Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Speed, Weed & the Perfect Gentleman

So much has happened, and I barely have the energy to write now. The dogs are finally asleep and I am eating, so might as well try to multi-task.

Friday, July 16th I worked the show BAGGAGE as a contestant. Great day, but a 16 page contract is keeping me from disclosing the details until the air date. So let's put a hot pink post-it flag on that one and come back to it later.

I was ecstatic after the show. I came home to the dogs and the cats, which was nice . . . but I wanted to celebrate. My apartment felt especially empty.

A dear friend of mine, who used to be my boss at a shit hole called JustFlowers.com, called me because she found out her boyfriend, who moved to the east coast for several months, returned to Los Angeles and acquired a new girlfriend without talking to her. I could tell from the reverberation that she was calling from a bathroom stall and fighting back tears.

I said, "I am coming down to Orange County tonight, hang tight."

Let me note here, that I just found out from a very reliable source who found out from a well respected Psychic in Hollywood that not only is Mercury in retrograde, but so is Pluto and Neptune. For another 6-8 weeks, men will be feeling generally overwhelmed with responsibility and will emotionally check out of relationships. Women are better with multi-tasking, therefore are not shutting down with major life transformation. And with the amount of romantic causalities I have been dealing with in the last 2 months, I consider this Gospel fact.

After 65 minutes of driving, I arrived to her little apartment. She had another friend over.

My heartbroken friend is a very short, cute Jewish girl with the personality of Hillary Clinton. She isn't afraid to take total control, tell you how it is and then go back to practically running your business without any "please" "thank you" or "ok?" People find it jarring, probably because she looks like she is 12 yrs old.

When I first worked under her, I was sitting next to a guitarist from the 80s who toured with the likes of Megadeth and LA Guns. He had jet black hair, tattooed sleeves and the withered look of an ex-drug addict before Meth hit the scene.

She scolded him for not returning to his computer exactly after his 10 minute break. This might sound a bit extreme, but we were booking flower orders for Mother's Day and were working ridiculous shifts starting from 4am to 7pm. Though I was agitated with her at the time, she was trying to keep a tight ship on a bunch of unemployed artists who took the job for only a week and could give a shit about someone's mom getting flowers on time.

She scolded him . . . in a very cute sun dress. He stood up and slammed the keyboard down. If you looked closely, you may have seen a newborn tear drop. He stormed out and tried to quit with a quiver in his voice. My friend flipped her hair over her shoulder, gently folded the skirt of her sun dress under her as she sat down and resumed her job. Oh yes. I shall call her JAQ (Jewish American Queen) for the benefit of anonymity.

Last time I went out with her, two men insisted on sitting at our table to flirt with us. Jaq said quite frankly, "I am sorry, but you don't meet our standards. Please stop wasting our time."

Jaq, her friend and I drank a few glasses of the blue concoction and discussed our various man problems. Her friend was trying to be an ally and rationalize the problem. When a wound is sore, there is no room for rationalization. I called the long distance ex a complete asshole and his new girlfriend "Muffin Top." I have no idea what she looks like but I pretended like I did and that seemed to help things a lot.

Jaq's friend is very young and in a relationship with her first boyfriend. She feels that only one sexual partner in her very short life is a disadvantage and she is missing something. So she is curiously approaching the dark world of swinging, ever so slowly. I worked on a documentary series about legal prostitution and brushed up against a few swingers. They seem like very sad, lonely people to me. You can advise a young person til your blue in the face. Until they see themselves in a dirty mirror, washing semen out of their hair over a bathroom sink with all the satisfaction of a discarded plastic bag . . . they won't listen to you.

Abe, my boyfriend, and I were broken up for the second time in 3 months due to his delay in returning phone calls and texts. Sure that sounds obnoxious, but 8 hours to respond to my text messages for no good reason annoys the fuck out of me and when we spoke about it, his apathy got under my skin. The problem with being in love is no matter how you rationalize it, you still miss the person like crazy. So I continued to text him platonic notes, and received no answer for 5 days.

I came up with the brilliant idea that we should drive over to his place (it was midnight) and do an emotional intervention. Jaq lit up at the idea. Just after it escaped my mouth, I felt a mild knot in my stomach like . . . ooh, this is immature. The rum was warming me up and I was still high from BAGGAGE. The real high was making over 100 people in the audience laugh at jokes I wrote down on a piece of paper the night before. ZINGERS!

So we all crawled into Jaq's car and headed over to Abe's. I approached first and saw he was working on his computer out of his garage, which was great because I didn't have to disturb his roommates, "T" and "Menace" . . . formerly known as "Youngin.'" Both are white guys, brothers in fact. They get their own blog entry.

