April 13, 2020
EP. 211 — My Partner is a Medical Mystery
A young woman describes working as a nanny during quarantine with a toddler while having a sick partner in need of a transplant. She also opens up about almost being kidnapped and what she’s looking forward to once lockdown is over.
211 — My Partner is a Medical Mystery
[00:00:06] CHRIS: [music transition] Hello to everybody who does not know where the Hindenburg exploded. It’s Beautiful Anonymous. One hour. One phone call. No names, no holds barred.
[00:00:18] THEME MUSIC: I’d rather go one-on-one. I think it’ll be more fun and I’ll get to know you and you’ll get to know me.
[00:00:29] CHRIS: Hi everybody, it’s Chris Gethard. Welcome to another episode of Beautiful Anonymous. Hope everybody’s holding up well in these crazy times. Thank you to everybody who listened to our two episodes last week. Both our regular episode, then we hit you with the non-coronavirus-allowed special episode, people seemed to enjoy that one, I’m glad people got something out of it. I know I needed that one. Jared will tell you. Every once in a while, I pitch an idea that’s clearly rooted in what I need and then hopefully it applies to other people. Not often, but that one I was like, I got to talk about something else. Thank you to everybody who called in on that one. I enjoyed it and I’m glad to see it hit such a chord. Also, just want to say a very genuine thank you to everybody in the Beautiful Anonymous Facebook community, all the moderators who are there running things. Thank you for making that such a simple, laid-back place. It’s so nice to see people just discuss the episodes. But then also, I got to tell you, man, I logged on to that thing the other day and somebody just posted a video. They had been walking down the beach and they just took video of the waves and I almost started weeping I was so happy. And that’s the type – who ever thought that Facebook could still be that nice. You got that up there like the caller. That’s another thing I want to plug man, we were supposed to do that waffle breakfast at Beautiful Cononymous. And it was going to be dedicated to charities picked by the caller from Love is Everywhere. We had to cancel the charity. But that caller is we would never usually allow people to sell stuff. But this is obviously a special case. There’s Love is Everywhere T-shirts and mugs. And so many of our callers have called up and all that’s being donated as well. So, what a cool thing. So good to see. All right. This week’s episode, I rarely can remember hearing a story of someone whose life changed as quickly as this person’s did. She went from being very much a kid, very much living a young person’s life, heading towards adulthood, but admittedly not quite there. To all of a sudden, real life flipped upside down. Everything changed. And she talks so openly and honestly about it, handles it so admirably. I find it quite inspiring. As a new parent, I’m sitting here going, I can learn a lot about what being a parent means, about what stepping up to the plate means, doing what you have to do. It was a really inspiring call. And then of course, there’s a bunch of diversions along the way. We talk about pizza and kidnappings and a lot about one of my favorite topics, New Jersey. Anyone who’s been listening to the show for more than, oh, two episodes knows that I love talking about New Jersey. I will say I blow my Jersey credibility in a big way by getting some major facts wrong. That’s OK. Nobody’s perfect. It’s part of what everybody in Jersey knows, nobody’s perfect all right? So it is what it is. Anyway, thank you all for listening. Cannot stress enough just on my end how much I need to thank everybody doing this show. Hearing from you guys, hearing from you gals, hearing from people who don’t identify as either. Just hearing from people in that Facebook group, Twitter, Instagram, seeing that there’s people connected to the world via this thing. It’s keeping my head above water. So hope you’re finding your ways to keep your head above water as well. And we’ll all be on the other side of this soon. Enjoy the call.
[00:03:53] PHONE ROBOT: Thank you for calling Beautiful Anonymous. A beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host. [Beep]
[00:04:00] CALLER: Hello?
[00:04:01] CHRIS: Hello?
[00:04:03] CALLER: Chris?
[00:04:04] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:04:07] CALLER: Ahh no way! Hi.
[00:04:10] CHRIS: Hi. That feels good that someone wants to talk to me as a person living in isolation.
[00:04:15] CALLER: Yes! Yeah, for a long time. I’ve been calling like probably every single time you post a number for like at least three years.
[00:04:28] CHRIS: Wow. Thanks for not giving up on me.
[00:04:31] CALLER: Yeah. You know, I do what I can.
[00:04:34] CHRIS: It’s really nice of you. How you holding up?
[00:04:39] CALLER: Oh I was going to say the same thing to you. How are you holding up? Especially with the new babe, he’s not that new anymore is it?
[00:04:41] CHRIS: I’m good. He’s almost a year old, he’s almost a year old! His first birthday might be a quarantine bday party, that’s sad.
[00:04:52] CALLER: Oh, I hear you. My birthday was a couple days ago on the 22nd.
[00:04:56] CHRIS: Happy birthday and I’m so sorry you had to celebrate it like this. We’re good. We fled. We fled New York City. I read that the transmission rate is five times higher or like the positive test rate five times higher in New York than anywhere else. And I live near a hospital and I’m psyched that the hospital is gonna – they’re adding a ton of beds, but there’s sirens round the clock in my neighborhood. I was like, ‘I’m out’ so I fled.
[00:05:21] CALLER: So you’re sticking around, you’re in Brooklyn…?
[00:05:24] CHRIS: I was in Queens and then we fled. It was a whole saga. We were supposed to move, our building disallowed moves so they were kind of holding us hostage. But I get it. I’m not mad about it. They’re just trying to keep everyone safe. So we just threw a bunch of stuff in a car and we fled. I left New York City fleeing, which is kind of how I think it was probably always meant to be.
[00:05:45] CALLER: Uh-huh. [laughing] Why?
[00:05:50] CHRIS: Well, that’s kind of when you show up in New York to be an artist and chased your dreams, right? You don’t want it to just be like, yeah. You know? You don’t want it to just be like, oh, yeah. And then someday you’ll split. You want it to be –
[00:06:03] CALLER: Yeah, so where did you go?
[00:06:04] CHRIS: Well, I’m not going to disclose that location cause I’m a survivor.
[00:06:08] CALLER: Oh, no worries [laughing].
[00:06:10] CHRIS: Yeah, yeah. No offense to you.
[00:06:12] CALLER: No worries. I mean, you’re secret’s safe with me but I get it. I get it.
[00:06:14] CHRIS: No offense to you.
[00:06:15] CALLER: Now I’m in – what?
[00:06:17] CHRIS: Go for it.
[00:06:18] CALLER: Oh, I was just gonna say I’m in New Jersey, so I’m not too too far.
[00:06:24] CHRIS: Ooohhh I love that. I love my Jersey.
[00:06:26] CALLER: Yeah, I actually was at your show in Asbury Park like a little over two years ago.
[00:06:35] CHRIS: Oh wow. The one at House of Independence then?
[00:06:38] CALLER: Yes. Yes. I was there. I had a little bit too much to drink, so it’s a little bit foggy, but I had just had – I had just had a baby like six months before that. So that was kind of like my first, like, mom’s night out. It was a little wild. But I enjoyed myself.
[00:06:55] CHRIS: Everybody knows, you go down the Jersey Shore, you go down the Jersey Shore, you’re gonna throw down a little bit. That’s part of hanging out down the Jersey Shore.
[00:07:01] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. But I’m like from that area, so it’s not really going down the shore, but yeah.
[00:07:06] CHRIS: It’s just getting messed up.
[00:07:08] CALLER: Anyway, so I guess the reason they’ve helped patch me through is because, what I told them my quarantine situation might be a little bit different than the average. I told you I have a toddler. She just turned 3 on the 19th. So actually a couple days before my birthday. And then I also live with my partner, my boyfriend, who is on the list for a kidney transplant. And he also will likely need a heart transplant at some point soon. Yeah, so this is just kind of like a weird situation all around. So I’m normally taking care of both of them anyway. But now that we’re in quarantine, it’s like double down. You know what I mean?
