(The set is a college dorm room. There are two beds and two desks. Each desk has a computer on it and several textbooks. One bed is made, the other is not. The unmade bed has a poster or twelve hanging above it.)
Narrator: Once upon a time, there were two girls who attended Stony Brook University. They had the good fortune of being randomly assigned to each other as roommates freshman year and got along splendidly. Now, still roommates their junior year, they have spent quite a lot of time together and consider themselves good friends despite the nearly constant arguments between them.
Anika majors in anthropology with minors in philosophy and German. She describes herself as a pacifist with an undeniable inner rage which she channels through knitting. She once attempted to start a Daughters of Spock Society; it never caught on.
Evie, a double major in mathematics and physics, moved to the United States from China when she was seven. Despite this, she often finds herself fighting the urge to tell groups of Chinese people speaking Chinese on campus that they are in America now and ought to speak English.
Our story begins on an ordinary day, when ordinary things take place.
(Lights up. Evie sits at her desk on the clean side of the room. Anika enters.)
Anika: Nothing. (throws book bag on floor)
Evie: What are you making me for dinner?
Anika: Zucchini casserole?
Anika: I have made an incredible discovery today.
Anika: I figured out why people in our generation are so lazy.
Evie: Unh. Is this going to be like when you decided you had figured out why guys like breasts?
Anika: No. Well, a little. I blame Durkheim.
Evie: Who's Durkheim?
Anika: Emile Durkheim was a French socialist who said the purpose of education was to reinforce social solidarity. The Durkheim model has the teacher spouting preplanned lessons to students, who blindly accept what the teacher tells them. Asking questions is discouraged. Critical thinking and creativity are undesirable.
Evie: (after an extended pause) Am I suppose to respond to that?
(Evie stares at her)
Anika: Fuck you, Evie. The Durkheim model is used in most American schools. Or at least it was until after the Civil War. Then we went to progressivism and John Dewey's model, where the members of the student group do their own research and then share their findings with their classmates. Dewey's methods encourage curiosity, expound that critical thinking and creativity are tantamount to expanding intellectual capacities, and…
Evie: I'm sorry. Did you just use the word "expound"?
Evie: Who says that?
Anika: I do.
Evie: No one says that except the SAT.
Anika: Anyway, Dewey believed that education should enable the components of democracy. The Dewey model was used from the 1860s until the 1980s, when crime rates skyrocketed and the schools were blamed. So we switched back to the Durkheim model. This is why we seem so lazy in comparison to previous generations, because they were all educated to believe they were the mechanisms of democracy, that they worked for democracy and democracy worked for them. We, on the other hand, have been force-fed blind-faith patriotism and sterilized information.
Our parents are giving us this remnant of their education, leading us to believe that we have power over our own country and whatnot, while the education system is engendering us to believe the government is Big Brother and we ought to take it with a grain of salt.
Evie: You've been working on that speech.
Anika: For over an hour. I wrote it in my Philosophy of Education notebook.
Evie: You know, I don't care. I'm not going to do anything with this information.
Anika: But is it plausible? Is it interesting?
Evie: I don't care.
Anika: Why not?
Evie: I'm not going to have children. I don't need to worry about polluting their brains.
Anika: It's not our children I'm talking about. It's us. We have been indoctrinated with bull shit starting when we were in kindergarten and they told us Columbus discovered America.
Evie: They didn't tell me that.
Anika: Well, not in China. China uses the Durkheim system. What kind of bull shit are they telling kids in China?
Evie: I don't know. I didn't even go to first grade.
Anika: I'm sorry.
Anika: I don't know.
Evie: So what are you going to do about Dewey and Durkheim? The Press might publish your mindless blathering.
Anika: It's not blathering.
Evie: What? Your page-long rant about how Americans don't know anything about geography wasn't rambling nonsense?
Anika: Americans don't know geography. National Geographic did a survey and over 50% of American adults couldn't…
Evie: Couldn't identify the Pacific Ocean on a map. I know.
Evie: You know, you keep complaining that everyone is so lazy and never does anything. What have you done, other than complain and write about it? Which is essentially also complaining.
Anika: I call complaint lines when I'm upset about things.
Evie: Okay. Calling Kellogg's to tell them Pop-Tarts ruined your reality doesn't count.
Anika: The fruit Pop-Tarts are worse for you than chocolate ones! It doesn't make any sense!
Evie: What else?
Anika: I boycott things.
Evie: ConAgra is a multi-million dollar conglomerate. I don't think they're going to notice if you stop buying their products.
Anika: I also sent them a letter.
Evie: Oh! Good job!
Anika: I always forget that you're a parade-rainer.
Evie: I'm sorry. Make me food!
Anika: Fine. I'll make you food.
(Anika exits. Lights down.)
(Lights up. Evie sits at her desk. Anika enters.)
Anika: (throws her book bag on the floor) I saw a poster today that said, "Apartment for Rent. 2 ½ bedrooms." What does that mean?
