Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How to Pull off a Scene with a Complete Bitch

I was called back for a second audition in a teaser (a trailer of a feature film not yet made, seeking financing). It is under the guise of a supernatural thriller but the story has more to do with the Armenian genocide.

I would be the lead . . . of course.

When I went in for the call back, it was just me and the other lead actor (playing my husband), who either wrote or wrote and produced it. I am not sure of his exact role, but it seems like he is as involved as the director. Also, he is an acting teacher at the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute (a school for acting).

We went through the lines and talked about it for a bit. I had to head out to a comedy show immediately afterward- but the second audition ended up taking 40 minutes. Ugh. Of course. When I have no where to go after an audition, I am in and out like a teenage Mormon.

I told him I had heard about the Armenian genocide, but didn't know much about it other than the Turks don't acknowledge it.

He said, "It was horrific. Now you go to Turkey and the people apologize for it left and right. It was horrible, I mean what my great grandparents went through makes what the Jews went through look sweet."

My face contorted. I am so late for the comedy show. Abe is in the car in the parking lot. Em and her hubby are waiting at The Improv for us. The clock is ticking . . . but I can't leave that on the table.

He said, "To be taken to a camp and then gassed to death would be a cake walk compared to what they went through."

I said, "Well, a lot of Jews were experimented on. I mean . . . there were a lot of methods of torture."

He said, "True, but you know what I mean."

You say tomato [tuh-mey-toh] I say tomato [tuh-mah-toh]. Its all genocide at the end of the day, right?

I said, "The stories I hear from Africa are beyond the imagination. Definitely, the worst things I have ever heard."

He said, "Oh yeah, I have a friend who is a politican. He is one of the nice ones, and he says that the government purposely severs aide to the continent. Not because they don't have it, but to keep the population from exploding. There is plenty of food. They are dumping crates of grain into the ocean to keep the prices up."

I could feel the air suck out of my lungs. I believe it. I fucking believe it.

Then he grabbed my hand and looked into my eyes.

"Ok, lets do the scene one more time. Let's get close. Its hard getting close."

I said, "I know, even in real life its hard getting close." I thought about Abe, and how the honeymoon period seemed much easier to wrap my heart around. Now that we are in the trenches of a relationship, I can feel myself afraid to let go entirely.

He said, "Oh I know, but I mean in this scene. Its hard getting close." Looking into my eyes, I shut up and did the scene. Just shut up and do the scene. Thats my motto.

I got the part last week and scheduled a rehearsal with them for this morning.

When I showed up, there was another actress there. She was smaller, older, unusual looking. She was very friendly to me and asked, "Are you the costume girl?"

I said, "No. I am the lead."

She said, "Oh . . . but I read with another girl who was the lead. You mean Annie?"

I said, "Yes. Maybe you are thinking of call backs."

She laughed, "No. It was a rehearsal."

Alright, bitch. You want to play this game? We can dance this dance.

I casually sipped my latte and said, "Well, they cast me last week but maybe I am second choice. That's fine. I don't mind. You gotta pick who you think is best for the role."

She grew silent then said "Cause I know I read with another woman who was Annie."

This bitch wasn't going to let it go. I ignored her. We did the scene and I was not off book. I am so fucking exhausted, I can't keep my eyes open at night to read through and memorize lines. Even if I did, I assure you, I would forget them by the morning.

Now, if I had more time, I could be well rested and have time to read the whole script. I am full time at Doggie Daycare for the rest of the month. (How am I staying up late to write this blog you might ask?)

Truth be told, I can memorize lines very quickly which has made me lazy. My ability to accomplish things quickly puts me in the habit of procrastinating. What can I say?

They noticed I wasn't off book. I was embarrassed. It may even seem that I didn't read the scenes until this morning. It seemed that way because I actually read them for the first time off my iPhone while driving into Hollywood that morning (which took an hour). GRRRRRR!

We got through the first scene and it was too polite. I am supposed to be pressing her for answers about a family secret and then connect with her when she finally opens up. She is the maid, I am the mistress.

We got up to do it, and she claimed the dialogue was too expository to sell as "natural." She started trimming the lines herself and threw up a loud protest to my stage husband when he offered to throw her a line during rehearsal. She said, "I don't want you to confuse me, because I have already changed the lines to make them sound more believable."

Dude. What a bitch.

We were having a hard time getting mean, she was so timid in the scene. They asked us to be over the top. I came in and improvised a few lines that involved the word "fuck" over and over. Her business was to wash dishes during the scene. She kept miming washing the fucking dishes so I slammed my hand down and kept screaming, "Put down the fucking dishes and TELL ME!!!"

She exploded, "Shut up, you fucking bitch!" Spit flew from her mouth and I could see she wasn't really acting.

We did the scene and it erupted into the level of anger and surrender we needed- but somehow we had to get to a place near the end of the scene where I have her head in my hands and then hold her. Hold this bitch? I don't care how talented of an actress you are, that is rough when dealing with little Miss Tude'.

I pulled her aside and apologized if I pushed her and explained it was just for the scene. She said, "Well, you just started improvising lines so I thought I should just improvise lines, too."

At least I am not REWRITING THE SCRIPT!

I said I was having trouble feeling like I could touch her at all during the scene, so I asked to hug her. Instead of waiting for an answer, I just hugged her. It was awkward. She didn't hug me back. Then I touched her head and said, "I am supposed to touch your head in the scene, but I don't know how to do that."

Miss Tude shook my hand out from under her head and said, "Don't worry, if I don't want you to touch my head, you won't touch my head."

Cunt. Jesus. YOU AREN'T THE LEAD!! GET OVER IT!!!

I excused myself to grab some tissue out of the restroom to blow my nose. When I came back, conversation between the director, Stage Hubby and Miss Tude suddenly halted.

Director, "We are just discussing how she wasn't sure if you were the final Annie."

I said, "I told her I was the real Annie." Then I shrugged my shoulders and cackled. Oh yeah. CACKLED! The director laughed and said he liked my confidence.

I shrugged my shoulders again. What the fuck!?

We did the scene again, and this time, at the pivotal moment in the scene where anger melts into sympathy, I just hugged her and cried. Oh yeah. I cried. Tears!

The director applauded. I told them I fucked up my lines. They said it was perfect. They asked
us how we felt. I looked at her, she looked at me.

I said, "Pretty good, you know. Still a little awkward."

My Stage Husband said, "Well, it needs to feel awkward to work as a scene."

I nodded and smiled. Miss Tude looked at me with a smile and said, "I am just really uncomfortable."

Um.

They told her it was working, that being uncomfortable was helping the character. She raised her voice and kept going on about how her self esteem wasn't where it needs to be (probably because they gave her direction and didn't dismiss her as perfect out the door) then I tuned her out. I don't know what else she said because I was trying to make sarcastic eyes with my Stage Husband. His stared straight forward, he wasn't going to indulge me.

They comforted her and assured her. Pish posh. The woman is upset because of the same reason most women are upset around me. Its because I am genetically superior. Now, I don't mean I am better looking necessarily, though in this case that is a hands down YES I AM. My physical qualities might be more pleasing to a potential mate, but in addition to that, my body is ideal for childbirth and I have no history of disease in my family. Everyone in my extended family outlived their friends and ended up dying at a very old age of something like a car accident.

Nature has intended my genetic strain to thrive. Miss Tude, however, is meant to die alone in the forest.

Now, Abe will say, "Babe, you can't just go around saying that you are genetically superior."

I don't know why not, when bitches are just going around treating me like shit as if that is some kind of token at the toll booth of ugly.

She left. I heard her feet scuffle out the door like a rat rushing out of daylight.

The Director and Stage Hubby assured me she confused her call back with a rehearsal and there was never another Annie. I said, "I would imagine you wouldn't have time seeing as you cast me last week, a couple days after the second audition. Not that it matters, but it was still inappropriate to say to me before a rehearsal."

Stage Hubby, "Very inappropriate. You have to be careful in this town with your reputation. I probably wouldn't cast her again. She is perfect for this role though. The thing is, if a director asks you to stand on one foot and do the scene, you don't ask why. You stand up on one foot and do the scene. Lee Strasberg said, 'This isn't a democracy. The stage is totalitarian. There is no conversation. For all intents and purposes, I am God."

That's why I always say, "Just shut up and do the scene."

We went through a husband/wife scene where I push him for answers to the family secret. It felt good. I was given permission to experiment. I played with his arm hair and gazed into his eyes. Felt blood rush to my cheeks when I scolded him.

In the middle of the scene, he didn't come back with a line. He just looked and me and smiled. I smiled back, we were obviously no longer in this scene.

Stage Hubby, "I was just thinking this is why I married you. You are so beautiful. That's just what I was thinking right now in the scene."

I thought about this. He was identifying why he would marry the real me and make me his wife. I might get confused about the moment if he wasn't 15 years older than me (like all my stage husbands) and also in a relationship with someone else. It made me feel at ease, it was weird. I felt comfortable.

We found ourselves in the scene, and it was great. You know, the acting thing sometimes is the only thing I can do right (outside of writing this blog and having sex with Abe). Its strange that I have only discovered that now.

We finished and they both walked me to my car. The Director said, "The only thing I am concerned about is you two being off book."

Stage Hubby, "I always tell my students, know your lines backwards and forwards before walking on set."

I bit my lip. They weren't looking at me, they were looking at each other, but they were talking to me.

I said, "Its easy for me to get off book. I will be on Friday."

The director said, "This is an independent production, so we won't have time to learn lines on set."

I smiled but thought about the two early morning shifts I am working up until production. And, I am rescuing another dog tomorrow after work. Shit.

They nodded and hugged me.

I kind of beat myself up about it on the ride to work. I should have known my lines. I am just so tired.