[00:08:09] CHRIS: Yeah. I mean, that’s stressful on the best day, let alone when things go wrong, let alone when so much of what’s going wrong relates to hospitals. That’s scary.
[00:08:20] CALLER: Right, right. You get it. Yeah. So basically, he can’t stay home. He has to go, you know, to dialysis three times a week. So we’re kind of worried about like what he’s going to bring home and, you know, just stuff like that.
[00:08:38] CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah. And everything I’m hearing – so much of what’s going on right now, they’re saying is because hospital staffs are becoming overworked to a point where the hospitals can’t really function –
[00:08:51] CALLER: And they’re getting sick, too, because they’re having like so much exposure.
[00:08:55] CHRIS: Right. So the nurses, the doctors. Are you guys seeing that? Are you seeing the hospitals just kind of running differently than they were a few months ago?
[00:09:06] CALLER: You know, it’s hard to say because he’s actually not, like he doesn’t do his dialysis treatments at a hospital. He does them at like a dialysis center that’s like sort of attached to a hospital. But I mean, I know things are definitely running differently. I haven’t heard like too much about them being crowded or anything ’cause he doesn’t go to the hospital. But I mean, he’s always in a mask. You know, how much can that really help? I don’t know.
[00:09:37] CHRIS: Yeah, that’s scary stuff. That sounded like a formidable dog that you just passed. Is that your dog or someone else’s dog?
[00:09:44] CALLER: Oh, yes, someone else’s dog. I actually just walked into work. [Speaking to the side] You guys want to go outside? No? Let’s go, come on. Sorry about that.
[00:09:59] CHRIS: No, no worries. So I got some questions.
[00:10:02] CALLER: Yeah, ask anything because I feel like I’d be better at, you know, answering the questions than just sort of babbling.
[00:10:09] CHRIS: Sure. So first things first. I just want to get the nature of the relationships down. You said that you live with your toddler and your boyfriend/ partner. Is your toddler…is your boyfriend her dad?
[00:10:26] CALLER: Yes. Yeah.
[00:10:28] CHRIS: OK. So you guys have a kid together.
[00:10:31] CALLER: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But I mean, it has been like a really rocky road up until this point. I guess like just to give you a little bit of a rundown of like why it’s just so complicated and weird. So I met him through mutual friends at a bar and then I got pregnant with our daughter like three or four months after meeting him. It was like really, really quick and he didn’t handle it well. Mind you, he was already sick like he already the heart thing wasn’t a concern yet, but his kidneys were already done for. So it just complicated things even more. And he was really unhappy that I got pregnant and that I had decided to keep the baby. And it was just a really rough pregnancy. And I kind of felt that I was going to be a single mom for a long time. And even, you know, after she was – I would say it wasn’t till she was like probably two years old, maybe even longer, close to three, that I was confident that this was going to work out. But I mean, things are good for now for the most part. But he you know, obviously with his health problems, he kind of had a close call with – a brush with death, I guess – in like April. So I was almost a single mom again. And that’s where the heart thing comes in. So he had two of his heart chambers replaced. I forget what the word is. So he had both of those replaced. But I mean, he has some sort of infection that seems to be like eating at the chambers of his heart. So he will likely have to get a heart transplant, too. As well as, you know, he obviously needs kidneys.
[00:12:30] CHRIS: Wow, and dialysis. So if I’m remembering right, correct me if I’m wrong. The kidneys process urine out of the body. When that breaks down, dialysis is the process that kind of does that instead of your kidneys. And it’s, I have a friend who’s had multiple kidney transplants. And it’s, it seems –
[00:12:50] CALLER: And were they successful?
[00:12:52] CHRIS: They were. And I think he’s had four if I remember right.
[00:12:55] CALLER: Four?
[00:12:56] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:12:56] CALLER: Wow.
[00:12:57] CHRIS: I think he’s hit the legal limit, I think there’s a legal limit.
[00:12:59] CALLER: He’s only had one.
[00:13:01] CHRIS: I think you’re only allowed to get so many. And I think he’s hit that limit.
[00:13:06] CALLER: Well what happens if you get four and then none of them work?
[00:13:10] CHRIS: I hate to say it, but I think at some point they go, ‘other people need kidneys, too.’
[00:13:16] CALLER: So you’re on dialysis for the rest of your life, tough shit, or?
[00:13:18] CHRIS: I think so. And dialysis machines, they process the urine for you. And from what I know from my friend, it seems like, first of all, that process is not pleasant and it’s a pain in the ass to add into the logistics of your life. And if you don’t do it, it can have real effects, physical and mental.
[00:13:37] CALLER: Yeah. I mean, not even not doing it, but also doing it definitely has effects on your mental health.
[00:13:47] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:13:49] CALLER: And physical, you know, I mean, he feels sick you know, every night when he comes home. So mentally, I mean, I’m not inside his head so it’s hard to say completely. But I mean, it has to be hard just because I know I get the brunt of his frustrations and whatnot.
[00:14:10] CHRIS: Yeah. And are his – do you know what’s causing these issues? Are the kidney issues and heart issues related to one another?
[00:14:18] CALLER: Yes. So his doctors have called him a medical mystery. So you’re asking the wrong person. He – so he’s lived all over the world like he moved all over the globe when he was a kid. So my mom’s theory is that he picked up some weird, you know, parasite or something in like one of the countries that he lived in as a kid. And that is what caused his issues originally. But as for the heart, we don’t know.
[00:14:54] CHRIS: So that started much later?
[00:14:55] CALLER: And plus that whole theory might be wrong too, so.
[00:14:58] CHRIS: Yeah. What countries are we talking here? I don’t want to be xenophobic. I’m just always interested when people live in a bunch of different countries.
[00:15:06] CALLER: Right. Can you say the first part again? I didn’t hear the first part you said.
[00:15:08] CHRIS: I was just wondering what countries he’s lived in. And then I realized the question might sound like I’m trying to track which countries have mystery parasites and I felt bad. So then I rambled to cover it.
[00:15:19] CALLER: No, no it’s all good. I couldn’t even tell you all of them. I know he’s lived in like Australia and New Zealand, China. His parents are from Scotland. Gosh, I mean, that’s just like a few of them. He was in Hong Kong I know. Yes. All over the place.
[00:15:38] CHRIS: He’s a world traveler.
[00:15:40] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. Much more cultured than I am. Plus, he’s lived like all over the United States too so he’s got that going for him.
[00:15:48] CHRIS: Wow.
[00:15:50] CALLER: Likes to rub it in my face.
[00:15:53] CHRIS: Was he like a military kid or like the child of an ambassador or something?
[00:15:59] CALLER: Something like that, like his dad does something with airplanes and I think for the military. I don’t know, like his exact title, but something like that.
[00:16:07] CHRIS: That’s really –
[00:16:08] CALLER: So they were all just kind of along for the ride.
[00:16:12] CHRIS: Really hard. Now, can I – I’m going to ask a hard question if that’s OK.
[00:16:19] CALLER: Go for it. Go for it.
[00:16:21] CHRIS: How do you explain what’s going on to your daughter?
