Turning into Mrs. Crabapple: A Gay Mom Coming-of-Middle-Age Story
Originally published 3-18-09
Saturday night, 1:45 am, five years ago I might have been stumbling in from Girl Bar, but on March 14, I was up grumbling about the loud neighbors across the street who were yelling, laughing and otherwise disturbing my peace and waking my 18-month-old son who took nearly an hour to put down after a long, long day.
We started at 11 am at the closest thing to a nightclub I have seen in three years, at a playdate at Cinespace in Hollywood where the unique screening-room-slash-lounge converts on occasion into Baby Loves Disco, a dance party for tots and parents. Apparently we were the only ones among our fellow Beverly Hills adjacent-adjacent South Carthay neighborhood mommies to have not experienced it.
We met up with lesbian mom friends and their 15-month-old daughter from our Westside Families Like Us group. As we noshed on organic baby chow and sipped boxes of juice, we traversed room to room to explore face painting, balloon sculpting and typical baby fair fare, amidst sticky floors and the faint smell of stale beer. As we glided onto the dance floor with baby Stephen, surrounded by bubbles and a DJ coaxing, “Yeah baby, get into the groove,” I kept hearing Reese Witherspoon in my head from the Sweet Home Alabama movie trailer, meeting up with her backwoods former schoolmate and exclaiming, “You’ve got a baby…in a bar.”
After heading home for naptime for baby and quick refreshing shower, I was off again for to the second hottest scene in town that day, okay, the first hottest ticket if you are gay and over five years old, the Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles Gala and e-Hero Awards at the Century City Plaza Hotel. I was donating my PR skills to help run the red carpet, well blue carpet in this case in accord with the HRC royal color scheme. I was overseeing “arrivals,” as we say in the biz, of celebrity and politico guests Dianne Feinstein, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, comedian Wanda Sykes and a number of fave gay actors such as Jane Lynch, Peter Paige and Michelle Clunie. All went smoothly, but as the show started with the L.A. Derby Dolls rolling on stage to cheers from the crowd, all I wanted was to get out of my heels and home into bed.
I stopped off in the ladies lounge before sneaking out early and ran into the ubiquitous lesbian blogger JD Salvadore, who being the consummate schmoozer asked about my little one. Hugs and niceties exchanged, she told me how she had just taught her neighbor’s tyke how to raise the roof, which she demonstrated by lifting her arms over her head and pushing up an imaginary ceiling. Seeing my puzzled look, she patted my shoulder said, “Dear, it has been a while since you’ve been out, hasn’t it?”
All too true. I had joked earlier that day with my Westside mommy pals at the baby disco party that the DAzz Band’s “Let it Whip” song we were bobbing to was at the top of the charts when I was last out dancing.
So as I stumbled out of bed at quarter to 2 am complaining to my girlfriend about the noisy neighbors, I had to wonder, when did I become Mrs. Crabapple? She’s the archetype curmudgeon who is always peeping out her window kvetching about the inconsiderateness of her neighbors. In my cul-de-sac growing up it was Mrs. Zieg, who we’d often see silhouetted in her dining room window, hands on hips, peering out disapprovingly as my teenaged friends whooped and hollered from their car windows, dropping me off after a good night at the mall arcade.
All grown up, I had come to understand Mrs. Zieg. From the mean snoopy old lady next door she had become the nice elderly woman who kept watch over the kids in the neighborhood. So as my street hushed down around 2:30 am, which probably had something to do with me calling the LAPD dispatch, all I can hope is that one day those rowdy drunken co-eds shouting from the balcony of the duplex across the street will look a bit more favorably on me when they reach my age, and I can hope they don’t egg my house if they figure out who called the cops.