Monday, October 25, 2010

Schizophrenic, Stoned and Sexy . . . Oh, My

I have been busy working on a film shoot this week. The wizard editing together our comedy pilot had her Grad thesis production last week, so I donated my body to "Switchboard." A, the editor, cast me as a crazy homeless woman for the first day.

I spent several years crewing on everything from student projects to professional independent ones, but when I am playing a role, my mind goes romping down a dark alley and never really comes back. I spend most of my time entertaining people around craft service (food service) than really doing anything else. I can't help it.

When I was asked to go to hair and make-up, they dressed me in this long red hippie skirt, which I put over my jeans and army boots. I asked to wear the pink t-shirt which I wore over a grey thermal. They threw on a kind of trendy faux fur trim jacket that was one size too small, a scarf, a USA Olympic winter hat with a hole in it and voila! I was homeless.

Make-up asked what I was and I said, "I am the type of homeless that is on drugs and occasionally whores herself out. Occasionally. Only when I am in a pinch."

So what do they give me? Three sores on my face, chapped lips, deteriorating teeth and grime all over my face. Now I had to amend my character from druggie-occasional-whore to just fucking nuts.

The 3o-something yr old, male actor in the chair next to me faced the make-up artist waiting to transform.

Make-Up: "Are you allergic to latex?"

Male Actor: "I don't know."

Me: "Yes . . . you do."

(Pause)

Make-Up: "So I will take that as a no."

I got out of the passenger van on set, a park in downtown Los Angeles, and saw The Comic (who was crewing on the set out of the pure goodness of his heart). I shook my knockers at him and said, "Ya want me now?" His face tightened with something resembling a smile. "No."

I pranced to set and was placed among some real homeless people in a real park. The Comic followed and said, "I think you found the perfect deterrent actually, for keeping me far far away from you."

A (the director) came up and asked make-up to tone me down. I begged to keep a sore or two on my face.

It takes time to set up shots, and seeing as I was just in the background through most of the shoot, all I had to do was sit there and look homeless. The transient behind me said, "Wow, you look like you fit in." He and I got to talking about life. He said, "I spend 20 days a month out here. The rest of the time I am in Vegas. I lose. I always lose. But then I come back, get a bologna sandwich. It's alright. It's my decision. This is my life."

During bouts of silence, I would pull up my Facebook on the iPhone to waste time. Two police officers scouted the park. Apparently, they interview the homeless, looking to apprehend those high on drugs. The homeless insist the worst psychotic offenders are usually left alone because they are more trouble than they are worth.

They approached me, "The iPhone is your only give away. Very convincing."

The prop department gave me a bag of stuff to use during the scene. I pulled out a hand held mirror and brush then gave myself the crazy business of thinking my hair was growing out of my jacket. What is weird about acting is you can say to yourself, what if that was my hair growing out of this jacket and in some parallel universe, you start to believe it. The make-up was itching my face so I used the mirror and brush to relieve any itches and then tried brushing my hat, with the occasional "bang my face against my reflection" and that was it.

Another homeless actor, "I don't know what the hell you were doing with that mirror, but you it worked really well."

When I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I thought, "Wow, I really look fucking crazy." One eye was squinting a little more than the other. My wrinkles were pronounced through all the make-up and dirt on my face. It was alarming. You wonder, is this what I would look like if my life took a different turn?

Another pair of officers approached, this time wearing plastic gloves.

I said, "Are you dealing with bodily fluids today?"

Cop, "Today? Oh, every day. The iPhone is the only thing that gives you away."

I said, "I heard that." Obligatory chuckle.

Cop, "Yeah, and you're too smiley."

I said, "Good note!"

Cop, "Try lots of sudden movements."

I asked them if homeless women were raped a lot. The cop said, "Eh, we are only called in when its a bad business transaction if you get my meaning."

While under the craft service tent, which Em was handling quite seriously, I got into one of my usual rants regarding fellatio for the entertainment of the Comic and a strange, quiet, large, bald black man. I said, "I don't perform oral sex, well, I do for the boyfriend but that's because he is Jewish."

The Comic, "Jewish?"

Me, "Yeah, his people have been through enough. I only perform oral sex for the Jews. And maybe for the blacks."

The Comic, "Really?"

Me, "Of course."

The Comic, "What about Native Americans?"

Me, "No one deserves it more than Native Americans."

Em, "Everyone, but you, basically."

The Comic, "I wouldn't say that because I am white, I have lived a privileged life."

The quiet guy under the tent suddenly found his voice. "Not having a privileged lifestyle to someone like him is not having a summer home. Its only having one sports car to drive around on Sundays. Less people to clean his house."

The Comic's eye brows started bouncing up and down. "Oh yeah ...summer homes, sports cars, that's me ... all the way." The Comic lives in a bachelor pad in downtown Los Angeles.

Black Bald Guy, "Oh ... I know. Your stocks not doing so well this quarter? Worried you might have to work for your money?"

The banter took off from there, mostly between myself and the Comic. When the bald, black guy got quiet, I turned to him and said, "You are getting a free show. Someday you are going to have to pay for this kind of comedy."

Bald, black guy, "Who? Misa?" I realized, he was saying, "Me, sir?" in an exaggerated southern accent so from that point forward I called him Misa (mee-sah).

Misa, "I'm gonna have to pay, sir! Oohhh, I feel so lucky then."

I said, "Oh, Misa. You are lucky."

The Comic, "Is that a southern drawl?"

Misa, "Ooooh, yessir!"

Me, "Are you an actor?"

He slowly nodded his head.

Me, "What other accents can you do?"

Misa (with absolutely no accent), "English . . . 'Hello, darling, would you like a cup of tea? I can also do Scottish. (also with no accent) 'By golly, it is 10 o'clock."

Then he stood up and said he had to go. This was strange since all we had seen him do was plow through cookies and juice boxes off the craft service table. No one had seen him actually do something for the production.

Me, "Next time I see you, I want a monologue for a drama, a comedy, a dramedy, a period movie and one with an English accent."

Misa broke into a dramatic monologue about a father disappointed in his son. I listened attentively. I had no choice when he stuck his finger in my face and towered over me like I was a black teenage boy. It was kind of good.

Me, "Was that the comedy or the period?"

Misa answered quite seriously, "Its a drama."

I said, "Where is the dirt underneath your fingernails and the wedding ring for your character?"

Misa examined his hands seriously.

I said, "Commit! Commit! (beat) I don't have time for this."

He started gathering his things.

I said, "You can't leave, I need you as my laugh track."

Misa laughed. I raised my arms up halfway like I was conducting an orchestra. Misa's laugh erupted from his belly, louder and even more exaggerated.

I stuffed Fritos in my mouth. "Very good."

Misa left and I never saw him again.

Thursday I was expecting Abe to show up to set. We had tickets to a comedy show on the Universal City Walk and planned on hitting Halloween Nights afterward. Abe is not thrilled and feels the need to remind me that he is not thrilled.

Me (on the phone): You don't understand, I love Halloween Nights so much, every year, the day after I go, my Facebook Status Update reads 'I am now the furthest away from Halloween Nights I will be all year.'

Abe groans.

Me (on the phone): "I love Halloween Nights so much, I would rather have tickets than a Christmas AND a birthday present. You won't have to buy me anything until Valentine's Day. Even then, we are talking something minimal like a modest floral arrangement . . . if that."

Abe (on the phone): I'm sorry, I am not sure if its the reception or because you are talking so fast, but I don't know what the hell you are talking about.

Me: Just take me to Halloween Nights. I will love you forever.

(He just bought tickets as I wrote this blog)

The Comic felt that I shouldn't boast about my look with my homeless garb on, but there is something thrilling about being ugly- when you can go back to pretty. As I settled more into the character, I became relaxed. I behaved as if no one could see me. Huge stretches and yawns, terrible posture, moving at my own pace, just being oblivious of the world around me. It was a very tranquil experience, actually.

My close-up was mildly more intense. I got to rant about some crazy shit. Very curious to see how that turns out.

During a scene, I was cued to walk over and sit next to someone at the edge of my concrete ledge in the background of the shot. I turned and stared at him with a blank expression. The guy said, "What the FUCK are you looking at?"

I mumbled, "You aren't supposed to talk when the camera is rolling."

He kept mumbling. So I went over to the assistant director and said, "Is that guy an actor?"

The AD said, "Oh no, he is just some guy that wondered on set. But we love him there in the shot."

Great, I wish I knew that I was staring at a paranoid schizophrenic before committing to the action in the scene. Now I had to repeat the same action with every take, so everything could be edited properly.

Next take, feeling a little nervous, walked over, sat down and stared at a homeless, paranoid schizophrenic. He kept looking at me over his shoulder. Yeah, the cops were right, sudden movements.

AD, "CUT!"

Me to Schizo, "So, you aren't an actor? That's amazing because did you see the creative genius we just created?"

Schizo, "No, I have this bus ticket. Its 1 to 100."

Me, "Oh, well, sorry I stared at you and made you uncomfortable. But, aren't you impressed?"

Schizo, "Not really. If you were a man, I would have punched you in the stomach."

Already, then.

Abe never made it in time for set. Now, normally I would be annoyed, and give him the silent treatment to prove a point. Time is valuable, and when you don't communicate, you are wasting someone else's. The fact is, to love someone, you have to let them be who they are. Abe isn't punctual. He is floating through life right now, and I think that is part of my attraction.

My family is so possessed with the desperation to work work work, even when they are retired. At the wedding in Vegas, my whole family didn't "attend" it, they "worked" it. My sister was taking pictures while fighting over which dishes should be removed from the counter. My mother was putting my father to work, like he needed a job every 20 minutes to keep him moving. The theory being if you stop working, you get depressed, slow down or shut down.

In a way, I think people regard you with less respect when you behave that way. Its almost like, in their minds, they justify that you want to serve them. It took years to smother my compulsion to carry out other people's bags in the grocery store, or volunteer myself to do something for someone else for no other reason than I could.

I like that Abe doesn't feel like he has to work all the time. I like that right now I feel like I don't have to work all the time. I was so tired last year. Tired of filling up every day or minute with something to push me forward. Its exhausting!