[00:16:28] CALLER: That is a tough question. She kind of knows what’s going on because she’s three now. So she kind of knows. But she doesn’t, she doesn’t really. Not even just with this, kind of with everything, I try to be as honest with her about stuff as I can, while still kind of, you know, given to her on her level. She knows that he goes to the doctor a lot and she says, is he at the big doctor or the little doctor, which the little doctor is dialysis, the big doctor’s the hospital, which he is always in and out of both of those, obviously. She hasn’t really asked why he has to go to the doctor. She just knows that’s where he goes. I’m sure that time will come where I’m going to have to be a little more real with her. In April, when we thought that he was going to die, then that’s when I really started trying to think about how else can I explain it. Thank goodness I didn’t have to. But, you know, it’s always on my mind, always, everyday.
[00:17:39] CHRIS: Yeah, I can’t even imagine. Can’t even imagine having to plan for that.
[00:17:44] CALLER: Yeah, well, I try not to think about it. I try to kind of focus on the positive. Especially right now. But yeah, we’re hanging in there.
[00:17:58] CHRIS: Yeah of course. Sorry to bring up a tough one like that.
[00:18:01] CALLER: No, I mean I knew, you know, questions like that would come up.
[00:18:07] CHRIS: Yeah, it’s really, it’s really a lot to think about. Because it sounded like you guys were just planning on having a fling.
[00:18:19] CALLER: Yeah. I mean I guess, yeah [laughing]
[00:18:23] CHRIS: And then, and now –
[00:18:24] CALLER: I would say like he was definitely more focused on having a fling than I was. I was kind of like, ‘whatever happens, happens.’ But I’m also like that kind of person that any time I date someone for more than like 2 or 3 months, I’m like, yeah, this might be the one, you know?
[00:18:38] CHRIS: Of course. So you’re –
[00:18:40] CALLER: Which is like, very toxic.
[00:18:43] CHRIS: I mean, everybody reacts the way they react, but. So you’re at a level. I mean, you’re the more committed one and you’re like, maybe this will be a thing, like that’s the level you’re at. Whatever happens, happens. You said he’s more at a ‘let’s just have fun’ level.
[00:18:59] CALLER: Right.
[00:19:00] CHRIS: And then a child. And on your end, you’re supporting a partner who has some really heavy duty health issues. This is –
[00:19:12] CALLER: I kind of went from like living my life – I was still living with my parents when I got pregnant. I was like, kind of young. I think I was 24. So, I mean, I went from having like almost no responsibility to a lot, pretty much overnight.
[00:19:30] CHRIS: Yeah, effectively being the foundation for two human beings.
[00:19:37] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. So now I – ’cause he can’t work. So I am kind of, you know, powering through this whole quarantine as much as I can because if I don’t work then like what happens, you know, because he can’t work. And I’m sort of trying to pull the weight for both of them.
[00:20:04] CHRIS: Wow. So you were 24.
[00:20:07] CALLER: When I got pregnant, yeah. So when I had her, I I turned 25 like a couple days later. Which for some people that might be normal. But when I was 24, like that was not on my radar. It was like obviously very unexpected.
[00:20:22] CHRIS: Yeah, I think that that’s less common than our parents’ generation. That’s – and now just a few years later, you’re the primary, you’re like the primary earner in the house.
[00:20:36] CALLER: The breadwinner, the caregiver.
[00:20:37] CHRIS: Wow. That’s – how do you…? So you’re not even 30 yet.
[00:20:48] CHRIS: [music transition] And every once in a while on this show, we take a break. We do it roughly two times an episode, every episode for the past entire run of the show. So this is our first break. We’ll be right back.
[00:21:08] CHRIS: [music transition] Thank you so much. Hope you enjoyed hearing that. Let’s get back to the conversation.
[00:21:16] CHRIS: You’re like the primary earner in a house. Wow. That’s – how do you…? So you’re not even 30 yet.
[00:21:27] CALLER: No. I’m 28, turned 28 yeah, a couple days ago. [to the side] Yes. I’m 28. I work with kids, so that’s if you hear like little voices in the background, that’s what that is.
[00:21:38] CHRIS: Oh, you’re working with kids right now?
[00:21:40] CALLER: Yeah. Well, yeah ’cause I mean I don’t know. I feel like I don’t really have a choice.
[00:21:49] CHRIS: Wow. I thought everything got shut down.
[00:21:52] CALLER: Well, I’m a nanny, so.
[00:21:54] CHRIS: Oh, got it, got it.
[00:21:55] CALLER: I just you know, I’m kind of just going in between houses. So I go from my house to their house and then back, and you know.
[00:22:00] CHRIS: Right. And that’s sort of like quasi family relationship. You’re in and out of there as much as anyone.
[00:22:07] CALLER: Exactly. They’re like, yeah, like my second kids, so. [To the side] Careful. Careful.
[00:22:12] CHRIS: And were you nannying –
[00:22:13] CALLER: Except I have a daughter and these are –
[00:22:15] CHRIS: Oh, go for it. You have a daughter and what?
[00:22:17] CALLER: Oh, I was going to say – yeah, I have a daughter. And these are twin boys, which is like a whole different ballgame.
[00:22:26] CHRIS: And how old are they?
[00:22:28] CALLER: They’re six. [Chris laughing] Their middle name is dangerous. You know, like I just pulled one of them off the monkey bars up here. Meanwhile, my daughter’s like very like she likes to sit down, play with dolls, like roll a ball around on the floor. She’s at home. [laughing] They just asked where she was.
[00:22:55] CHRIS: [laughing] Were you – was that your gig before you got pregnant, before this massive life change?
[00:23:01] CALLER: No. No. Yeah. So I had to quit my ‘job job’, if you want to say it that way. Because, I mean, child care is just so expensive. And I just didn’t know how I was going to be able to, I don’t know. I thought I was gonna be giving my entire paycheck to daycare. And it wasn’t worth it. As much as I liked my job, I worked for like a nonprofit. So I was a nanny in college and I just kind of became a nanny again. And I just take her with me. I’ve been doing that for like almost three years now. I started when she was like six months.
[00:23:39] CHRIS: So your daughter comes and hangs out. So these kids are all kind of growing up together.
[00:23:44] CALLER: Exactly. Like brothers and sister.
[00:23:48] CHRIS: I’ve never heard this story before.
[00:23:52] CALLER: Yeah, it’s fun. It’s fun. You know, I just kind of have to, like, adapt to make things work to what we need. And it’s been thank goodness kind of working in my favor so far. Knock on wood.
[00:24:10] CHRIS: Yeah. I gotta say, your Jersey strong, huh? You’re tough.
[00:24:19] CALLER: I guess so. Born and raised. Where…did you grow up in Bergen County?
[00:24:24] CHRIS: Essex County. How about you? You don’t have to say the town if you don’t want but what county are we talking? I’ll tell you some things about yourself.
[00:24:34] CALLER: OK. All right. OK. So I lived in Ocean County till I was like 11, maybe 12. [To the side] Nice! He said that’s where he got his cavity filled. [laughing]
And then I lived in Monmouth County since then. And I still live in Monmouth County. Different town than I went to school in or where my parents are but still in Monmouth.
[00:24:58] CHRIS: Uh huh. So Ocean County, Monmouth County. OK so this means since you have Ocean County roots, I’m gonna guess you don’t like Benny’s.
[00:25:08] CALLER: No.
[00:25:09] CHRIS: I’m gonna guess that the Monmouth County people say they don’t like Benny’s, but in your heart you know that they make more money off the Benny’s and you really don’t like Benny’s and you can kind of see a separation there. Depending on what part of Monmouth County you’re in and what part of Ocean County you’re from, my guess is that in your heart, you probably feel like you’re a little grittier and tougher than some of the people you’re around now in Monmouth County. True or false?