He smiled when he saw me. He introduced me to a mouse he rescued. The other girls gathered around him and I said, "We could go out and celebrate or I could just take my hoodie back . . ." He slowly said, "We can go out." This was going surprisingly well.

First, his hand found its way on my lower back to guide me away from drunks on the sidewalk and traffic. Standing next to him, I could feel the heat from his body a half an inch from mine. Magnetic. Anytime we separated, the girls giggled and clapped, "Yay, he wants to get back together." I muttered, "He still loves me."

Turns out Jaq's friend is under 21 and we couldn't find a place in Costa Mesa that didn't card, so Abe bought two bottles of cheap champagne (my favorite) and we went back to his place.

There, and I am not embellishing for the blog, we sat around and talked about our feelings. I started with Jaq, then her friend which took 2 hours.

With the girls, he analyzed their problems like a scientist. He is very right brained and thinks logic can boil any problem down to a base. Emotion is never part of the equation, but I think that is why destiny brought me into his life. After a long sorted explanation about men and how they have wronged us, I would look over at his face and see his eyes wide. I think we shell shocked him with girl talk.

When the circle came to Abe and his problems, he accommodated us. He is a man of few words. Instead of providing an explanation, he just apologized. Now, whenever I complain about anything he does, he just apologizes and kisses me. I don't know if that is acceptable yet or not, but it is his strategy and he is sticking with it.

By 3am, his arm was around me. My hand found its way to his neck, then his hair. He invited me to stay the night. I did. As my friends drove off, he walked towards them and said, "Thank you for bringing her back to me." I was sloppy at that point and only remember an exchange of precious promises on his bed before we fell into each other's arms.

It's true, he doesn't communicate with me as often as I want. He doesn't have a job and seems to be lacking motivation to find one. He is never on time. However, I am not ready to give up on him. He is a perfect fit in all other regards. In fact, he retains all the best qualities of the men I have loved in my past. There are eerie resemblances. Expectation is a dangerous thing. We will see if he steps up or down.

So, later in the week, I had booked myself on a lot of projects. I knew that I was not going to get much sleep. In fact, I was excited by the challenge. As I proved myself a responsible background talent on game shows, the booker offered to take me on for commercial background work, which pays more. Not a lot, but more.

So I booked a Kraft commercial, which would be two 7pm-7am shoot days back to back- and then a 3 day shoot for a million dollar game show.

A fellow backgrounder, Matt, was working the commercial with me. I like Matt because he laughs at my jokes. He was exactly what I needed to get through two all nighters. We play this game, where I ask him which women on set he would have sex with. He has a very beautiful, young girlfriend . . . but when you are pushing 24 hours on a football field, you need a past time.

Matt had three responses, "Yup", "Yup but I wouldn't tell anyone" and "Hell No."

So we sat down under a tarp with a craft service table that reminded me a lot of what my Grandmother fed me as a child in Milwaukee, WI. Windmill cookies, frosted oatmeal cookies, potato chips with ruffles, shit, shit and more shit.

Matt grabbed a handful of cookies and sat down. We watched a girl in leotards and a black skirt do yoga on a mat. The pole from the tarp was obstructing the view of her face and I saw Matt watching her. I said, "Would you lay down underneath her?"

Her face appeared. He said, "No." Behind Goth Yoga was a woman in her late 60s. "I would rather lay underneath that old lady back there with the red shit on her head."

I said, "By red shit, do you mean her hair?"

Matt, "Oh is that what that is?"

So we covered the majority of young ladies around us, plenty of gorgeous women. He said, "What about you?"

The game is different for me. You see, if I am given the responsibility of having a uterus, I must be highly selective of whose seed I could or would carry; through a mishap or otherwise. Not to mention, women are just more picky in an effort to save time.

I said, "There isn't anyone. Football player #10 and the 24 yr-old that flirted with me from last week (also here on assignment)."

Matt, "That's it, really?"

Me, "Yeah, see the game is no fun with me."

Throughout the night, we sat in a football stadium, in the cold, cheering for the same play in a faux football game over and over and over again. Matt later confided in me that Goth Yoga gives him the evil eye. "A look of pure evil." He had seen her on other assignments and was convinced she was a witch. I came to the conclusion that she was a lesbian on methamphetamines.

About a fourth of the kids we were working with started tweaking around 2 or 3am. You could see them start to vibrate; their hands, their knees, their jaws. Around 4am they were the only ones still active. I had put my head down on my lap like I was stuck on an airplane with only my economy tray table to provide support.

