Babysitting, networking and pho

Foodie: I love your outfit.

Beast: I don’t know about it. I don’t think it’s very me.


Beast: It’s classic New England WASP meets totally nuts. It’s conservative and radical all at the same time.

Foodie: Doesn’t that describe you to a tee?

Beast: Maybe it is me.

The Beast has been in a sort of malaise-induced daze for the last week. I have a theory it’s on account of me: I had a very busy four weeks–some work trips followed by preparing to host the National Magazine Awards–and there were near-meltdowns. But the Beast helped me get through it all. He took over all the chores at home, he provided insight, support and, as always, good humour. Now that I’m able to kick my feet up for a while, I wonder if, subconsciously, he feels like he can let his hair down, so to speak.

On account of his malaise, I want to be very supportive of his projects right now. For example, he wants to make a coat out of an old Hudson’s Bay blanket that came into his work. And I support that. I also encouraged him to buy a new amplifier for some sort of guitar. And I’ve agreed to watch whatever movies he wants to view during dinners.

The other night, that meant watching Sidney Lumet’s 1979 Oscar-winning drama, Network. I’d picked up two orders of pho from a place my good friend Nick introduced to me a few years ago called Pho Linh. They packaged it up real tight for me, because I was on my bike, and we assembled it at home.


Foodie: I can’t believe how well this transported! It smells so good. And I can’t wait to watch this movie. Have you ever seen it?

Beast: Have I ever seen it? Of course I’ve seen it! And you’re going to love it.


He was right. Holy shit! What a movie! Yeah, I fell asleep for 15 minutes somewhere near the end, but wow!

The rest of the night is a bit of a blur. I remember the two of us flipping out when we saw that Adventures in Babysitting was on Netflix. We couldn’t get over how it dated–within the first 20 minutes, kids are calling each other homo and making rape jokes–but how Network, despite being nearly 40 years old, hadn’t. That film, which is about a news anchor whose ratings start to plummet and has a breakdown during a live broadcast and it’s decided to make his depressive descent into a reality TV show. It could’ve been made yesterday it felt so relevant.

Neither of us remembered that Bradley Whitford (Josh Lyman from The West Wing) plays Elizabeth Shue’s bad boyfriend in Adventures in Babysitting. And I didn’t know just how much the Beast adored Elizabeth Shue, especially her hair.


He was obsessed with her as a kid. He wanted her to be his babysitter. He had many questions about why I presently couldn’t–and wouldn’t–style my hair like hers. We also figured out that our age difference meant that, under different circumstances,  I could’ve been the Beast’s babysitter.

Then, oddly, we started brainstorming some web series ideas in which we’d co-star. The Beast came up with one–far more outdated than Adventures in Babysitting–called “Blowing Your Cover” about two older undercover female agents, who both talk a little like Rosie Perez. Their undercover names are Mojito and Piña Colada. Unfortunately, they mess up every assignment because they get drunk and end up having relations with their sources. Each episode ends with their boss saying, “ARRGGG! You TWO!!! You literally blew your cover!!! AGAIN!!!!”

I can’t remember who’s playing Mojito and who is Piña Colada.

But I do recall we started making apologies for crimes committed days earlier.

Beast: I’m sorry for leaving the ironing board and iron out in the bedroom the other night.

Foodie: And I’m sorry I got so mad at you when I was trying to go to sleep but you kept pretending to be ironing your pubes.


I think we both came away learning some valuable lessons. The key to a healthy relationship is supporting each other in times of personal tribulation, and apologizing–even when you don’t always mean it.


3 responses to “Babysitting, networking and pho

  1. Nathalie Atkinson

    Shall henceforth be calling the Beast “Captain Underpants.”

  2. Jess, I’m a big fan of you on The Social and have enjoyed reading your writing there. I am Obsessed with this blog! This picture of the beast made tea come out of my nose.
    Your humour and intellect are inspiring. Thank you

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