[00:25:34] CALLER: [laughing] I feel like I’d never say that out loud but you’re kind of right. Especially you know what? I’ll tell you where I am from. Like where I lived in Ocean County. It’s the only town I lived in Ocean County, and that was so long ago I feel like it wouldn’t really give anything away. Mind you, the way it is now is very different from how it was when I lived there. From what I know, I grew up in Lakewood. I don’t know if you know anything about Lakewood.
[00:26:01] CHRIS: Well, I do know about Lakewood because it was the – correct me if I’m wrong – the notorious site of the Hindenburg disaster.
[00:26:07] CALLER: Oh, yeah?
[00:26:08] CHRIS: I think so. I’m gonna double check right now. I hope I didn’t just mess up my –
[00:26:13] CALLER: Fact check. Don’t look dumb now.
[00:26:15] CHRIS: Yeah. You grew up in a town, one of the most famous air disasters of all time took place there. Oh, no, it was Lakehurst. It was Lakehurst. Uhh it wasn’t Lakewood.
[00:26:23] CALLER: I was gonna say, ‘really? Because that doesn’t sound familiar’.
[00:26:27] CHRIS: Oh, my heart. I just lost all Jersey credibility. I’m out here trying to claim to be Mr. Jersey all the time. And I don’t even know where the Hindenburg blew up? I mixed up Lakewood and Lakehurst?
[00:26:34] CALLER: I know, you’re always bragging about Asbury and –
[00:26:37] CHRIS: I know. So you grew up in Lakewood. Tell me about Lakewood.
[00:26:45] CALLER: So right now, it’s definitely like primarily Jewish, Hasidic. When I lived there, it was very like, what’s the word? You use the word gritty so I’m gonna go with the same word. It was very gritty.
[00:27:03] CHRIS: Working class.
[00:27:05] CALLER: Yeah, yeah, it was very, very diverse. I was one of like maybe between five to 10 white kids in my school, which was fine, I literally knew nothing different. So when I was like 11 or 12, I moved to a town in Monmouth County that was very, very, very heavily white. So that kind of threw me for a loop. It was a really tough adjustment, you know, especially at that age, like middle school. You know, ate lunch by myself for a couple weeks. It was just rough, but it ended up working out.
[00:27:53] CHRIS: And Monmouth County, there’s a wide range of towns, there’s a wide range of towns. There’s like fishing, there’s like towns where it’s like fishing people and like hard working people of that ilk. And then you also got Bruce Springsteen lives in Monmouth County, runs the gamut.
[00:28:13] CALLER: Yes. Right.
[00:28:14] CHRIS: Yeah. You got your Red Banks and your Rumsons. [Caller laughing]. Right? You got those upper crust towns. I know Monmouth County.
[00:28:23] CALLER: There you go. You ever come down here anymore or not really?
[00:28:27] CHRIS: Oh, I love Sandy Hook. I love Sandy Hook. I love Asbury Park, as you know. And then probably one of the most beautiful stretches of the world I would say is that stretch of Route 35 between Sandy Hook and Asbury Park, where you got the bay on the one side and the ocean on the other. Gorgeous, gorgeous. So I get it.
[00:28:48] CALLER: So speaking of Asbury Park, what do you think of how it’s been gentrified? Are you like into it? Are you mad?
[00:28:58] CHRIS: It’s a tough one, right? It’s a tough one because gentrification is such – I see it in community, you know, especially being in New York the past 16 years.
[00:29:08] CALLER: I was gonna say, yeah.
[00:29:09] CHRIS: Seen things change in a way where you’re like, man, these neighborhoods are ‘better’. But it did nothing to help the people who supported these neighborhoods and got them to the point where they could be that. And that’s scary. Asbury Park – well the thing about Asbury Park is when I went there, I used to go there as a kid and it was largely an abandoned town. It was abandoned.
[00:29:31] CALLER: Yes! And that’s how I remember it from when I was in high school. Like I wasn’t allowed to go past Ocean Grove.
[00:29:36] CHRIS: Oh, it was scary. It was a scary place. I used to go there to the Stone Pony to go to concerts growing up. I’d go see ECW at the Asbury Park Convention Center. I saw Weezer there. And you’d go and you would pray that you could find parking close to the Pony, you’d pray, because if you had to walk – one of the scariest nights of my life happened in Asbury Park with the weird New Jersey Halloween party there, and my friend from college got too drunk and I had to carry her to our hotel and she was dressed as a pumpkin. We were 21 and there were people yelling at me from like abandoned buildings and under the boardwalk. And some of these abandoned buildings, people don’t even believe –
[00:30:14] CALLER: Under the boardwalk. See, I feel like that’s not a thing anymore, people hanging out under the boardwalk –
[00:30:19] CHRIS: Lurking under the boardwalk in Asbury Park. Now they don’t lurk there. Everybody’s buying Korean tacos these days.
[00:30:26] CALLER: [laughing] Mogo Mogo!
[00:30:27] CHRIS: It’s delicious and some of these abandoned buildings, it was like there’d be like corruption in the government so they’d give out contracts to build a building in the middle of a street. You’d be driving down a street and you’d be like, I guess I have to turn around because there’s just an abandoned half-built building here. So it’s tough because I’m not – I don’t know the community of Asbury Park. And I’m sure there’s people who fought through a lot. But it seems like at least that boardwalk area was in like a red zone where any type of regrowth seems pretty inspiring to me. As a Monmouth County resident, how do you – ?
[00:30:55] CALLER: Yes, that’s pretty much how it is. It’s like split over the train tracks. Like there’s like the good side of the tracks and the rough side of the tracks.
[00:31:04] CHRIS: Literally, I think in Asbury Park, that’s literal. There’s actual train tracks, right?
[00:31:08] CALLER: Yup. You got it.
[00:31:10] CHRIS: Yeah. Fascinating place. All right. We’ve had our Jersey diversion. And I’m glad. I’m glad that we did. I want to hear more about you and your life, though, because you’re tough.
[00:31:22] CALLER: I mean, we’ve been talking a lot about you. [laughing]
[00:31:24] CHRIS: I know. More about me than I would like in any context, let alone when you have such a fascinating story. You’re young. This all turned around when you’re young. You clearly sound very positive about it. You’ve landed on your feet. Did you go to school? What did you major in? What were you seeing before this life change?
[00:31:45] CALLER: Oh, God. Yeah. So it’s funny you’re talking about Asbury. Like being rough and like the days that you remember, because I actually went to school in a mostly rough city, too. And I was going to say, oh, yeah, I’ve been there, been there, been there. I went to school in New Haven, Connecticut.
[00:32:05] CHRIS: Mmm-hmm, mmm-hmm.
[00:32:08] CALLER: What?
[00:32:09] CHRIS: I said, mmm-hmm I’m a fan. Great pizza. Probably the best pizza in the country.
[00:32:14] CALLER: Yes! But it’s so different. I’m always explaining that to people, I’m like oh we have to go back to New Haven so you can try the pizza. They’re like, oh, there’s pizza everywhere. I’m like, no, no, no. You don’t know. This is different.
[00:32:24] CHRIS: You gotta get the white clam pie at Modern.
[00:32:28] CALLER: Yes, Modern. Wow you really do know New Haven. All right, Chris.
[00:32:32] CHRIS: I feel like one of the reasons I’m good at this show is because I know very little about a lot of things. Anyway, so you went to college in a rough town, New Haven, Connecticut. It is. It’s the college campuses and then the rest of the town can be a bit rough. Keep talking.
[00:32:49] CALLER: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. So I didn’t go to Yale. I’ll say that. But I mean, there’s a lot of schools in that area, including Yale. Not smart enough for Yale. OK. Yeah, so it’s definitely rough. I almost got kidnapped there one time. Yeah, I guess the other time was in Boston. I almost got kidnapped there once.
