I spent some time in the US this year mainly performing, mainly spending a lot of time on Skype trying to make myself still an attractive propspect to my boyfriend back home at 2am in the morning, mainly trying to smile at the passive aggressive remarks of Midwest men like ‘ you know, your stuff would be funnier if you weren’t a woman…you know your stuff would be funnier if you didn’t have that Australian accent…you know your stuff would be funnier if I found Mexican’s attractive…you know your stuff would be funnier if you didn’t write it yourself…your stuff would be funnier if I wasn’t attracted to you, but only sexually and only if my wife was cool with it’ and mainly trying to explain to other Australians that lived over there, that yes I like it and everything but no, I could never see myself living there. I would watch as their tiny little heads filled with newly formed transatlantic accents exploded all over their skinny black jeans, you know, the ones that belonged to Sid Vicious, the ones he was wearing the day he died. All the kids are wearing them, especially in New York.
And this is where this story is set, in New York City. It’s a bittersweet town for me, after all this is the birthplace and inevitable killing zone of Law & Order – no one called a Grand Jury on that decision and as such I call ‘worst bullshit cancelling in the history of ever’ – yes, worse than the Wonder Years and that short lived law series with Moira Tierney and Rob Morrow which was EXCELLENT!
I was walking through Central Park with my friends Mark and Sam, minding our own business when suddenly a small child flew off his bicycle in front of us. It took Mark a moment to get to him as we waited for the all the other cyclists and pedestrians who were closer to the accident to just walk or ride around him. By the time Mark got to him and helped moved him out the way his mother had ridden up and as any mother should she started consoling her boy who had managed to escape with not even a scratch, but it didn’t stop him from whinging to his mother that he never wanted to ride his bike in the first place and yes, bikes are stupid.
My friend Sam and I watched from a distance. To anyone else we probably looked like two Hispanic nannies neglecting the white babies of the Upper Eastside elite.
‘If anyone asks’ I told Sam ‘we tell em we sold em, sold their little white babies.’
‘Man’ said Sam ‘I wish I’d filmed that on my phone.’
‘That’s what monsters do.’ I told her.
‘God, Lou it’s not like the kid was shot. He fell off his bike. If anything if he had died at least we’d have some footage you know for insurance and stuff.’
I watched as Mark started to drag the bikes of the mother and the son one by one to the side of the park and that’s when I noticed…
‘You know who that is?’ I teased Sam ‘It’s the actress from Will & Grace; you know the one that isn’t Karen.’
Sam took a closer look with the zoom feature on her phone.
‘So it is’ she breathed in ‘it’s the other one.’
Oddly enough only hours before Mark and I had engaged in an exhaustive 15 minute diatribe about how much we hated ‘Will & Grace’. As Mark was gay this was clearly a confronting conversation that needed to be had. I think we had both settled on the uncomfortable truth that ‘Will & Grace’ was really just ‘Ned and Stacey’ except that people knew what ‘Will & Grace’ was.
Tired, Mark put the final bike down next to our feet and we waited patiently as the mother escorted her still whinging trust fund child back to the curb.
Now in most developed countries and I’d argue most countries where humans live, I guess the normal thing to do would be to, as a mother, thank the man who stepped out into oncoming traffic and pulled her son to the side of the road out of harm’s way and then went back and got both bikes, but as were in the US there was a strong chance this wasn’t going to happen and so that’s when things got awkward.
The actress from Will & Grace continued to ignore Mark as he hovered nearby, the English gentlemen in him having trouble coming to grips with the fact he was being completely ignored and would not be receiving the most simple of a thank-you. Fuck, a coin being placed patronizingly in the palm of his hand with instructions to go and by himself the Hispanic cleaners standing next to him some sweets wouldn’t have been nearly as offensive at this moment.
Now granted, if the kid was injured and being tumbled into an ambulance I think we’d all settle on a compassionately raised eye-brow enough of a thank-you, but he was fine, my friend was exhausted from helping out and you know what, fuck all the excuse making, it would just be the polite fucking thing to do ‘Ms Not Karen from Will & Grace.’