In fact, if I ever have a family of my own, I want them to grown up thinking highly enough of themselves that they aren't running around a wedding collecting dirty plates. I want them to grow up with one sturdy backpack every academic year, instead of 5 cheap ones that fall apart while they walk down the hallway for the whole school to see. I want to upgrade my life and my bloodline.

On the flip side, perhaps Abe will grow to love and depend on work the way I do, in an effort to define character.

Abeism: "No one ever calls me in for an interview. I don't know, I just don't think I was meant to work."

Abeism: "Can we just sail away and live off the family fortune?"

Abeism: "I am late . . . again . . . of course."

And, I also like that Abe doesn't associate any guilt with his time, or his slightly high regard for nice things, nice meals, nice cars . . . I find it refreshing that he takes everything in stride. Then I take all that expectation I have on him to be there, to be on time, to do what I want and I let it fly away. He isn't a doll. He is my boyfriend.

He came out later that night, Jaq had tickets to a comedy show on the Universal Walk. Everyone was late to the rendezvous point@Em's place. I was late. Abe was late. Jaq was late. The only one who wasn't late was Despondent Ray (Em's roommate and now Jaq's boyfriend) and that was because he lived there.

Jaq came up to grab him and took off, so rushed, she didn't acknowledge me or Abe. So Abe and I said our goodbyes, then we hopped in the car, drove over to Universal Studios, parked on the roof and smoked a bowl. Then we wandered into the comedy club 15 minutes after it started. And guess what? We beat everyone there.

We went up to the balcony to get a bird's eye view of the audience, since we couldn't spot Jaq or Despondent. We sat at a table and one of the comic's said, "Hey, is that Dog the Bounty Hunter up there?"

I looked over and saw a white, bleached blond mullet in some kind of moccasin/cowboy get up. Dog got up and waved to the crowd.

We found Jaq and all went down to a table on the main floor. Now, another detail of this story, true yet totally bizarre, is The Comic . . . that is my Comic, was performing in this particular show. This is purely by coincidence.

During one of the comic's acts, whose routine centered around his trouble with the law, Dog the Bounty Hunter randomly walked up, gave him a pensive glare, pointed at him, and, without a word, exited stage left.

I turned to Abe, "I am way too stoned for this."

After the show, I introduced Abe to the Comic. There was some casual chit chat about the show, this and that. Meanwhile, I noticed that Jaq and Despondent Ray were gone. I told Comic that we were going outside to look for them, and we had plans to all go to Halloween Nights.

The Comic said he would meet us out there.

So when I was freezing my ass off outside, while Abe smoked a cigarette and realized that Jaq did in fact ditch us, I felt awkward about leaving since The Comic left it on the "see you outside" note.

The Comic came out and offered to walk with us down to Halloween Nights. When we got there and I found Jaq and Despondent, I decided to wait to do Halloween Nights on a cheaper/warmer night,walked back to Abe and the Comic and suggested food.

Here the Comic said he was hungry too, and walked with us to Johnny Rocket's which was still open and actually serves the Streamliner (a vegan burger). There, we sat in a booth and listened to a handful of drunk, frat boys perform several Sublime songs for karaoke in the middle of the restaurant.

We walked in and I said, "Who could forget this 50s classic?" Tip of the hat to you, Daniel Clowes.

The Comic was very serious and sat across from us with chili cheese fries and a beer. Already, he made mention that I am too engaging with strangers and discuss sex way too much on set. Abe fell silent for a second and I reminded him of how I am. I was incredibly sexual on the set Abe and I worked on together, but never "picked up" or "hooked up." Its all bizarrely clinical for me. Not primal in the slightest. Not even a little bit.

Then the Comic asked about Abe's work schedule, fully well knowing that Abe is unemployed and, if he had a flaw of any kind, it would be his lack of drive. It was a soft punch.

The Comic, "Staying up late, huh? I bet you can get lots of work done at night so you don't get distracted."

Abe stared at him with ganja heavy eye lids and then said, "I have been lacking motivation lately." I gotta hand it to the kid, he doesn't give a fuck what people think about him. I don't have to protect him. That is incredibly sexy.

Abe was still kind, gracious, inquisitive, genuinely interested, conversational and charming. I was really proud of him. After Abe picked up the bill, we walked out together and the Comic gave Abe a fist pump before walking to the other side of the parking lot.

I mentioned how impressed I was with how generous and kind he was to the Comic. Abe said, "I just hope he doesn't go home and kill himself tonight." I laughed. Abe, "I am serious."

Since the Comic and I got honest over a pint of beer and a few games of pool last month, he has grown on me. He seems more natural and relaxed, I don't know. I am becoming a friend, and less of a conquest. Not to mention, he is constantly encouraging me, complimenting me. It almost makes up for my parents. I try not to worry what it all means. Am I an asshole for enjoying his company now? I don't know. It is what it is.

The man is an enigma. Why would he want to hang out with me and my boyfriend all night?

Saturday came around and I was back on set. There was a middle-aged Native American guy there, a bit shorter than me in full head gear and costume. He introduced himself.

Reuben: "This is our traditional handshake, like this (grabs my wrist) to help avoid the spread of disease."

Me: "Sorry that didn't work out for you."

Reuben: "Oh its working out. Casinos . . . are you kidding me? We've got the upper hand."

Me: "I always say, I refuse to give fellatio to white men because they just haven't earned it. Except for the Jews of course. What can't we do for them?"

Reuben: "Yeah, we get the women. I am dating a Scandinavian. I have dated women from all cultures, they LOVE me. You can see all of them on my Facebook profile."

Ok, its clear right around here that Reuben is going to puff up his feathers, so to speak, because he thinks stupid shit like this matters to girls.

Reuben: "Women somehow know that we are gifted. Why do you think we get along so well with the blacks?"

Me: "I didn't know you got along with the blacks."

Reuben: "Yeah, and the Jews. We always say the cowboys wiped us out because our cocks are bigger. That's why they call my Big Feather."

Me: "Big Feather because of your . . ."

Reuben: "Oh, yeah. All 8 1/2 inches of it. And we aren't circumcised so we get that extra sensitivity."

Me: "That extra inch of skin really goes the extra mile, huh?"

Silence.

Reuben: "You're funny."

Now, when men say stupid shit to me in an effort to impress, I like to repeat it in the company of others, deadpan. This way, they can hear how ridiculous they sound. I am really just trying to help them.

Me: "This is Reuben. He is in an open relationship with a hairless, bi-sexual Scandinavian."

Reuben: "Oh yeah, she prefers women. She is over there doing her thing . . . "

Me: "Pillow fights with her girlfriends . . . "

Reuben: "And I am here doing my thing. She sends me a box of condoms for my birthday and tells me to go have fun."

The Comic: "Sounds more like she is trying to break up with you."

Ha ha.

Frank was a German actor on set who, in the short time it took to make a pot of coffee for craft service, confided in me that he hasn't really dated in several years, but has had casual intercourse with a variety of women. He has only used condoms 5 times in his entire life.

Me: "This is Frank, he has an aversion to prophylactics."

Frank (German accent): "Prophylactics. I don't know what this word means."

The other good one about Frank was when he found out that I loved champagne and offered to share a spare bottle he just happened to have in his fridge at home with me the next day if I hung around after the production wrapped.

Me: "This is Frank, he has some spare champagne he is donating for when we wrap tomorrow."

Poor Frank was very German and replied in defeat, "Well . . . I only have one bottle."

On Sunday, The Comic brought in a friend, another comic named Jamar, to help with the set. Comic and Jamar spar over 'Your Mom' jokes, which sounds really juvenile, but it was a delightful way to pass the afternoon as we tore down a set.

(*Jamar is black, that may help explain some of the following jokes)

Me: "You know what's sad about Jamar's mom, you can't unscrew her."

Jamar: "Your mom is so loose, they had to rescue Chilean miners trapped inside . . . and then the Goonies."

Me: "Your mom is so dirty, she uses this bottle of hand sanitizer as lubricant."

Jamar: "Your mom is so loose, child birth was like this" (Jamar walked out calmly, dusts off his shoulders)

Me: "Your mom is so dirty, child birth was like this" (I smell something bad, and walked away in distaste)

Jamar: "Your mom is so loose, a marching band came out as afterbirth." (Jamar marching while playing imaginary trombone)

Me: "God, chipping off this glue is like chipping white man sperm off of Jamar's Mom's mouth."

Me: "Can you spread your mom's legs and open this can of coke for me?"

My energy was waning. We were waking up around 5am so we could be on set by 6am to have coffee and breakfast ready for the cast and crew. After a few days, it really started taking its toll on me. Sunday, with all the physical labor, I thought I was going to pass out. An actress' diet is not substantial enough to support crew work.

I was circling the taco truck outside, waiting for the crew to break for lunch. I asked them for a plate early. I grabbed a few vegan tacos and headed back to the table on set.

Em and I were sitting with the rest of the crew, while Jamar (who I met just an hour before) took his plate to an empty table next to us.

Me: "Hey, Jamar, it's not 1952 anymore, you can sit at our table."

Jamar was growing silent. He stood up and sat next to me, quietly. We finished eating and The Comic asked if I was going back for seconds.

I said, "I was going to give myself a break first, but I was under the impression Jamar's mom didn't take any breaks."

Jamar quietly took a bite out of his taco.

I said, "I am disappointed. (to The Comic) Next time, bring me a real stand up comic."

I walked away. While waiting in line, the cook asked how everything was.

Cook: "The beans?"

Me: "Very good, great texture."

Cook: "The rice?"

Me: "Perfectly cooked, not too hard, not too soft. You should be on Top Chef."

The guy behind me said, "Did you say Top Chef? I work on that show."

I said, "You do? Well, I have an idea, how about a Top Chef season of roach coaches, or taco trucks?"

The guy behind him said, "I like that idea. I will pass it by the producer. What do you do?"

Me (hanging my head in shame): "I am just an actress."

Top Chef Guy: "Oh."

After lunch, Em left. Then the Comic and Jamar. I did another hour of work and then made my way towards the exit. I ran into a boy that was working on the cinematography. His eyes were watered down and red. My first thought was he was sprayed in the eyes with something toxic.

I said, "What happened?"

