9 January, 2017
Two cafe tables sit side by side onstage. TOBY is already seated at one table, his back to the other table. ERICA sits in the seat directly behind him so they are back to back. When she pulls out her chair, he turns around, they make brief eye contact and share a smile, and then she sits. They both read the menu. After a second, ERICA sneezes.
TOBY: Cute sneeze.
TOBY: You have a cute sneeze.
ERICA: Oh. Thanks? You should hear me cough sometime. (she quietly rolls her eyes at herself in a “what is wrong with me” way and goes back to reading the menu.)
Beat. TOBY:Gesundheit, by the way.
ERICA:Do you speak German?
ERICA: Sorry… Gesundheit is German. I just… nevermind.
TOBY: It’s just a thing people say when you sneeze. ERICA: Right, like “bless you.”
TOBY: If I had said “Bless you” would you have asked if I was a priest? ERICA: No.
ERICA: Are you?
ERICA: A priest?
TOBY: No… I just… you sneezed. ERICA: Right. Yes. This is my fault. TOBY: For sneezing?
ERICA: Kind of. TOBY: That’s silly. ERICA: Yeah.
ERICA: Gesundheit is a fun word.
TOBY: I was just thinking that.
ERICA: Yeah. (realizing she’s interrupting) Sorry. I’ll let you… go back to… not being a German speaking priest or whatever.
TOBY: Have you (clearing his throat) ever been here before? ERICA: Like… do I come here often?
TOBY: No, like, have you ever gotten the salmon?
ERICA: Oh. Yes, actually.
TOBY: How was it?
ERICA: I got food poisoning.
ERICA: Oh my- I was totally kidding. I really didn’t. That was just a stupid joke. TOBY: Okay.
ERICA: Really, I don’t know why I said that. It just slipped out.
TOBY: Yeah, okay.
ERICA: You’re not going to get the salmon now, are you? TOBY: I’m thinking no.
ERICA: Really, I didn’t/ get food poisoning
TOBY: I’m kidding. I wasn’t going to get it anyway. ERICA: Oh. Good.
ERICA: Soup is good.
TOBY: Which soup?
ERICA: No, sorry, just… in general, I find soup to be… good… most of the time. TOBY: Ah.
TOBY: Are you eating with anyone? ERICA: No.
ERICA: No, I like eating at restaurants alone. TOBY: Is that a joke?
ERICA: That one’s actually not a joke. TOBY: Oh.
ERICA: How about you?
TOBY: I don’t know if I ever thought about it. ERICA: I meant, are you eating with anyone? TOBY: Oh, no, I mean yes, I mean… not right now. ERICA: I can see that.
TOBY: I’m on a blind date.
TOBY: I’m sorry?
ERICA: (lying) Nothing… I just sneezed again… is all.
TOBY: What’s wrong with blind dates?
ERICA: I really sneezed! I wasn’t-
TOBY: My friends set it up for me. I’ve never met her. ERICA: That’s, like, part of the point… right?
TOBY: Yeah… I guess you’re right.
TOBY: She could be perfectly wonderful.
ERICA: Or she could be awful or… a Republican… or eat cotton balls or something. TOBY: Eat cotton balls?
ERICA: People do weird things.
TOBY: If she turns out to be the love of my life, you’re going to feel pretty stupid. ERICA: I feel pretty stupid all the time, not much changes that.
TOBY: Sorry… I shouldn’t have-
ERICA: (laughing) You were kidding, I can appreciate that. Beat.
TOBY: At least my joke was funnier than saying that the salmon gives you food poisoning. ERICA: Are you still on that?
TOBY: I’m just saying.
ERICA: You should focus on your date.
TOBY: She’s not here yet.
ERICA: Well, then maybe focus on the fact that she could have very well have already come in and left the second she saw you.
TOBY: Do people really do that?
ERICA: I was kidding!
TOBY: No, like really, do they really just leave before getting to know you?
ERICA: I don’t know. I mean… I can imagine it happens. But I only ever imagine the worst things happening, okay? So, don’t take my word for it. I don’t know you, I don’t know her, I’m just going to sit here and eat soup because I happen to like most soups.