You know what made me feel better? (I mean besides a blow off the pipe and a huge doberman pincher standing between my legs all afternoon) . . . that last scene in "8 Mile":

Cheddar Bob
Yo where you headed, Rabbit?

Jim
I gotta get back to work, yo-

Sol
(Laughs)
C'mon, dawg. I told that girl from the laundromat who wasn't that good lookin' we'd meet up with her late- I need a second opinion, yo-

Cheddar Bob
Yeah. We gonna get all the hot bitches now you won, Rabbit!

Jimmy (keeps walking) Fuckit.
(to Cheddar Bob)
I'm, late for work, yo. I'll see you guys tomorrow-

Jimmy and Future walk down the street together.

Jimmy
Yo Fuche, you ever seen a horse before?

Future
You mean the four legged kind?

Jimmy
Yeah.

Future
Why?

Beat

Jimmy
Fuckit, man- I gotta run.

Jimmy says goodbye to the Future, and takes off running down the street. On his own.

Away from his friends.
Away from the crowd.
Away from the club.

Running by himself down the dirty streets of Detroit. Heading in the opposite direction of everyone else.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Scam-tastic!

The first day of stand up comedy class, the teacher asked to do a brainstorming exercise; what do actors and prostitutes have in common?

There were the obvious answers: "Do anything for money" "Fake it." "Use Craigslist to find work"

My answer was, "They both get head shots."

Like most of my humor, I say things that sound perverted though I haven't thought them through all the way yet.

A head shot is an 8X11 glossy picture of yourself with your filmography and contact info on the back. You submit head shots for auditions and present them at auditions. Its the actor's equivalent to a resume.

When I first decided to give acting/modeling a go, I showed up to an interview downtown October of 2009. I was submitting for various jobs to get the hell out of the homicidal-suicidal assistant job.

The voicemail I received was confusing, it was asking for a couple pictures and your resume. I didn't remember sending off to a model/actress ad, but that was for fear of rejection. The fact that someone was reaching out for me to come down was exciting.

I showed up to a very posh lobby and was buzzed up to the 3rd floor, NeVon Management. Surrounded by chubby teenage girls, I was called in to speak to a woman around my age, very plain, with her hair pulled up in a bun. She asked me if I was there for a job or as a model. I decided to say I was there as a model. I saw a slight smile roll over her face.

She told me they were looking for mature models for Sunset Magazine, and other adult female periodicals. She offered to represent me and advised that I start out with modeling and then take a class or two in acting. If I liked it, to slowly transition into acting but avoid reality TV.

To kick off the process, I had to schedule an appointment for a photo shoot so they could make my zed card. A zed card is the model's version of a head shot. It is smaller than a head shot, but has four different pictures of you including all your measurements and stats.

I googled NeVon and couldn't find very much on them. Some comment threads in message boards started with a question, "Hey, has anyone heard of NeVon management? Is it a scam?" No answers.

I found a girl who had NeVon mentioned on her modeling website and emailed her. She said that she was looking to switch agencies and management, but was sticking with NeVon for the time being. So I thought, "Why not? Everyone needs a stepping stone."

Not-for-Profit and I were living together and happen to be in a calm period. He wasn't spending all of his nights in our Hollywood place, but he was showing up to talk to me and help with the dogs. He still gave me his half of the rent. The combined income took some stress off my cash flow, so I invested in a stand up comedy class, a French class and, now, this photo shoot which would cost me about $250.

I had an appointment with the NeVon stylist who picked through all my clothes to assemble two outfits. Also, I was to find examples of photos in magazines that I wanted to use for a look.

I showed up to a photo shoot in an industrial area of downtown Los Angeles. There were lots of girls and boys; all shapes, all sizes, all ages. There were ultimately two sets they were using, one was an industrial wall and the other was an outside brick wall. I brought in my examples from magazines and reported to hair and make-up. The women working there were not happy.

While violently brushing my hair, they told me they had been working since 6am without a break. That they had not provided with any water or food and the building wasn't air conditioned. They also communicated that they would never work with NeVon again.

I did my first shoot outside. I was self conscious about not having any nice shoes, so I told them I forgot to bring any. They photographed me barefoot.

It was a mess. The stylist who picked out my clothes was the only person from the company orchestrating, so she was totally overwhelmed. I was the second to the last person slotted to shoot and felt like I was in a sweaty, boring purgatory. Nobody would talk to me.

I took control of my own photo shoot, and coordinated with the second photographer on my own. The whole thing was a cluster fuck.

When I came in a week later to discuss photos, they told me there was another $250 printing fee. This was alarming. I shook my head and told her I had no idea about an additional printing fee. She stared at me with a frozen expression. I slowly pulled out my debit card and handed it to her.

Another red flag was they were showing up as "Red Alert Modeling"on my bank statement for the charges. I did more research, other users on various message boards assured those of us concerned that the company simply changed their name from Red Alert to NeVon.

So I saw it through . . . I called up continually for a couple of weeks until I got my zed cards. When I came to pick them up, I wasn't thrilled. Its hard looking at yourself. Its makes me very uncomfortable. The only time I like the way one of my pictures look is when it doesn't look like me at all. A strange phenomenon to want to take pictures of yourself but not look at them.

That said, the general feedback from people outside of NeVon was I looked a little overweight. I was 5'9 1/2 and 138 lbs. Around that time, I put myself on the no carb diet. Working out just made me hungrier, so I put myself on protein bars and trail mix for a few months until I got down to 129 . . .130. Now in pictures I look kind of curvy, but in life I am getting pretty skinny. In fact, I haven't been this skinny since before puberty.

So, I waited to hear from NeVon about jobs and called to follow up. They directed me to their website, which required extra membership fees depending on the features. I built the basic page that required no fee . . . and never heard from them again.

Bye, bye $500.

The cinematographer on a documentary I made a few years ago was now living in Silver Lake practicing still photography. Sarah Renard (http://www.sarahrenard.com/) invited me over and said she would take a few shots of me for a very small fee. I came over, she handed me a Red Stripe, and we caught up while she pushed me in corners of her kitchen and living room.

I remember attending a panel where Jim Sheridan was speaking about how he connects to his actors. He said he is able to grab the magic of the person and pull it through the lens by simply loving them. The love comes through the eyes, through the lens and lands on film. He said that's why photos taken on a disposable cameras or off your phone are the most precious, while Yearbook photos and family portraits are often forgotten.

He then said celebrities are a different animal, they want you to love them and hate them at the same time, so its trickier.

I hadn't seen Sarah in years, but I loved her to death. She was the Maid of Honor in my wedding. We were both married then, now both divorced but she had found someone amazing who she loved and was enjoying a comfortable life. That Swede . . .

I hadn't met Abe yet, and was still holding on to Not-for-Profit. When she asked about my love life, I said I was in a 5 year affair with a bi-polar alcoholic. Her response, "What does that say about you?" I don't know . . . what does that say about me?

She got some good shots of me, and decided I wanted two looks, then gave her double what we originally agreed on.

I took the head shots out there with me and built my LA Casting profile with them. Everyone has something to say, "You look older", "It doesn't capture your personality" "You need to smile more." "That's you?" . . . you need a 3/4, you need a full body, you need a commercial, a theatrical, a quirky . . . BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH! Gawd, its fucking frustrating.

Now the printing costs with head shots are an equally large sum of $250+ and I could never afford it all at once, so I took the photos to a Kinko's and put together what I call, a 'Poor Man's Head Shot.' They are about $1.60 a piece, I staple them together. It looks like a regular head shot except without my name printed on the front of it (which is standard).

I auditioned for a manager once, Carolyn Silva, who told me that those head shots don't grab anyone's attention and I need one of my smile. She agreed to manage me if I used her referral for a photographer. Well, they were quoting me $300 for a photo shoot (which I never had at one time) and that wouldn't even include the printing fee.

For awhile, I saved the money, then would lose it to bills. I talked to the photographer and discussed scheduling, but the shoot for ANAHEIM was always getting in the way. Then, eventually, I wondered if they wanted to represent me, wouldn't they start with the photos I have first instead of waiting until they collect their referral fee from the photographer? You know those "managers" that prey on newbie actors make a living from a 10-20% referral fees. The head shot business is a big business out here in the L of A, next to acting "classes".

In Silva's case, the yahoo email address should have tipped me off that she wasn't professional.

When I came to the realization that I would never be able to afford head shots from one of these people, I asked someone I worked with on ANAHEIM, a photographer by trade, to grab a few shots of me.

That was a whole fiasco (http://soibecameanactress.blogspot.com/2010_08_01_archive.html)

Those shots were never touched up, but they were free. I looked skinny and the tequila inspired some great poses.

So I have been using them for several months. Even then, my friend, a talent manager, said none of those photos captured my personality. UGGGHHH!

Last Saturday, I had three auditions in one day. The first one was in CAZT, a common casting space in West Hollywood. Usually I catch up on the sides (pages from the script to be read and performed in the audition) via iPhone while I am waiting to audition. It takes me about 10 minutes to be off book unless something throws me off my game.

I showed up and asked for sides. The casting woman didn't even know what sides were, so I explained just as the director, an Arabic middle-aged gentleman, stepped out and asked why I didn't request sides through my audition confirmation. I told him I had a crazy week with four auditions and a call back. Shit happens, you know?

He gave me sides and then made me wait for an hour to audition. AN HOUR! What a fucking asshole! When I got in there, we discussed that this was a teaser to raise financing for a feature version. The log line was a Jewish high teacher helping a Muslim Math Coach in a platonic romance.

For the second time this month, I was asked in an audition, "Are you Jewish?" And I answer, "No, but I'm dating a Jew." Sometimes I throw in, "But my parents think I am Jewish." That's a joke.

Right before I slated my name on the camera and started my lines, the director said, "Because I know you from that other project (I don't remember him) I am going to tell you the formatting on your head shot is way off. It should be in columns, like this." Then he held up someone else's head shot.