The Assistant Director would shout, "Everyone sit up, everyone UP UP UP!!" I would lift my head, hair standing up, eyes widened to keep my dry contacts from falling out and then hear, "ACTION!" The football scene would play out. "CUT!" Heads fell back down where ever they could lay.

One of the background talent was recruited to be the mascot in a big chipmunk costume. He looked bored through most of the night and then finally started playing charades for us. It was the 5am boost we needed. He was clearly a very cultured actor since most of the films were art house/classics of 1970-1992. He even threw in a stage play here or there. Very funny with a Chipmunk frown on his face.

The game with Matt had evolved into which girl I would have sex with in a threesome with him. That was a zero point game, but I indulged him to keep my brain working.

At 6:00 am we booked out of there, turned in out vouchers and headed to the freeway. At 6:05 am it was a sea of break lights. I had to buy cigarettes.

I got home around 6:40am, let the dogs out and laid in bed. My alarm went off at 9:30am to pick up a DVD in Downtown from a project. I got back at 11:30am, went back to sleep and got up at 3:30pm to get my animals prepped for the night without me before I headed out.

I felt like shit.

At 4:30pm I headed out to beat traffic and checked in at 7pm. Matt brought a 6 pack of beer disguised in various colored Nalgene bottles. We started on them right away and were done by 11pm.

Matt and I were separated from the beginning so the night went on a little slower. They had us sitting in a group and moving to 5 different sections of the bleachers so they could matte us on top of each other. Our group would multiply to a thousand on screen thanks to modern technology.

I was able to sit with Matt towards the latter half.

Me, "Would you do her?"

Matt, "Uhmmm, I don't want to say no because it looks like she just woke up."

Silence.

Matt, "No."

Me, "What about her?"

Matt, "Yeah, I would fuck her with your dick."

Me, "You will have to pull it out of your girlfriend first."

Everyone was talking about drugs, whether it was weed or speed. The tweakers were still in good shape, while the rest of us were fading quickly. One of the Production Assistants took a liking to me . . . I found something about being exhausted and freezing with smudged eyeliner really attracts men. Men come up, grab my head and press their foreheads against me. I don't know what the hell that is about, but I am already checked out, so whatever. The PA gave me his fleece to wear for the rest of the night.

Eventually, we were dragged down to the field level to cheer on the same damn football play from yesterday. I would lay on the grass, my body would get lighter, my foot would twitch, the voices started fading and then I would hear, "Everybody up!" I jumped to my feet and cheered like crazy. "Cut!" Back down on the grass.

When we heard "Wrap!" we booked out of there. Every man for himself. Turned in my voucher, hit the road then hit my bed for about 3 1/2 hours until I had to get up at 10am for an 11am call on another show.

I looked like shit, but tried glamming up a little bit. It was a formal wear call which includes a slight bump in pay for clothing. You wonder . . . would a little speed get me through this a lot easier. I can't turn down the work. My rent check has been $400 short every month, and I spend the rest of the month catching up.

I drove to CBS studio and waited in line. We were brought into a studio for an unusually smart game show that I can not discuss in great detail here, on-line. The shitter about this particular job was they wanted us to stand the whole time. They had women in high heels and we were all forced to stand around like God damn cardboard cut outs. It was painful. Especially on a pilot, when everything takes twice as long, it is like 30 people on their first day of work.

I saw one of the tweakers, vibrating in a gorgeous, banana yellow, prom dress. She was still shaking, her eyes buggy, her jaw clenched . . . still rockin' that dress. Another girl just moved out from Minnesota and was pursuing a career as a stuntman. She was so peppy when we first met, and asked to "hang out" with me for the rest of the shoot. I hate it when young actresses ask that. I can't think with their neurosis haunting me every fucking second of the day. "Do you think I can make it?" "Who do you think I look like? You know . . . celebrity wise?" "So do you have an advice?"

It took only about 20 hours before the show reduced her to tears and she was escorted off the lot. Good luck in this town, sweetheart!

An actor of about 55 or 60 yrs of age was describing how to make home made opium. He looked a lot like Roger Ebert, especially with the tux on. After 4 hours, I just took my damn heels off and leaned against a cocktail table like a tree after a wind storm. I was fucking freezing, and, once again, a nice boy came through with a jacket for me to wear between tapings.

We had a total of three days on this fucking job. There were ledges for us to lean on between tapings, but usually they were filled with older men. Girls in beautiful dresses with ankles twisted in heels were forced to squat or sit on the floor.