Evie: What? Like a ½ bathroom?
Anika: I understand a ½ bathroom. It only has a sink and a toilet.
Evie: Maybe it just means it's a really small bedroom.
Anika: Well, that would be a third bedroom. It's still a bedroom. It's just very small.
Evie: It's a ½ bedroom.
Anika: Maybe it's a room with just a dresser in it.
Evie: I think it would be a room with just a bed in it.
Anika: That would be like a ½ bath without a sink or toilet but it has a tub and shower.
(Lights up. Evie and Anika sit in their beds. Evie is watching something in Chinese on her laptop. Anika is reading and taking notes.)
Anika: I've decided that I'm going to have a son and name him Noam.
Anika: Like the linguist, Noam Chomsky. It's such a cool name.
Evie: Yes, but Noam is only cool when it's Noam Chomsky.
Anika: What about when Chomsky was a child?
Evie: He was made fun of.
Anika: A little childhood humiliation builds character.
Evie: Is that why you're going to make them all wear hats shaped like pumpkins?
Anika: Funny hats are excellent for increasing self-confidence and learning how to deal with the negativity of others.
Evie: Your children are going to be warped.
Anika: They have me for a mother. They'll be warped no matter what.
Evie: You could not pay me enough to have babies.
Anika: If someone paid me to have babies, that would almost certain defray their expenses a little.
(Lights up, Anika sitting at her desk typing. Evie enters.)
Evie: You have a paper for class?
Anika: No. I'm writing our generation's version of Common Sense. It won't be nearly as brilliant because I'm not nearly as brilliant as Thomas Paine.
Evie: Not to mention no one will read it.
Anika: This aside, I think it will function adequately as a call to arms.
Evie: Do you really think people will rise up, even if they do read it?
Anika: I hope so.
Evie: Haven't we established this? Our generation is so lazy. So lazy. We don't protest. We blog about things. We join Facebook groups demanding action and then we don't act. We would rather be sleeping or watching TV.
Anika: That pisses me off. Doesn't that piss you off?
Evie: No. Because I agree with them. I would rather be sleeping than writing political dissent.
Anika: I bought a VW bus last summer. Would you march on Washington with me?
Evie: No. What did I just say? I would rather be asleep. Hibernating.
Anika: Jenna would go with me.
Evie: I don't doubt it. And what would the two of you do?
Anika: We would have to get more people, of course, for it to be a march on Washington.
Evie: And they're all going to fit in your VW bus?
Anika: No. Other people will need to drive.
Evie: Then they won't go. Because they're lazy.
Anika: I know. I know they're lazy. And it makes me so mad. Forty years ago, an entire generation rose up and changed America. We could do that. We could rise up and change everything.
Evie: No. No you can't. You and Jenna in a VW bus driving to Washington will not change anything. You could go complain and whoever you complain to will say, "Yeah, yeah. Whatever," and ignore you.
Anika: Way to crush my spirit, Evie. Parade-rainer.
Evie: I'm not a parade-rainer. You need to be realistic.
Anika: When am I ever realistic? I think I'm going to be able to raise four children and send them all to college on a teaching salary. I think I'm going to decipher the next Rosetta stone.
Evie: Why would you want to decipher the next Rosetta stone? The guy who deciphered the first went insane shortly afterwards.
Anika: Actually, he died shortly afterwards.
Evie: Even worse. What are you going to do with this paper you're writing?
Anika: I'm going to print a bunch of copies at a sync site and then leave a stack of them in an empty newspaper rack.
Evie: You can't do that.
Evie: Leave papers in a rack. Those are reserved for published papers.
Evie: The school said so. Only published newspaper can go in those racks.
Anika: Well, if I print my pamphlet and leave stacks of them in places where people can find and read them, it will be a published paper.
Evie: What? No it won't.
Anika: Yes, it will. I've shared it with the public. It is therefore published.
Evie: That's not what I meant. They're meant for student groups who publish papers.
Anika: I'm a student. So, if I put the name of a group across the top that somehow makes it more legitimate than if it didn't?
Anika: That's ridiculous.
Evie: You don't have the power to print things. Or else students would be allowed to write a paper that says really obscene or offensive things and put them in the paper racks.
Anika: Because the Press doesn't print really obscene and offensive things?
Evie: Okay, they do, but they're allowed to do that because they're a newspaper.
Anika: Why does it make a difference?
Evie: If it were just an individual student they could write anything they wanted.
Anika: There's freedom of the press in this country. We're technically allowed to write anything we want in your so-called "legitimate" newspapers.
Evie: Whatever. I'm trying to help you. I'm just telling you that if you leave papers in a newspaper rack, someone will come and throw them away. No one will read them.
Anika: Thank you. I'll get a wire basket and leave it on a table full of papers.
Evie: No one will read them anyway, if it's more than like two sentences.