The formatting is identical to the one used on the website where they found me. WTF?

He stared at me. I said "ok."

He said, "I am just telling you this as a favor, because I know you. You shouldn't be going out with this. Casting directors would throw this away."

The camera man was staring at me. The co-producer was staring at me. Some other random dude in the corner was staring at me.

I said, "ok."

Silence.

Hey, asshole . . . I am not going to thank you. I hate it when police officers and assholes in general trick you into thanking them for a criticism. This wasn't the time nor the place to give friendly advice. So I gave him "bitch eyes", one of the many valuable talents my older sister taught me while growing up. Head down, eyes up and just the slightest squint as if to say, "What's your fucking problem?" Bitch eyes.

You know what? I still knocked out that audition.

The Co-producer, a woman, said, "You have very expressive eyes. Its very intense."

I smiled and thanked her.

The director, "Isn't it funny how women look at the eyes?"

Well, where the fuck were you looking?

I am beginning to realize that my sex appeal only comes across with my personality and is more relatable to women. I wonder if that is why I haven't been cast in a few things. An old friend from film school said he would never cast a woman in his project he wouldn't want to have sex with.

I remember auditioning for a feature film about a couple that is cornered by middle class life, rack up their credit cards to do everything they want to do and then kill themselves. After the audition, the female producer said, "We will definitely be calling you." I never got called back for it. My quirk isn't the Scarlet Johansson Playboy picture every director is holding out for.

Back to my Jewish/Muslim audition: after the co-producer and director bickered about whether or not to bring in another actor for me to read with, I was released to my next audition in Corona. This audition was for a Bridal Gown print ad.

It took me 45 minutes to get out there. My finger nails were short and dirty. Band-aides were wrapped around four of my fingers, three were burned when I picked up a hot pot and the fourth was slammed in a gate a few days later. I am very tired these days.

I watched another actress slowly climb the marble steps up to the property and looked at my reflection in my car. I don't have the long black coat, the black boots and the smokey eye make-up. If someone is going to cast me, its because they see me. Not because they see a canvas, because they see a character.

The audition was in what appeared to be an unfinished guest house on a ranch. I heard a man and a woman inside, pitch to the girl in front of me. "He's having a special. $175 for the entire head shot package."

The actress asked, "How many looks?" He said, "One." She left and went out in back to take a few stills with this photographer on the property.

The man and woman asked me to stand in front of the camera, tell me a little bit about myself and why I would be good for the ad campaign.

I asked them for more details on the campaign and they just said, "We want this location to be used for weddings and events, so we are going to make little postcards." Vague, but ok.

I smiled and revealed unflattering personal truths, did my pelvic awkward twirl, made them laugh, my whole "bit". Then, at the end, the guy next to the woman videotaping said, "Your missing your name from the front of your head shot."

I said, "I know. Its a Poor Man's head shot. I just go to Kinko's and pay as I need them."

He said, "Its cheaper to buy in bulk." And then lifted the photographer's business card.

I said, "Oh yeah, but I never have enough money at one time."

The smile faded from his face and his hand swung down with the business card. He said, "Well, if you ever decide to get new ones, you can call him and work out a deal." This was smelling of a gimmick.

I took the card and said, "Do I go out for the still photo shot now?"

He said, "Oh, he is just taking shots to show her what he can do with her look."

I thought, if there was a job in this, the only way to have a shot was to convince the photographer Airic Lewis (I would include his homepage but my computer is telling me it has been reported for suspicious activity) to take a picture of me. Just to keep me present in thought and conversation.

So I waited and spoke to Airic. Even he seemed a little deflated when talking to me.

Airic (holding my head shot), "You aren't going out with this, are you? Casting directors would just throw this away. You aren't looking at the camera. A head shot is something that captures you and has your eyes to the camera lens."

This is so exhausting.

He offered to take a shot with me, but we didn't move around the property. He just had me stand next to a large garbage crate behind the guest house. Why wasn't he taking me up the hill like the other actress? Between you and me, I was traditionally prettier than she was.

He snapped a few photos and then told me to breathe.

I wasn't going to get this job.

He looked and said, "See, these two I just snapped off look a thousand times better than your head shot."

I looked and said, "Yeah . . . those are nice."

He said, "NICE!" Then he shot a few photos and checked the image, muttering to himself, "Excellent. God, everything I do is great. Everything!" Here is where I laughed and he snapped several photos.

People like my smile. I think its retarded because my teeth look like they belong to a 5th grader- but it emotes an innocence that is sometimes there and sometimes not really there at all.

He showed me the pictures. The first few were pretty good. It didn't look like me. It looked like some European woman who would own a condo and clean her car. Your first reaction to a picture of your face is general repulsion. Then you look again and see that its not so bad, in fact its pretty good. Then you wonder, "Do I look like that?"

The pictures fuck with your head. You start to notice imperfections with your skin, your eyes, your expressions. You see yourself age. It makes you a little crazy.

The photographer, "Better, right? And that's with no make-up."

Actually, I was wearing make-up.

I said, "Yeah, I like those but I don't have much money."

The photographer said, "Look, I will give you to these for $50." I'm thinking about it.

I don't know. I wish I had someone give me some honest fucking advice so I could figure out where to go with this next.

The Cobbler

Abe's mother invited me to Hanukkah dinner on the last day of Hanukkah. I asked for the evening off from Doggie Daycare and took an audience job in the middle of the day for Fran Drescher's Tawk Show to pay for a dogsitter and gas.

I woke up late in the morning and only had 2 hours to make the peach cobbler and get to Fran's Tawk Show.

I used my mother's crust recipe since it is vegan, delicious and what I grew up eating. When I think back to what went wrong, the first thing that comes to mind was not chilling the water. For some reason, chilling the water overnight makes all the difference in a pie dough. I forgot the ritual of filling up the glass of water and putting it in the refrigerator before going to bed. Ice chilling or freezer chilling just doesn't work, and my mother warned me of that!

Then, rushed, I beat out the dough but couldn't get the consistency I wanted for 30 minutes or so. When I finally was able to patch together a crust, I stuffed it in the oven for 25 minutes before rushing to Hollywood. Since I preheated the oven, I hoped I could turn off the oven but leave the cobbler in there to cook with whatever heat was trapped inside. Second mistake.

I came back from the Tawk Show and there was a lot of juice. I mean . . . a lot of juice. I drained the peaches before putting them in the cobbler, so I don't know what the fuck. I tipped it over to drain out more peach juice through the crust, while carrying it to my car in the drive way.

Third mistake, I drove with it on the edge of the passenger seat so that one end was slightly higher than the other, as the base of the seat is at a slight angle. I thought if I rotated it around during my commute- it wouldn't get soggy. After 2 hours in traffic, it got soggy. Even with the rotation.

I pulled up to Abe's apartment and parked outside. I sat there. He came out to my car window. I knew we were late. I got out of the car and asked for a cigarette.

Abe, "How was work?"

Me, "Eh, ok. The first time I worked that show, they played music from the 90s. Now, they are back to that Top 40 bullshit. That Katy Perry drives me crazy. 'Daisy Dukes and a bikini top' . . . what is that? A story?"

Abe, "It doesn't make any sense. People like to listen to songs that don't make any sense."

Me (singing), "Daisy Dukes and a bikini top-"

Abe (chuckling), "Well don't make me listen to it. (beat) The cobbler looks good."

Me, "I drove with it on a tilt and I think it made half of it really soggy."

Abe, "No, it looks good."

40 Minutes Later- Abe's Family Home

I walked into Abe's family home with cobbler and a bottle of champagne. The cobbler needed heat and the champagne need chill. Abe's father offered to keep the cobbler in the oven, still warm from the brisket.

As we were all sitting down for dinner, Abe's Mom sang out happily, "Take a picture!"

Abe's father sat down, exhaled and said, "I would rather just use my mind to remember this moment instead."

Abe stood over me and lit the candles standing in a glass menorah, some leaning over too far, others standing straight up like each was a person waiting their turn in line.

I watched him light all eight candles, as he sang, "Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav v'tzivanu, l'had'lik neir shel Chanukah."

I hadn't heard Abe speak Hebrew yet. He already has a deep voice with the faint glass clinking tap-tap-tap of a boy. It felt warm hearing foreign words fall out of his mouth. It was a little unexpected, precious and sexy.

Abe's grandmother and grandfather jumped off a train going to Auschwitz as young adults, escaped to Belgium and hid in someone's attic for a year. There, they fell in love and got married. Something about being that close to the history, sitting at the table and sharing the ceremony with a family that survived inscribes itself along the spine of your soul.

The traditional food for Hanukkah dinner is beef brisket, jelly donuts, homemade apple sauce, potato latkes and kugel (an egg noodle dish that takes on a lot of variations). The only thing I could eat was the latkes, which are essentially potato pancakes specially made vegan for me, and the steamed brussel sprouts, green beans and cucumbers. Kugel must be made with egg noodles, so I will never be able to have it.

Jewish food is very different from Italian Catholic food. This seemed simpler. Some of the recipes Abe's mother talked about required some modern, processed ingredients like 'Lipton's Powdered Ice Tea'. The kugel was made with dry cereal flakes. The food, on its face, looked very basic and almost bland. Abe's family happily enjoyed it. It all has a history, deeper than mine. They are the chosen people, after all.

My mother makes lasagna, ricotta cheese pie, ravioli and cannolis all from scratch. She pounds out the noodles by hand. She insists on cooking every holiday, locks herself in the kitchen and gets incredibly grouchy; burning her fingers on the cannoli rollers and stuffing ravioli shells that break apart at the wrong touch. It didn't take long as a child to figure out that several hours in a hot room with a frustrated Sicilian is the opposite of Christmas delight. The end result, however, is phenomenal.

My "sacred" foods growing up seemed a lot more colorful, heavy, indulgent and angry.