ERICA: Though, it’s a little hot outside today for soup, so/ maybe I’ll get-
TOBY: I’m not like you, okay. I’m an optimist. I give most people the benefit of the doubt and assume they wouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover.
TOBY: And I think if she did show up and she did walk out… then it’s her loss. Not my loss. Her loss.
ERICA: This is a really good pep talk.
TOBY: Or she could just be running late.
ERICA: Which is also rude.
TOBY: Sometimes people run late.
ERICA: You know, if you eat alone you can avoid that issue altogether.
TOBY:But then who would I talk to?
ERICA: What’s her name?
ERICA: Your date? These friends of yours, they told you her name, right?
ERICA: Tiffany. And what’s your name?
ERICA: I wanted to know if your names go well together. Like, my name is Erica so I can’t date an “Eric” or an“Aaron” or a “Cole.”
TOBY: (pronouncing the names) Eric, sure… (Aaron) Errr-on… sure… Co- (wait)… Cole… Why not a “Cole”?
ERICA: I just think Cole is a stupid name.
ERICA: If you’re not going to tell me your name, I’m going to assume you’re a spy or something.
TOBY: I’d be okay with that.
ERICA: Fine. I’m just saying I have an instinct for these things and you not telling me your name is not a great sign.
ERICA: Unless… is your name Cole? TOBY: No.
ERICA: Did I totally offend you, Cole? TOBY: No, no, it’s… I’m Toby. ERICA: Toby.
ERICA: Toby and Tiffany. T-t-t-Tiffany and T-t-t-Toby. Sittin’ in a T-t-t-tree. TOBY: (a little annoyed) Yes, I know, two “T” names.
ERICA: Caught that, did ya?
TOBY: Why do you think I didn’t want to tell you?
ERICA: Relax. You shouldn’t care so much what other people think.
ERICA: (singing DEEP BLUE SOMETHING under her breath) “And I said ‘what about Breakfast at Tiffany’s?’ You said ‘I think I remember the film’-”
TOBY: It’s doomed. This is going to be terrible.
TOBY: I’m serious.
ERICA: Don’t- You’re going to be fine.
TOBY: What if I’m not? What if she’s… I dunno, what if she hates me?
ERICA: This is why I don’t like blind dates. There’s all of this expectation and build up over someone you don’t even know.
TOBY: Aren’t all dates like that?
ERICA: I don’t know… It’s just dinner. Shouldn’t you eat with someone you’re comfortable with? Who you can talk to like they’re, like, ordinary.
TOBY: Well, yeah, ideally. But how often does that happen?
TOBY: You’re probably right.
ERICA: Who knows, anyway.
TOBY: I didn’t mean to disrupt your dinner or anything. ERICA: I’m actually not that hungry.
ERICA: I mostly came in to… nevermind.
ERICA: It’s embarrassing.
TOBY: I’m not going to push it or anything, but I am imagining a lot of embarrassing things you could say right now and none of them are as embarrassing as the salmon-food-poisoning joke. ERICA: I just- I came in to feel busy.
ERICA: See, nevermind.
TOBY: No, I’m not… I don’t think I understand.
ERICA: When you’re sitting in a restaurant you have things to do. Decisions to make. Things to read. It’s better than just wandering aimlessly.
TOBY: Do you wander aimlessly?
ERICA: Everyone’s gotta have a hobby.
TOBY: I don’t think that’s embarrassing.
TOBY: No more embarrassing than being on a blind date.
ERICA: Yeah. I mean, no, but… yeah, thank you for saying that anyway.
ERICA: Do you think- TOBY: I think that’s her. ERICA: What?
TOBY: My date. Tiffany.
ERICA: Oh. Tiffany. Well. There ya go. She didn’t come in and leave. TOBY: Or she changed her mind.
ERICA: That too.
ERICA: Well, have fun.
ERICA stands to leave.
ERICA: You should get the salmon. TOBY: (laughs) Okay.
ERICA exits. TOBY looks after her possibly? Or is he looking at the girl walking in? You can’t tell. Lights down.
END OF PLAY