He said, "My grandfather had a stroke."

I leaned in and gave him a long hug.

Me: "I'm sorry. Come on, lets go smoke cigarettes."

Now, I do not smoke anymore. I like the smell, but as for really smoking a cigarette since my revelation, it doesn't do anything for me but hurt my throat. That said, under specific circumstances, I don't care who you are, you need to have a smoke.

We walked downstairs and outside of the studio. It was dark now and he couldn't stop crying.

Boy: "I haven't cried since I was 4 yrs old."

Me: "That's ridiculous. Have you seen Titanic?"

He laughed. Thank God.

Grandpa was in Tulsa and still alive but not doing well. The boy felt helpless. It started drizzling.

Me: "See? Now the angels are crying."

Boy: "I need a pill."

Me: "I wish I had some valium for you."

Boy: "I was thinking something stronger, like heroin."

Me: "Heroin?"

Boy: "I just want to get high on heroin and sleep for a few days."

Me: "Everything that you sleep through will be waiting for you when you wake up."

Boy: "I just needed one more solid visit with him. You know?"

Me: "It wouldn't matter, we always want one more. If you saw him last week, you would want one more visit. (beat) Look at it this way, this is the worst it gets. This kind of pain is the worse you can go through. Unless, of course there is a Holocaust. That is only once every few generations."

Boy: "Eh, I don't know, that seems like it would be the same thing."

Me: "You're right, its the same thing in slow motion. That's depressing." I was too stoned for this.

Frank was leaving set and came up to say goodbye. I said, "Frank, you have to add me on Facebook."

Frank (German accent): "I did, I accepted.

Me: "No you didn't, Frank. I checked."

Frank (German accent): "I pushed the button."

Me: "I don't know what button you pushed, but it was the wrong one. I am sure you have heard that before."

Frank wanted to stay and feel out if he actually had an opportunity with me, but was asked to move his car for the equipment truck as soon as possible. So he waved goodbye and left.

A producer came up to tell the boy he was needed on set. He said he couldn't talk about it with her, and started tearing up. He asked me to explain the situation, so I pulled her aside and gave her the run down. She was gracious, of course.

I came back to the Boy, who was still crying, even more now.

Me: "We don't have to talk about that, you want to know what is really disturbing? Watching ducks mate."

He laughed.

I put myself in the shoes of a 24 yr-old male and one upped him on sexual fetishes. At least this skill had some kind of real life application.

He brought up Mr. Hand who died by horse cock.

I brought up the farm animal whore house.

He brought up necrophilia.

I brought up Japanese horror films and cheerily topped it off with a reenactment of the Human Centipede.

He finished with "Two Girls and a Cup", and then threw in "Eight Girls and No Cup" for good measure before I left him. He was going to be OK.

The Boy: "Thank you for taking my mind off of it and cheering me up."

Me: "Anytime." Sometimes we spend a really important 30 minutes with a total stranger.

The Boy: "And let me know if you find any heroin."

A-hum. Hm.

I went home to eat soup and to figure out if I had enough energy to go to an Open Mic later that night. Before Jamar left he told me to come, hit my hat further over my eyes and said, "Come on. Get your shit together." That made me feel good, like I passed the test of comic banter and now was obligated to follow through.

I walked over to the IO West a little after 10:30pm, exhausted and cold. I opened the door to the Open Mic and saw Jamar on stage with the microphone. He stopped and put his hand over his brow, then squinted to see me through the lights.

Jamar, "Hold on . . . hold on! Is that who I fucking think it is?"

I haven't been up on stage for over a year. I am shy. I dodged around all the doorway loiterers.

Jamar, "Hey! HEY! Eh, fuck it. Who is next?"

I came in and sat down among the comics waiting to go up. The smell of body odor hung over head with the dust dancing in the stage lights. Not the most hygienic group of people.

Open mics are kind of a painful process. Everyone is trying to work out their material, so nothing really comes across as polished or particularly funny. Mostly, its just a string of awkward moments and stories with no punchline. That is how you work out a stand-up routine.

Jamar kept looking at me from across the room, asking if I wanted to go up. I declined. I had no idea he was MCing this event (aka. hosting, handling the list of comics).

The Comic went up and had some priceless "Your Momma" banter with Jamar. The audience was laughing from the gut, it was the one moment of actual comedy.

The Comic, "Jamar's Mom is so fat, she needs a scale for each foot."

Jamar, "___'s Mom is so old, her crabs are on crutches."

The Comic, "I got Jamar's Mom off so hard last night, she almost dropped her cheeseburger."

The Comic was on fire.

The acts didn't pick up after that. People went up, pitched their observations/jokes/love for female genitalia and suffered through the heavy silences from the crowd, then eventually walked off stage.

At the end, Jamar said, "We have five more minutes, so we are going to bring up a very special guest [My full name]."

I thought, fuck it. I have a few more Jamar's Momma jokes. I walked up and Jamar said, "Thank you everyone for coming out. We really appreciate it. Lots of good comics tonight, lots of good comics. GOODNIGHT!"

I waited, even though I realized what he was doing. He called me up on stage just to make me stand there while everyone left.

I reached for the microphone and he pulled it away, then unplugged it. So I fucking projected with my voice.

"I was going to come up, but after going down on Jamar's Mom, I didn't want to have to perform in white face."

That got a reaction.

"If you take a step back from stage, you can get a bird's eye view of Jamar's mom giving birth."

Jamar, "Are you taking my fucking jokes, now?"

Me: "Ha! That's not your joke. (to the audience) You know if you are into Jamar's mother, (I shoved my fist and forearm through my other hand) You are IN to Jamar's mother."

Jamar held a frozen "angry black man" expression then cracked into a smile. "Were you sitting there thinking of these the whole time?"

I nodded and smiled.

The few comics left sitting in front of me on stage said, "I don't know what the fuck I am watching."

You are watching a baptism, mother fucker. A baptism into the world of stand-up comedy.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Day in the Life

The next day I booked work on a show called "The Daily Habit." I couldn't smoke because I couldn't find my pipe or lighter, so I showed up sober. This didn't help me "tolerate" the girl I had to sit next to for the first half of the show. She kept stroking her hair.

It didn't stop for FOUR hours. She just pulled on the same section of hair over and over and over again. I started quietly saying, "Stop stroking your hair. Stop . . . stroking . . . your . . .hair." Nothing. She kept stroking her hair.

One of the audience members, was a sunburned hippie named Erich. Matt was there with his girlfriend, and as we walked to the cafe for lunch break, he hit my arm and pointed at Erich. "That guy is a triple dip." I said, "On what?" Matt said, "LSD. Gotta be!"

Erich was standing in the courtyard with his hands clasped in prayer and lifting them up to the sun. Later, while we waited outside the studio, he started dancing in a circle like a Cherokee Indian. First, he was talking about how they have treatments for cancer in South America that would trip you out then totally heal you. He claimed, those people are often "capped" for distributing the cure of cancer to Americans. Then was going on about asking the universe for something and how it will provide.

"If you ask it for money, happiness, lightness, it will provide. If you tell yourself you don't need something, like 'I'm fine without money.' The Universe won't give it to you. If you say you need money. Money will come to you."

Of course this strikes a chord with me, I would be perfectly happy if I had a little more money coming in to cover my bills. He saw me watching him.

I said, "I agree."

Then he approached me, "I like that. I like agreement. Like you . . . I want you. I want oneness with you. I want to marry you. I want to look at you and then see me."

Matt brought him some water. Erich, "Water, thank you." I asked, "Did you ask the universe for that water?"

Erich said, "Yes! I want male friendliness. Soft, gentle males around me, to be around me."

We were escorted into the studio with the hopes that Matt and I could sit side by side and laugh at Erich. We were placed apart from each other but I still had a view of Erich, who had his legs crossed and fingers upright like a Hindu god. When the band came on to play, Erich jumped up, first throwing both arms over his head, then throwing his whole upper torso up and down like a broken doll doing what looked like a 'torso bang.' (I guess the torso equivalent to a head bang)

I laughed so hard I cried. The guys next to him, two black dudes and a white guy all dressed in blue button up tops, laughed hysterically, leaning into each other like knocked over bowling pins. The girl immediately to his right looked forward, serious and stoic. Never once did she break her soldier facade.

When we left, he stopped to touch and quietly speak to each bushel on the way to the Fox parking lot. As we were filling out our vouchers, I asked to borrow his pen. I said, "I asked the universe for this pen and it gave it to me."

He said, "That's right. You are happy."

I said, "I am happy but worried about my finances."

He said, "I give you financial security. I wish upon you money to take care of your bills."

I said, "Thank you."

He said, "So, how do you get more work like this?"

Yeah . . . great follow up question.

Exhausted from the Vegas trip and everything, I drove home and was able to book another audience job the next day in Irvine. It was close to Abe, so I asked him if he would join me. He did.

I had to get up at 5am to brave through an hour and a half of traffic to get lost on the Marine base the show was filming on. I showed up and waited for Abe who joined me in line. Audience work. Pot. And Abe. It all just comes together now, doesn't it?

Me: "You know what I read yesterday. Once you achieve menopause, you start losing estrogen. Major amounts of estrogen. And as a result, your vocabulary gets smaller, your memory fades and your brain actually shrinks."

Pause for dramatic effect. Abe shook his head smiling.

Me: "Then . . . THEN, we lose testosterone too, which means we lose our sexual drive and orgasms become weaker and less frequent. WHAT THE FUCK!? I am going to lose my mind and my sex drive." Seriously, what is there left to live for?

Abe: "I don't know what to say, I haven't had protein today so I can't really take in these deep thoughts."

Me: "Do you want to fornicate later?"

Abe: "After I eat."

I adore him.

We waited in line for an hour, and then the audience wrangler said we could come back at 1pm. There were a lot of people lined up with tickets to see the show. I guess we were just seat fillers.

We walked away and looked at our watch. It was 9:24am.

We went back to his place, smoked more pot and had more sex. Then he found this vegan cafe nearby (The Avanti Cafe) and took me out for this amazing lunch. Vegan pizza, cream soda and the vegan dessert platter (which consisted of sweet almond cake, chocolate almond tart and a brownie). At this point we were late, so we stocked the desserts in his back seat and drove back to set.