The apple sauce on the latkes was strange, but good. I kept piling steamed vegetables on my plate because they were so delicious. During dinner, Abe informed everyone in the most blase manner possible that there was a wasp nest hanging from the roof, outside his apartment.

His mother, "You've got to get rid of that wasp nest. Right away!"

Abe, "Eh. There are only two left and they know if they go inside they are going to die. I mean, three guys live there. They aren't coming inside, trust me."

His Mother, "What if one gets inside?"

Abe, "Oh well. I'll be fine."

His Mother, "What if it stings you?"

Abe, "Then I'll swat it."

His Mother, "What if it stings you in the eye?"

Abe, "Then I'll still swat it."

His Mother, "What if you are asleep?"

Abe, "Well then I will have to take the chance of it stinging my forehead."

His Mother, "Get rid of it, Abe."

After dinner, Hanukkah gifts were exchanged. Everything was nice, but modest and practical. I thought I would feel uncomfortable with that part of the evening but I didn't. Abe got a new pair of jeans and tried them on for us while we sat at the dinner table.

Abe's Mom, "How do they fit?"

Abe, "Well, they are a little tight in the crotch."

Don't look at me. Don't look at me.

Abe looked at me and smiled.

Then I couldn't help but smile.

There is no way in hell I was going to look over at his parents and brother watch this moment in silence.

Tick. Tock. Tick-

Abe, "Yeah, they are nice though." He reached down and pulled down the crotch.

Don't look at me. Don't look at me.

Abe breaks out a chuckle and looks up at me, blushing.

Dear God.

His brother got boxers with beer and pretzels printed on them. Abe's brother, "Boxers with beer and pretzels. I have still have the green pair you gave me a few Hanukkahs ago. That's ok, this is different beers and different pretzels."


Abe's mother told me about a Holocaust Survivors Cookbook. I laughed. Why did I laugh? Because I am an asshole. I don't know why I laughed. I realized she was serious and showed me the book after dinner. While the men rubbed their bellies and collected the dishes, I skimmed through a couple recipes with old photographs printed along side them. Underneath, each had a story. Horrible stories.



The food is basic in many ways, but it is food that kept the Jews alive so they could protect their bloodline. So they could endure. Their food is about life, not pleasure.

After the meal, we had my cobbler. I don't know what to say, half of it looked soggy when I pulled it out of my car and half of it still looked soggy after pulling it out of their oven . . . if not soggier. Everyone had a piece and I was the only one that finished it. Everyone else was "full". Look, I know my cobbler sucked, ok?

One hour later- Abe's car


Me, "Ok. What about the cobbler?"

Abe, "I bit into it and there was a piece of dough. Like raw dough."

Me, "Oh my God, my cobbler sucked."

45 minutes later- post-coitus:

Me, "My cobbler sucked. I am never cooking again."

Abe, "I've heard that before."

Me, "You would like that wouldn't you?"

The next morning- post coitus:

Me, "My cobbler was God awful. I am never cooking again."

Abe, "I ate the peaches out of it."

An hour later- driving to Midas:

Me, "Tell me one good thing about my cobbler."

Silence.

Me, "There is nothing good about it? It was all bad?"

Abe, "Look, babe, I don't know what to tell you. If you ask me if there are a few things wrong with the cobbler, I have to say there are a few things wrong with the cobbler."

Me, "It was so terrible, there is nothing good to say about the cobbler."

Abe, "I am sure everyone appreciates that you made the cobbler. Everyone liked that you brought the cobbler."

Me, "The idea of the cobbler is the only good thing about the cobbler?"

25 minutes later- at Midas:

Me (putting my hands on Abe's shoulder, staring him straight in the eye): "So what you're telling me is last night was about me smelling like BO and bringing bad cobbler? Is that what happened?"

Abe looked at me and smiled.

You know what? Want to talk about rituals? Lets talk about rituals. I am going to make peach cobbler every year on the last day of Hanukkah for the rest of my life. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Bill Murray Incident

Here is an 11 month old story for my 7 month old blog:

At Sundance this year, I attended a film industry party I had no business attending.

Prior to the party, there was a screening of a movie, Get Low. Just before the movie screened, the director brought out the cast including Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek and Bill Murray. When Bill limped on stage with one crutch, a black suit and black hat . . . my heart stopped. Knowing I would be attending the party afterward, I could feel the voice buried just above my stomach whisper, "uh oh."

Yes, as it turns out- I am hot for Bill Murray. We all grew up with him on screen, no need to revisit his career. One could say he molded my sense of humor. He and my parents fostered my comedy . . . like big, porcelain Russian dolls. That said, the very distinct tingling I felt in all my primary female organs was new for Bill Murray. I have no memory of being at all sexually attracted to him before this moment.

Here he was on stage, everyone roared with applause, and he seemed uncomfortable with the praise.

Later, during the Q&A, he was gracious towards crew, witty with every answer, polite and one could see even from an 800 seat auditorium, that the other cast members respected him, even liked him. My facebook status read, "Bill Murray is poetry in my heart." He was. Amend that: Is.

Fast forward 3 hours, I enter the party wearing a sweater dress I bought during Victoria's Secret semi-annual sale. My feet were wet from snow and I already had two pints of beer in my otherwise empty stomach. I stretched out in front of the fireplace to warm my feet and discuss the business of independent film with a reporter from Variety.

They were serving only quarter glasses of champagne, so I found myself getting up a lot to help myself.

Then, from the fireplace I saw Bill enter wearing a string of red chili pepper lights blinking all around him. My heart sped up. Being a girl, I would bide my time properly. There is an art form to approaching true love, you don't just jump into it as rock songs would have you believe.

I met the director, very kind. We had some Annie Hall banter. Then I met the producer, who just walked up to introduce himself. We had a nice conversation scuffed with some sexual innuendo. Upon our second and more buzzed conversation, I mentioned I was a big Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek fan (100% true). He said, "Who would you rather meet, Bill or Sissy?" Sissy was making her way to the door. I told him I hate to choose, but Bill.

He said, "Bill would love you so much if you walked up to him and held his plate at the buffet table for him." He had recently hurt his knee and was struggling with one crutch. I am ashamed I didn't think of this first.

I walked up to the buffet and picked up a plate. "Need some help?" I offered. Bill was taller than me, which always feels good for a tall girl. I felt myself stretching upward for eye contact. He turned over his shoulder and looked at me. A small smile. "You're cute. Yes, thank you." I was smiling, the type of smile that makes a family photo ten times better than a yearbook photo. The first thing I noticed was how soft his lips looked. I could already sense how they would feel all over my body before any food was put on his plate.

He instructed me on what he wanted, and I had locked into assistant mode. Though I was recently fired from being an assistant, I am good at it. "Very healthy!" I praised.

He then said, "Want to get married?" I said, "Absolutely, when's the wedding?" We went back and forth on it. I called myself his girlfriend and he corrected me, "Fiance." I quipped, "Apologies, of course 'Fiance.'" Bill paused, gazed then smiled. Butterflies dance. This was all over the steamed vegetables.

I walked him to his spot at a bar. He was getting settled in his seat. My buzz was FLARING so please be forgiving of the following events.

I introduced my friend, who excused himself then shot me a look. What was that expression: fear, excitement, wonder? Who knows . . . he knew I was amped up for Bill since before the screening.

I then turned to Bill and said, "Since you are on crutches, is the Aunt Jemima treatment out of the question?" I turned 30 degrees toward the bar to motion my behind for the punch in my joke. This is where I came to know the "Bill Beat." Every time I made a joke, Bill would stop, look at me and then smile. This happened in that exact order the few times I did speak to him. What does it mean? I don't know. I made Bill Murray smile more than three times, that's the jackpot for me.

I returned to our nuptial plans. Me, "I live with lots of animals. I hope you aren't allergic . . . dogs? Cats?"

He said, "Dogs, I am ok. Cats, I have a problem."

I could tell I was losing him to the broccoli now. He asked I sit down and talk to his friend Cary, immediately next to him at the bar.

I moved to Cary and introduced myself. He said he lived in Vegas. I said, "My sister lives in Vegas, do you want me to set you up?" He said, "Yeah, does she look like you?" I said, "No." I thought about what I should follow that up with but came up a little empty, so I just ended that part of the conversation once he took my phone number.

We chatted. I must have been slurring because the two things I remember hearing from Cary the most was "Calm down." and "Drink some water." I am a class act.

Once I obediently left Bill's side to entertain Cary, I noticed a flurry of other, less attractive women, surrounding Bill. I lost my spot in the light with him. I do better with one-on-one's than the group "date" scenario reality TV mercilessly invented.

Fuck those bitches.

I expressed my feelings quite candidly to Cary, who must now think I am insane. I kept insisting I was far more funny than any of these groupies. (I still stand by that)

The evening becomes a blur around this point. I know I anchored myself to Cary for a while, and felt my feet dancing on the floor, eager to expend the alcohol sugar fizzling in my veins.

I remember talking more to the producer, more to the director . . . more with my friend. Each time running for more champagne.

I remember going up to the service table and introducing myself to the bartender and the security guard. Ryan and Jason, they both said. I proudly announced, "I was in love with a Ryan and a Jason at one time" pointing with the same finger wrapped around yet another delicious glass of champagne.

The producer said there was an after-party but he expected something in return for the invite. I told him I was on my period. He laughed and asked if I was serious. I said, "Quite serious." This conversation then made its way to Cary, who laughed and asked if I was serious. And then to some random guy who told me he could smell it. I asked HIM if he was serious. He said no.

I remember rushing up to Cary and making a crack about Asian vaginas. This sounds so crass on paper, but I must assure you . . . its kinda funny. Cary laughed out loud. I could see the fillings in the back of his mouth. He said, "You're funny. You know that's Bill's humor. You two have the same sense of humor."