[00:33:12] CHRIS: Wait, you almost got kidnapped twice?
[00:33:16] CALLER: Yeah. Like once in New Haven and once in Boston, I don’t know why I just like attract bad things like that.
[00:33:24] CHRIS: Okay, okay. I’ll stop interrupting. Continue.
[00:33:30] CALLER: You want to hear about me almost getting kidnapped or nah?
[00:33:32] CHRIS: Eventually. I want you to finish this thought and then I want to get back to these kidnappings.
[00:33:37] CALLER: Yeah. I’m kind of all over the place.
[00:33:38] CHRIS: That’s OK.
[00:33:39] CALLER: I didn’t think I’d actually get through. Like I said, I’ve called like probably a thousand times and I’ve never gotten through. So this is a little like, I’m a little all over the place. So I went to school in New Haven. OK. So I went to school for, I don’t want to be like super specific. I went to school for…I’ll use different words. I went to school for like criminal psychology. And now I work with kids, so it’s like I don’t know.
[00:34:09] CHRIS: [laughing] Do you find it comes in handy? Having gone to school to study the minds of criminals and how they work, do you ever feel like you see behavior in children that applies to your background?
[00:34:25] CALLER: Maybe sometimes. To be honest, these kids are pretty good. But I’ve worked with some crazy kids before. Because, for example, like serial killers, they do display a lot of like traits when they’re kids, like mutilating animals, which I haven’t seen any of that thank goodness.
[00:34:46] CHRIS: Good, let’s keep our eyes peeled for that. Now, when these kids do something wrong and they try to come up with an alibi are you like, ‘nope. You’re falling into the six classic tropes of see through alibis.’ Like, is there anything like that? Like they can’t get away with as much because you’re basically trained as a mind detective?
[00:35:03] CALLER: You know what, kinda. I mean, I guess I don’t know how much experience you have with kids like before having a child, but –
[00:35:16] CHRIS: Not so much.
[00:35:18] CALLER: Not so much. Well, they are sneaky. Let me tell you. And they think they’re smarter than you, too, which is always good. So, yeah, but they don’t get away with much here.
[00:35:31] CHRIS: You can see it. You can see the shadiness. You can see the lurking sneakiness in their eyes circumvented.
[00:35:38] CALLER: Definitely. Definitely. I know who snuck into the cookie jar. Always.
[00:35:44] CHRIS: Mmm-hmm. And were you…you’re 24, you’re living at home. Were you pursuing things in this field at that time? Had you kind of moved on already? Just trying to get a sense of –
[00:35:55] CALLER: Honestly I had kind of moved on already. I would say I was before I even graduated, I was like, you know what? Maybe I shouldn’t have done this. But it was already like dozens of thousands of dollars in. I was yeah, I was working for a couple different nonprofits, which I’m sure, you know, they don’t make a ton of money and I was working as a barista. [To the side] I did see it. So, yeah, I wasn’t even really doing what I went to school for. I worked at a nonprofit for refugees and then after that, I worked at a nonprofit with disabled adults.
[00:36:37] CHRIS: Being a good person.
[00:36:40] CALLER: Well, yeah. Yeah, I guess. It feels weird to have somebody say that, but I see where you’re getting that.
[00:36:46] CHRIS: I know Jersey people never like to brag. I get it. So I’ll brag for you. So you’re young.
[00:36:51] CALLER: Is that like a distinctly Jersey thing? I didn’t know that.
[00:36:54] CHRIS: I mean, I think everywhere. I think Jersey people in particular don’t take well to braggarts, and never want to be seen as one. But, you’re young. You’re figuring out ways to help the world. You’re picking up cash as a barista on the side.
[00:37:10] CALLER: That’s much rather what I wish I did something more like victimology, like helping people that have been through some tough S-H-I-T, you know what I mean?
[00:37:18] CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah. You truly are in front of children right now. [Chris and Caller laughing] And then, so you’re young. Like that is the story of a young person. I’m trying to figure out how I can help the world picking up money on the side as a barista. A classic young person job. And then all of a sudden adulthood. This – you really – adulthood blindsided you.
[00:37:41] CALLER: Overnight, yup.
[00:37:43] CHRIS: You happy? Are you happy?
[00:37:48] CALLER: Most of the time. Yeah, I would say if you asked me that like six months ago you would have gotten a really, really different answer.
[00:37:55] CHRIS: But things have turned around a bit?
[00:37:58] CALLER: Yes. I mean now that I have work, we’re sort of turning a corner, so –
[00:38:03] CHRIS: That’s good.
[00:38:04] CALLER: Yeah, I would say I am happy most days. You know, I had to give a lot of things up to have a kid at 24. And not only that, but to be dating someone that could be here one week and then the next week gone.
[00:38:28] CHRIS: That’s so scary.
[00:38:31] CALLER: It’s…I just try not to think about it that much.
[00:38:34] CHRIS: Of course. What changed six months ago? What allowed things to turn that corner?
[00:38:41] CALLER: So, I mean, me and my boyfriend were just having a really rough time being on the same page. We were both unhappy. And we kind of – I don’t want to say we like split up because I can’t say that we like really split up. We were still living in the same house, but, you know, we weren’t sleeping in the same room. I just thought it was pretty much done. I thought we weren’t gonna sign our lease again. And that would be the end of it. But I mean, it’s a little better now.
[00:39:20] CHRIS: That’s good. You can’t get too specific about that right now, huh?
[00:39:23] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. Like I said when I called, I didn’t know. I didn’t think I would actually get to this point.
[00:39:30] CHRIS: No, of course. And then I mean, on my end I’m like asking the most intense questions that I may, like what turned this corner of happiness? And then as you’re trying to delve deep into the dynamics of an adult relationship, we hear who I can presume is your beautiful daughter in the background right next to you.
[00:39:48] CALLER: [laughing] No, she actually stayed at home today. That was one of the boys falling into my arms from the monkey bars.
[00:39:53] CHRIS: Got it.
[00:39:54] CALLER: Very casual.
[00:39:55] CHRIS: Still, a 6-year-old, you’re not necessarily looking to discuss the gritty, in-depth details of a relationship that was strained and turned around in front of two 6-year-olds just trying to play.
[00:40:06] CALLER: No, but I mean, ask what you want. Like you know, you can – you’ve been pretty mild. Get down and dirty.
[00:40:13] CHRIS: Wow you’re challenging me! No, I mean, I’ve been asking the things I –
[00:40:19] CALLER: You think? I take it back.
[00:40:22] CHRIS: No. I mean, we got to that big one. Just want to make sure you’re happy just want to make sure you’re happy, ’cause you’re working hard. You’re working hard and –
[00:40:30] CALLER: I’m happy. I’m stressed, but I’m happy.
[00:40:33] CHRIS: Always, I can imagine. And I guess here’s another hard question if you’re challenging me to ask the harder ones. It sounds like your boyfriend’s a fighter. Sounds like there’s a lot going on. I would have to imagine that there’s not much hope that…it sounds like the main concern is keep fighting to stay alive. And I know that’s a grim thing to say, but you mentioned last year it really was hitting a crisis point. It doesn’t sound like the hope is someday you’ll be able to be…how would I say it? Up and running at full capacity to a degree where you’re getting as much help as other people get.
[00:41:19] CALLER: Yeah. So do you mean like – do I think he’s gonna like live as long as me?
[00:41:26] CHRIS: And I also feel like as far as running a household, like you said, you’re the breadwinner. It doesn’t sound like – I don’t know and maybe I’m wrong about that. You said right now you’re really the only breadwinner. And it sounds like his concern is staying alive. Not it doesn’t sound like – I have to wonder if that stresses you out.