One of the older gentleman also had really bad gas. It was like Indian food AND a rotting corpse blowing through the wind of a cobwebbed cave. The smell would crawl around us. All I could do was warn the ladies in front of me and then listen to the assailant suck on hard candy while we quietly suffered with frozen smiles on our faces.

Another POD (Person of Disgust) was the producer. He was clearly high on cocaine. He must have been in his late 30s but still wore stone washed jeans and a big wrist watch. One of the other actors called him "Wall Clock."

Wall Clock had a booming voice, would come out and yell encouraging remarks to the contestants, then go back behind a thin wall and talk shit about them. When a team was doing really well, we could hear, "They are going to take all my money!" He called another contestant a "chicken." What a moron.

When he resurfaced, he would make cocaine jokes to a female contestant, ask another if she had a boyfriend then beg them all to win while manically chewing gum.

After the 1st day, he started leering at us. When he looked at me, I lifted my upper lip in genuine repulsion. He didn't bother me again.

On the 2nd day, I was moved to another table. The only way I could face another day of standing in the cold for an anticipated 12 hours was to smoke some ganj. On the last day, I baked Matt. He ended up just walking to the other side of the studio and stood frozen like he was posing for a prom picture. An older actor named Tommy came up to me, "Your friend looks stoned." Tommy would bake any chance he got in the parking lot and never recognized me when I called out to him outside of the studio, even when I parked next to him. He just hid behind his Roy Orbison glasses and walked on by.

All the girls had yoga pants on under their gowns and flats/flip flops. Some brought slippers but we weren't allowed to bring anything on set, our purses and books were kept under the stage and out of reach for 6 hours at a time. We learned to hide water, granola bars and sweaters in the curtains of the set.

While we were waiting outside the studio, I was speaking to an actor who moved here from the east coast. I asked him if he noticed a difference in the way men treat women on corresponding coasts. He said, "It varies . . . you know. Men in the bay area are the worst. I see them try to hit on girls, and when the girls ignore them they throw trash and shit at them." Matt thought this was hysterical, I was disgusted.

He asked me if I saw a difference. I said, "I only really know men on the west coast and there is a total lack of responsibility and romance. They just seem so lazy." At that moment, a man came up to throw his garbage in the trash bin next to us. It was overflowing with coffee cups, plastic and food. He shoved his trash in, but it fell right back out on the ground. He watched it roll towards his foot, then walked away.

Me, "Need I say more."

The Actor, "It's like God just came down and created that moment just for you."

Me, "I know."

The other thing that allowed for the time to pass a little faster was our lovely host, possibly the most perfect man on the planet. He was tall- like 6'4 tall, olive skin, bright blue eyes, British, smart, calculated, considerate to everyone, he spoke fondly of his wife and his child. All the things that make women swoon was in this one man.

He was still young, so there was a subtle goofiness to him through the sophistication.

Over the course of 3 days, all the women grew more and more fixated on him. A couple women just stared and smiled at him. It was ridiculous. He pretended he didn't notice for 2 days and then resigned to just enjoying the attention.

When one of the female contestants' bracelet fell off her wrist during the game, he bent down and said, "May I have the honor?" and clasped the bracelet around her wrist again. The room vibrated with "AWWWWW!" From that moment on, he had me in more ways that even he could imagine.

I can never understand why men don't recognize that a little effort and attention is all women really need for basic attraction. You don't have to be brilliant or gorgeous, just a gentleman.

Since I was moved to a new corner and away from Matt, I was now with younger women who did not understand my humor. When I deliver jokes deadpan, they believe me . . . no matter how ridiculous. I decided to play the Matt game with them and asked the women, who in this room would you have sex with.

It was not a pretty crowd when it came to men. Lots of older men and some younger goof balls. Pretty much all the women could only say the host, a few said the Hispanic kid in the corner (if his hair was back). I said, "Hottie Host aside, if we were the last people on Earth and it was our responsibility to repopulate the human race, who would you have sex with?"

The women carefully thought, then would bring in such discussion points as education, physical build and problem solving ability. I kid you not. The difference from playing the game with Matt and a group of women was epic.

After careful consideration, one of the contestants was selected to repopulate with all of us. I agreed with them that I would not carry anyone else's seed in that entire studio. The game was a little depressing, because the contestant, who I called "Christian Slater" because of his 1986 hairstyle, was a cocky bastard. If I was forced to breed with him for the good of mankind, I would need a thick stick or knife in my mouth to clench down on from utter disgust.