The sound of these arranged words echoed in my head. Of course. Bill is my soul mate.

I had my eye on Bill throughout the evening. The same group of plump, plain women surrounded him and politely chuckled at his conversation. So undeserving.

Again, I have no memory of most of the conversations I had that night. There is even a picture of me with the director and my friend on the internet, I have no memory of ever being taken.

The alcohol was soaking through us. The director showed me pictures of a Polish girl that broke his heart on his iPhone. The melancholy was taking hold.

Meanwhile, the party was changing, even building into a totally other kind of party. More people none of us knew.

I saw Bill alone by the fireplace. He was standing up. I felt the urgency to remind him I was there. Gracefully rushing over to him, I belted out a few witty lines about our love. I delivered my ballad with a straight face, but then followed it up with the batting of the eye lashes, the big smile, the slow swiveled pelvis.

I think I said, "I thought forever was going to start tonight." I know there must have been another sentence or more. 9 months later, I realized that's a line from a Bonnie Tyler song. I don't remember how or where we shook hands in this exchange . . . but our hands were joined.

I waited for him to bounce something funny off me or maybe even say, "Nice to meet you, goodbye." Nothing. The moment changed. My smile faded as I became very aware that he was staring right at me, still holding my hand.

His handshake was firm and confident, it wasn't loose or halfhearted. What I remember the most was the warmth. There was so much warmth around my hand, I couldn't tell where his hand started and mine stopped. He was still staring at me.

There was once a moment similar to this one. I was sober, working in retail and fell in love at first sight with a new manager. Yes, I said it: "Love at first sight." At the time, I was married and gave up on my naive romantic ambitions for stability and friendship. So when I met the new manager, time stopped. I felt his hand around mine, the warmth. I remember every freckle on his face. And in less than 3 minutes, my whole perspective on life and love spun into a new monster. Less than a year later, I would leave my husband for it.

I ended up having a 5 year long affair for this particular freckled, retail manager. It was the type of attraction you try to hold on to for the sake of magic.

Still nursing the broken heart from the above mentioned lover, here I was holding Bill's hand. It felt similar. Sure there is the celebrity, there is the champagne, there is the excitement and anticipation . . . all excuses the men in my life use too easily dampen my retelling.

The women in my life know what I am saying. It was a moment. In this moment, I wasn't thinking, "Bill and I are really going to get married." No. I thought, "I can touch the magic again."

And as that thought slipped over my head like a new, pretty dress, I found myself leaning in towards Bill's face. I have never leaned in for a kiss before. If I had, I was met so fast in the middle, there was barely notice of a reach.

I felt myself sway a little on my tip toes as I came closer to those soft lips . . . then Bill ducked out of the way. I regained myself immediately. Silence.

Cue the director walking up and announcing to the room, "SHE LOVES YOU!!" I don't remember my expression. The moment had died in labor. Bill laughed and whispered some joke in the director's ear. They both laughed.

I turned back into the room of people and found a corner to cry in. I cried like I was 7 yrs old. Thinking back, I couldn't pin point what triggered all the tears. Feeling rejected? Feeling mocked? Losing the magic? I really don't remember much but a blond woman bending down and saying, "It's not worth it, honey. Nothing is worth this many tears." You can always rely on strange women to give you the best advice in your worst condition.

I don't remember leaving the party. I remember snow and falling on snow banks like clean, soft bed sheets. I don't remember getting on the bus, but I remember jumping off in time to vomit outside.

I was still crying. My escort, a friend who was really just getting to know me during this last week, pulled me up and propelled me towards my hotel room. He complained I threw up on his gloves.

Around 5am, I suddenly woke up. Nauseous, smelly, still in my discounted sweater dress and my first thought being, "That was awesome."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Tale of Two Friends

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . . it was just another day in 2010.

This blog is thinly veiled among my very small group of friends, so lets call this cast of characters Friend A and Friend B.

After what I call "the cancer year", (2009: I was fired from a job I hated, my cat died and my boyfriend of 5 years finally disappeared into an alcoholic cloud on the other side of Los Angeles) I decided it would be mentally healthy for me to develop some friendships with other women.

Right when I got a handle on the new life I was creating for myself, two women came into my life; Friend A was related to someone I once dated a lifetime ago who found me on Facebook and Friend B was a younger boss from an old job who I kept in touch with. One day, they both started calling/texting me and all of a sudden I had girlfriends.

A few months went by, and I went on that trip to Vegas with Abe. I am not sure if this is connected, but after I got back, I noticed that Friend B was getting a little competitive with me. Over lunch, I casually mentioned how impressed I was with Abe paying for everything on the trip. She quickly reviewed all the expensive things her ex-boyfriend got her and how excited she was to see what was in store for her over the holidays. I just don't know how to respond to that kind of silliness, so I ignored it.

The next few s, it was a version of that conversation coupled with a few criticisms about my hair, about how I care for my dogs, essentially about my low standards in the lifestyle department. Again, she is a bit of a snob and I knew that her kind of confidence, which delighted me so at bars when we are out drinking, came with an air . . . a haughtiness. However, the air was turning from "I deserve better" to "I deserve better than you."

I would joke with Friend A, "Its not like I keep criticizing her shortcomings and saying, 'You could really be a lot less materialistic and superficial.'"

Then came the GChat. I had offered to refer her to the all girls valet since she was laid off herself several months ago. She asked a few questions about it and I answered them. She said it probably wasn't for her and she had to free up time for her boyfriend, since he works. I don't let it eat at me that my friends have the luxury to turn down work, but I think this is a good point to pour myself a glass of wine.

She then typed in her little box:

friend b:... ur income is too low
it sucks bc i would like to work w/dogs too but im not a teenager anymore
and i have real bills

I read this and felt my cheeks burn.

me: I know you didnt mean to sound like an asshole with what you just said
but you did
I have a lot of debt too, 100k

friend b: i can see that

me: and a house of animals to support
and I am older than you
THINK before you SPEAK

I disconnected.

I bought a pack of cigarettes.

I drove to work, braking suddenly and loving the sound of two abandoned coffee mugs slamming into each other on the floor of the passenger side.

Something you should know about me and Friend B, I was trained to take her position at a company only a month after I started working there. Then, I got a higher paying job, one might say a better job, and left.

Friend B is trying to make a point to me, and it is mystifying what that point is. She thinks she is better than those around her. Is it because she is better educated? No. Is it because she makes more money? No. Is it because she is better looking? No.

The only people who really act like assholes in Hollywood, are the ones who have something to prove. I have met my share of celebrities, and they have all been kind and gracious; Chris Rock, Kevin Spacey, Lucy Liu, Oliver Stone, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Fiona Apple, and of course, (my fiance for 15 minutes) Bill Murray.

They have nothing to fucking prove. The people in middle; the mediocre talents who have nothing especially insightful or witty to say or do, they are the assholes that want you to bring them a latte and clean up their snot rags.

Why would I give a fuck about what Friend B says? Well, because she was my friend.

Now, my parents are proud of me because I am working my ass off, but only because I am working my ass off. That's not right either. Its not about how much and how hard you work. That really means nothing in the end. Its not about how much you make either, of course, anyone who watches VH1 Surreality TV knows that. Its about living your dream. When you are living on dreams, and nothing else, all you have are alliances. When they fail you, it stings like a bitch.

The people you love most can be blind to the things that make you the happiest, and it doesn't make sense to me. I love animals and movies. I love nothing more than either of those things, except maybe Abe. And I get to do all three of them, all the time. Its fucking heaven- so why do they make me feel inadequate?

The next day after the GChat fiasco, on my day off, was a small valet job. The venue was 1416 La Brea; Charlie Chaplin's studio (built in 1917) and then Jim Henson's Muppet Workshop.

I hustled cars for a few hours with the other girls, mostly immigrants and lesbians. I guess that is the small pool of Los Angeles girls who know how to drive stick shift.

During the event, aka our down time, I spoke to a British girl next to me.

Girl, "I am writing a book about how I came to Los Angeles."

Me, "How did you come to be in Los Angeles?"

Girl, "Well, when I was 20, I started having very clear memories of abuse in my childhood. I spent a lot of time with my Grandmother who said that she loved me very, very much but that my parents didn't love me. In fact, they didn't love me because my little sister was stealing all their love and they preferred her. So my grandmother said, 'You will have to kill your little sister.' Every Thursday, we would go swimming in the pool and I would try to drown my sister."

I am speechless at this point.

Girl, "She still has scars. Anyway, I was 20 when I was watching television, and I saw a talk show and realized that Leeza Gibbons was going to be the one to help me. Just something went off in my brain- Leeza Gibbons. I bought a plane ticket, left a note for my parents and everyone that knew me and took off. I moved into a hostel in Venice, and found the studio where they filmed her show . . . Paramount. And when I was in the audience, security was too tight to speak to her personally, so I left a note in an envelope with her name on it just, if by chance, someone picked it up and gave it to her. The next day, she called me. I went to another taping, she knew who I was right away in the audience and came to me. She invited me up to an office after the show and we talked about my memories and feelings. Now, 10 years later, she is one of my closest friends. We spend Christmas together."

Los Angeles is a crazy, wonderful, disgusting place to find yourself. (* please note that I realize what a crazy story that is but I don't have time to figure out what the fuck)

After the event, we were invited into the venue to grab leftovers from the caterer.

I wandered in passed a door with Charlie Chaplin painted on it, as if he was peaking through the doorway. It was dark but I found my way to a theater with massive ropes lining one end of the studio. You just have to take in a place like this, you know? The history of it.

I couldn't go too far, so I looked around a little before the caterer offered me some Angus Beef gourmet sliders. I said I was vegan, and then he offered some mushroom arugula pate sliders. He said, "I don't like mushrooms, but these are . . . INSANE." He took a tray out of the oven and waved it in front of me. I thanked him and grabbed two. I started moaning when they were in my mouth, the other valets turned to look at me.