I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and let the bikes drop to the ground. And that was when we got her attention.
‘Come on’ I said ‘Let’s go, she’s not going to say thanks to you Mark because she thinks she’s on TV.’
And that was the truth, there was something in her eyes that said ‘Yep, you know who I am and so you’re going to get all fan obsessed and I shouldn’t have to thank you from saving my child, I’m on TV.’ To which my eyes said something back like ‘yeah and your last show was cancelled and you’re wearing a bum bag and people with bum bags can’t afford to not say thank you to the man who saved your kid from being run over.’
After that Mark and I found ourselves having a cocktail somewhere as we normally did after 10am on a weekday. We settled into a hotel bar in the Meat Packing district and started to while away our day and bitch about said television star.
‘Karen wouldn’t have done that’ I told Mark.
‘Of course not. In fact if it had been Karen we’d be having these cocktails with her right now.’
‘Yes and her husband Nick Offerman.’
‘Yes, yes she is.’
When it was time to head home to drink more wine I stopped into the bathroom. It was one of those set ups with 10 sinks and only one toilet.
As the toilet door didn’t have an engaged sign I opened it expecting to find an unoccupied toilet. How wrong I was.
‘Get out!’ screamed a fully clothed, pants zipped up and all woman of about my age standing next to the toilet.
‘Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t realise, the door wasn’t locked you see’… I mumbled my way to shutting the door. “I’m sorry but the door was open.’
I waited outside the toilet and tried to distract myself from what was not going on inside. She hadn’t locked the door, it was still clearly unlocked and from what I could tell she was just standing in there.
‘Are you ok?’ I called out ‘Do you need me to get you some help or something’? Maybe she was from a squatting country and confused. I was trying to help.
Finally the door flung open and the women ran to the sink to wash her hands, probably from the all the over top of her clothes masturbation she’d been up to.
‘I can’t believe you just walked in on me’ she ranted ‘I mean I was in there.’
‘Yes, I said, but in my defence the door was unlocked – ‘
‘Is that how you go to the toilet in Sydney?’ she accused me.
‘Ok, Australia isn’t just Sydney, but yes, we go to the bathroom by opening unlocked doors.’
Clearly distressed she ran the water over her hands for far too long and yet for whatever reason I still couldn’t compel myself to go to the toilet.
‘It’s just so rude’ she continued ‘I mean not to even be able to go to the bathroom without some Australian girl just walking in.’
‘You left the door unlocked’ I mumbled back wondering if what had really happened was I’d stumbled across her attempt to cruise women in bathrooms stalls.
Suddenly an older looking version of the women walked into the bathroom.
‘Is everything ok? She asked the irrational toilet woman ‘you’ve been gone and awfully long time.’
‘This Australian woman just walked in on me in the bathroom!’
‘I did not, well not really, she left the door unlocked. I just opened the door and it’s not she was doing anything, she was just standing there, fully clothed.’
‘Fully clothed?’ Asked the women who I was pretty sure was her legal guardian.
‘Pants up I mean’.
‘You did it again? She turned to her daughter who hid her head away.
Ok, so this was clearly a thing.
‘So you left the door opened on purpose?!’
‘No, you walked in on me.’
Her mother turned to me ‘really, you Australian’s are so rude.’
‘But I didn’t do anything wrong’ I yelled back. ‘Clearly your daughter has a thing for baiting women into bathrooms.’
‘How dare you!’ Her mother spat at me ‘it pains me to say to it, but the truth is the last good Australian died the day Steve Irwin died.’
And with that she bundled up her daughter and left the bathroom.
Unable to pee anymore I left the bathroom shortly after. Mark was waiting for me.
‘You took long enough’ he moaned ‘is it a vagina thing?’
‘Well yes’ I said ‘you could definitely say it was cunt related.’