We waited for an hour and then were let go for the full pay of the day.

I didn't spot any of my regulars, probably because it was in Irvine. Abe was talking to a guy next to us and I had tuned them out until the guy said, "This kind of work isn't so bad."

I whipped around, "It's the best job in the world. Seriously. I heard someone this morning complain about not getting paid for lunch. No one gets paid for lunch. Have they done any other job?"

Abe laughed and the guy nodded in agreed.

The guy said, "You could study while doing this job or write."

I said, "I have been catching up on my literature and every once in a while . . . (with attitude here) I take a nap."

After we collected our money, Abe eyed the Lamborghini in the lot. He was talking about he specialty hood, and the console and blah blah blah. He said, "I just got paid $64 to talk to you and look at this Lamborghini."

I said, "No, you got paid to smoke pot, have sex with your girlfriend, eat an amazing lunch AND look at this Lamborghini. What are you doing for the rest of the afternoon?" He smiled.

I followed him home and we just hung out. His roommates came in Youngin' and T.

Youngin invited me to his rap show, which, SERIOUSLY, I am dying to see so I can blog about it. I said I had to go home and take care of my animals.

Youngin', "My girl Jessica is like that, too. She says she has to take care of her 3 cats. I give her the toodaloo."

Me, "The toodaloo?"

Youngin', "Yeah, you seen Mrs. Doubtfire? (waves in the air) (high pitched British accent) "Toodaloo. So you know what T is going to be for Halloween? A baseball player with really huge balls."

T came in briefly holding the bong in his hand like a trophy.

T, "Hey you! I haven't seen you for a while. How was Vegas?"

Smoke. Cough.

T, "Sorry to cut this short, but I have to fuck off at my mom's." He left.

They really should have their own cartoon on TV.

Abe looks a lot like Jesus. He has the beard, sure, but its the high cheek bones and narrow chin. Its very Willem Dafoe circa 'Temptation of Christ.' He also has a spiritual vibe going on.

During our 7 day first date, he asked about all my pictures of Jesus hanging around.

Me, "Its not about religion. I am just kinda . . . hot for him."

Abe said, "Do I remind you of him?"

I said, "Kinda." He laughed.

So, obviously, I suggested that Abe be Jesus for Halloween and I would be a black Jew. I thought there was a yin yang to the whole thing.

Abe, "Once I went to a toga party at a frat house and that was weird."

Me, "You looked like Jesus?"

Abe, "Well, they said I looked like Moses. I brought this big stick with me and it looked like a staff. I hadn't shaved in like 3-4 days."

Me, "Why did you bring a big stick with you?"

Abe, "I don't know . . . I don't know why I brought it. But yeah . . . Moses. Then some dude hit on me. That was weird."

***

Oh, alright readers. Its dark outside now and I have a head cold. This wasn't a graceful ending but it made me laugh so- I am pulling a George Costanza. Goodnight!




Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Bitch Fist Weekend

Where do I start . . . I haven't been able to write in about a week, so my mind is full of adventures to share with you.

If you remember, the deal with LET'S MAKE A DEAL is that we would get a $60 bonus on our next job if we attended as costumed audience. Well, Debby didn't book me on the next job. We got an email that the next job was on Thurs OR on Friday. I had traffic court on Friday so it had to be Thursday. No answer. No booking.

So I called the casting line and jotted down all the details of the Thursday job. I drove in to Hollywood, hot, annoyed, broke, ovulating. I parked and crashed the audience line outside Paramount. Travis was there and checked for my name as I approached. Still high on Rage Against the Machine, I walked up and said, "I am not on the list. Debby didn't book me but I need the money from Let's Make a Deal ASAP." Travis nodded and the guy next to him said, "Got to appreciate the honesty." I smiled and shrugged my shoulders. Its not about anything but desperation. I was almost out of dog food and had no money in the bank.

Travis asked me to wait while he accounted for all the people that booked. So I leaned against the studio wall and counted the vouchers left in his hand against the people waiting in line. My chances were good.

He walked looked towards me and smiled. It was the kind of smile someone gives you one drink before they come over to ask you out. I smiled back using the 'I'm 10 at Disneyworld' smile men always like. My chances were very good.

Finally, he came over and handed me the voucher. *Cha Ching.*

I went in to the studio and found myself next to a very tall boy who was spreading himself out like he was at home on his couch. We were packed in, thigh to thigh, so I don't care how big his genitalia is, I needed the half of my personal space he was taking. I forced my leg to be parallel with my body, despite it having to be pressed up against his dirty khakis. There was taco sauce or something staining the crotch of his pants.

My leg touching his in protest of spreading out, was perceived as my wanting to spread out on him. All of a sudden, he warmed up to me, tried to make me laugh, and tuned in to everything I said for an opportunity to talk to me. He was kind of cute. Very young and not my boyfriend, so let's leave it at that.

The game was on its first day of production, which always means that everything takes twice as long. It was brutal, but Bill the audience fluffer was working.

Girl in the Audience: "Can you use your acute Gaydar to figure out if one of the Jonas Brothers is gay?"

Bill: "I don't know . . . I don't know, but I think the middle one. I have heard a few things."

We got out and I had $125 in cash to get food for the animals and pay my dogwalker for the Vegas trip the next day.

I made the mistake of calling my mother. They were driving down from Washington to Vegas, which they always do on the migration south for the winter. They stay with my sister in Vegas a few days before continuing to Arizona.

While in Vegas, my mother's ex-boss and her best friend was getting married. Let's call her Dorothy. Ok, why do I care that Dorothy is getting married? Well, my immediate family would be in one spot to meet Abe all at once, that's true. But Dorothy and I divorced around the same time. We had talks about it during that time. She is 25 years older than me, sure, she also had more to lose than I did.

She found courage in talking to me about it, and in a book I recommended called The Four Agreements. It shakes your mind up in a positive way. You can see the world through more control and faith. She later sent me an email stating that I was one of the 10 people that most influenced her life by just recommending that book. A year or two later, she found this guy on eHarmony, and now they were getting married. I wanted to witness the entire journey.

My mother was sick, of course. She went on about her sinuses for approximately 6 minutes or so before questions were turned to me about my life. I told her my rent was late and the landlord (who cashes rent checks late anyway) tagged me with a 5% late fee. Cunt.

Granted, I had been crying at the drop of a hat all week. I cried during Project Runway. I cried when the nurse at Planned Parenthood told me about her cat dying a few years ago. I woke up crying about my dead cat. I was just crying a lot.

So, my mother didn't really console me but just told me not to pay the landlord. My mother really doesn't know how things work since she has never been financially independent.

I told her it wasn't possible but maybe Abe would be helping me out with some of his money from the stocks. She said that she felt that wasn't right. She wasn't that type of person to ever take money from someone. Blah fucking blah.

I told her she didn't know what she was talking about and reiterated the above fact that she has lived with combined income her entire life. She said, "That's not true. Sometimes one of us wasn't working." (My eyes are rolling)

I told her I had no other option. Now . . . I tell people I am poor. I even tell them I have paid for gas in quarters. That ONE DOLLAR can make the difference between no meal and a ramen noodle meal. It never really locks in with certain people.

My boyfriend still will say something like, "You should really try to make the sacrifice to pay off the smallest credit card." Or my mother will say, "Treat yourself to something." They don't fucking GET IT. The only difference between me and the guy on the side of the highway holding a sign, is THAT guy is on the side of the highway holding a sign.

So. My mother said, "Well you can be whatever type of person you want, but I am just not that type of person." I said, "Then you would be EVICTED!!!!" And I hung up.

I called Abe crying and said, "Can we cancel the trip?"

Abe said, "Why?"

I said, "Cause my mom is a BITCH!" We couldn't cancel the room reservation for Sunday night so we were screwed.

This is when the downward spiral took effect. I came home the night before I had a shitload of stuff to do, and drank a bottle of wine crying into the phone to Abe, to Em, to Mr. OTR and I tried Jaq, but she is more like a wet slap in the face than a warm cup of tea.

I got drunk and shit talked a whole bunch on Facebook.

Things like:

"I am not talking to her again until I am stoned out of my mind. And then, I better have a glass of wine in hand. Its really hard not to seek my mother's approval, even though I have made more money (in salary) than she ever has on her own. Fuck her. I AM CONVERTING TO JUDAISM!"

"Hamsters are better moms."

People intervened and tried to speak reason with me. I had no food in my stomach, my face was swollen from crying and I kept belting out the insults:

"Yeah, your right. Its my period telling me to take money from my rich Jewish boyfriend. NOT THE TOTAL LACK OF MONEY! I HAVE NO OTHER OPTION ASSHOLE, YOU WILL LEARN THAT IN YOUR NEXT LIFE AS A BLACK PORN ACTRESS!!"

"The point is (anonymous FB friend), when you have money, you have the luxury of refusing money. I HAVE NO MONEY! I know you have absolutely zero life experience with the matter. So I respectfully ask you to SHUT THE FUCK UP!"

I really should be ashamed of myself. I am only human afterall. Its hard being broke, but its even harder trying to love someone that doesn't believe in you or want to help you. Have you ever tried? Its really hard. Its like the way I love onion rings. I miss them, I find them delicious for the first few minutes. Then they make me sick and I learn to stay away for a very long time.

I lashed out at Abe via text for wanting to get a cheeseburger before calling me. He did call, but at that point I was passed out.

Traffic court was in Long Beach the next morning. I woke up at 4:30am to take care of my unemployment papers, take care of some stuff for the pilot and put together instructions for animal care while I was gone.

My face was swollen from crying. I didn't even look like myself. My stomach was ruined. The place was a mess and I wasn't even packed for Vegas yet.

I got my shit together but was still 20 minutes late for traffic court. I came in. 10 minutes later I was called up. My police officer wasn't there so the case was dismissed. I ran out to purge whatever was left in my stomach in the employee restroom and headed back to Pasadena. I looked terrible. I was noticing wrinkles on my face I never noticed a year ago.

Then Abe & I took off to Vegas via Honda Civic.

Conversations included . . .

Abe: "I saw this movie once where all these guys were fighting with brass rods. Brass rods are a bad ass weapon. They are short like a yard so you can move it fast. If you were fighting something like a staff with a big blade on the end of it you would . . . probably do well."