I said with a mouth full of food, "I am going to write a rock ballad for these mushrooms." He smiled and said, "I told you those are good mushrooms."

While savoring every last bite, I wandered as far as I could go without someone yelling at me. It is like a little village inside, with various production companies renting out offices. I looked into the lobby staging a wall of Golden Globes, Emmys and Oscars. Huge posters of old Chaplin movies were painted on one end, while various Muppet characters were painted on the other. The receptionist was there working late, saw me spying through the glass doors and winked.

Then I found an old, red phone booth. I put my hand on it and said, "Love ya, Charlie." Yeah, I am poor . . . but I am living like a king.

I drove home and Abe was there, cooking my dogs steak and rice. I couldn't even get my last boyfriend to take me to a matinee. Abe wanted to buy me a new bedroom set and had a purple one picked out on my browser (my favorite color). He also had a list made that said, "Clean stove, Organize Laundry, Organize Closet, Feed Animals, Walk Dogs, Cook her Food . . ." A few items were crossed off.

Then I opened the living room door to find my dogs relaxing on clean couches with Maggie, my senior dog, watching the Cooking Network. I don't know about you, but that is a great fucking day! I am happy. My God. I am happy.

I need money, that's true. Everyone needs money, some just have easier access than others. I play with dogs for money. I drive sports car for money. I act or hang out in the background for money.

A person like me needs to keep one foot in her imagination all day . . . to stay alive. The office work was killing me. Every part of me got sick from the monotony and captivity of organizing, answering calls, using my mind to think about little things that kept a greater machine working. My soul almost faded entirely.

I thought about hanging myself in the shower one night. It was a night when my live-in boyfriend was drunk, he would accidentally tear my clothing, break my dishes and say the worst things imaginable, all after a day of two bitchy bosses barking at me that I wasn't doing enough for them- it just felt like I was cornered. I couldn't see where it all ended.

I actually had an anxiety attack at work after my ex-boyfriend slammed me against the wall a few times. I woke up and went to work so I could get yelled at over something totally minor and forgettable by my bald, rich, obnoxious boss. I started hyperventilating and went into the stock room where the 20 yr old intern asked if I was ok. That was a low. Low low . . . low.

The adventure of life was waiting for me to come back, and I don't have to be 45 and Kevin Spacey to see it. I am having a fucking American Beauty moment. Somehow, then and only then, did I find the greatest boyfriend in the entire world who I have this intense chemistry with. A year ago from today, I wouldn't BELIEVE how happy I would be, where my path would lead me . . . and here I am, answering to a younger woman's judgment as if it really means anything.

God . . .

It doesn't.

After blowing off a little steam, I went over to Friend A's house, who had a present for me. Well, she had a slice of pie for Abe and a present for me. While sitting next to a fireplace, she told me the story of her visit to a casino. She was explaining a game to me, I didn't know what game it was. I wish I did so I could document her careful telling of the story. She was breaking even, then put a $20 on some pairing which has a special significance somehow, I don't know.

In the end, she won $1100. My mouth dropped. I said, "You won $1100?" She nodded her head, her smile slight but delight spilling out of her blue eyes. Then she said, "I want you to have this." She handed me a $100 bill.

I said, "I can't take this, this is yours. Enjoy it."

She said, "I already decided this was for you. I thought about it when I won. Then I talked about it with my husband. And we both decided this should be for you."

I kept trying to put the bill back in her hand. She isn't rich, in fact she has been suffering from the broken-down-car virus spreading around my pool of friends. She kept handing me the bill back.

I looked down at the Benjamin Franklin's crumpled bald head in my hand and felt warm tears spill out of my eyes. I leaned in to hug her and felt the sobbing that can billow from your stomach scratch at my throat. I stopped myself.

I said, "You don't know how much this means to me."

She said she knew, she said a bunch of other things I can't quite remember. I just know that I would never expect anyone to do this for me, not even my own mother. She asked me to save part of it for something just for myself. Truth be told, the $100 was spread out over food for my animals and gas but . . . this month was the first month I have had all the money for rent on time.

My back kind of jello-ed and I felt muscles in my neck and jaw loosen. How did this wonderful person find me and teach me what people are capable of the same week Friend B's words got tangled in the spokes of my wheel?

This year, I have had an old co-worker pay for my phone bill when it was shut off and also put me on the list to get free garden groceries delivered to my house once a month, since he took the company on as a new client. A neighbor keeps dropping off large boxes of dog treats and kibble for my babies. A person I never met on Facebook sent me a gift card. My dogwalker started leaving me cash and toiletries whenever he stopped by to walk the girls. The Comic gave me his old iPhone when mine was stolen.

Abe took me shopping at Target, spending money on new clothes and a bedroom set, towels, etc. He kept bringing me clothes to try on in the changing room, and the old lady (who I think was mute because she used her hands to communicate) would let us back and forth without those plastic item numbers. She made everyone else grab a number, but when Abe or me came dancing back with clothes, she ushered us to the same room with a sweet smile.

I have had rich boyfriends in the past, and refused their offers to buy me things because I thought it would spoil the relationship. I actually think my refusals created tensions that ultimately destroyed the relationships (if you can call them that).

Now that I have let go of all the control, I can see all the gifts that have been waiting for me down the road . . . I just had to make the right turn. I am going the right way.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

How I Got a Legal Prescription for Marijuana

Since the government went from a liberal house held up by Republican filibustering to a conservative house with undoubtedly more still water, I decided to take a job that wouldn't eat at my soul in a doggie boarding place just in case my unemployment benefits are discontinued. I have been on unemployment for a year anyway, I need to start thinking ahead.

Our orientation was led by a sarcastic, Filipino woman we will call Lynn. She runs all of Human Resources out of a little closet in one of the doggie personal suites. Her sarcasm was so fine, even I couldn't pick up on it. The thick accent didn't help:

Lynn to another new employee, "You got a bad reference. They had nothing good to say about you. Seriously. (silence)"

Me, "Lynn."

Lynn, "What? You didn't know I was kidding? HAHAHA"

***

Lynn, "If you do not ask for assistance when you need to or spend too much time taking a restroom break, I will find your house and burn it down. I have the paperwork with all your address on it. Just kidding."

***

Lynn, "There is no gossiping here. We run a professional work place where respect is very important. So please, do not gossip. Lucy and Mario are a couple. I thought they were just friends but I guess they moved in together. Who knew?"

***

Lynn, "I will yell at you, I will. I will make you cry because I would rather approach you personally."

Four hours of hearing that, got me telling her I looked forward to it! Afterward, the receptionists warned me that she has made all of them cry at one point. So . . . not so funny?

***

The first week at Doggie Boarding, I had a terrible headache. Now, if you read my blogs you know I don't have to be writhing from a headache to smoke some ganja. However, I am professional. At work, I leave my iPhone in my car, I try to be no more than 10 minutes late and I am usually completely sober.

I don't know if its the chemicals they use in the mop buckets or all the dogs, but my head was throbbing. I smoked a little to keep it from turning into a full blown migraine. And, I can say, the best possible way to hear you have to take a drug test is when you are stoned.

An employee walked in, "(to Lynn) Sorry to interrupt but here is your change. Your sangria is on top of the fridge." Lynn, "Oh . . . thanks. (to us) Its virgin sangria."

I thought about taking a concoction to dilute my urine. I thought about turning down the job. I consider it a complete violation to analyze my bodily fluids for any activity outside of the work place. Then, I figured, its probably time for me to get legal.

Em's husband is legal, and I was going to take his reference. But then, you know how you mildly freak out about something and just have to take care of it as soon as possible? That was me. I looked up marijuana dispensaries on Google and found a place on Sunset.

I called up and spoke to a woman, "I don't know how to do this, but I am looking to get a prescription and one of those cards."

Woman, "Oh baby, this is just a dispensary. We sell it but we don't give out prescriptions. I have a recommendation for you, he will give you a deal if you let him know we sent you over there. His name is The Doctor."

Me, "The Doctor?"

Woman, "That's right. Here is The Doctor's phone number. After you get your prescription, come on by and I will give a double discount on everything. Just ask for Flame Swallow."

Me, "Flame Swallow?"

Woman, "Yes. Flame Swallow."

I called and made an appointment for as soon as possible. In one hour, I arrived in a little mini mall in Hollywood. It was on the second floor behind the Wendy's. I walked in to bare white walls and a handful of Hispanic men filling out paperwork. It felt like a temp agency, for laborers.

The male receptionist was behind thick glass and a large sign that said "Cash Only". I only had $58 from my last audience job. No money in my checking account. Hopefully, I could get everything I needed.

He handed me a clipboard to check off any kind of symptoms: Loss of Appetite (check), Migraine headaches (check), Sleeplessness (check). And I am not even lying, how nice.

Lower down the list, I had to initial and sign that I would not smoke and drive (cough) (check), that I would discontinue use if I discovered I was pregnant (check) that marijuana could trigger apathy (CHECK and a Smiley Face). Finally, I had to acknowledge that this was not allowed under Federal Law. Check. Sign . . . of the cross.

I skipped the section on my doctor and approached the receptionist. Me, "Excuse me, I don't have insurance so I don't have a general practitioner."

Receptionist, "You have to have a doctor. This is a medical prescription and if you have any of the listed conditions, you will have had to see someone about treating them with traditional medicine first."

Silence. I was thinking.

Receptionist, "Just put anybody."

I looked up the Neurology Test Center in Van Nuys, where I was tested for alternative migraine medicine. Of course, the pills didn't work. The pills have never worked. I made a life out of Tylenol PM, a heating pad, and days of my life lost sleeping through the pain.

I finished my paperwork, and soon was escorted back to The Doctor's office.

