Doris (excerpt)

[Doris, a mother of one in her fifties, is in her kitchen, using her power-tool, the phone, to communicate with some people.]

Will you shush! So shah! Martin, the guy is coming in five minutes. So leave the thing alone! In five minutes he’ll be here and he’ll fix the whole thing. …I know the phone is ringing, I’m letting it ring. ..So let me let it ring!

..Hello? Who is this? Who? Oh, Hi! How are you? No, what are you interrupting? You’re interrupting nothing. Uy, no, no. I’m sitting here, I’m..What wire Martin? What wire? I’m supposed to know what wire you’re talking about? Oh, that wire, sure. Keep futzing with the wire and blow yourself up. You’re not blowing me up!

..No, I’m fine. Martin’s fine. David’s fine. Yeah, in fact, I’m supposed to call my sonny boy in five minutes so I’ll talk quick. No, no he’s fine. How’s your daughter? Gonna marry to who? Not the same Nigerian guy? Does she love him? So, she loves him and she’ll be happy and they’ll be happy. Listen, did she make sure he’s all tested with all whatever he needs with shots and everything? No, I’m just saying, because especially with he’s from Africa, she should make sure cause I saw in the Times. How terrible. Isn’t it? He’s a doctor the guy? And he’s from Nigeria? Eh, well still. No, he doesn’t see her anymore. Eh, Roz, to tell you the truth, I had a bad feeling about her when I first met her. She’s a sweet girl, and she’s attractive, but there was something creepy about her. She had a creepy aura. Anyway. Did I tell you what he’s doing now my son? Oh Roz, he goes with this group of people and they go into all the bad neighborhoods, and I gotta tell ya, I am so.. Yeah, I think it’s like the Peace Corps, but in New York. Who? David? Hold on, let me ask…

Martin! Does David get insurance with the job? …David your son. Does he get insurance with the job, the thing with the.. Never mind, you’re not understanding me. …You’re not understanding me, never mind! Listen, I’ll ask him when I’ll call him. Listen mamala, I gotta go darling ok? I’ll call you back after. Ok, bye.

[She clicks the phone only to make another call.] Martin! How do I do the memory with the phone, I forgot? The memory, for David, I know I put for number one, but after I do the star button or before? …The pound button? There’s no pound button Martin… There’s no pound button, I’m looking at the phone! Uhh, I’m doing the star! ..Alright shush, it’s ringing! It’s ringing and I can’t hear! Will you keep with the wires, keep breaking the thing more, more break it!

..Hello David sweetheart, it’s your mommyface listen…Hello? Hi, you’re there? So what are you screening your phone calls, someone’s after you? So pick up the phone, it’s your mother calling, it’s a secret that you’re there? Uhh, you make me nervous with this machine, one day I’ll call it’ll say, Hi this is David I’m not here from they killed me on the train or wherever. Alright, I’m relaxed, I just worry with you in all these..uch. Yes David, but not everyone takes the trains by theirself to the South Bronx or wherever. Sure the people that live there, but they’re different..I mean not that they’re different, they’re the same as us, everyone is the same, but, alright, never mind, it’s just different you don’t get it, forget it. You can’t take a cab sometimes? So let everybody else take the train, you’re not them, you have to do what they do? Alright I’m relaxed.

Anyway boobala what I wanna ask ya.. Does your job, do they give you health insurance? So you’ll pay the ten dollars and you’ll have it. How much more? That’s ridiculous, are you sure? Alright, so I’ll pay it. David, I’m not an extravagant person that I’m saving for a yacht, I’ll be happy to pay for it. Or if you want you could go on the plan your father and I have, hold on.

..Martin! What’s the deductible on the insurance? What’s that noise? Now you’re drilling? What are you drilling? The guy is coming Martin! ..The deductible! On the Blue Cross, the Blue Cross! …That’s what I’m asking you how much! …Uh, forget it. Forget! It! …Listen David honey, we’ll call the 1-800, wait, I’m on the phone with David! Hello..which David? Wait one second.