Abe: "I am kind of psychic, and I think he was fucking that dog."

Abe: "The guy died and they had to go in and get the papers for the house. They found all of these old photos of people fucking animals. It was a farm animal whore house."

Abe: "Three rules for the road: pass on the left, don't turn into someone's blind spot and get the fuck out of the way."

Me: "Did we pass Barstow already?"
Abe: "Yeah. You have been orgasming for 50 miles."

Me: "It's the world's tallest thermometer."
Abe: "Its . . . digital."
Me: "What? That doesn't impress you?"
Abe: "Not really. It should at least perform a function."

So we pulled into a gas station with a big lit light that said, "Come see our Waterfall Urinal."

I went in looking for chocolate. I was ovulating and just had around 5 orgasms. They had dark chocolate coconut balls. Dark chocolate is mostly vegan. Not the manufactured dark chocolate but the real, small business dark chocolate. This gas station was getting their chocolate from a local vendor and had ingredients laid out for me to scan. That was a score.

I walked up to the cash register. "Is your waterfall urinal everything it promises to be?"

The cashier smiled, "Oh yeah, people brag about it."

I said, "Oh. What is it like a jungle style type thing?"

Cashier, "Oh no. It just has a motion detector water release. It comes out like a waterfall. Sometimes guys tell their buddies its meant to wash their hands or something like that."

I walked out ripping open the chocolate and popped it into my mouth. I lifted my arm up to Abe with a mouthful of sugar. "Look! Goosebumps. That's how good this is." Abe had more pressing matters, he was going to see the Waterfall Urinal.

His review: "It was cool."

We got a hotel in Henderson since Abe was late booking the hotels. He didn't know how impulsive most travelers are and waited to book. We lost the room in a closer hotel but my family hadn't called and I didn't even know if I was going to see them.

We fooled around a little, got some food at a local grocery store and stayed up all night smoking pot and watching TV. Its weird how that works. You travel just so you can be silly and do all the things you could do at home in a hotel room. There is something so charming about that.

We woke up and I checked my eyes. The puffiness from Thursday night's blow out was still evident and it wasn't allowing me to look pretty for Abe. I nibbled on left over chocolate and vegan cheese and crackers.

Noah: "You know about the cloud?"

Me: "What cloud?"

Noah: "The cloud of people poo that hangs in hotel bathrooms from all the people who used it before."

Me: "Nooo"

Noah: "I will tell you all about it . . . after your done eating."


We showered, grabbed breakfast and hit the strip. Abe hadn't been to Vegas as an adult yet, so he was excited about it. I have been to Vegas mostly just to work on a documentary series or spend time with my family, so the charm has faded like one of my glitter panties after a few washes.

My suggestion was we walk through as many casinos as possible on foot. We started at the Luxor, walked through Mandalay Bay, New York New York (stopped for a martini and I checked my messages, no word from the family). There were dueling pianos in the martini bar taking requests. I put in for "Angie", this inspired them to kick off a Rolling Stones block of music. They claimed they could play any request. Then I saw her download the music for any requested song on her iPhone before each performance to use as sheet music. Brilliant.

We continued to MGM, then Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock, then Paris. We weren't gambling, but I had $1 in my purse saved for a lucky win, just in case I felt magic off of one of the machines.

We stopped to ask for directions to a small man with an indistinguishable accent. He asked, "Are you two getting married?" His hands clasped together with joy.

Abe lifted my left hand to show the ring finger was bare. I smiled and said, "Not yet!"

The little man said, "Oh my . . . you should. She is beautiful!! Hold on to this one."

I winked and said, "I owe you $5."

Throughout our travels we spied 5 brides that day. I told Abe it was good luck. I don't know if it is or not but it feels like it should be. So Abe chimed in whenever he spied a bride. :)

Then we went to the Venetian. There was a champagne bar there and that is just too irresistible. So we sat down on dark blue velvet couches, chomped on pistachios and purple olives and discussed 'What have we always wanted to do in Vegas'

I am sure the answers were modified for the other party. There was a time when I wanted to do coke in a Vegas hotel room with Not for Profit. I am sure Abe had his own adult fantasies as well. In each other's company we came up with the following list:

-I have always wanted to go on a gondola ride at the Venetian
-We both wanted to run through as many casinos as possible
-Abe wanted good sushi
-I wanted to go dancing
-I wanted to take a bath together
-I wanted to see Circus Circus and visit the rotating bar from FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS
-Abe wanted to go to a buffet
-We both wanted to go swimming
-Abe wanted to see the top of the Stratosphere

Being that we were stoned and falling back in love . . . only half of the list was achieved in the small amount of time we were there.

Abe bought us tickets for a gondola ride later. We went to a great sushi restaurant on Abe's list. He had downloaded directions and details for sushi and vegan restaurants in the area. That scored major points.

Over sushi, we spoke about my parents and tears started pouring down my face. Abe said, "Don't be sad. If they don't care to call you, I don't care to meet them." So this is where the divide forms, between a new family and an old one. In moments where you feel like your spirit is being broken, you find your core. My family isn't part of that core anymore.

When my parents fell in love, they claim to have been alienated by both sides of the family over religion. I think my mother's family was more supportive of the union, but I know there was a lot of tension. My parents broke away and started a life in Washington state without contact for years. Funny how we repeat the patterns from our lives, even the ones that broke our hearts . . .

Abe and I had an idea about some sex toys we saw on the internet. I took him to the Adult Superstore a mile or two from the strip. We walked in and looked at all the bondage, plastic vaginas and dildos. A group of friends were in the store and grabbed the "Bitch Fist" off the wall. It was the length and shape of someone's forearm with a fist on the end of it. The friend pulled it off the shelf, held it in the air and called out, "Hey! Shannon! This is PERFECT for you! LOOK!" Everyone in the store looked.

I approached the clerk while Abe stepped out for a smoke. He hadn't heard of our sex gadget idea. I went outside and called every sex store in Las Vegas. Every single time I had to repeat the name and explain it. No one had it. We are so cutting edge. ;-)

So we went back for our gondola ride. We had to share it with another couple, which would have been great if we actually went on a gondola ride. They split up the gondolas- one for the inside of the casino and one the outside. You can't go on one ride through both. Ridiculous. So we floated around in the chlorinated pool in front of the Venetian for 15 minutes or so while an actor steered us around and sang a few Italian love songs. He kept asking for requests. I asked for Madam Butterfly and got a verse. Then I asked for 'Every Rose Has Its Thorn'. He belted out from the diaphragm the opening verse. "Every roooose has its thorn, just like . . . " then he got quiet and started repeating the song. I filled in "Every cowboy has a sad, sad song. Every rose has its thorn." The gondola driver was quiet. I lost him.

We approached a tunnel and I said, "You have to kiss me when we are under the tunnel, ok? For good luck." Abe, "Is that a commonly known thing?" I said, "I don't know, I think I saw it on a movie or something but it makes sense." Abe, "Yes it does." So we kissed, I ignored the other couple.

On the way back I asked for "That's Amore." The driver knew all the words and I sang with him. Abe said, "Your name is in that song? Really?" Oh yes.

We got out and went home, I mean to the hotel room. We were so exhausted, we fell asleep before we could make love. My parents never called.

The next morning I woke up before Abe, grabbed myself a cup of coffee and a cigarette then walked outside to call Jaq about the animals. No word from my family. Today was the day of the wedding.

Abe made the argument that calling them would give them permission to be mean to me in the future. So I should just wait until they reach out to me. Life is so short- if my parents die on their next trip to Europe or something happens, this could have been my last chance to see them. So I sent them a text, "I am in town." They got back to me right away.

I knew if they were in doubt for Friday and Saturday, they had already come to terms with not seeing me at all that weekend. The anger would be diluted in the great surprise that they were indeed going to see us. Plans for the whole day were chiming on my iPhone all morning. My face still looked puffy and I was mildly sick from the alcohol and lack of food in general, so my fingers were crossed.

Abe groaned. He said, "I don't want to see them because they are going to make you cry and then I will have to comfort you for the rest of the trip."

I said, "We'll take separate cars and come up with a code word to get out. What should it be?"

Abe, "We gotta go bang at the Stratosphere."

Me, "Nothing beats honesty."

Abe, "Are you going to go crazy at the wedding? Women lose their minds at weddings. Brides lose their minds, bridesmaids have nervous breakdowns . . . women who aren't even in the service go crazy at weddings. Something happens in their minds. Women who aren't even INVITED to the wedding go crazy."

Me, "Please. That's such a stereotype." The less guests, the better my chances for that bouquet. My sister might be my only competition. I will have to move quick.

We got dressed up, were running late due to last minute copulation. We drove and I went through every possible scenario with my parents. We sat in silence. Gawd help us.

As we drove up the street, Abe missed the turn off. I snapped at him, "Damn it, Abe!" He always misses exits on the freeway and side streets. Its because he is stoned and in deep thought. Abe said, "Sorry, I am nervous. Why am I so nervous? I have to go somewhere and take in everything you have told me about them."

He drove up the road and parked in an apartment complex in the shade. He leaned his chair back, closed his eyes and said, "Ok, tell me everything about them."

I did. I told him about how my mother grew up in an orphanage through most of her childhood and was later adopted by her aunt when she was 13.

My father's birth father died when he was very young, about 5 yrs old and lived with various stepfathers until he joined a motorcycle gang and then the Marines.

My father met my mother at the Marine base where my mother was working. They went on a double date to the bowling alley and he proposed to my mother 3 months later. He was about to be shipped off to Vietnam so it appears to be some grand romantic gesture, but I think it was more like my father thought he could offer my mother independence from her family, a form of it at least.

He came back after a year of service and they figured out they were indeed soul mates. They spent a several years together before my sister crashed the honeymoon. And then five years later, me. That's why I never use cervical caps.

Abe nodded his head. I told him about how educated they were and funny. I don't know what else there is about them. My Dad goes to the VA to drink beer and watch TV, he loves German television and sports . . . um. My mother goes to craft fairs, volunteers all over the place and never stops moving. I call her the shark.