It felt like I was sitting in a folding chair in front of a man's desk. He had a lamp, a computer (I think it was a laptop) and a painting behind him you could find in any middle American motel. No family pictures. No plants. No stress balls or rubber bands or coffee mugs.

Then I looked, yup, he was wearing a wedding ring.

The Doctor, "Have you taken marijuana before?"

Me, "Yes . . . I am taking a drug test for employment."

The Doctor, "You know that it is still up to the employer whether they accept the prescription or not?"

Me, "Oh yeah, I would normally not take a drug test but the economy is so bad right now."

The Doctor, "No shit."

Silence. He was quickly flipping through my paperwork and initialing/signing where necessary.

Me, "You need more personal artifacts in your office."

The Doctor, "Are you a Capricorn?"

Me, "On the cusp, how did you know?"

The Doctor, "You walked into my office and told me what I needed to do."

Me, "Oh."

The Doctor saw the worried look on my face and winked. "Takes one to know one."

Me, "Its just the white walls and one generic painting kind of put you on edge."

The Doctor, "That's right where I want you to be."

He asked if I had any questions. I didn't. He walked me out of his office.

Me, "This was interesting, between you and me."

The Doctor, "It always is."

The appointment for prescription was $45. I also had to get an ID card which cost an extra $20. I only had $13 left in cash. Shit.

The receptionist was smiling and distracted, then turned to me, "Sorry, its just they make the best sandwich down the street. I had to wait 45 minutes for it, but its so good I don't even care."

I smiled. "Must be a good sandwich."

He nodded and said, "Would you like to get your ID card today?"

I said, "I don't have enough money."

He said, "That's ok, I will do it for $15."

I said, "I only have $13."

He said, "Ok, I will do it for $10. Keep the other $3."

That was easy.

Picture taken.

The receptionist said, "Here is your card. Keep this in your wallet at all times." Then he held up a large white certificate with a seal on it. "Keep this in the glove compartment of your car at all times. This way you are completely covered."

I wouldn't have money for the Store on Sunset until the following week.

When Abe came out to visit that week, he was eager to vicariously live through me with the legal experience. He is a little bit of a conspiracy theorist and doesn't want any paperwork on him for the government to "use". So he gave me $60 cash, told me to spend only $40 and parked the car on the street. A woman passed us in torn clothes with sun damaged skin and greasy hair.

Woman, "Change?"

Abe, "Sorry I only have plastic today."

I reached for my wallet. I had change. Since I ran out of gas and could have used 4 quarters to drive my car up the street, I caught myself and put my wallet back in my purse.

It was a bit nerve racking. I know nothing about marijuana. I smoke it, but I never started buying for myself until Abe and I broke up, and even then, my friends where picking my ganja for me. I only know two things, "Sativa" which is wakey wakey and "Indica" which is sleepy sleepy.

I walked into the dispensary where a cute, dark boy was behind the counter. I walked in with my wallet in hand and said, "Hi, I just need to buy some stuff."

The Boy, "Stuff?"

Me, "I have this card here and I came by to pick up stuff." WTF am I saying?

The Boy, "First time?"

Me, "Yeah."

The Boy handed me a bunch of paperwork. More paperwork. Signing that the dispensary was not liable, that marijuana is a not legal under federal government, not to share or sell to anyone without a prescription, more of the same. I asked to keep a copy of the document for my records. He gave me a look.

Am I the first person to ask that? A signature is your wholeness of being. You should keep everything you sign, something I have been religious about since I saw THE CRUCIBLE. "I have given you my soul, leave me my name!!!"

He retrieved it, without smiling this time.

The panhandler off the street walked in. I thought she was going to ask the Receptionist for some money. The Boy, "Hey darlin'"

He knew her?

She flashed her card and waited on the couch. I looked at her. That bitch would have taken my money to light up, NICE!

I waited for her to recognize me and maybe explain herself. She smiled and said, "You know what I like about this place?" I shook my head. She said, "'The candy."

We were stuck in the lobby, as the door to the dispensary was locked. I tried walking back there when an older woman stopped me and asked me to wait. Her face was stretched to both ends of her jawline and she dyed her hair fire red. Bold choices.

She smiled warmly, as best she could, and I continued to wait in the lobby. I think only a certain number of people are allowed back by the goods at a time.

A professional looking gentleman walked out with two white bags, only a green cross printed on the face of both. He thanked everyone and walked out. I stood by the door.

The older woman came back. She took my arm and led me to a small area with a glass counter and a refrigerated, corner glass display. A huge white board was hung behind the counter with two sections, 'Sativa' and 'Indica'. Then there was a menu list:

Indica: King George, Purple Mr. Og, Hindu Kush, Lavendar, Barack O' Bubba, Purps Mr. Nice Guy . . . and more

Sativa: Pineapple Punch, Green Crack, Trainwreck, Casey Jones, Cherry Bomb, Silver Haze, Snow Cap . . . and more

There were edibles too. Tons of edibles. Lollipops, pizza slices, ice cream, cone joints, pie, almonds . . . it was overwhelming to say the least.

The girl behind the counter was pretty and genuinely kind. There was an older gentleman next to her, slightly overweight in an old polo shirt but a simple, smart and direct kind-of-guy. The old woman, who introduced herself as Carol, disappeared behind the back after assuring me they would attend to me very soon. She introduced me to the girl and the older guy making sure they knew I was a new customer.

I said, "I don't know anything about marijuana. I just know I need Sativa to stay functional."

They brought out about eight different blends.

The Older Man, "Green Crack is great for dancing. You will be up all night having a blast with this stuff. Casey Jones is a vintage blend, a modern take on an old strain. Trainwreck is very popular, Snow Cap is my personal favorite."

It was overwhelming. I could smell them. I could listen to what they were saying. But all the information wouldn't help me make a "right" choice.

I said, "Ok, I am a writer and my boyfriend is a musician. What is best for that? Oh, and I only have $40."

The girl nodded. "Creative and functional. Well . . . Green Crack or Pineapple Punch is good. And on sale."

I nodded. "Ok, an eighth of Pineapple Punch." They started bagging. "Also, I am supposed to ask for 'Flame Swallow'?"

The older man smiled and shouted, "Hey Flame Swallow!! Someone is asking for you." A window in the wall slid open and I saw Carol's face. She smiled. "Did I speak to you?"

I said, "Yes, over the phone."

She took me by the arm and led me around the dispensary, she described all the edibles to me. I told her I was vegan. She said, "Oh, I don't know if any of these are vegan, but I can text you when I make the next order for delivery."

I smiled and thanked her. I said, "My boyfriend isn't vegan and loves to eat. Can I pick up something for him?"

She smiled and showed me a coconut spread and a slice of cheesecake. She gave me both for a couple dollars. I ended up spending $40 total with the edibles and eighth of Pineapple Punch.

Carol walked me with her arm through mine and made me promise I would come back. I promised. Then she took handfuls of candy and dumped them in my white paper bag with the green cross on it. She hugged me goodbye.

I got in the car and had to head to work. I have been working so much, I can barely feel my face any more from general fatigue. Rent better be covered.

As we drove up Franklin, a man on the sidewalk screamed and flung his whole body into the street. It startled me. Abe took a drag from his cigarette and said, "Yeah, I think I have had enough of LA for this week. Time to head back to the OC."

Abe hung out at my place for a few hours while I was at work before heading back to Costa Mesa. He texted me, "Left you a surprise" then "I am so stoned." He got into the edibles.

Abe likes to clean and organize my place. He made this apartment more of a home than I could have ever imagined. Little things like blankets folded in the corner, the purse holder he built on my kitchen wall, the to-do lists taped up around my cabinets and walls. Walking in from work is so lovely when he is still in the air, like the place is filled with orange blossoms.

I got home after an 8 hour shift and smoked a little Pineapple before tasting a finger tip of coconut spread. I deviated from my diet just a smidge out of curiosity. I watched some TV, ate some dinner, then felt the coconut in my system.

After laying down and thinking about Hinduism and true love, I fell asleep and woke up almost dizzy. I realized Abe left a foot long, Natural Balance sausage (wrapped in plastic for my dogs) in the bed with me. That was the surprise . . . to remind me of him.

I texted him, "That spread knocked my socks off. I didn't realize I was sleeping with a foot long sausage until 3am."

I went back into work and informed Lynn about my prescription.

Lynn, "Ok, that's fine. Just give me the paperwork. I have never done marijuana, how long are the effects?"

Me, "6-8 hours."

Lynn, "Ok, don't smoke it 6-8 hours from your shift." She walked away, "Oh!" She threw me a work t-shirt with the company brand across the chest. "Here. Because I don't like you."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Good Morning, Baby

Thursday, I worked Million Dollar Money Drop again at Culver Studios. Fucking ICE COLD!! They keep the studios freezing cold, an inside source tells me, because of legend.

Milton Berle was an apparent TV god from the 1950s. He came up with the theory that TV audiences got bored, listless and lost interest sitting for extended times because the studios were too warm. (Couldn't be the writing, or Death-inducing stopdowns due to technical problems) so he insisted that his studios be kept below 70°. And TV producers figure if below 70 is funny, imagine how funny 60° would be. This extrapolation has been now taken to ridiculous ends.

Letterman has a thermometer at his desk monitoring that the temperature does not vary from 54°. This is mimicked by all the TV studios. When Letterman came to L.A. years ago, CBS installed 2 additional AC units on the roof of Stages 36/46 just to insure 54° could be maintained at all time.

Yeah, hilarious. Luckily, Jaq was working with me on this job but I was late, so I couldn't sit next to her for the morning tapings.

The night before, Abe and I got in an argument. I had a possible day that week we could have spent together if he could come with me on two field trips (an audition and a class in valet parking). He didn't return my calls and made other plans thinking I would be busy. The miscommunication ignited a greater argument about effort in the relationship and quality time together.

