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Thursday, 22 March 2001

Get a Job

Written by  Sherri Mandell

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Natalie (30) and Paul (30) have been married for 15 years and have 2 daughters, 10 and 8. They met at a health club in Manhattan. Natalie was studying nursing and Paul was a massage therapist. They married and in order to make money, Paul became a real estate agent. Natalie quit her studies and raised her daughters. They moved to the suburbs of Long Island. Now 15 years later, Paul is fed up with his job and wants Natalie to pick up some of the slack.

Natalie: I'm so glad you're home on time. I have my aromatherapy course tonight.

Paul: Your what?

I told you. Aromatherapy. I'm picking up Melissa, you know my friend from Jazzercise...I made veal parmesan. You can pop it in the microwave. Janie's at basketball practice and Lindsey is coming home soon. Aline is dropping her off. Oh and there's a salad in the fridge. And Janie has math homework she needs help with.

Paul: (picks up the mail lying on the dining room table and opens it-grimaces.)

Natalie: What's the matter?

This phone bill is so high. Who have you been speaking to?

(shrugs her shoulders) No one different than usual. Honey I gotta go. I've got that class.

Paul: You don't even ask.

Natalie: Ask what? What's the matter?

Paul: It fell through.

Natalie: What?

Paul: That house on Hewlett Bay. The deal. (he wipes his forehead with his hand)

Natalie: I meant to ask you.

Paul: I was counting on that commission money...they backed out at the last minute... the bank wouldn't give them the mortgage they needed. They totally misrepresented themselves... I've been working on this deal for two solid months. And now it's dead.

(rubs his back) You know something else will come through.

Easy for you to say. You don't worry about all of the bills all of the time.

Natalie: That's not true. I do worry.

Paul: What did you do today?

Natalie: Why are you asking?

Paul: Because I'm tired of shouldering all of the burden in this family. So tell me, what did you do today?

Natalie: Don't put me on trial. I'm not to blame because the deal fell through.

Paul: I am so tired of this. I wish you would get a job so there wasn't so much pressure on me. It's time. I've told you.

Natalie: I want to get a job but what am I going to do? I don't want to leave the girls.

Paul: Lindsay's going to junior high next year. They don't get home until 3:00. You've got all day. It's time to get off of your rear end and do something.

Natalie: I do do something. I'm here all the time taking care of this house making sure that the your shirts are ironed, making sure there's food and laundry. But you don't appreciate anything I do. Who's going to wait at home when the refrigerator needs to be repaired and the repairman doesn't come home for three hours? Who's going to cook the gourmet meals you love. Who? There's a price if I go to work, Paul. A big price. Anyway, I can't talk about this now. I've got to go.

Paul: I do appreciate what you do. But you spend every morning at the health club. It's enough already.

Natalie: That's not true. Look. You were the one who wanted me to quit nursing school because you wanted me home with the girls. It's not fair now to change the rules.

Paul: I don't know why you have to take an aromatherapy course. Take something that will prepare you to work.

Natalie: Now is not the time to discuss this.

Paul: No. Not for you. I am out there busting my balls every day and you, you're waving lavender around.

You didn't complain when I was alone with the kids all those years. This is the first time I have a space for myself. It's not fair for you to expect me to take a job when I'm not qualified to do anything. If I hadn't gotten pregnant so fast maybe I could have finished nursing school.

Paul: The game has changed Natalie. It's time for you to pick up the slack.

Natalie: I'm going to my course now. I just don't think you're being fair. Just because you had one hard day.

Paul: I've spoiled you. I don't tell you because I don't want to upset you. But you don't know how many hard days I have.

Natalie: Well it's no picnic here either. I work hard. You just don't see if because I've spoiled you. You don't do a shred of housework. You have no idea how much effort it takes to run a house well, to make meals, to make sure the girls are happy, to take them to ballet and basketball and to be there for them. I'm not home sitting on my butt, regardless of what you think. And I don't want to have latchkey kids. I won't do it to them.

Last modified on Tuesday, 26 April 2011 02:34
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Sherri Mandell

Sherri Mandell

Sherri Mandell has a Master's degree in Creative Writing and has taught writing at the University of Maryland and Penn State University. She is the author of the book Writers of the Holocaust. She has written articles for the Washington Post. She is married with four children

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