Abe pulled out the pipe and we sucked down a bowl. Then we stepped outside the vehicle and smoked a cigarette. Anything to flood our blood with ease. We opened the trunk, hit each other with some perfume and drove down the street to my sister's condo.

My mother opened the door and took a huge leap at me with excitement. "Well look who it is." She grabbed my arm and pulled me in for a deep hug. "You little shit. How are you?" I said, "Fine" stoic or stoned.

My Dad came out and slapped me in the face, then drew me in for a deep hug too.

Later, Abe asked, "So what's with the face slapping thing?" I said, "I don't know, they just always do it." I find it kind of endearing, actually.

My mother, "What did I say? Never hang up on me. You shithead. (to Abe) Did she tell you what she did?"

Abe, "Yes." Stoic or stoned.

My mother shook his hand and then my father introduced himself. My sister was going through
all of her shoe options. "Shoe crisis" she said, and opened up one of three closets devoted just to shoes I could see. She was acting kinda wedding crazy.

We sat in front of the TV set as my parents asked us different questions. I just knew to avoid anything personal, anything that had to do with my finances or our conversation and anything that had to do with me hanging up. So whenever one of those things came up, I smiled a very fake smile and didn't respond. My mother thought that was funny.

We took separate cars to the wedding. It was a small wedding, just a handful of guests (mostly family). Everyone was dressed casually, someone was in a pocket tee and jeans. We came in for our introductions and met the family, everyone awkwardly mixed around each other. I turned to my sister and said, "Give me a hand signal when its ok to start drinking."

She said, "That was my first thought, and I am the wedding photographer."

I saw the groom was nursing a scotch, so I poured myself some white wine. My Dad asked Abe if he wanted a beer and pretty much cornered him for the rest of the party with conversation. The last thing I heard them talking about was Buddhism.

Mom: "I hate it when you hang up on me."

Me: (fake smile) I can't hang up when you are standing right next to me."

Mom: "Well you should know I hate it."

Me: (fake smile) "Ok."

Mom: "I need another piece of cake."

Me: (fake smile) "Ok."


During the brief and humble service, a simple exchange of vows and a candle light ceremony, I started weeping again. I really don't know what to say for myself other than I had been emotional all week and just started bleeding that morning. I cried more than anyone else, but pulled it together in time to delegate the uncorking of the champagne.

My mother asked me if I was alright, like she was really alarmed. I never cry at weddings. I am just stressed right now and re-evaluating everything.

The reception is a bit foggy because after hogging the latter half of the second bottle of champagne, I became that drunk that wasn't related to anyone at the wedding. I remember playing with the kids A LOT. I remember asking the room of men if there was anyone to set my sister up with because she was "prime for breeding." I also remember announcing to everyone that I was converting to Judaism because they are rich and funny. Abe laughed and my mother did not. She said, quite seriously, "I will kill you."

And then I remember being pushed out the door with my whole family. I don't remember the rest. Apparently, I said something very mean to my parents. I don't remember what it was, and Abe doesn't remember. It did strike a nerve with my mother whatever it was, and I had to apologize a few days later. Since it was so effective, I wish I knew what it was . . .

In the Stratosphere, I turned into a nightmare for Abe to get a handle on. I wanted sex, then I was bitchy, then I tried taking a bath . . . and then I was smoking in a non-smoking room. And then I was left cause I was angry, came back 11 minutes later (I know because Abe timed me) I waited for an apology . . . didn't get one, got impatient with Abe in the bathroom and left again.

In the elevator, a husband was explaining to his wife about how grateful they were that I saved the elevator for the them. I dropped my lucky dollar on the floor and slurred to the couple, "This is my lucky dollar. It is going to win me a million dollars tonight." I stuffed it back into my purse. They grew quiet. Did they notice the stockings and lingerie I was too lazy to take off from underneath my sundress?

I went to get onion rings and a cup of coffee.

That made me feel sick, so I went back to the room and passed out. When I get drunk, I usually wake up and go through the hangover in the middle of the night. Around 2am, I woke up and apologized to Abe. He was laid back about it, I was still an asshole. Then I looked on my phone and saw about 200 pictures I took of the little girls at the wedding. Yikes. That chardonnay really brought it all out, didn't it? Pictures of them posing with food on their face, pretending to be ninjas, dancing. Oh boy. That's what happens when a divorced, childless woman over the age of 30 goes to a wedding on an empty stomach. Learn from my mistakes.

So after I woke up and hydrated, we smoked some herb and went for a walk on the other side of the strip where we hadn't been. This would get my Circus, Circus item off our list of things to do. We walked and ran into a drug dealing singing, "I got the bud . . . I got the powder." Not much of a singing voice, that one.

Then I ran into a homeless guy asking for change. Abe checked his pockets, and it took a little longer than I was comfortable with so I found a quarter at the bottom of my purse and gave it to him. The homeless guy smiled and put out his hand, it was full of change.

Homeless Guy, "This is really great. Now I have 25 . . . 35 . . . 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41 cents for one of those hot dogs."

I looked up at the sign across the street on the Riveria. It said: "Hot Dogs 99 Cents"

I grabbed my lucky dollar and gave it to him. I said, "Buy yourself a hot dog. That dollar is lucky, by the way." I willed good luck on to that dollar, it just wasn't destined for me.

His mouth dropped open and he raised his hand to thank me. I was walking away. Anyone that is counting his pennies deserves the dollar. Panhandlers in Venice don't even care if I give them dimes. Assholes.

We walked into Circus, Circus. It was pretty empty. There were no clowns, or trapeze artists or jugglers. I have to say, I was disappointed. We located the rotating bar from FEAR & LOATHING, but it was on the closed second floor and now an ice cream bar. I wanted to sip a whiskey on that thing, just for Gonzo.

We wandered around.

Abe, "Las Vegas goes from smelling like sewage to pancakes, to crap and then burgers. See? (sniff) Pancakes!"

We went through Treasure Island and The Mirage, there was some life, but it was minimal. We found someone's phone on the floor and called to give it back to them. They must have been only 20 ft ahead of us.

We walked back to a diner called The Peppermill. Abe was starving and loves breakfast food. All of a sudden a semi truck turned on its lights and sped through the street light.

Abe, "Was that thing just sitting in the middle of the road with his lights off? That dude is tweaking or something. I bet there is all sorts of crazy shit that happens here. Think of all the bad things happening in those hotel rooms."

I looked up at the Wynn, they had Garth Brooks on speaker to promote his performances there. I wondered about sex slaves, rape, abducted children . . . I really wondered how much terrible shit was happening there.

A car drove by and a drunk guy shouted, "You are going to get murdered."

We got to the Peppermill. When homeless men or time share sales people stopped us to ask Abe a question, he would be polite and engage them. So I got in the habit of grabbing his arm and saying, "No thank you" and dragging him away. Crazy old guy, "Hey ... you know they charge $17 for a Reuben in there." Abe, "Really!?!" Me (grab Abe's arm, walk away) "No thank you."

We got a table next to a girl who was crying about some botched love affair. "I was giving him free massages but I thought there was a connection, you know? Then I realized he was only calling me when it was convenient for him."

Me to Abe, "You have four different animals represented on your plate."

Abe, "One, two, three . . . oh, the butter. Four. You're right."

Girl, "No, you listen. I've got to fucking say it, so you have to fucking listen to me."

Abe, "Was that Reuben $17 . . . let me see. Nope, $11."

Girl, (full blown crying) "I was like fine, for those three massages you owe me $600. If that's how we are doing things now. Write me a check, fucker."

I gave Abe a look. Abe said, "I don't get it, is she a masseuse or something."

The guy, drunk/crying girl and her girl friend closed out their bill and asked us if we had "a cigarette or two." The guy pulled out a $20 and offered to pay us. Abe said, "No, no, go ahead. Take it." Damn it. I could have used that $20, I just gave away my last $1.

The drunk girl asked if they were menthol. I stopped eating and answered without looking, "No, they are Spirits." It came off as kind of cold. I didn't mean to be. Her girl friend searched my face and smiled. I smiled back, its cool. Just leave us alone, please.

We finished and walked back to our hotel room. We made it back just before dawn. I woke up at 8am and took a picture of Abe asleep in blue, morning light. It was still too dark in our room to turn out, but when I take a picture, I am looking to remember something. I want to remember him lying there like that for the rest of my life.

The next day we were slow moving, stoned and tired. We roamed through Caesar's Palace foolishly thinking the statues coming alive would be cool, but it was lame. So we wanted to smoke a bunch of pot, go to an oxygen bar then hit a buffet. We got tired looking for an oxygen bar with reasonable prices. The one in the Venetian was $17 each with a massage. Abe doesn't like to be touched by strangers and didn't want the massage.

The woman came up and said, "Well you can waive the massage but its really nice." Suddenly she pressed a vibrating object on my back, and I jumped forward. We skipped it and grabbed a decadent lunch at the Venetian. Wine, olives, pasta, a water fountain . . . I said, "This feels so right, how does this lifestyle look on me?"

Abe smiled, "It looks really good."

I said, "I thought so." Then I asked him if he wanted more sexual adventure before settling down. Abe hasn't had a lot of experience and I am not a fool.

Abe said, "You think you are gonna lock me down, huh?"

I said, "If anyone can, it will be me."

He smiled and dipped his bread in the olive paste. He said, "Sexual pursuits are overrated." Doesn't exactly answer my question, now, does it. Its ok, we are just starting up again.

By the time we left, we spied 9 brides . . . oh my!

We headed back to LA, played with the dogs, pet the cats and laid down next to each other. I was dreading letting him go. I came to enjoy having him there to bounce off of, to laugh at my jokes, reaching to kiss or put my arm around without looking. I feel alright with him.

He kissed me goodnight and headed back to Orange county. Back to life . . . audience work in the am.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Tom Petty, Sex & Science . . . vroom vroom

Friday night was the Tom Petty concert I bought tickets to about 6 months ago. I was going alone, this was a treat to myself. Anytime I am having a bad moment, or a bad day, Tom Petty comes on the car radio. I call him my spirit guide, or more simply put . . . my boyfriend. He is my boyfriend.

I climbed Highland on foot to get inside the Hollywood Bowl and found my seat.