I said my asshole thing, "If we continue to see each other only one day every two weeks, we should seriously consider seeing other people."

He said his asshole thing, "I do everything for you, and you do nothing for me."

And from there, corresponding paranoia about those two hurtful comments grew like fungus in my refrigerator. He worried I wanted to see other people. I worried/worry that I don't have enough to offer him as a girlfriend.

I woke up that morning at 6:30am, exhausted from my two week work marathon, and left a message confessing that I don't want to see other people, I don't know why I said it and I love him. My voice was raspy from the cold morning and general fatigue.

The last time I saw Abe, he was walking one of my dogs. I was behind him and could see a corner of his boxers. I said, "I love that your underwear matches your eye color."

He turned his shaggy head of hair backwards to look at me. His bright blue eyes splashed like drops of paint from a brush for a second before my dog pulled him several rapid feet ahead of us. His head swung back around. My eyes fell back down on the waist band of his boxers. (Thanksgiving Prayer #1, Thank you for showing me how beautiful the color blue is)

When I got to the ice fucking cold studio, I couldn't help but think about his friend, a close female friend of his (we will call her Amber). Abe carried a torch for Amber throughout their friendship over the years, though nothing was ever consummated raising the flag for my already proven theory that only the penetrated shall pass. Abe and Amber suffered a rift in communication when our relationship took off last spring. And, finally, Amber recently broke up with her boyfriend.

Ok, lets gather all three of those little nuggets, throw them in a hat and call it "Worrisome." In my mind, I could see Abe going over to Amber's after our fight and venting about my asshole comment for seeing other people. He would explain how we went through all of this in the summer and now are reliving old problems that may never go away. He and Amber would be drinking. She would confess how jealous she has been. They would kiss which would lead to heavy petting and then . . . my cheeks were burning. Why could I see it so clearly?

I had to leave my cell phone in the car because of this particular studio's rules. I was waiting for him to leave that voice message, "Hey, look. Something happened last night, I went over to Amber's and . . ."

I kept staring at the lights on the stage, forcing myself to rethink the worst case scenario over and over and over so that it wouldn't hurt when it actually happened.

I found Jaq during a commercial break. Em had given her snacks the night before for our long day on the Million Dollar Money Drop. (Thanksgiving Prayer #2: Thank you for such great friends. Something I have sorely missed for most of my life.)

I confided in Jaq about the conversation over brown bananas. Jaq said, "People say really hurtful things when they miss each other. It has happened to me before. Its just because you haven't seen each other in so long and you two are frustrated." I nodded my head quietly, thinking about my asshole comment and how fucking ignorant and careless it was for me to say something like that. It is manipulative and mean and I would have to respect the fact that he doesn't want to tolerate it.

I avoided going back to my car for my phone at lunch. I didn't want to deal with bad news for the latter half of the day. When we got back to the studio, I was able to sit next to Jaq.

A couple came on as contestants. They had a long distance relationship for 3 years (New York to California) and were now married for 5 months. I wondered how long they would last since they hadn't had time to settle into each other. I think something is potentially delusional in a relationship that lives on events. When you wait to see each other it is an event. As opposed to a relationship where you get to know each other in the daily routine. You can experience each other in real life, not on vacation.

The new bride said, "We agreed in our first year of marriage we wouldn't have a microwave or a television set so we would have to cook our meals and talk to each other every night. " Crowd, "AWWWWWW!!"

Aw indeed. That's fucking poetic. Maybe they would make it, after all.

Jaq was distracting me with conversation. I adore her. Jaq, "Ray (her boyfriend) says, 'Why do you smoke when you have asthma?' and I tell him, I didn't have asthma when I started smoking."

Audience Fluffer, "And we're back from commercial!!!" We all stopped conversation and applauded. Jaq and I were in the pretty girl section, so we had to get up and feign enthusiasm for camera.

NEXT COMMERCIAL BREAK:

Jaq, "Would you get jealous if I got married first?"

Me, "I already have gotten married first." And divorced first. ;-)

Jaq, "You know what I mean."

Me, "Um ... no." Marriage isn't what it was to me. We all played with Barbie Dolls and watched Disney movies. We have to get married. We all feel that way. I went through it. I spent too much money on a wedding (rather my parents spent too much money on a wedding) that I didn't really enjoy to someone I knew, deep down, wasn't my soul mate. I did it because I thought it was a necessary step to becoming an adult. I was wrong, it has nothing to do with being an adult. But we all learn that lesson soon enough.

Jaq, "Would you get jealous if I had a baby first?"

Me, (thinking YES!) "This isn't a competition. I thought you didn't want a baby . . ."

Jaq, "I don't want to have to go through childbirth, at least not without medication. I want the bong hit ready for right after the baby is born."

I said, "Giving birth doesn't have to be so bad. Have you seen 'The Business of Being Born'? Ricki Lake gave birth to a baby in her bathtub and barely made a noise. Just a 'plunk'- see? A baby!"

Jaq, "I know I am going to get a C-section. My mother got a C-section both times."

Me, "Maybe you two have slightly different body types."

Jaq, "No. She has a small clitoris. I have a small clitoris."

Me, "How do you know your mother has a small clitoris?"

Jaq, "I don't want to talk about it."

Audience Fluffer, "And we're back from commercial!!!" APPLAUSE!!!!

NEXT COMMERCIAL BREAK:

Me, "I don't think Abe is a boob man. I don't know what kind of man he is."

Jaq, "Ray is definitely a boob man, but I don't have feeling there."

Me, "You don't?"

Jaq, "No. Didn't I tell you about the time they were almost ripped off and I didn't notice."

Me, "WHAT?"

Audience Fluffer, "And we're back from commercial!!!" APPLAUSE!!!

***

After we wrapped, I went to my car and saw the text message I was waiting for all day.

Abe: "What time r u off tomorrow? Want to bring u flowers."

I am an idiot.

The next day, I was doing audience for a Fran Drescher Show. We were stuck outside in the breezy, Los Angeles winter for over an hour in nice clothes. Abe was going to be at my apartment before I was. It had been a difficult two weeks.

Actress in line, "Mariah Carey is such a bitch. You know when I worked on one of her projects, they put some of her clips in my hair and she said, all bitchy like, 'Why is she wearing my clips? Be careful. Don't lose them!' She is sooooo pretty and has a great voice . . . but, yeah, such a bitch."

A school bus full of kids pulled up in front of us, waiting for the stop light. This audience call was only women, so we all started cooing and giggling. The kids waved at us, and we waved back. One child motioned that he liked my heart shaped sun glasses. I felt warm all of a sudden. Life can be beautiful, even while waiting on cement on a cold day . . . in platform heels.

Actress in line,"I met Cuba Gooding Jr. He licked my hand and part of me was like 'Ewww. Gross.' then the other part of me was like 'Oooooh!'"

After we got inside, I was counting down the minutes. The show was fairly interesting. The studio wasn't cold. And, during down time, they were playing hits from the 90s during I knew all the words to.

Me singing, "Donnie D is on the back up, drug free, so put the crack up." I turned to the girl next to me. "I remember in 8th grade taping this off the radio. You had to write down the lyrics to memorize them. Rewind, play. Rewind, play.

Girl next to me, "Aww that's so cute."

Cute? Did I just date myself?

I looked to the camera man for the musical break where Marky Mark stops rapping and mouthed the words to him "Yeah . . . can you feel it baby . . . I can to." The camera man was like 60 and instantly uncomfortable. He avoided eye contact with me for the rest of the night.

I got home to Abe. There was that nervous energy of post-fight, pre-kiss. I ran up the stairs and saw him. His hair is shaggy, but it falls short just over the back of his neck. Every time I see that smooth spot on his neck, I smile. Its so boyishly wonderful. He swung around and met my eyes with a smile. He looked a little frightened of me.

He said, ''Hey!" He was already cleaning. I jumped on him and kissed him. Home, sweet, home.

We couldn't decide whether we wanted to eat or have sex first. Honestly, I was grappling between the two choices on the car ride home. Sex won.

Abe, "What position should we try this time?"

Me, "I could spin like a pin wheel."

Abe, "Are you referring to zero gravity?"

Me, "No, why?"

Abe, "Because that would require zero gravity."

I love that boy.

He took me to the Cheesecake Factory afterward where they made me a lovely, carby pasta dish with the champagne martinis I love so much. (Thanksgiving Prayer #3, thank you for keeping the Cheesecake Factory open until 12:30am.)

While piling food into my mouth and sipping golden deliciousness, I said, "I feel like I am high on Oxycotin."

The two gay men at the table next to us looked over, disapprovingly.

Abe said, "Don't you mean Oxytocin?"

Me (with a mouthful), "Mmm, yeah. Oxytocin."

ox·y·to·cin

[ok-si-toh-suhn]
–noun
1. a polypeptide hormone, produced by the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland, that stimulates contraction of the smooth muscle of the uterus.

I said, "I have never felt this high before in my entire life." I forced every spoonful of food into my mouth despite my stomach's attempts to close it off. Food tastes better around him. Why is that?

I told him about the couple on the show. How they spent 3 years apart and were now married on 5 months. Abe said, "I think it would be easier to have a relationship where you hardly ever saw each other than one where you periodically see each other."

He looked at me and a tiny smile sprang on my face. He missed me, too. It wasn't his desperation for independence that kept him away. That is what I have been fearing all along.

We went home, warmed up the bedroom with my space heater, and climbed under the covers.

We woke up the next morning, Abe's arm around me, my head on his shoulder and Belle, my gray, tiger kitty's head squeezed under my arm and on top of Abe's chest.

Abe barely opened his eyes and said, "Good morning, Baby."

My space heater went off in the night, and the cold, morning air was settling over our blanket. I had to get out of bed and turn it back on.

I closed my eyes again. Nothing could make me move.