Wednesday, October 31, 2007

playing the game


MICHELLE
So how did the school visit go?

JOE
It was fine, the school was really nice, but it was weird because we were touring with one other family.

MICHELLE
Oh, it was a group tour?

JOE
Not really much of a group. Just me and Cal, and then these two parents with their kid.

MICHELLE
Both parents showed up with this other kid? Did you explain that I was at work? At my job? Where I work? Did they think Cal comes from a broken home? YOU HAVE TO EXPLAIN IT TO THEM!

JOE
Didn't really come up.

MICHELLE
Well, how was the tour anyway?

JOE
Kind of annoying. The other parents were Playing The Game.

MICHELLE
What do you mean?

JOE
They were being aggressively competitive.

MICHELLE
Oh lord.

JOE
The mom was really trying to sell the fact that she had gone to a Montessori school when she was a kid too, so it was like, their destiny to send their kid to this place. The mom kept pointedly saying stuff like, "Oh, I remember all those valuable lessons about handwashing from when I was in Montessori. Could we see the sandpaper letters?" Then she would fondle them lovingly with her eyes half-closed and sigh, "Ah, they're EXACTLY AS I REMEMBER!" That kind of thing.

MICHELLE
Playing the legacy card. Don't tell me they have a secret Montessori handshake.

JOE
And their kid was kind of aggressive too. Every time Cal would pick up and play with a toy, the other kid would push him aside and take the toy away. Like, Cal was playing with this little wooden abacus thing, counting the beads, and the other kid shoves him over and starts pushing the beads around. Meanwhile, his mom is asking him, "AIDAN, WHAT PLANET DOES THIS ONE LOOK LIKE?"

MICHELLE
Uranus.

JOE
I was thinking, "Hey, maybe my kid doesn't know what Mercury looks like, but at least he waits for his turn."

MICHELLE
But the school was nice?

JOE
Yeah, I really liked it. I would be super psyched if Cal went there.

MICHELLE
Well, good.

JOE
But let me tell you, if it came down to one spot between us and this other family, we would never get it.

MICHELLE
Well, don't say that. Just because they were Playing The Game? And doing the Montessori secret handshake? We're good too. Our kid is smart too.

JOE
Yeah, but these other parents were really schmoozing it up. They knew exactly what buttons to push. They were like professional preschool applicants.

MICHELLE
They probably are.

JOE
Oh well, it was nice, anyway.

MICHELLE
Maybe we need to be aggressive too. You know, if everyone else is Playing The Game, maybe we have no choice but to Play The Game.

JOE
I don't know.

MICHELLE
"Cal, what's Planck's constant?"

JOE
We would just start hating ourselves.

MICHELLE
"Cal, how do we say 'thank you' in Afrikaans?"

JOE
And we'd be just as bad as them.

MICHELLE
"Cal, remember how you solved Fermat's theorum last year? Why don't we wait for little Aidan to stop eating paste so we can explain it to him?"

JOE
Even if he doesn't get into any nursery schools, it's not the end of the world.

MICHELLE
But it would be good for him to go to school. You know, just to play with other kids. And, you know, maybe learn some stuff.

JOE
Yeah. It would be good.

MICHELLE
Well...was this other kid cuter than him?

JOE
Oh, come on. Of course not.

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