People were lighting up all over the place. Of course they were. The crowd was a mix of people, but I was surrounded by fans my parents' age . . . 55 yrs and up. The couple behind me looked to be in their 60s and were confronted by a security guard about smoking pot.

Security Guard, "What do you have in your hand? You can't do that here."

Couple, "Are people smoking cigarettes allowed to do that here?"

I couldn't hear his muffled response. He just said, "That is illegal, we don't tolerate that here."

The 60 year old woman next to me shouted in my ear, "Why don't they just say they have a green card? Stupid."

The couple disappeared for a while, then came back blazed out of their minds. The husband slowly lifted up his arm as his wife leaned into him.

This is where all the hippies came to die.

The lights came up and the sound of guitar buried us, like a foot sinking in wet sand. ZZ Top.

They started with some blues. Blues on electric guitar is the equivalent to a boy going down on me.

Billy Gibbons was the one to engage the crowd. He asked the crowd if they knew what his jacket was. I did. I was a Future Farmer of America. That was my way of getting out of Chemistry and Physics in high school.

He said, "This jacket is from Future Farmers of America. (Hollywood was in big letters on the back) When people say, but there are no Farmers in Hollywood, I say . . . oh yes there is. There are all kind of farmers in Hollywood." Then he pulled out a beautiful joint and had a stage hand light it up before jumping into 'La Grange.'

Billy worked that guitar masterfully. There were two big screens on either side of the bowl. The camera would focus on his fingers plucking the strings on guitar, as his hips moved with the music. I know this sounds weird, but I was turned on. Music and sex are so similar, I wonder if musicians are better lovers because they know how to harness and channel rhythm and passion.

Abe majored in music for a long time. He studied saxophone throughout high school and college, and played drums in a band. He still does. Abe doesn't look like a musician, you would peg him more as a computer nerd. As a lover, he is . . . definitely a rock star. When he goes down on me, he does this thing called double tonguing. According to WikiPedia: "double-tonguing" or "double-articulation" is used when the music being performed has many rapid notes in succession too fast for regular articulation. In this case, the tongue makes a silent "tuh-kuh". It takes my breath away.

"Tush" erupted on stage.

I been bad, I been good
Dallas, Texas, Hollywood
I ain't askin' for much
I said, Lord, take me downtown
I'm just lookin' for some tush

When the word "Hollywood" whipped out of Billy's diaphragm and into the crowd, we all cheered. For the first time, I realized that Hollywood was my home.

When people asked me how I liked Los Angeles, the first couple years I said I hated it. Hated the traffic, the people, the pollution. Then, after a few years I said that I had a love-hate relationship with Los Angeles. The city is a bitch. It can kill your spirit or ultimately show you what you are capable of.

That night, as ZZ Top tickled us with some hometown rock, I realized this is where I belong.

People will say that with technology, you can be anything, anywhere. You can submit your work through video and email, you can have meetings with people across the globe. Sure. That said, technology can never get around the creative juice in the Los Angeles soil. The Muse. The same muse who was here for Charlie Chaplin when he moved to Hollywood, or when The Doors recorded in Venice Beach or found the words for the grimy pages of Charles Bukowski. Oh, she is here. If you close your eyes and feel her, she will unlock parts of your mind you never knew existed. Ask any stand-up comic, writer, actor, composer . . . there is a mystique.

John Densmore, drummer on The Doors, will often talk about the Muse that came to visit the studio and created the music through them. It's real. It's hard to explain, but it is very real.

Then, Tom Petty came on stage wearing a crushed velvet blue jacket and a loose red neck tie. He looked so relaxed and happy. I am not sure I have ever seen a performance like that before, where I felt like I was watching him play in his living room. He had lazy eyes, and a lop sided smile. He enjoyed himself.

I stood up out of my seat and clasped my hands under my chin, swaying my hips from side to side. Tom Petty.

Everyone grabbed their pipes and joints and smoked up. There was so much pot smoke around me, I was getting high on about four different strains of second hand smoke. One had a very delicious citrus flavor to it. I didn't bring my own pipe because they were searching bags before entry. I just didn't want to deal with it.

Tom went through a lot of the hits through the first forty minutes. The aforementioned 60 yr-old next to me was impressed I knew all the words.

When I was 14 yrs-old, I got a job picking blueberries near my house. I think my friends and I were the only white people picking blueberries. It was about 10 cents a pound, something ridiculous. I saved all that money to go down to Hollywood Video and buy my first CD, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Greatest Hits. I remember ritually going to visit the store on foot and looking at the CD cover until I could afford it. Who knows why I wanted it so badly . . . when I was 14, I just discovered Pearl Jam and Nirvana, the Doors and Elvis. One album lead to another and then another, soon a whole world of music was opened up to me outside my parents' umbrella. It was like opening up a brand new carton of ice cream and taking your first large scoop . . . there was so much left to be discovered, and I knew it.

After two weeks of picking those fucking blueberries, I had enough money to go down and pay for an overpriced CD. I still have it, scratched to all hell but still in one piece.

Here I was at 32, on a concert ticket I paid for with my tax refund, singing with Tom Petty and thousands of other people. The music is the one constant in your life. Never take it for granted.


When I think back on the artists I love the most, Ella Fitzgerald, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, James Baldwin, Beethoven, Rodney Dangerfield . . . I always felt this burning desire to tell them how much their work meant to me. I saw Tom up there, smiling with his friends and his guitar, taking in the joy of everyone loving his music. You don't have to tell them, they know.

References to Los Angeles in the songs were screamed over his vocals. He closed the show with, "Goodnight, it's good to be home."

I called my mother to tell her.

Me: "I saw Tom Petty last night."

Mom: "He always looks like he is on drugs."

Me: "He is very talented. It was a great show."

Mom: "I don't like him, but I don't care about meeting celebrities like you do."

Me: "It's not about meeting celebrities, Mom, its about the music. That music is classic."

Mom: "Whatever. I don't care about celebrities."

Me: "You like ZZ Top, right?"

Mom: "I don't know who that is. Like I said, meeting celebrities isn't important to me."

Me: "Its not about meeting celebrities, Mom. But what else is new?"

Mom: (silence) "Nothing."

My father was the one who introduced me to good music. My mother claimed she never cared for music like we do. It is foreign to me, how can you not respond to music? I would say the woman lacks soul, but she is hilarious so I know there is something inside of her.

Mom: "The Beatles feminized music."

Me: "No they didn't."

Mom: "I have a right to my opinion. I am not the only one who doesn't like the Beatles."

Me: "Yes, you are."

The next day I was working my first day as a valet for an all girls valet service. I was nervous, this would be the first time I actually had to work for my money- as opposed to getting stoned and waiting to be entertained for cash.

I showed up on time to the Brad Pitt party in downtown Los Angeles. I hauled ass on foot from two parking garages looking for my "team captain." I was shuttled back to the party, where the host decided to lay into me and the Captain in front of the front door. My uniform was incomplete because they didn't have enough vests for the party, so I was just in a white button up shirt, with a bow tie and slacks that were too big for me.

Host, "This is inexcusable. All the girls should be in the same uniform, hair should be pulled back, powder should be on your faces and some lip stick. Come on, ladies."

I couldn't help but stare at her sun damaged knockers. They were huge.

My hands smoothed out my hair and I thought, "Bitch, I just ran half a mile. Powder on my face is going to do absolutely nothing."

She made eye contact with me and apologized. I reached out my hand and introduced myself. That was a weird (nice) moment.

The night started out slow, we were lined up like hookers at a Bangkok brothel. I said, "All we need is a red light overhead." The girls laughed. Good group.

Men would slow down their cars, or walk by and stare at us. We were just girls in waiter outfits standing in line. JESUS, IS EVERYTHING SEXUAL? I mean, only a few of us were actually cute.

There were lots of new employees that night. When the cars started pulling up, things got a little crazy. There were so many cars, traffic was stopped around the corner. It was hard to feel unhappy when sliding into the seat of a nice sports car and riding that puppy down the street. I never thought I was a car kind of gal, but when you drive the best of the fucking best, cars that started with the push of a button, that move like a jet ski down the street . . . its hard to do anything but have a good time.

We parked the cars in a lot and then grabbed a shuttle back to the party and repeat. The new girl in the front seat said, "I was driving a car with that symbol. Its like a wheel with arrows going in different directions. They are like three arrows pointing out of a circle. You know what I am talking about?"

The Shuttle Driver said, "A Mercedes?"

New girl, "Yeah . . . that's it. A Mercedes. I have never been inside one of those before."

Half the girls lied about their stick shift experience and asked me to trade up for those cars on the slide. There was one beautiful, yellow stick sports car. Driving that thing 4 blocks almost gave me an orgasm.

I loved the work, actually. I loved driving the cars, running to the shuttle and . . . driving those cars. The tips, however, were total shit. I mentioned in my last blog that part of the "hazing" with this company was waiving your tips for the first 4 hours of your first day. I didn't think that would be a big deal until I started to realize that rich people don't tip.

All the tips we gathered were pooled together into a large box by the key station.

There were about four people who didn't bother to tip me at all. No matter how broke I am, I always have at least a dollar for valet. THOSE MOTHER FUCKING RICH ASSHOLES! Ok, let me take a moment here. I was appalled with the customers. They all had the best cars on the market; BMWs, Mercedes, Priuses, Mini Coopers ... oh yes, the Mini Coopers. Those ugly rich bitches that drive Mini Coopers didn't tip me anything. I will be sure to NOT be extra careful with those fucking cunt cars in the future. Oops, did I throw that door open too suddenly you orange skinned piece of shit!

The black guys tipped me the best. The white girls didn't tip me at all.

Now, Brad Pitt had a limo drop him off in the alley, where he was escorted through a door. No one saw him. We moved so many cars, so fast, I barely had a chance to look at anyone's face, anyway.

At the end of the night, after about 210 cars, there were only $220 in tips. Deduct the first four hours of tips and spread out the remainder among 16 employees and how much did I make? $7

Seven . . . fucking . . . dollars. That was an extra dollar for every hour I worked. Rich fucking assholes.