[00:41:45] CALLER: Yeah. Like I said, I just try not to think about it all that much.
[00:41:49] CHRIS: Yes. But then you tell me I’m softballing questions. You’re like, I don’t like to think about that. Hey, ask harder questions than I ask a hard question and you’re like I don’t want to think about that. And then I feel super guilty!
[00:42:00] CALLER: No, no, no. I’ll think about it for you. But I’m saying on the average day, I try to block it out except for, you know, the rare like shower cry.
[00:42:11] CHRIS: See, you tell me I’m not asking hard enough questions. And then I ask questions. And then you tell me they’re the types of things that make you cry in the shower. I don’t feel good about that.
[00:42:21] CALLER: That would make you cry in the shower.
[00:42:23] CHRIS: Everything makes me cry in the shower! I cry all the time.
[00:42:28] CHRIS: [music transition] And let’s take a pause. ‘Cause I feel like a lot of people listening to this show, probably cry in the shower. I would guess that this show, maybe as much as any other podcast in history, has a fanbase of people who identify as shower criers. We’ll be right back after this.
[00:42:48] CHRIS: [music transition] Welcome back to the show, all you shower criers. Let’s finish things off.
[00:42:54] CHRIS: You tell me I’m not asking hard enough questions and then I ask questions and then you tell me they’re the types of things that make you cry in the shower. I don’t feel good about that.
[00:43:01] CALLER: That would make you cry in the shower.
[00:43:03] CHRIS: Everything makes me cry in the shower! I cry all the time.
[00:43:08] CALLER: My boyfriend would say the same thing. He’s a crier.
[00:43:12] CHRIS: Yeah. I mean, it sounds like he’s earned the right to shed a few tears. Tough times.
[00:43:18] CALLER: Yeah, for sure. For sure.
[00:43:20] CHRIS: Especially when they can’t tell ya what caused it. That’s the worst.
[00:43:25] CALLER: Yeah. I mean I know that we probably have limited years left, but that’s kind of why I’m just trying to make it the best that I can, especially for our daughter. I don’t really want her to see the bad. You know?
[00:43:50] CHRIS: Yeah. At least when you’re in that situation, everything has to be for her, right?
[00:43:54] CALLER: Absolutely everything. That’s all I am. That’s why I’m here working during like a lockdown.
[00:44:03] CHRIS: Yeah, is that scaring you?
[00:44:07] CALLER: You know, it doesn’t scare me that – well the situation as a whole totally scares me. Coming here doesn’t really scare me because, you know, the kids are not going anywhere. And I’m just going from my house to here. And of course, if anybody was sick or if I was sick, I would, you know, I would just stay home.
[00:44:24] CHRIS: Right. And so these monkey bars you mentioned, they’re at a backyard, self-contained private, monkey bars. You’re not at a public park. I’ve been worried the whole time!
[00:44:34] CALLER: No, no playgrounds, no playgrounds.
[00:44:36] CHRIS: Been worried the whole time.
[00:44:40] CALLER: No it’s got like a nice little swing set/trampoline deal back here.
[00:44:46] CHRIS: Ooooh all right. OK.
[00:44:48] CALLER: Yeah. Ritzy, ritzy.
[00:44:51] CHRIS: So, do you…
[00:44:56] CALLER: Hello?
[00:44:57] CHRIS: Yeah. I’m formulating my question. What do you do…? Like things have turned a corner, you’re feeling happier. You were saying there was a stretch where you weren’t sleeping in the same bed. It sounds like now you are, you didn’t necessarily want to start explaining sleeping in a bed with a guy in front of two 6-year-olds so you cut it off. Do you feel like are you and your boyfriend able to go out on dates? Are you enjoying each other more? What types of things are you doing? Is he able to have that dating life despite the stuff he’s dealing with?
[00:45:26] CALLER: I would say like 9 out of 10 days definitely not. I couldn’t tell you the last time we went out on an actual date, but a lot of at home date nights. Netflix, takeout. That’s about as far as it goes. But I mean, we do what we can. It’s definitely not like the average, normal relationship, and it’s even less normal than it was when we first started dating, because I mean, it’s been years now. He is doing so much worse than he was when we first met. He was already sick but it’s a lot worse now.
[00:46:16] CHRIS: I’m really sorry. I’m really sorry.
[00:46:21] CALLER: It’s all right.
[00:46:24] CHRIS: But it’s not. You have to say that. But it’s OK to say that it’s not. It sucks. It’s not all right. You got a kid, you got a partner, you’re trying to give her a good life and as much time as you can with her dad. That sucks.
[00:46:45] CALLER: Mmm-hmm. But when you’ve been doing it for so long, it’s really like…it doesn’t suck that much.
[00:46:50] CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah, of course.
[00:46:56] CALLER: Gotta keep moving. If you slow down, then it’s game over.
[00:47:01] CHRIS: Like a shark, like a shark. You truly are a Jersey Shore girl. You’re a Monmouth County girl right there. Stop swimming, you die just like a shark. Look at that, raised near the ocean. Now, why you getting kidnapped so much?
[00:47:20] CALLER: What did you say?
[00:47:20] CHRIS: Why are you getting kidnapped all the time?
[00:47:24] CALLER: Getting kids? What?
[00:47:25] CHRIS: Kidnapped!
[00:47:26] CALLER: Oh, kidnapped. Well, that only happened twice. It’s not all the time.
[00:47:30] CHRIS: Only twice! Most people have been kidnapped zero times.
[00:47:35] CALLER: Yeah, but it was unsuccessful so…
[00:47:40] CHRIS: Still.
[00:47:41] CALLER: OK, so I don’t remember which time was first. I…all right. One time I was in Boston and I was visiting a couple of friends. This was like right after college. A couple of friends had moved to Boston and I had one friend who lived in the North end and then one friend that lived kind of near like Fenway Park. So I was staying with my friend in North end and that’s where all my bags were and everything. We had a night out. Somehow I got separated from her and I ended up staying with my friend, who is by Fenway Park. And I don’t know my way around Boston that well. So I woke up at like 5 or 6 in the morning thinking, like, I can just walk back to the North end, no problem. So kind of just like looking at my phone map. And I was walking through the neighborhoods just trying to get back. And eventually this guy had like a sweatshirt, like a hoodie and like a baseball cap and the baseball cap was pulled down over his eyes a little bit, couldn’t see his face that well. And he’s walking on the other side of the street, same direction as me. And then he eventually crossed over to the same side as me and got a little bit closer, a little bit closer. After a couple blocks of him, you know, walking closely behind me it got a little weird. So I said, I’m sure he’s not following me. But why don’t I, you know, just turn. See what happens. So I make a turn into these like, almost like what are they called? Like these high cut bushes, like a maze kind of, make a turn. What do you know? He turns right behind me. It’s a maze, there’s tons of turns. So I’m taking another turn. Turns the same way over and over. After about four or five times I was like all right, I guess I have to run. So I make a quick left and I run. He starts running. You know what? Maybe some people are gonna say that I wasn’t getting kidnapped but I’m gonna say that I was. But I mean, this guy was chasing me.
[00:49:55] CHRIS: Something bad was going to happen.
[00:49:58] CALLER: Yeah, so I ended up making it out alive. I called a taxi because I don’t think Uber even existed at that time. And that ended up being fine. Then I would say like two or three months later, downtown New Haven, good old New Haven –
[00:50:12] CHRIS: Hold on, hold on. Before we get into New Haven, I have two questions. One. You’re being followed and the place you decide to duck into is a hedge maze –
[00:50:23] CALLER: A maze where nobody can see me.
