A bright,indulged,yet lonely only child became an orphan one hot June afternoon long ago. He vowed he'd escape his situation, get to Hollywood, become a writer, and have it all. He did just that: but to his surprise discovered it was only the beginning.
I've neglected this blog in lieu of other interests. It's not easy keeping a blog, I've found. Plus, other factors (continued lack of full time work, financial worries) tend to knock enthusiasm for most everything into a hat.
And that's so contrary to my usual happy-go-lucky, we can do it attitude, that it adds more worry on an overloaded, insomniac brain.
But I remain thankful for the ability to learn more about myself and the world around me, every day.
This was perhaps one of the more low key Thanksgivings I've celebrated in 49 years.
My friend Brian and his sister Sally arrived as planned around 16:45, and I was just finishing up a crying jag with a friend in Mexico. I pulled myself together and we headed down to Mid-Wilshire and the Bounty. I'd called Ramon, the owner, earlier to make sure there was not a surging crowd ahead of us. Business there was steady, and my friends seemed to like it. I hoped Kapri would join us but she was deep into watching Guns N Roses videos njomrorrancyherself tomorrow.
As Thanksgiving 2011 passes into the history books, I sit at
the dining room table; ostensibly proofreading my novel but distracted by web
surfing Ralph Lauren and the Apple Store. My grandmother's mantel clock chimes
the hour: it's trusty off-key chords recalling memory upon memory. A cat snores
until my hand caresses his soft black coat. The flickering vanilla candle
serves as a request to the universe for guidance, and its scent complements the
bowl of Haagen-Daas Bananas Foster I've devoured. Peace wraps around me like a
bear hug: then I remember something I forgot to do.
I assume that all of us have many challenges, fears and
concerns that we keep to ourselves about these unusually fast times we are
living in. Yet, we 'show up' here most days, sharing what is working for us,
what milestones to recognize (or deny), soliciting opinions, laughing,
supporting, looking to the future, and yes, recalling events, people and places
gone from this dimension but safe and protected in the vault of our memory.
Whether we share Texas, California, ancestors, descendants, exes, beds, crazy
bosses, crazy co-workers, acting, writing, apartments, homes, enemies,
Longhorns, Bruins, churches, covens, volunteer activities, secrets, Greek
tragedies, happy endings or plans to rule the world, please know that I am
extremely grateful for all that you bring to my life.
Saturday night: it seems I fell asleep with my glasses on & damaged the right temple. At least that's my guess. I was exhausted from cleaning the house, the ongoing lack of job opportunities, my cat's health etc. I had 7 loads of laundry to do, and had the last bit in the dryer when I came upstairs.
I had finished a hot shower and was in a robe and slippers when I went back to the bedroom to stretch out for a second while my bedspread tumbled in the dryer. A few minutes quiet after my tomato soup with crumbled Gorgonzola cheese was all I needed.
Poof! Saturday at midnight was now Sunday 7AM. My glasses were on my nightstand but the right temple was now hanging at an odd angle. I was furious at myself, yet not sure how they ended up on the stand.
Today's list included going over to the Lenscrafters I've used for years, and their deteriorated service had me prepared to a) pay some amount and b) not be surprised if the style was out of stock. Like my purchase of my iPhone 3GS ...not aware the 4S was hitting stores three days later (I'd have ponied up for the 4) This is my trend in buying anything anymore.
I was not prepared for Lenscrafters 100% turnover in people --not a good sign--and when I showed the manager on duty my crumpled specs she immediately went on the defensive, raised her voice and stated 'they weren't responsible for my error'. Absolutely the worst response to a problem. It opens the door of confrontation with what might as well be a WWF bell at midget wrestling. Clearly this manager had not been trained in conflict. I could have gone from being prepared to pay, to adamantly refusing. And forget contacting another store for the frame. 'They won't even take my calls' she announced. Hmmm. I wonder why.
With amazing powers of restraint and negotiation: I remained calm and got my cost down to $125. They now have to check with Polo Ralph Lauren as the frame I bought 4 months ago is now discontinued ('Quality control on the temples slow the selling?' I quipped?) If no longer available, they'll replace them with a comparable at no charge.
While the manager looked in every drawer for a replacement frame, apparently fearful I was going to explode, I wandered around, looking at all the 'branded' eyewear: Tiffany, Burberry, Prada, Brooks Brothers(Lenscrafters' owner is the father of the owner of Brooks Bros, a past beneficiary of my talents), Anne Klein and the like. I mean, what 'is' a Tiffany frame to the consumer? Silver? Stained glass? No, a blue box. What a stretch.
I thought of people who are blind, or with vision worse than mine, who couldn't ever afford the jacked up licensing fee-infused basic human need.
** Sunglasses are an a different issue: a true accessory and I'd invest in that category.
But spectacles? I thought how utterly ridiculous these overpriced frames were: a spectacle of waste. And a service ethic not at all in sync with the product.
I'm not sure where my next pair of glasses will come from, but I am through with 'designer' eyeglasses. I've donated all my old pairs save one for the earthquake kit and a spare I have on now to the Braille Institute. The $125 I didn't plan to spend became lunch at Taco Bell on Riverside with a view of Warner Bros. water tower. Delicious alfresco dining.
I thought back to July and how Lenscrafters courted me to join them. I may be stubborn and I am indeed but I am through with these talk the talk but not walking the walk. Shame on us.
In high school, we competed in statewide speech tournaments and one act plays. I have my 1978 All Star Cast Award on my bookshelf presented for my excellent portrayal of a bratty nuisance(no comments on Art Imitates Life; a stack of ribbons from tournaments long ago are in a box somewhere.