I changed the game to what sexual positions could we accomplish with the host at any given point during the game. There was only him and the game table . . . yet a woman's imagination could go very far. Girls started coming over from other tables to share a new position. One girl called dibs on the railing. I told her, "I will call that position 'A Railing.'

When he was off stage with wardrobe and frantically scrubbing a stain off the front of his pants, I asked, "What position do you see yourself there?" The girls giggled with delight.

The host was picking up on the sexual vibrations in our corner and started gravitating towards us. I was at a table with two beautiful young girls, one who asked me to periodically make sure blood from her period didn't start leaking down her leg. Civil duty. The other was 18 and had an attitude that could get her a reoccurring host position on THE VIEW. She would fall on the floor between tapings and say, "Oh My God, I have to pee so bad, it isn't even funny anymore." She was also cruel with criticisms of other girls, in the way children are cruel towards each other. That said, I kinda liked her.

They interacted with him, asked him questions and he obliged. I just had nothing to say to him. I didn't want to waste his time while mentally satisfying him in every way his wife couldn't.

Of course, when we were ordered to look at Hottie Host for a camera shot, I would say, "My pleasure." His back was to us, but he grabbed his ass to emphasize the direction. I said, "Thank you, that was the best part of my morning."

Now, I thought he couldn't hear me, but later I came to realize that he heard everything we said in our corner. When he started flubbing lines, I said, "Someone needs a hot bath and a massage."

He turned his head towards me just before cameras rolled, and I winked at him. A slight smile, then he never looked at me again. He did, however, make his way to our tiny table and talk to both young girls on either side of me. He was directly facing me, sipping his Starbuck's out of a straw, but refused to look at me. I laughed at his jokes and flipped my hair. Nothing. Why toy with a woman in her sexual prime? WHY!?

After he left, the Hispanic guy half of the girls thought was "kinda hot" and the other half thought looked like a mongrel, came up to me and asked, "How do you feel?" I said, "Moist."

Maybe I wasn't his kind of woman. It's hard to say. No matter, he reminded me of Abe. That was the beauty of it. My emotional affair really just led me back my boyfriend.

Towards the end, one of the actors took out his harmonica and busted out a basic blues riff. Another actor sat down next to him and sang, "Been working 13 hours today, ain't allowed to sit down . . . my feet are hurtin' yeah . . . I just wanna go home . . . Been doing Background Work, Baby . . ."

When we wrapped, the booker sent us an apology email for the job: "It will be now known forever in audience lore as the Million Dollar Nightmare... or Last Audience Standing... or just Survivor Background Studio City."

That night, Abe came by. It is hard not resenting him for sleeping in and complaining about being tired when he is unemployed and financially secure after I just busted out 47 hours of work in 5 days. He is privileged, but kind and brilliant.

One of my best friends and I were talking about all the men we knew in this town who were supported by their parents for an indefinite period of time. Meanwhile, she and I are forced to scrounge for rent and food on our own while also trying to find the time to invest in the career we ultimately want.

To get a career up and going, you need support. You need to have the resources to cover your overhead while investing all the time it takes to hone your craft, build your creative resume and write/dream to where you have enough of an artillery to launch yourself as a professional. I don't care what field you pursue, you need that time to find your way.

Not to mention, I can barely get words of encouragement on even pursuing a career as an actress. Usually, when I inform my parents of a role/audition/booking I get silence then, "I just wish you would get the hell out of there."

Lots of boys get their time bought and paid for by their parents (this is not absolute but there is a pattern I have noticed). My dear friend said, "I think it has to do with insuring that your son carries on the family bloodline. Here is my son, I will give him whatever he wants, just please marry him and have children."

I think that's close. Despite the year being 2010, I think people still carry an idea that women can marry into money. The illusion that a woman can pick her destiny when picking her husband. With sons, they are the destiny. They are the ones whose worth is carved through professional success. Therefore, they are the worthy investment. They are the definitive ones.

Just like that scene in Sophie's Choice, when she is forced to choose which child to be taken away on a train and gassed by the Nazis. She says, "Take my little girl."

The one day off I spent with Abe. We had lots of sex, ate a big vegan brunch, watched THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE. We drank coffee, walked, laid down and spoke about the Old Testament, Egyptian history, the theory of the human soul, ex-lovers, how he thought I was a sex addict, etc, etc, until 4am the next morning. Sadly, there was more audience work waiting for me and he wanted to drive back at night to avoid traffic.

It's hard letting him leave. It is a long distance relationship. I need the time to work and focus. How easily I could put everything I am in his careless hands . . . I need to stay strong and let him fall in love with me first. It always takes men a little longer. He will.

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