The Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe
written by Jane Wagner & Lily Tomlin
Trudy the Bag Lady: (near the play’s beginning) Dial-switch me outta this! I got enough worries of my own. These trances are entertaining but distracting, especially since someone else has the remote control, and if the pause button should somehow get punched, I could have a neurotransmitter mental meltdown. Causes “lapses of the synapses.” I forget things. Never underestimate the power of the human mind to forget. The other day, I forgot where I put my house keys — looked everywhere, then I remembered…
I don’t have a house. I forget more important things, too. Like the meaning of life. I forget that. It’ll come to me, though. Let’s just hope when it does, I’ll be in…
My space chums say they’re learning so much about us since they’ve begun to time-share my trances. They said to me, “Trudy, the human mind is so-o-o strange.” I told ’em, “That’s nothin’ compared to the human genitals.”
Next to my trances they love goin’ through my shopping bags. Once they found this old box of Cream of Wheat. I told ’em, “A box of cereal.” But they saw it as a picture of infinity. You know how on the front is a picture of that guy holding up a box of Cream of Wheat and on that box is a picture of that guy holding up a box of Cream of Wheat and on that box is a picture of that guy holding up a box of Cream of Wheat and on that box is a picture of that guy holding up a box of Cream of Wheat…
We think so different. They find it hard to grasp some things that come easy to us, because they simply don’t have our frame of reference. I show ’em this can of Campbell’s tomato soup. I say, “This is soup.” Then I show ’em a picture of Andy Warhol’s painting of a can of Campbell’s tomato soup. I say, “This is art.” “This is soup.” “And this is art.” Then I shuffle the two behind my back. Now what is this?
No, this is soup and this is art!
(near the play’s ending)
Hey, what’s this? “Dear Trudy, thanks for making our stay here so jam-packed and fun-filled. Sorry to abort our mission — it is not over, just temporarily scrapped. We have ordered to go to a higher bio-vibrational plane. Just wanted you to know, the neurochemical imprints of our cardiocortical experiences here on earth will remain with us always, but what we take with us into space that we cherish the most is ‘goose bump’ experience.”
Did I tell you what happened at the play? We were at the back of the theater, standing there in the dark, all of a sudden I feel one of ’em tug my sleeve, whispers, “Trudy, look.” I said, “Yeah, goose bumps. You definitely got goose bumps. You really like the play that much?” They said it wasn’t gave ’em goose bumps, it was the audience.
I forgot to tell ’em to watch the play; they’d been watching the audience! Yeah, to see a group of strangers sitting together in the dark, laughing and crying about the same things…that just knocked ’em out. They said, “Trudy, the play was soup…the audience…art.”
So they’re taking goose bumps home with ’em. Goose bumps! Quite a souvenir. I like to think of them out there in the dark, watching us. Sometimes we’ll do something and they’ll laugh. Sometimes we’ll do something and they’ll cry. And maybe one day we’ll do something so magnifcent, everyone in the universe will get goose bumps.
Trudy: Now, since I put reality on the backburner, my days are jam-packed and fun filled. Like some days, I go hang out around seventh avenue; I love to do this old joke: I wait for some music-loving tourist form one of the hotels on central park to go up and ask someone “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” Then I run up and yell, “PRACTICE!”. The expression on peoples’ faces is priceless. I never could have done that stuff whe I was in my right mind. I’d be worried people would think I was crazy. When I think of all the fun I missed, I try not to be bitter.
See, the human mind is like a.. pinata. When it breaks open, theres a lot of surprises inside. once you get in the pinata perspective, you see that losing your mind can be a peak experience.
I was not always a bag lady, you know. I used to be the creative consultant. For big companies! Who do you think thought up the color sheme for Howard Johnson’s? At the time, no one was using orange and aqua in the same room together. With fried clams.
The only idea I’m proud of – my umbrella hat. Protects me against sunstroke, rain and muggers. For some reason, muggers steer clear of people wearing umbrella hats.
Ever since my shock treatments I started having these time-space continum shifts, I guess you’d call it. Suddenly, it was like my central nervous system had a patio addition out back. not only do I have a linkup to extraterrestrial channels, I also got a hookup with humanity as a whole. Animals and plants too. I used to talk to plants all the time. Then one day, they started talking back. They said, “Trudy, shut up!”
Trudy: Here we are standing on the corner of “Walk, Don’t Walk.” You look away form me, trying not to catch my eye, but you didn’t turn fast enough, did you?
I know what you’re thinkin’; You’re thinkin’ I’m crazy. You think I give a hoot? You people look at my shopping bags, call me crazy ’cause I collect this junk. What should we call the ones who buy it?
It’s my belief we all, one time or another secretly ask ourselves the question, “Am I crazy?” In my case the answer came back: A resounding YES!
The symptoms are subtle but unmistakable to the trained eye. For instance, here I am standing at the corner of “walk, don’t walk” waiting for these aliens from outer space to show up. I call that crazy don’t you? if I were sane, I should be waiting for the light like everyone else.
They’re late, as usual.
You’d think, as much as they know about time travel, they could be on time once in a while.
I could kick myself. I told them I’d meet ’em on the corner of “walk, Dont walk” ’round lunchtime. Do they even know what lunch means? I doubt it.
When they get here they’ll probably dying to know what “lunchtime” means and when they find out it means going to Howard Johnson’s for fried clams, I wonder, will they be a bit let down?
I dread having to explain tartar sauce.