Episode 3: T-Rex Steps Out
T-Rex (Theresa) confides in Talkin’ Lady (Joan) about her frustrations as a disabled woman, and confesses a desire to someday meet some of her online friends IRL. Talkin’ Lady encourages her to conquer her fears and expand her horizons beyond the computer screen.
Narrator: You’re listening to episode 3 of The Electronic Lover. If you haven’t heard the previous episodes, we recommend catching up first. We’re back in the women-only chatroom where Theresa, T-Rex, has come to find her friends at the end of a tough day
Theresa: What a day.
Frankie: Word to your mother.
Theresa: What a day.
Frankie: You said it.
Theresa: The kind of day that can only end with Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers. And me in my mukluks.
Theresa: A soft, woven slipper-boot native to Arctic indigenous people. My mother bought them on a trip to Alaska.
Frankie: Sounds cozy.
Theresa: I am a lonesome dove
Frankie: Oh, to have the time to be lonely!
Theresa: Careful what you wish for. Time is a funny thing…
When I awake, I feel time
The time it takes to get out of bed
Pull myself up with a grab bar
Swing my legs over and get to the edge
Hold my crutches and breathe in deep
A chair in the shower
Zip my zippers with one hand
Apply my makeup laboriously
Drive the car with a lever and switch
I know that I’m fortunate
To have this beautiful brain
Like Ada Lovelace
At work in her lab
But I’m lonely
Way too lonely
The time passes
Narrator: Talkin’ Lady private to T-Rex
Joan: What is your heart’s desire?
Theresa: To say it aloud feels silly
Joan: I won’t tell a soul
Theresa: Promise not to laugh?
Joan: Hope to die!
Theresa: This weekend there’s a gathering…
Joan: Go on
Theresa: Of friends I found in a chatroom
Joan: Wait – another chatroom? Are you cheating on us, dear T-Rex? Wink wink. Tell me more.
Theresa: At home, I live in my screen
My feelings poured straight into the glass
I have learned who I am there
I feel like I am seen there
Joan: You are seen
Theresa: But out in the world
I am weak, I am slow
I am scared
And it’s so hard to move
From one place to another
I would like to go to the city alone
Shake hands with my friends
Put faces to their names
Joan: You can do it!
Theresa: No I can’t!
Joan: I will tell you a secret—
After my accident
Unable to walk
I wanted to die!
I brought myself back
Promised to bring others with me
Now is your time
Open your door
And I will step in!
I will step up for you!
Theresa: I’m so flattered, I’m so grateful
Joan: What are you waiting for?
Theresa: Maybe next year I’ll be ready…
Joan: Maybe next year you’ll be dead!!
Joan: Seize the day before it seizes you, T-Rex!
Theresa: I think I should go now… signing off.
Joan: Question mark, question mark, question mark…???
Narrator: T-Rex is close to tears. She shuts down her computer and grabs leftovers from the fridge. Overcooked spaghetti and half a turkey meatball. But Talkin’ Lady’s words are still with her. She goes back to her office, logs back on and sends her a private message. T-Rex private to Talkin’ Lady.
Theresa: Maybe if you actually knew how I felt, you wouldn’t have made such a callous remark. I would like an apology!
Narrator: She waited one…two…three…no reply. T-Rex private to GoGo.
Theresa: I think Talkin’ Lady is being insensitive, and might need a reminder to be more respectful
Margot: Oh no, T. What happened?
Narrator: Margot reviewed the chat, but didn’t find anything that was even close to violating community standards. But Theresa was hurt and Margot tried her best to soothe her.
Margot: Theresa, I think she was advising you to live boldly.
Theresa: She was telling me to kill myself!
Margot: No no no no no no no no no — No! I’m supposed to keep this quiet, but Joan has been struggling to walk for months. After being hit by a drunk driver in the park.
Theresa: I thought it happened waterskiing?
Margot: She might seem harsh, but her intentions are pure. It has been a difficult journey and she wants to help others. Cut her some slack.
Narrator: Talkin’ Lady apologized to T-Rex and laid out her plan to help her get out to meet her online friends. The following Monday…
Joan: Howdy everyone! Why doesn’t someone ask T-Rex what she did over the weekend?
Susan: OK, I’ll bite!
Frankie: Well, what did you do?
Theresa: I think I can say without exaggeration, without hyperbole, without gilding the lily, that my entire life has changed for the better! I feel like I’m flying!
Joan: Tell them or I will!
Theresa: Very early in the morning
The dew was still on the grass
I was making my tea
When I saw a van pull into the drive
Susan: Oh Yeah? Go on!
Theresa: In that moment, I realized that Talkin’ Lady had been serious
The night before
I had packed my bag
Just in case
Just in case she kept her promise
Frankie: Uh-huh, then what?
Theresa: We drove into the city
Arrived at the hotel
Where a transport chair was waiting like a chariot!
Joan: That was she wouldn’t have to navigate the crowds on her crutches
Frankie: Good thinking!
Susan: Yeah, good call!
Theresa: I freshened up, and picked up my registration badge—
Frankie & Susan: Registration badge?
Theresa: I was transported to the Star Trek Convention!
All: Wow! Whoa!
Theresa: I had been hearing about it for years
Frankie: You are such a nerd!
Theresa: It was a dream come true!
I met all of my Trekkie chatroom friends
We ate burgers and chili, french toast and milkshakes at midnight
And the hotel sheets were so soft!
All: Oooh! Ahh!
Theresa: And I got autographs from Sulu and Uhura. And…..
Theresa: And an *interesting* man asked me out for drinks
Joan: And tell them what happened—
Theresa: I think there were sparks! I think there is romance!
Susan: So happy for you
Frankie: So proud of you
Theresa: I couldn’t have done it without Talkin’ Lady! She made my dreams come true!
Joan: And this is where the fun really starts.
Frankie: Do you have a plan? For the guy?
Joan: You can all leave it up to me. T-Rex, it’s time to tap into your power!
Theresa: This is too much excitement!
Margot: Ladies! You have to get over to the etc. forum. Topic started by Shadow Brad is “What’s your most unpopular opinion?” Lots of giggles!
Narrator: There’s a mass exodus, and aside from a few film buffs debating the use of the sand worms in Dune, everyone is cutting loose in the etcetera forum.
Voice: I always thought Diet Coke is way better than regular coke
Voice: I actually like wearing a condom. I have a latex fetish
Frankie: I don’t care what anybody says, Madonna is extremely talented
Susan: I fell asleep during Koyannisqaatsi ….
Voices: So boring!
Voice: Chief Justice Rehnquist is strangely sexy
Joan: This is fun! Adults shouldn’t dress up for Halloween
Margot: Cleanliness is overrated
Voice: Only sad people like astrology
Voices: Spoken like a true Taurus!
Theresa: Lobsters are the roaches of the sea, and only worth consuming as a vehicle for melted butter!
Garrison: Sometimes I worry if this is getting out of hand!
Narrator: And just as the party was winding down for the night… Talkin’ Lady private to T-Rex.
Joan: So my dear – what do you think you will wear?
Theresa: My goodness, for what?
Joan: For your next date with him
Theresa: I’m so exhausted. 8am meeting with the boss.
Joan: And will you bring up your need for a ramp for the parking lot?
Joan: Remember, you deserve it.
Theresa: Okay, okay! But I’m not the activist type.
Joan: Of course you are. You’re smart and you’re driven and…
Theresa: Joan! Can we continue this tomorrow?
Joan: I can tell you’re beautiful…