WHALES   5'?m2f Child rearing, parenting, communication skills

AMY -- (enters briskly, wearing binoculars around neck) It's a
beautiful day for whale watching, isn't it?! (scans audience
backwall through binoculars)

LIZ -- (follows holding own abdomen) I can't believe I let you
talk me into this.

AMY -- (looking for whales) Is something wrong?

LIZ -- You mean other than the fact that I'm cold, I'm hungry
and I'm sea sick?

AMY -- (distracted) Oh, I'm sorry.

LIZ -- You didn't tell me that whale watching meant riding on a

AMY -- You didn't expect to see whales on shore, did you?

LIZ -- The least you could have done is chosen a bigger boat.
(sways) This little boat gives me motion sickness. Oh, and did I
mention that this whale-watching fiasco of yours is costing me a
half day's pay? I can't believe I took off of work in order to
be miserable. Maybe, since I'm sea sick, I can use my sick pay.
At least that way it won't be a total loss.

AMY -- There's a whale! (points)

LIZ -- Where? (looks in wrong direction)

AMY -- There.

LIZ -- I don't see anything.

AMY -- Oh, you just missed him.

LIZ -- That's perfect. That's just perfect. I go through all
this expense and discomfort in order to look at nothing. I could
have looked at nothing in my cubicle at work! I think I'm going 
to be sick. (turns back)

AMY -- There's another one! (points)

LIZ -- (turns, looks in wrong direction) Where?

AMY -- There. Isn't he magnificent!?

LIZ -- All I see is ocean.

AMY -- Oh, you missed him again. You know they only come to the
surface to take a breath and then they submerge again.

LIZ -- Why did I let you talk me into this?

AMY -- Because you said you were having trouble communicating
with your children.

LIZ -- And I suppose you're going to tell me what whale watching
has to do with communicating with children before I lose my

AMY -- Communicating with kids is exactly like whale watching.

LIZ -- Sure it is. (looks around) My feet are killing me. Maybe
I should find a place to sit down. At least I can be comfortable
while I'm miserable. (turns back)

AMY -- There's another one!

LIZ -- (turns, looks in wrong direction) Where?

AMY -- There. He's got a huge tail fluke.

LIZ -- Fluke. Shmuke. I don't see a thing!

AMY -- You missed him.

LIZ -- You know what I think? I think that whale watching is
just like snipe hunting. It's a practical joke you play on the
new guy. There's no such thing as whales.

AMY -- Do you know why you missed them?

LIZ -- Because they don't exist.

AMY -- No. You missed them for the same reason that you're not
communicating well with your kids.

LIZ -- What reason is that?

AMY -- Because your not familiar with whale behavior.

LIZ -- Obviously! But what does whale behavior have to do with

AMY -- The more your kids grow toward adulthood, the more they
act like whales.

LIZ -- You're not making much sense.

AMY -- One of the things kids do to strive for adulthood is they
strive for independence.

LIZ -- You can say that again. They hardly ever talk to me. And
when they do talk, all I get is one-word answers.

AMY -- That's whale behavior.

LIZ -- Whale behavior.

AMY -- Yes, they submerge for most of the day, and they come up
to the surface only occasionally.

LIZ -- You can say that again. I see my garbage hauler more
often than I see my kids. What am I doing wrong?

AMY -- Exactly what you're doing wrong at whale watching.

LIZ -- What's that?

AMY -- You're so concerned with yourself and your own
discomforts that you miss a lot of opportunities when they DO

LIZ -- Well, how am I supposed to know when and where they'll

AMY -- The same way good whale watchers do. By watching whales.

LIZ -- Brilliant!

AMY -- I'm serious! If you spent as much effort looking for
whales as for comfort, you would see more whales.

LIZ -- I suppose you're right, but...

AMY -- For example, just by being attentive and noticing the
whales direction and speed, I can predict where he'll come to
the surface next time.

LIZ -- You can?

AMY -- Yes, and that first whale will be coming to the surface
right about (points to spot on audience back wall) there.

LIZ -- (looks attentively, pauses, points) There it is! I saw

AMY -- Very good!

LIZ -- That WAS good! Do you think I can get that good at
predicting when and where my kids will most likely come to the

AMY -- Yes, but you'll have to give up some of your creature
comforts. You'll have to study their habits and make a
commitment to be there when and where they're most likely to
come to the surface with their guard down.

LIZ -- I can do that.

AMY -- And, remember this is whale WATCHING, not whale HUNTING.
You're not allowed to harpoon them when they're at their most
vulnerable. If whales think you're a threat, they'll swim out of
range and it could be a long time before they come to the
surface again.

LIZ -- I see what you mean. I consider it my civic duty to make 
comments and judgements whenever my kids say something. They 
don't need my harpoons.

AMY -- Well, I think you'll make a pretty good whale watcher!
(peers through binoculars)

LIZ -- (exiting) Maybe so. But not today. I think I'm going to
be sick.

AMY -- (looks around) Where did she go? (exiting) Hey, are you

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