[00:50:25] CHRIS: A hedge maze that’s built for people to get confused and lost.
[00:50:29] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:50:30] CHRIS: And then you call a taxi –
[00:50:31] CALLER: I mean, like in hindsight, maybe that was not a good idea.
[00:50:34] CHRIS: No, of course. Of course. You’ll let your daughter know, hey, if that ever happens, go anywhere but a hedge maze. Now, you said you called the taxi to get over, but you’re running. You’re calling a taxi while you’re running?
[00:50:46] CALLER: No. So this was like after I had found an exit out of the hedge maze. I didn’t see him, so I might have hailed a taxi, maybe I didn’t call a taxi. I might have waved one down.
[00:50:56] CHRIS: So he got lost in the hedge maze?
[00:50:59] CALLER: I guess he did. But I got out.
[00:51:01] CHRIS: You made your way out of the hedge maze. He couldn’t find you in the hedge maze. And then there was a taxi waiting at the end of the hedge maze. And then you got out of there.
[00:51:08] CALLER: When you say it like that, it sounds like a not real story. See, this is why no one believes me when I told them it happened.
[00:51:14] CHRIS: It’s amazing. Okay. So the New Haven one. Let’s go. I asked all my questions.
[00:51:21] CALLER: So this one I put up a little bit of a fight. So, you know, I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Bar or like Russian Lady, I don’t think Russian Lady exists anymore. But so we were hopping between those two places. And it was kind of the end of the night, probably like one or two in the morning. And I was approached by this – actually, me and a friend were approached by this group of guys who had these like really thick accents. There’s probably like four of them. They had these really thick accents. I can’t remember what they were, but they kept, you know, talking to us about like where we’re from and whatnot. We kept saying, oh, we really have to go, really have to go, trying to get away. And all of a sudden, like, their accents changed a little bit into like a different accent. And one of the guys cracked a little bit and he was like, ‘oh, just let them go, just let them go.’ And then before you know it, one guy had picked me up and thrown me over his shoulder. And then another guy picked my friend up. And there was a lot of kicking and screaming. But after a couple minutes, we were down and we ran. And that was that. Again, most people are probably like, oh, this girl is stupid. She wasn’t getting kidnapped. But in my mind at that moment, I was like this is it.
[00:52:50] CHRIS: No. No one’s sitting there thinking, this girl’s stupid. They’re thinking, at worst, they’re going I don’t know if that technically – that could have been any number of bizarre crimes, kidnapping amongst them. But if you want to use the shorthand of kidnapping, sure. I’m glad you survived both of those okay.
[00:53:06] CALLER: Yeah. You know what? I’m going to go ahead and say the Boston one for sure was a kidnapping.
[00:53:10] CHRIS: You think so? You think so? Fair. OK. OK. Now, look, we’ve had times where we get diversions about kidnappings, about different towns in New Jersey, and the politics of your central (I might say southern), central Jersey counties. And their relationships to each other. But by and large, we’ve talked about that story of you being a young mom with a sick partner whose life got turned upside down. And I just want to let you know, because you said you don’t love to think about the dark parts. Things have gotten better. Sometimes you cry in the shower. And I’m not trying to dwell on the dark parts. But what I will say is that when I hear your story –
[00:53:53] CALLER: Yeah, don’t call me out [laughing]
[00:53:54] CHRIS: No, for sure. But when I hear your story, here’s what I keep thinking of in the back of my mind right now: is that someday, your daughter – I don’t know if it’s gonna be 10 years from now, 20 years from now. Whatever. Knock on wood they figure out what’s at the root of the issues with your boyfriend and that his heart is up and running, his kidneys are up and running and she doesn’t even remember this. Maybe he’s not around. You said that there’s been some scares, but no matter what, I know that a number of years down the line when your daughter is an adult or approaching adulthood, she’s going to take a look back and go, ‘Mom, you were really going through a lot and you fought like hell for me.’ She’s going to realize that.
[00:54:41] CALLER: That’s what I hope she remembers. And I hope she’s the same way. That’s like, that’s all I want. It’s all I want.
[00:54:54] CHRIS: Yeah, she’s three. And that’s one of the things I’m learning about kids right now. Like my wife said it about our our son. He’s only 11 months old, but in the middle of all this pandemic she’s like, it is really pleasant to be around someone who doesn’t realize anything’s wrong. And I’m sure your daughter senses that there’s some things wrong, but I’m sure she doesn’t understand the severity of it.
[00:55:20] CALLER: Definitely not.
[00:55:21] CHRIS: Yeah, she’s going to grow up, and she’s going to realize how incredible it is, what you’ve done. She’s going to realize it.
[00:55:31] CALLER: Well, thank you. I appreciate that a lot. You seem like a good dad.
[00:55:37] CHRIS: I’m just rolling with the punches. This kid yesterday –
[00:55:41] CALLER: Same dude.
[00:55:42] CHRIS: Oh, my God. I was watching this kid. So we’re staying in this house and riding out this pandemic and they got a home pilates thing, it’s kind of this elaborate thing, it’s just low enough that he can lean on it. And it’s got these bars on it. And he put his waist up against one. And I just in slow motion watched him flip over it and he kind of landed –
[0:56:07] CALLER: Your kid?
[00:56:07] CHRIS: Yeah. And he kind of like flipped over it onto the top of his head. Not quick, like slow roll over onto his head like a break dancer –
[00:56:15] CALLER: Which might be worse.
[00:56:16] CHRIS: Oh my God. Because then I have more time to internally scream and then he kind of landed on his head and he’s like on top of his head like a break dancer and then his body flips down. I’m thinking oh my God, his little neck. And then instantly he’s just like [laughing baby noises]. And I’m like, oh!
[00:56:31] CALLER: Yeah, see, kids are tougher than we give them credit for.
[00:56:34] CHRIS: And he didn’t even know how scary that was. He didn’t even know. He’s just this little guy that you chase around.
[00:56:41] CALLER: Exactly. See, you are a good dad. That right there sums it up.
[00:56:45] CHRIS: I just do my best. All I did was watch. All I did was watch my kid play with exercise equipment he shouldn’t have been around. And then thank God he survived. Yes. Yes. I thanked God.
[00:56:57] CALLER: The fact that you are worried or you were worried. You know, that right there.
[00:57:05] CHRIS: Yeah. What do you want for your daughter? You’re a good mom, too. What do you want for your daughter? What are the goals?
[00:57:11] CALLER: What are the goals? I don’t know. I was going to say I want her to be successful, but that’s really not even it. I just want her to be like happy and to be a good person. That’s like really my ultimate goal is just for her to be like a good person, not like a bad human being. I think that definitely has everything to do with your parents. So I feel like I was raised pretty well and I just, I want her to be the same way. Help people if she can help people, be nice to everybody, you know?
[00:57:57] CHRIS: Yeah. And you said your parents are still in Monmouth County?
[00:58:02] CALLER: They are. I almost said where they were but I probably shouldn’t.
[00:58:05] CHRIS: Yeah, that’s all good. And they –
[00:58:07] CALLER: I would say Asbury Park is in the middle of us. So they’re lower, I’m above.
[00:58:13] CHRIS: Got it, got it. Are they a source of strength? Are you able to lean on them?
[00:58:22] CALLER: I would say I used to, but not so much anymore. I think I am much more like riding solo now, like I’ve got it. Yeah, but I definitely still call my dad to, like, change lightbulbs [laughing] not change lightbulbs but you know, help me with building things.
[00:58:45] CHRIS: Sure, that’s fair. I mean, I still call my dad about stuff like that. I’m turning 40 this year. Still I’m like ‘dad’ –
[00:58:53] CALLER: See? So I don’t feel that bad.
