When I got home tonight, I held the elevator for a stranger. He thanked me and we rode up in silence, at least at first. He turned to me.

Stranger: Do you live in the building?
Me: Yes, do you?
Stranger: No, my kids do. I’m visiting them.
Me: Cool.
Stranger: they’re the half Asian, half black kids?
(He is African American and the kids are half of him and her, so I notice those kids all the time. Since I have biracial kids, I find biracial people fascinating and I probably stare too long. And more on him, he’s not a large man and has a beard that has become one skinny dread lock. He has head phones on and is bopping to music during the elevator ride.)
Me: Yes, the three boys? They seem like good kids. I always see them doing laundry. Could they teach my kids?
Stranger: You know how the mom has cancer.
Me: Yes (I noticed her losing weight with a shaved head, so I guessed, but didn’t feel like lying just then.)
Stranger: She died today.
Me: Oh no.
Stranger: I have to go tell them now.
(His floor comes up, so he starts to leave the elevator).
Me: Oh, good luck, I’m sorry.

I feel terrible and have no where to put those feeling since I was about to take care of the kids. Then I realized, what the heck am I moaning about? i’m not the little boys who had to hear the bad news and live it. I called another neighbor who said they like candy and mac and cheese. Going to get some candy tomorrow, because I didn’t offer to help like a dummy.

better things

maxresdefault This new show “Better Things,” written by and starring Pamela Adlon, features a single mom character who supports three daughters through an acting career. I love it. Sometimes the show feels disjointed (which may be deliberate and I’m just not getting it) and is uneven, but it captures something that resonates about working and parenthood. There are little scenes where one kid has a fever and she gets a the grape flavor Tylenol and ice pack – a pedestrian scene, a regular moment out of taking care of kids, but you know what? I don’t see that part of life portrayed anywhere else, how you become an expert in taking care of your kid’s small ailments and know enough when to call in the big guns (eg, the pediatrician and the Saturday midnight trip to the formerly sleepy ER til you get there). And you know what? It’s worth paying homage to, so thanks for that! And also, it reminds me to my acting days and how I never want to go back to that dreaded audition room packed with aluminum chairs and sides that make you say “You’re not going to get away with this.” It’s like the dumbest ever.

Although I will say this about acting: I saw Husband perform his one-person show recently and thought, yeah, acting does answer some things, doesn’t it.