Rose’s Drive Home
Jake – Father
Rose – Daughter
Two chairs on a stage, facing forward. We’re in a car. Rose, a woman in her late twenties, is driving, looking straight ahead. Jake, an overweight man in his early sixties, looks out the window.
JAKE: That was unnecessary.
ROSE: We had bad service. I don’t see the problem.
JAKE: Writing a thesis on the back of a check?
ROSE: It’s better than leaving no tip without an explanation. Then the waiter just thinks you’re an asshole.
JAKE: And you think this waiter wants to ask you out on a date?
ROSE: Okay, parse my words. The waiter will just think you’re a cheap asshole.
JAKE: I paid.
ROSE: It’s the principle of the thing.
JAKE: It’s always the principle with you.
ROSE: Waiters need to take their jobs seriously, like everyone else. When I waited tables, I took it seriously.
Silence. Rose looks over at Jake.
ROSE: You don’t think I took my job seriously? Jeez, I got laid off.
JAKE: Rose, watch out! You swerved into the other lane.
ROSE (she swings the car back:)Yeah, sorry.
JAKE: I just get the call, Rose is out of a job. Again.
ROSE: Is that what you think? That I quit?
JAKE: What I think is that you had two mojitos or whatever they’re called.
ROSE: And a bowl of pasta. I’m fine.
JAKE: I think you’re weaving.
ROSE: I’m weaving because I’m angry.
JAKE: You’re always angry.
ROSE: Not in Boston. Not there. Only here. Jersey. Home makes me angry.
JAKE: Boston is an anger free zone? That’s an interesting fact, Rose. We should send your grandmother up there.
They both chuckle. Silence.
ROSE: You don’t understand, Dad. I’m not angry like you forgot my birthday. I am just angry, trapped angry.
JAKE (sarcastically:) This is a horrid place to be, I know. Feel free to move out. No one is stopping you.
ROSE: You just don’t get it. It’s so much more complicated than that.
JAKE: That’s been the broken record since you turned 16. I don’t get it. You should look in the mirror, Rose. What do you understand? Maybe look around and see the world outside yourself for a change.
ROSE: There are no such things as broken records any more.
JAKE: (shakes his head:) You think you’re a riddle. You’re not that unique.
ROSE: What am I? A limerick.
JAKE: Always a smartass.
ROSE: Thought I was always angry.
Jake rolls his eyes and looks straight ahead. They drive for a time in angry, awkward silence.
ROSE (angrily sighs:) Limericks. I learned about those in the seventh grade. I had such trouble coming up with them. It’s the only time I remember you helping me with my homework.
JAKE: I worked. That’s what I did.
ROSE (shakes her head and slowly remembers:)
There once was a woman in Greece
Who had a very filthy niece
She had grease in her toes
And lice up her nose
For she washed with the liver of geese.
JAKE (laughs:) That’s disgusting. I helped you write that?
ROSE: Yeah, you did. I love it. I got an A.
JAKE: Always did.
JAKE (turns around:) There are cops behind you.
JAKE: Yup, lights are on. Pull over.
JAKE (reaches in his pocket and pulls out a dirty penny): Here. Suck on this.
ROSE: I am not sucking that! It’s filthy!
JAKE: Just in case, Rose. It’ll screw up the breathalyzer.
ROSE: How do you know these things?
JAKE: I’m a dad. (Pause.) And I was a cop.
Rose pops the dirty penny in her mouth and sucks.
ROSE: I’ll probably get Hep C.
JAKE: Always the drama queen.
Rose pulls over. They wait.
**The stage goes dark for a few moments.**
ROSE: You sold me out.
JAKE: Jesus Christ, Rose.
ROSE: That stop sign wasn’t visible!
JAKE: Are you kidding? You weren’t paying attention.
ROSE: Do you see that tree? How it blocks it? You threw me under the bus.
JAKE: You’re lucky I gave you the penny.
ROSE: Really? Really? That’s all you can say?
