"Keeping Up With the Jones' " has been a state of mind I've fought against all of my life. I grew up in NYC in the 1970's and was raised by a single-mom who taught me to be myself, and only myself. Of course, looking back I never had the means to transform myself into anyone else even if I wanted to. In Junior High the "popular girls" wore Benetton jeans and pearly white Adidas Sneakers. They also were having sex at 12 years old which I could NEVER wrap my head around. Imagining kissing a boy was about as far as my curiosity took me until my 20's. What can I say? I was busy doing other things that made me not like everyone else. Like sports, Girls Scouts, babysitting and buying my own clothes, being an exchange student in France...you know, boring stuff.
Cul De Sac raises to the surface the underlying terror we all suffer from here in the US. The fear that we as individuals are never good enough. That no matter how much money, sex, good looks, nice job, children or intelligence we will never be as good as the next guy. Ever.
"When I moved to the Hudson Valley the tension of all of that left my body for the first time since I was a kid in a simpler city. Now I live in a little hamlet of 450 people and get the mail in my robe."
I've seen wealthy people take over New York City while living up to every penny and yelling at their kids and nannies behind closed doors. We are taught in this country that money gives you freedom, and it many ways it does. But not when you are trying to be like someone else and start living a false life. When I moved to the Hudson Valley the tension of all of that left my body for the first time since I was a kid in a simpler city. Now I live in a little hamlet of 450 people and get the mail in my robe.
But something happened today. The painters finished painting our farmhouse. It needed a good paint job and we really took a big risk picking such a bold color. Everyone in the neighborhood has commented on it. All of my Friends on Facebook keep saying "What an amazing color!". SO many people in fact that in my mind a thought flashed, and the thought was this: "I'd better hide my paint cans so no one tries to copy us!"
Nice right? As Christy says in Cariani's profound play, " We had one and they had NONE! We were ahead one nuthin'!", the race is on my friends.
Did I mention my last name is Jones?