The next day, I met Jaq for breakfast at a place in Silver Lake. She had just gotten back from a date with Em and Mr. OTR's roommate. We were sitting outside at a cafe in Silver Lake, between two other small tables. On our left was a middle aged guy reading a book, alone, and on the other was a couple oogling over Jaq's Pomeranian.

Details needed to be discussed and analyzed. We went through the date, point by point. We discussed anything that might be a red flag in his behavior, and anything that got him bonus points. Then we went through the positions, technique and timeline for intercourse.

Me: "Did he keep on the condom?" I realized I said that a little loud, so I turned to the guy reading the book and apologized. Then said a little lower, "Did keep on the condom?"

Jaq: "Of course."

I give my usual spiel about STDs because I don't think my generation appreciates how easy it is to contract a disease.

Me: "Did you ask him when he was last tested for STDs?"

Jaq: "No, but I know you feel strongly about that."

Me: "Did you look for lesions on his genitals?"

Jaq shook her head and I reminded her that condoms break.

Jaq: "I have never had a condom break."

Jaq had said last week, "I never go on top because I had a bad experience. Once, I almost broke someone's cock."

So I said, "What a minute. You have broken cock but not condom?"

The guy next to us could no longer pretend he was reading and looked up.

Guy: "Oh my. Well then."

Me: "She is like an Olympic athlete."

Jaq: "I am."

So we invited this gentleman into our blow for blow analysis of intercourse on the date. We discussed various positions and analyzed who had how many orgasms.

Me: "Mysteriously, I have broken both of my vibrators through excessive use. I don't know how that's possible since I have only had them for a year. I changed batteries, and nothing happens. They are dead. But, I noticed since I stopped using them, it is much easier to orgasm. Ridiculously easy."

We covered his relationships, and he mentioned he was still heartbroken over someone and casually dating a single mom. I said, "Who can I set you up with? What do you like?"

He shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know, I am just taking it easy right now."

I said, "Do you like Asians?"

His face lit up. "I love Asians."

I said, "I think I have someone for you."

And then we became Facebook friends.

I had to go back to my apartment for a model shoot with a Swiss photographer doing a piece on Prop 19: Legalizing Cannabis. It was for a Swiss magazine, no doubt a featured story on how devolved Americans are. They wanted to shoot "regular" people who smoke pot. The thing is, when you do something like that in Los Angeles, there are no "regular people" just a lot of artists.

They photographed someone running for office . . . a politician. The others were all artists, so they had to cheat a little bit on the occupation of each subject for the piece, as pretty much everyone does. A sculptor was listed as a "wife." A composer was listed as a "commuter." And I was going to be listed as a "Pit Bull Rescuer" which I am really hoping for or "Valet." They even mentioned just lying all together and listing me as a "Librarian."

BAGGAGE changed my occupation from "Unemployed" which I thought was hilarious and yet totally relatable to most of the country to "Teacher." You can't keep using Actress and Artist over and over and over, especially when you have lazy casting people who won't go past the pool of people subscribing to LA Casting.

I hope they list me as a pit bull rescuer. No one ever wants to use that colorful detail about my life when using me on a project. The photographer said the situation with pit bulls was worse in Europe.

So they propped me on top of the roof in my purple hippie dress and gave me herbal tobacco substitute to create a plume of smoke over my face. It was the ecstasy shit they use on MAD MEN and WEEDS. It smells a bit like a campfire and wasn't too bad at first. The more I smoked, the harsher it was on my mouth and throat. It made my eyes water and gave me a slight sinus headache.

I tried to connect my eyes to the camera, but the photographer asked me not to. My mother always complains that my eyes are too intense for family photos. I sent her pictures of Abe and myself recently:

Mom Email: "It's the helter-skelter look you give people when you disapprove or get angry."

My Email: "I don't have a helter skelter look and I didn't send photos of me angry or feeling disapproving."

Email from Mom: "If you say so. It wasn't meant as an insult so don't get your dander up."

So, I puffed. I exhaled. And they got the shot.

Then I went to catch a flick with Jaq at a theater in Silver Lake. Afterward, we got a drink at a nearby dive called "The Good Luck" Bar. It was perfect . . . a Chinese restaurant motif, red lights and tropical rum drinks. Jaq loves rum.

I saw a boy at the end of the bar drinking alone. I didn't get a good look at his face, but our eyes met. A few minutes later he came up to our table and said, "Excuse me. Can I ask you two a question?"

I said, "Sure is that it?"

He said, "No, can I ask you two questions then?"

I said, "Sure. Was that it?" HAHAHAHAHA! Aren't I incredibly witty?

I said, "Just kidding, have a seat. What's your question?"

He held out a bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon and said, "I just have one question and this one beer. I won't linger around and make you uncomfortable."

Ask the question.

He asked, "Do you use internet dating websites?"

We both said we did.

He asked, "Why do you think people connect more when they meet in person, than when they meet over the internet?"

I said, "Maybe its because when you meet in a moment by fate it is more romantic. Or you form a memory through a sensory experience, like the smell, the music, the atmosphere. You start with a memory instead of arranging for a moment like you do when you are shopping on the internet, or checking your bank statement or looking for a job."

I closed my eyes, the rum was taking hold.

Me, "Now that I am saying this out loud, maybe it has to do with the scent of pheromones coming from the person. You are initially responding to those pheromones when you approach, narrowing down who is a genetic match. Then the scent and hormones anchor a connection and memory between the two people."

Jaq shook her head. She is not on the FEMALE BRAIN Bandwagon.

The boy said he understood where I was going with this, acknowledging that smell was the most powerful sense to recall a memory.

We are primal animals.

He said that he noticed that a lot of relationships ended around 7 years.

I said, "Ah, the seven year itch."

He said, "My last relationship lasted just about 7 years."

I said, "You know why, because that is the length of time it takes to raise a small child before the male is no longer required." The text I read in college claimed it was actually 4 years.

He said, "I remember reading about that, but it was 4 years, not 7."

It was a male version of me. WTF? From across the bar, I thought he looked feminine. Now that I saw him up close, I could see how attractive he was. His eye brows arced a bit like a guitarist I obsessed with in undergrad. He was tall, young . . . oh, so young. After some quick math regarding his high school relationship, Jaq deduced he was 25 yrs old.

I could feel his leg touching mine under the table, and I would scoot away just an inch to keep from physical contact. I don't need to cloud my head with temptation.

We spoke about sex. He claimed he didn't have unprotected sex until he was in a committed relationship with a woman. I said that's why I never have protected sex . . . also why I never have casual sex. I am just not good about forcing condoms on in a moment of passion. In fact, I thirst for the skin inside of me. So I avoid casual sex altogether.

I told him I hated casual sex and related something I read recently that the chemical cocktail released in a woman's brain, a strong combination of oxytocin and dopamine, was made available to rats in a study. The rats had the choice between the dose of chemicals released after female orgasm and cocaine. Hands down, the rats chose the oxycotin/dopamine and neglected the cocaine.

He said, "My last girlfriend was going to go on the pill. I was saving unprotected sex for when I got back from this business trip (a 25 yr old on a business trip, hm) to really mark the beginning of our relationship. She broke up with me before we ever got the chance. You know what I think happened? I think that she went on the pill and had sex with someone else, thought, 'This is way better than the protected sex I was having with Atticus' and started dating him. I think there are hormones or something in the ejaculate that go into the woman's vagina and create some strong bond. I mean, sex with a condom is 'Who cares?"

We spoke about mind games people play, and the desperation to connect. So appropriate after watching 'The Social Network.'

I showed him an email from someone in my life who was an example of relentless pursuit. He scrolled through the email and said, "Who is Abe?"

I said, "My boyfriend."

He exhaled like he was holding his breath the entire time he was sitting there and backed away from me.

He said, "That's the type of thing that should come up in the first 30 seconds of conversation."

I said, "But then we wouldn't have had this great talk."

I told him how we recently got back together. He asked why we broke up and I said it was because communication waned and he wouldn't text or call to say goodnight.

Atticus, "There was a girl I was crazy about. And for whatever reason, I stopped texting and calling her so much. I let days go by . . . I don't know why I let that happen. Maybe because I was scared that the more I opened up to her, the more we would fight and then we would break up. And after a few days of not talking to her, she broke up with me. It is what it is. I can't go back and change that, but I lost her."

In this moment, Jaq and I were staring at him. It meant so much to hear this, like . . . the men we loved stopped communicating out of fear not boredom. Girls need to hear shit like that if its true. Is it?

He said, "Well this isn't how I wanted the night to end."

Jaq, "You wanted to go home with someone."

He said, "I just wanted smooches. Now the night won't end in smooches."

The more we spoke, the more Jaq kept handing me water to sober me up. I drained one glass after another through a small straw.

Atticus was going to leave us now, and I had to go to the bathroom. He did too. So we both walked over to the bathroom. I made sure I was pretty in the mirror and walked out. He was waiting for me out in the hallway. I saw him standing there and my heart pounded, "Think-of-Abe . . . Think-of-Abe"

He reached to shake my hand and said, "What did we learn tonight? If a guy approaches, you tell him within 30 seconds you have a boyfriend."

I said, "Then you wouldn't have been my friend and we wouldn't have had this great conversation. You don't understand, no one talks to me about this stuff."

He grabbed my hand and looked at me. He was tall. His hand was warm. I reminded myself of all the consequences that come with flirtation. My desire for the boy wouldn't be the love and friendship I have for Abe. I have picked Abe for a reason, and I have to go with my gut on that. When you start second guessing yourself, you get confused and can lose everything.

He said, "I just want to say that you are incredibly sexy." I faked a laugh and looked down at the cheap carpet.

He continued, "The fact that you are so smart and so great in conversation makes you the total package." I actually don't know how accurate this line is because I was tipsy and am, in general, terribly uncomfortable with compliments.

I stumbled some lame compliment back and we parted.

I went back to the table, Jaq and I sat in silence. Atticus' absence was noticeable. Jaq said, "Can I just say how bummed I was that he wasn't interested in me?" Well, he was my male counterpart . . . in so many ways.

I think God was testing me. He found this amazing kid who was tall, handsome, funny, quirky, brilliant and alone in a bar on a Sunday night, then sent him over to me to see if I would repeat the mistakes of my past.

I didn't.