first time.
Here’s what she (and probably you) missed, with the lovely Jen Jamula of Lively Productions performing my post “Notes on a Scandal: How My Shameless Childhood Tattling Led Me to Pursue a Career in Journalism”: