It is Saturday afternoon and the sun has done its job of heating everything mercilessly. The windows are all open in an attempt to catch a little breeze. It’s not time for dinner as yet and anyway it’s too hot to eat. Seven people laze around, perched in various spots in the two bedrooms apartment in Brooklyn. Claudia sits in the living room with Lana and Sheryl. Lana shifts wearily on the sofa and the plastic covering the seat makes a loud sucking and squeaks as she dislodges herself from its embrace causing Claudia and Sheryl to look up even though they had heard that sound many times before. A groan escapes Claudia and Sheryl sighs wearily.
The muffled drone of a conversation is happening in the back of the house where the kitchen is located. Mom and dad come out into the little dining room next to the living room, pull out two chairs and sit down. Gerald can be heard – because Gerald uses loud music to mark his presence – playing the latest reggae music on his super boom box stereo.
“I wish Gerald would keep the noise down!” Sheryl moans.
“Why don’t you go and make him?” Claudia challenges.
“Who’re you talking to?” Sheryl asks. Lana picks up an envelope and fans her face and head.
“You, of course!” Claudia challenges
“Look here, you…”
“Girls, girls!” Dad calls from the dining room. “Why can’t you girls get along?”
“But Gerald is irritating me!” Claudia complains.
“Gerald, Gerald?” What does Gerald have to do with anything?” Dad responds.
“Well he is too LOUD!” Claudia says.
“You always talk up for Gerald and Nick. You never pay attention to what us girls have to say.” Claudia whines.
“Come now…,” Dad responds.
“Hey I heard my name!” Gerald’s voice streams in from the bedroom in the back of the house.
“I heard that!” Nick’s voice joins into the chorus.
“I wasn’t talking about you!” Claudia yells.
Sheryl and Lana’s voices join into the noise. Whines, yelling, complaints rolls through the small twelve hundred square feet space like the angry hum of a disturbed bee hive.
“Enough!” Dad yells. “Why can’t you children just get along?”
“Well, aren’t you going to tell Gerald to turn the noise down?” Lana and Sheryl, chorus.
“You girls just shut up! Don’t make me come into there.”
“Harold,” pleads Mom.
This is a conversation in a patriarchal household where the girls in the family feel that their needs are not being met by their father. It is evident in the above conversation. What was your childhood like? Did you feel that dad or the males in your family were listened to and heard more often than you were? How did you deal with this? Have you brought this unconscious story into your workplace, into your life? Are you one of those who feel that one part of society has more power than you? Do you feel that you have the ability to speak up at work and in your relationships with family or friends? How do you deal with the learned perception of inequality? How do you think Lana, Sheryl and Claudia should handle the problem of Gerald’s noise?