Anika: Thank you. Despite evidence to the contrary, I would like to believe that there is a little more intelligence and initiative in people than we've seen previously.
Evie: You're setting yourself up to be disappointed.
Anika: I know.
(Lights up. Evie sitting at her desk. Anika enters.)
Anika: (throwing her book bag on the floor) Did you know that they painted the Zebra Path red and white?
Anika: What the fuck? Now it looks like the zebra with Ebola path. I'm going to start a Facebook group protesting it.
Evie: The Mystery Roommate in Room B thinks you're mentally handicapped.
Anika: I was just cutting up plastic grocery bags to make yarn and watching Star Trek. I don't see what's so strange about that.
Evie: You wouldn't. Normal people don't sit around cutting up plastic grocery bags.
Anika: Just because you think it's a stupid idea to knit grocery bags into one reusable, more durable grocery bag doesn't mean it is in fact a stupid idea.
Evie: I don't think it's stupid. I just think it's retarded.
(Lights up. Evie in bed. Anika rushes in.)
Anika: Evie! Wake up! It's nearly two.
Anika: Evie! I'm making cherry pie. Get up.
Evie: (getting up) What?
Anika: I went to see Across the Universe with Jenna. It was amazing. We are going to start a new revolution. We are in the perfect political situation to revitalize counterculture. We have an unpopular war, an unpopular president. Crank up the Beatles and hop in my VW bus. Oh, and I'm naming my second son Jude.
Evie: You're back to that again?
Anika: I will always come back to that.
Evie: I want pie.
Anika: It's not done yet.
Evie: Then why did you get me up?
Anika: It's two in the afternoon.
Evie: It's Saturday.
Anika: I know. Jenna and I went to the movies, and then we bought yarn and groceries. We saw Across the Universe and it was incredible. Everyone was protesting and singing. I want my life to be a musical and I want to partake in massive protests like that. I am totally willing to spend the night in jail in Washington DC.
Evie: No one else is.
Anika: Why not? You know the government is listening to your telephone conversations; they can track your credit card bills and find out where you shop, they censor what we read and hear. It's like 1984, except it's 2007. Someone get angry with me.
Evie: No one will.
Anika: (frustration) There has to be something that will motivate people.
Evie: Make them cherry pie.
Anika: Cherry pie?
Evie: You make excellent cherry pie. Tempt people with pie.
Anika: No one would be willing to go to Washington for cherry pie. People would be willing to go to Washington to protect their civil liberties.
Evie: No. They wouldn't. We all know our civil liberties are in danger. The United States government is detaining prisoners without charging them with anything. They threatened to try The New York Times for treason. They're too lazy to protect their civil liberties.
Anika: Why doesn't that make you mad?
Evie: It does.
Anika: Then stop agreeing with them.
Evie: I'm not.
Anika: You do. Every time we talk about it. I say we should do something. You say you would rather be hibernating.
Evie: I don't care; it doesn't mean I'm not angry.
Anika: You're bothered by something, but not enough to bother to do anything. Apathy and anger don't go together. If you care enough to be truly angry, you aren't apathetic.
If you were angry, you would understand how I feel and why I get so irrational. I think that if other people feel even a fraction of the anger I do, they will be truly upset and they will want to do something. But they don't, and I can't do anything to convince them to care. And it's so frustrating.
I'm going to work on Brian's Christmas sweater.
Evie: He's already told you he won't accept it.
Anika: Brian is being a douche! I am making him a sweater as a gift because he is our friend and I care enough about him to take the time and energy to knit him a sweater with love in the stitches.
Evie: I understand that. But he says he won't accept it because he won't wear it.
Anika: Then I'm going to work on a sweater to give to a random homeless man. I'm sure he will appreciate the gesture more than Brian ever could! (exits)
(Lights up. Anika and Evie sitting at their desks. Music blaring; possibly the Beatles, but preferably the White Stripes.)
Evie: Anika!...Anika! Can we turn the music down?
Anika: Go ahead.
Evie: Anika, why are you doing this? Anika. What is this proving?
Anika: I'm not speaking to you, not because I'm mad at you, but because I am going to finish this stupid Common Sense pamphlet before I go to church on Sunday.
Evie: Why? Why? No one will read it. No one will be nearly as angry as you are. No one will want to march on Washington.
Anika: Because if I believe what you're telling me, I might as well kill myself. If I have to go through the rest of my life living in a broken world and knowing that I am the only one who actually gives a damn... If everything you're telling me is true, everyone else knows that our society blows. It's god awful. But they just don't care. I can't live like that until I'm 80. I've spent 20 years in hell and I can't do it again, must less 3 or 4 more times. I can't change the world alone, and if I can't convince anyone else to help me, I might as well just shoot myself in the mouth.
Evie: Ed Norton it, right in the mouth.
Anika: No. I wouldn't Ed Norton it because I would actually die instead of just killing Brad Pitt.