One of the plays we of Antic Spring competed against was Thornton Wilder's The Long Christmas Dinner which is a generational study of 1 family, told over 90 meals in 35 minutes. It mesmerized me, because of losing my parents before I was 1 and the search for that drvvu; being the defacto historian for the few relatives who survive and care about our family history. and because of the supernatural element of it all.
My new tenant seems very happy to be here and is rebuilding her network of friends from scratch (I gather). Many of her pals are from the international set and life in Los Angeles is not easy for those born here. I can't imagine arriving here from another country and having to adapt to so much. But this Miss has balls, but I know how very lonely, lonely can be.
A party she planned here on Friday night was scrapped, and she was disappointed that of the 15 people she invited over tonight, only 4 actually showed. I would choose quality over quantity but I had no plans to lurk or leer. They were going up the block for sushi and I must say I had fun explaining that a 20:00 starting party time in Los Angeles woiuld mean 21:00 arrival times.
The three that arrived byu 21:30 were clever, polite and they mixed well: represent Poland, Sweden, Finland and Austin, Texas. l made myself available but did not weasel my way into their conversations on music, karmic debt or that apparently my writings have been popular enough to merit translation into Polish. I excused myselfas the gears began to slow. I was ready to call it quits and retire for the night. but I'd committed to meeting a friend for a late supper.
The temperarture had dropped and I grabbed my houndstooth jacket from the closet to head out when the most suprising and shocking realization came over me. This was the first party in the apartment I had not planned, produced and populated. It would not be the last either. A generation had happened since I'd left Houston in1988. Tomorrow's leaders sat in my my living room, discussing the 'good vibes' the apartment gave them, appreciating my decorating style and marveling at my assortment of booze, books and the sight of the moon rising high above the balcony. Years and years from now, would these three recall tonight? Would they recall me?
My tenant candidate, a young guy from NYC has been turned down by the building for my extra room. I am now petrrified. The girl who I'd met and liked appears to be going downstairs to her own unit. I can pay the rent solo again, but that wipes me out at the same time.
Brian came over to take me for another Birthday dinner at El Coyote and the food was delicious. Brian is going to be 'babysitting' me again tomorrow to help me tackle so much of what I need to do. First, we are going to the Hollywood History Museum as Brian hasn't seen the Jean Harlow exhibit, and there is a Lucille Ball exhibit going on now also.
I feel like alot is working in my favor. But, right now, even with my the inherent knowledge that a greater force is looking out for me, and that I am so very blessed; the tears roll down my face. I feel so very alone.
Dallas Texas, where I was born, remains in my mind an eclectic city, with room for everyone. You could be 'queer' \, you just didn't talk about it. You didn't have to speak English, or go to Dr. Criswell's First Baptist Church Downtown. Perhaps this sophistication is due to Neiman Marcus and the annual 'fortnight' which showcased a different country. And maybe that is how the Hare Krishna's were accepted.
Kalachandji's was my idea of a really cool place to go for dinner. It was just off the lobby of the Dallas Temple. Yes! I couldn't tell you were a synagogue was: still can't. The place was just the essence of magical. I can still conjure up the smells of incense, the life sized wax figure on the altar, and the healthy delicious food.
Jump ahead to last Wednesday, when I met my writing and yoga and brainstorm in slacks teacher at brand new but utilitarian settings for Golden Bridge Yoga, where Sting goes when in town. We didn't sample the food: I was in Whirling Dervish mode from finances. Like any good guru I guess, my teacher listened, asked questions and gave me, besides a new chant, she restored hope. Because when I'd parked outside, I was accosted by a beggar...no other word will do, and I found myself screaming. My safe little world with the yellow convertible was collapsing amid bad economic times and what I fear will become civil unrest.
I meditated on the words, I put the chant my iPhone. By the weekend I was so worried I stopped eating and just tried to sleep. While I can say goodbye the apartment with the unpaid rent, not as easy dumping the car that served another version of my life, I don't know that walking away from it 'all' is correct.
Saturday morning, with all that is going on around me, I did take time for breakfast at the Village Coffee Shop, which is tucked inside the 'gates' of Hollywoodland. It's an inexpensive oasis up Beachwood Drive. My delightful waitress came over in just a few minutes. "What can I get you?"
"A job", I replied, grimacing as I remembered this was the line Joan Crawford says to Eve Arden in MILDRED PIERCE.
Cheery waitress: "You can have mine." We continued this patter and I squeezed my order for crispy bacon, scrambled eggs, grits and white toast.
Then, I begin chanelling Greer Garson or Loretta Young with this "No matter how bleak my life may be...I've found that there others who..."
BLEAK? I look at my Ralph Lauren shirt, my Brooks penny loafers, and want to kick myself. Breakfast was about 10 bucks. And delicious.
When I look back from the place I feel I am now.....on the river bank trying to cross to that next adventure and embracing change, and the future, I will remember this summer with music by Amy and Adele....Gifted singers but with such different life circumstances. I see both of them in myself: freespirited and artistic yet mournful. It was this time last year I was fretting over my trip to Wisconsin. I knew Jeffrey would be the perfect host, and he was. I can't look back at that trip right now. I've deleted the pics and videos.
So, on this day, after wandering through the wilderness in search of myself, I decided to grow up a little and figure my way out of the Canyon of the Dolls. I've had it with so many things, mostly my own stubborn refusal to sprout wings and fly on to the next adventure. I can only blame myself, but I'm over blame.