[00:58:55] CHRIS: ‘Dad, how do I do this?’ I’m still doing that. I’m 40 years old, 40-year-old guy. Got nothing to do with the demographics. That’s just what they’re there for, right? That and bad jokes. Now – [Caller mumbling] No, you what? Say it.
[00:59:11] CALLER: Nothing, not important. Go ahead.
[00:59:13] CHRIS: Now you’re watching these twins. Sound like sweet kids. So their parents are still working in the pandemic where they need a nanny.
[00:59:22] CALLER: Yep. I would say not as much, but yes, still working.
[00:59:28] CHRIS: Wow. That’s good for them.
[00:59:30] CALLER: Because food is like, it’s still considered essential, at least in New Jersey, like food places. And they run a like, vegan restaurant.
[00:59:45] CHRIS: That is necessary, during a pandemic. Lord knows I still appreciate the ability –
[00:59:50] CALLER: Yeah, vegans gotta eat too.
[00:59:52] CHRIS: Yeah vegans gotta eat too, you can’t have this thing where you know, where the shelves are empty and people are hoarding stuff. And then you’re vegan, you get to the supermarket and the only thing left is bacon and cheese.
[01:00:05] CALLER: Yep. Actually, those are gone too.
[01:00:08] CHRIS: Bacon and cheese are probably the first things to go. I’ve actually been laughing hard because you know, I eat fish still. My wife is a vegetarian and she started – she pointed out pretty quickly into it of like you notice, even when the almond – even when the regular milk is gone – there’s still a few cartons of the almond milk left on the shelf.
[01:00:32] CALLER: No one’s taking the almond milk. And you know what? I went to the store the other day to get a couple of things. All the tofu was still there.
[01:00:38] CHRIS: Yeah. If you want to –
[01:00:41] CALLER: I even grabbed some. I grabbed tofu.
[01:00:43] CHRIS: Yeah, we have – it was not hard for us to find like plant-based kielbasa. We have a bunch of that with us. Turns out that people will still not eat fake meat products. Even in the middle of an apocalypse. That’s one thing I’ve learned.
[01:00:56] CALLER: You know what? I will. I will. No shame.
[01:01:01] CHRIS: Yeah, we’ll all do what we gotta do. No shame in eating the food I eat regularly.
[01:01:07] CALLER: No, no, no. I actually, well, I mean, I eat mostly plant-based anyway. I don’t eat meat. I do eat fish occasionally like you. So what’s that? Pescatarian?
[01:01:16] CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah, pescatarian. But I always feel lame saying pescatarian. I just go, ‘I’m largely vegetarian. I still eat fish.’ And then people say ‘pescatarian?’ I go, ‘I feel lame saying that. But yeah.’ So that’s my deal.
[01:01:30] CALLER: Right, like, fine, whatever. Honestly I do the same thing. I say vegetarian all the time. And they ask that question, ‘isn’t that pescatarian?’ Like okay, Karen. Yeah, fine.
[01:01:40] CHRIS: Oh, wait, did you just say your name?
[01:01:43] CALLER: No, no, no, no, no.
[01:01:44] CHRIS: Oh that was a theoretical name as part of that theoretical conversation. Got it.
[01:01:48] CALLER: Right. Right. Yeah. You know, like a Karen.
[01:01:51] CHRIS: Got it.
[01:01:53] CALLER: You’ve seen the memes, I’m sure.
[01:01:53] CHRIS: Understood. Understood. A Karen meme. Yes, got it. Now, when this pandemic’s over. Get back to real life, your real life is pretty for real. Anything’s on the horizons…anything on the horizon you’re excited about? I want to know, do you go out with friends? You got any vacations coming? I want to hear. I want to hear the shit that gets you…amped up in the face of a very responsible life.
[01:02:22] CALLER: What I’m looking forward to, you know what, I actually really don’t get out much, but after this, I’m definitely going to. I feel like I’ve never, like, appreciated my friends more than I do now that I can’t see them. Lot of FaceTime calls. Yeah, I saw this meme that – see, look, I feel like that just sounds like you’re using meme in a conversation, I hate that already. I saw this meme that said something like, oh, you know, when all this is over, like, you know, call me to go out. I know I was flaky before, but I promise I’m gonna go out this time. And that’s me.
[01:03:03] CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah, you deserve it.
[01:03:08] CALLER: Yeah. So, I mean, I’m definitely gonna hang out with friends. I’m excited to go to the gym again. Haven’t been able to do that in a couple weeks. So. That’s sad, but that’s what I’m looking forward to. Just like seeing my friends, going to the gym, just kind of doing things normally, being able to walk down to Rook and get a coffee. Things like that.
[01:03:33] CHRIS: We got about a minute left.
[01:03:35] CALLER: Wow, that’s fast. OK.
[01:03:37] CHRIS: I want to let you know something.
[01:03:39] CALLER: OK.
[01:03:40] CHRIS: I’m a new parent and I got a lot of advantages. And I’m aware of that and I’m listening to you tell your story. And you haven’t had some of the lucky breaks I’ve had. And you’ve got actually some duress. And I want you to know that I’m really quite impressed by you.
[01:04:02] CALLER: Thank you. Really appreciate that. And that’s crazy to me because I’m impressed by you. Like I look up to you a lot.
[01:04:11] CHRIS: I’m just some dickhead with a podcast. But thank you. I’m being serious. You’re a fighter. You’re a fighter in a way that I’m like, I got to complain less, and I gotta appreciate more because you’ve been handed some punches and you’ve refused to go down. And that’s, it’s really inspiring.
[01:04:29] CALLER: Thank you. Appreciate it.
[01:04:34] CHRIS: Any closing message to the world or should we just end it there?
[01:04:42] CALLER: I guess in light of all these times, everybody just stay safe, stay healthy, instead of frowning at people when you go out, just say hi and smile, ’cause we’re kind of all in this together. That’s it.
[01:04:59] CHRIS: [music transition] Caller, thank you so much. I’m not lying. I was not lying when I said that with about a minute left. Being a new parent, I think every day about how to do it right, how to do it better, how to give your kids what they need and hearing you talk, tell your story. I’m like, wow, that’s how you do it. Be a little bit more like our caller today. So thank you for teaching me that, and sending so much love to you and your daughter and your partner, and those kids you’re helping to raise, everybody, everybody. They’re all better off having you in their life and I wish you well most of all. Thank you to Jared O’Connell and Anita Flores, working on our new remote system. Thank you so much for all your help and technical wizardry and great feedback, everything. You guys are the best. Thank you Shellshag for the music. Wanna know more about me? Who cares, I’m not going on the road anytime soon, chrisgeth.com. Hey, you like the show? Apple podcast – rate, review, subscribe, really helps. You can get the whole Beautiful Anonymous back catalogue on Stitcher Premium. Stitcherpremium.com/stories for more details.
[NEXT EPISODE PREVIEW]
[01:06:09] CHRIS: [music transition] Next time on Beautiful Anonymous, a guy who really loves parkour talks about parkour for an hour.
[01:06:18] CALLER: I mean, anybody can. I mean, I’ve taught like 6-year-olds, like I said, I’ve taught a 58-year-old woman and it just comes down to you pushing yourself, really. I mean, you can – there are people in parkour who don’t do flips at all. And there are people in parkour that only do flips. It’s really based on what you want to learn. And as long as you’re committed to putting the work in, then you can most likely get there.
[01:06:44] CHRIS: I love that. I love that it’s basic, it’s inspirational, and like many things, it comes down to the hard work.
[01:06:55] CHRIS: That’s next time on Beautiful Anonymous.
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