When my younger brother, Gus, was in second grade, his teacher gave his class an assignment to write about their families. Gus’s essay went something like this: “Patsy is a brat. Rick is a brat. Monica is a brat. Peter is a brat. Veronica is a brat.” I don’t think he mentioned Victoria since she was still an infant and hadn’t had a chance to annoy him yet. His teacher read the essay and wrote across the top, “Who’s the brat?” My parents thought that this was the funniest thing ever, and “Who’s the brat?” became a saying in our family.
Tonight, my husband and I went to the Mets game, as guests of his friend, Don, and his wife, Annie. I had met Don before and liked him a lot. I had never met Annie. This was my first time at Citi Field and I was very excited to be there. It was a perfect evening for a ballgame, balmy and warm. When we arrived, I sat next to Annie, who sat next to Don, who sat next to my husband.
Don and my husband, who hadn’t seen each other for awhile, had a lot of catching up to do, so while they talked, Annie and I got to know each other. My husband and Don had a marvelous time reminiscing about what must have been hilarious things. Annie and I, however, had a harder time of it. It seemed to me that she took offense at everything I said. I spent a lot of time explaining that she had misunderstood me, and apologizing.
Halfway through the game, Don and Annie said they were going to visit their good friends, who were also at the game. They said they wouldn’t be long. As soon as they left, my husband asked me how I like Annie.
“Well,” I said, “she’s difficult to get along with. I tried so hard to be pleasant, but she kept misinterpreting everything I said and taking offense.”
“What did she misinterpret?” my husband asked.
“For instance,” I said, “When she told me that she was an actor, I asked if I might have seen her on TV. She said that she had recently been on episodes of ‘Blue Bloods’ and ‘The Black List.’ I told her that we were huge fans of ‘The Black List’ and never missed an episode, so we must have seen her.”
“Oh wow,” said my husband. “What was her role?”
“She said that she had played a waitress. And she said that, between takes, she spent a lot of time in her trailer. I asked her if she shared her trailer with other actors.”
“And?” my husband asked.
“Well, for some reason, my question annoyed her.” I said. “She gave me an irritated look and said that no, she had her own trailer. So I asked why someone who probably appeared in the episode for 30 seconds got her own trailer. She got really frustrated then.”
“You said what?” my husband asked.
“I was honestly curious,” I responded. “But then she turned her head and started ignoring me.”
“She ignored you?”
Uh huh,” I said, “So I explained that I thought only the stars got their own trailers. She finally turned around and said, very snippily, that all of the principals in a show got trailers. So I asked her how an actress who played a waitress could be considered a principal.”
My husband stared at me. “What did she say?”
“She got really huffy at this point,” I said. “She said that to get the role, they auditioned at least 50 people, and that I wasn’t understanding that her role was important to the show, which made her a principal, as opposed to an extra. That comment ticked me off because I had told her earlier that I had registered with Central Casting to be an extra. She stressed that she had never worked as an extra.”
“Yes,” said my husband, “But you’ve never actually been called by any casting director to be in a show, so I don’t think she was comparing herself to you.”
“Oh,” I said. “I think she was.”
“But you’re not an actor, and she is,” he said, rather unreasonably.
“We’re getting off-point here,” I said.
“So what is the point?” he asked.
“The point is that I apologized profusely and told her that I was in awe of her, which I wasn’t, but I said it just to be nice.”
“Uh huh,” he said. “Then what happened?”
“Well, after I told her that I admired her, she said, ‘Good.’ And then she and Don went off to meet their friends. When they get back, I’m going to try to overlook anything negative she might say.”
“That she might say?” my husband asked. He stared out at the field and looked like he saw something amusing.
Shortly after our conversation about Annie’s prickliness, Don returned. He was on the other side of my husband and they immediately started talking again. I tried to catch Don’s eye, but he never looked my way. Annie never came back. I suppose she was uncomfortable about how she treated me.
I think we all know who the brat was in this situation.