JAKE: You passed the breathalyzer, didn’t you?
ROSE: I didn’t need that gross penny, I would have passed anyway.
ROSE: And now I have a moving violation. I’m going to fight it.
Rose stands up as if she is getting out the car. She walks around and stands on the other side of Jake –as if she is outside the passenger door. She begins taking pictures with her cell phone.
ROSE: These trees totally hide the sign. How could I see the sign?
JAKE (gets out of the car and walks toward her): Those people who fight tickets are crackpots.
ROSE: Who are “those people”?
JAKE: Don’t start calling me a class-ist, Rose.
ROSE: You’re the one going there, not me.
JAKE: I worked along side all different kinds of people in my line of work. Not like you.
ROSE: Me? Are you kidding? (She takes a picture, looks at it, takes another.)
JAKE: You sequester yourself in a bubble.
ROSE: A bubble? What bubble? I went to college. I waited tables. Then I worked at a nonprofit.
JAKE: And then another. (Jake pauses a moment and in a lower voice:) …and then another.
ROSE: Bubbles? Working to save the environment is a bubble? How exactly?
JAKE: Did everyone you work with go to college?
ROSE: I guess.
JAKE: And everyone was white?
ROSE: No, I don’t think so. Not at all.
ROSE: How am I supposed to remember! I don’t take a census when I start a job.
JAKE: Are you friends with anyone who didn’t go to college?
ROSE (thinks for a moment: ) No. You sent to me to college…what did you expect? I’m friends with people I met in college. Your friends with people you worked with. It’s not like I have some checklist—Fun at parties? Check. Forward thinking? Check. College? No? Well, sorry. No friendship with you.
JAKE: That’s a bubble.
ROSE: And you’re not in a bubble? Please. I have to get a good shot of this stop sign with the tree in front of it.
JAKE: No, I was never in a bubble. I wasn’t privileged. Entitled.
ROSE: You think I think I’m entitled? Wow. I take you to dinner to thank you for letting me crash here while I look for a new job, and first I have to suck a filthy penny, and now, I’m being name called.
JAKE: Such drama, Rose. Always.
ROSE: I don’t think I’m entitled to anything!
JAKE: How many jobs have you quit?
ROSE: I got laid off!
JAKE: The others?
ROSE: They were toxic work environments! Dad, you don’t understand—
JAKE: I do. You think work is supposed to be fun. With casual days and retreats and feel good projects. You think it’s all about the personal journey. You think it’s camp. Sitting around a bonfire. With the smell of campfires in the air. And s’mores for dessert. Work is not supposed to be fun, Rose.
ROSE: So work should smell of rank fish and rancid meat? Work should be a place where you don’t learn? A place you hate going to day after day? It should be prison?
JAKE: That’s privilege talking. Some people don’t have a choice.
ROSE: You don’t understand. Never did. At one job, my boss asked if I would dance on a table for him. You think that’s fair? You think I shouldn’t have quit? …Sorry, I am not going to feel bad for sticking up for myself. And you’re the one who taught me to do it!
JAKE: It’s a job. You just don’t seem to respect money.
ROSE: I am fighting this ticket because I respect money!
(Rose’s cell phone beeps.)
JAKE: What’s that?
ROSE: My alarm.
JAKE: For what?
ROSE: Daily call to mom. It’s three hours earlier there.
JAKE: You call her everyday?
ROSE: Yes, yes I do.
JAKE: I worked.
ROSE: Yes, yes you did.
ROSE: For me to work in a bubble.
ROSE: And suck pennies.
ROSE: They could go well with mojitos. Lime flavored.
JAKE: Always joking.
ROSE: Always optimistic.
JAKE: You’re never going to win.
ROSE: But you’ll be my witness.
JAKE: Maybe I can make a call.
ROSE: Do you smell it? It smells like Christmas. In June.
JAKE: It’s the pine tree.
ROSE: Always practical.
ROSE: I do wish life was more like camp.
JAKE: …Me too.