Maugie Ronsoon’s Midlife Crisis Comes Home

I am the sole West Sider.
Do you know if this is the right place to live?

I’ve been interning since the age of twelve; I’ve been trying to achieve. I work too hard in everything.
So I’m here now. I’m thinking about moving back here. I don’t know how I’ll feel if I do return.

He tells me I look like someone he knows. I tell him I’ve been coming to A Fine Chaperone since I was a kid. I tell him I’m hunching over the matzo-ball soup because I’m afraid it’ll spill. He tells me he can see that. Shit, my hair is in the soup. The broth is still perfect, a sharp yellow. 

Let’s go to the Park.
Someone stops me on the street. They think I’m someone they know. I ask if this person is also having a midlife crisis. People tell me that’s what I’m having, but I’m only forty-four. When I get feelings late in the night, I accept the floundering truth. . .I’m ready for change.
Over there,
was the music store I used to go to all the time.

I came to the park a week ago,
Someone told me look like someone they knew.
Maybe, I should put my sunglasses on.  
I’ve been told I’m having a midlife crisis, but I’m only forty-four years old. I say it too, when I get feelings late in the night. Feelings at forty-four, they’re only acceptable until forty-three.
You’re married to—No, I interject. Oh, they apologize. They swore they thought I was someone they knew.

This is where I was last week. I rested on the grass to feel if the city was still home.
I can only tell you it felt right, even if I never suspected it’s where I’d be, I can’t feel the physical ennui.

Do you know where I can find an apartment?
I’m craving a latke.

Maugie Ronsoon’s Midlife Crisis Comes Home is inspired by and satirizes an interview Naomi Fry (from The New Yorker) had with music producer and d.j. Mark Ronson last year, titled Mark Ronson’s Midlife Crisis” (in the physical copy of the issue, the title reads “Homecoming”). Fry gives Ronson the room to explore and explain the reasons that made him return to the Upper West Side.

Interviews that evoke a dreaminess are always intriguing to me because there is an illusion of familiarity a good interviewer will craft. There is a dreaminess to Ronson, an attribute I find often arises in interviews with artists. Ronson is cast as a smoky, electric, sad, triumphant, and magnetized light that pulls the reader in. When his words reveal thin slices of himself, his openness and vulnerability is surprising. Yet, I don’t know him. So does the attraction arise simply out of the portrait Fry paints, or even, not just Ronson, but any subject tries to deliver of themselves?

I wanted to find out, to conduct an experiment. I wrote Maugie Ronsoon from the perspective of a forty-four-year-old woman who only expresses her feelings starkly, without any flourish. But who did you imagine the speaker to be? How do the words make us feel, how does it paint the speaker? What do the words sound like coming out of a woman’s mouth—does anything change—does the attraction go away? How does the attraction change? Or does it depend on gender? How does knowing one’s gender shape our perception of them? Would the implications of what the subject said be perceived or read differently? What is the dreamy quality dependant on?

Maugie comes from Maug, it is what a doorman used to call Ronson because he didn’t understand what his name was through his British accent. This intrigued me because I wanted to know who Maug could be, it is someone no one knows, an unrecognizable name. An unknown.

Header image design by Orly Zebak.

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