Martin! when the guy comes for the thing, you’re staying with him right? …What do you mean you’re going for a walk? Martin, I’m not letting these people into my house I don’t know who they are, the minorities or whoever. Uy, you hear this from your father? Where is he walking? In front of a truck he’ll walk. You’re right David, they could be anybody. They could be Jewish, whoever, I’m just saying I’m not staying here alone. While he’ll be going for a walk they’ll be drilling me in the head for the television. ..Alright. David. I said they didn’t have to be minorities. Uy, you’re such a mensch, you’re a sweetheart, you’re very caring, I’m very proud of you, Mmwa! So listen Tatala, do you wanna do with the Blue Cross? What no? Everyone has to have health insurance David. So fine, thirty-six percent of the country doesn’t have it, you’re not thirty-six percent, you’re my son. So David, let the thirty-six percent sit for ten hours waiting in some dirty emergency room somewhere bleeding to death with flies and urine and five hundred sick people with tuberculosis.

My son…my son is not gonna sit waiting in some clinic full of people’s phlegm all over the floor and everyone’s coughing with no air. No David. God Forbid. David, God Forbid I should be concerned already enough that my son doesn’t get shot by some black kid, or white kid in one of these places, but that he should go to a professional Jewish hospital? …I know white people shoot people with guns David, but not on the train. David look, I know I raised you to believe that everyone’s equal, and not to be into materials, and to accept people no matter who they are, but David I am your mother and I know you’re an adult, but there are some things about reality that you’re not understanding. I can’t be concerned about my son? I’m not the one yelling, you’re yelling! I just want you to be happy and not dead.

David, don’t hang up, I want to talk to you. I am proud of you. I brag to all my friends and they all can’t believe it. They all say I can’t believe it. Is it too much to ask for you to have health insurance? How do you know nothing’ll happen? You have a crystal ball? ..David, they’ll have one of their riots these people and you’ll be the first one they’ll shoot. They shoot people David, I read the New York Times, not the Post, the Times, and I see them. They shoot eachother. And let me tell you something David, I feel very bad. I wish these kids didn’t have to grow up with all violence and uhh..a mess, and my heart goes out to them, it does, but let them shoot eachother and not you, that’s the way I feel.

..I am not racist David! Don’t you dare call me racist! Because if you remember, I let you have all your Black and Puertorican and Iranian friends at your Bar Mitzvah, and I treated them just like I treated your Jewish friends. You wanna see racist? Go read with this guy in the paper, Bloodsuckers he said. ..I am not a Scared-Liberal-Complaining- Reactionary. What does that mean? When they’ll wanna stick you in an oven you’ll still defend this guy? You wanna be a another martyr David? You wanna be one of the Jewish kids in Mississippi with the voter registration and they killed them, them and some black guy? How is it possible for Jews to be prejudice when everyone is prejudice all the time against the Jews? David, we had lots of black neighbors, before we moved and we got along fine. My friend Roz’s daughter Cynthia is marrying a Nigerian guy and he’s a doctor! …No David, the difference is, did I call them Bloodsuckers? I said they shoot people, I didn’t call names.

..How am I guilty? I’m guilty of reading the New York Times? David, how come you’ll never defend the Jews? You’re Jewish but you’ll never empathize with your own people. What is there to empathize? David, six million… The Jews are still victims. …How am I a victim in the suburbs in 1994? …Not because I have a juicer and an espresso machine makes me a vict… Black people have juicers and espresso makers too! What are you screaming? What bad thing did I do? I did something bad to them? David, I’m not crazy. You ask people if they’ll be in these neighborhoods on the train. ..whatever people. You ask them if they’ll defend this guy. The black kid who’s in jail for murder I should defend? For what? Where do you get this from? Why are you so angry, you’re not even black? Why are you angry at your own people? Why are you so angry at me, I’m your mother? …Uy, alright calm down. Stop yelling! Listen to me. Are you still coming to the Seder on Thursday? Your Aunt Barbara’s coming and so is your cousin Mark. Mark, the high school principal, gay Mark. And I promise I won’t start an argument with you, or Mark. Ok, stop yelling. Are you coming? Well if you don’t I’ll be very upset. Fine, listen, I’m not angry at you. Are you angry at me? Alright well it’s alright I’m your mother. Ok , I love you. Bye. …Ok stop screaming. Ok bye, Mmwa! [Doris hangs up the phone.] Martin.. I’m going for a walk. [She exits.]