Thursday: I had the all too pleasant experience of being seated in front of an Indian family who reeked of fried food. The smelly family also had a infant who clearly sided with me, and hated the smell of her relations so much, she decided to scream at the top of her lungs for all of the flight. I began to laugh, actually, turning to my neighbor and asking him, "can you please just kill me now, and put me out of my misery?"
Once in L.A., we had lunch outside at Chin Chin, walked around sunset plaza, did Nicole Miller, got some coffee at The Coffee Bean (which tasted very different from my usual Fourbucks). To the Mondrian hotel, then down to the Sky Bar for a looksee. Shower power, Smelly Clarkson at the top of our lungs… singing the wrong lyrics…"Since you’ve been gone, I CAN’T breathe for the first time" seemed more appropriate. Come nightfall, we hit Dolce for dins, had champagne at Jeffrey’s pad, then we hit Geisha House. We returned to Sky Bar, where I actually took photos without being given the boot.
Friday: I awoke before the girls, so I slipped downstairs to sit poolside in my pajamas. In the sun, I made some phone calls, bragged about the weather, then went to work, writing Straight Up & Dirty. For lunch, we hit The Ivy (where I photographed Ellen), then we did damage at the stores on Robertson. That night, we did dinner at Asia de Cuba, then had many a drink with many a stranger at Sky Bar until 3am… where we became known as "the camera people," then we had our friends back to our room… where I passed out, waking in the morning to an emptied minibar.
Saturday: Kim and I "cleared out for Guam," driving without direction, passing Dianetics establishments as big as football stadiums. "What the hell is all this L. Ron Hubbard stuff about anyway?" I’m not at all clear about this doctrine of clarity. "I’ll read about it when we get back to New York." Had lunch at Sushiya at Sunset Plaza because Matsushisa and Sushi Nozawa weren’t open on weekend afternoons. I then went to Sky Bar by myself to write, meeting many a new friend. I was amazed by how friendly everyone was. The two tables beside me were all men, and each table made it a point to approach me and say hello, talking it up, offering me business cards, "in case you’re bored later." No one in Manhattan does this. The women I met were genuinely helpful, too, offering not even the slightest raised eyebrow. Saturday night, I was showered and ready, writing by the pool, under a tree, eating a calamari salad from Asia de Cuba… drinking–hold onto something–a Chardonnay! Kim finally joined me, bringing with her, the most annoying yet lifeless group of men I’ve met in a long damn time. The cute one had no personality, the actor didn’t shut up, and skater-boy must have been taking a mime class because he only nodded and fiddled with the blond streaks in his hair. Ah, and then there was my favorite man of all: "I have a girlfriend" boy. He wasn’t ugly, but he wasn’t cute. He was the kind of guy who’d have to win you over with a killer personality. He killed me all right.
"How long have you and your girlfriend been together?" I genuinely wanted to know. I was about to go off; I couldn’t take him anymore.
"Five months, and we’re in love. We’re already talking marriage. I just know. Wait–why do you ask?"
"Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because you’ve started the last five sentences with my girlfriend. You know, I’m sure there is more to you than your identity as boyfriend."
"Oh, sorry, I can’t help it. I’ve been single so long that now that I can actually say girlfriend, I do it any chance I get. But there’s no point in going out anymore, especially to places like this where the girls and drinks are expensive. I keep telling my friends we should’ve just stayed at Cabo Cantina where they’ve got $2.00 pitchers." Did he just say the girls are expensive?
"You do realize I’m not interested in you, and you become all the less interesting when all you can talk about is your girlfriend, right? I mean, it’s one thing to mention her, but it’s quite another when you bring her up when I ask you what you do for a living."
Kim chimes in, too, "You can relax; we’ll try to keep our hands to ourselves and not attack you."
I interject, "I swear, you’re like Billy Crystal in City Slickers when Bonnie Rayburn thanks Mitch for standing up for her. She says, ‘Listen, it took a lot of courage to do what you did. Thank you.’ and he responds like a jackass, ‘I’m married.’ So presumptuous."
"Yeah, I gotta stop doing that." He sips his drink. "So, got any interesting ideas of how I can keep our relationship exciting?" This is exactly when I leave to go heave.
Sunday: The girls wanted sun time. I couldn’t do another minute poolside, so I walked Hollywood Blvd., then took the metro to Universal Studios. I had been there before, but it was better than soaking up skin cancer. The ladies picked me up in the car, then we drove through Santa Monica, up to Malibu, had lunch at Geoffrey’s, drove to Marina Del Ray, had drinks at The Viceroy with a quick stop at Shutters. We then headed back to West Hollywood and had dinner at The Standard Hotel, followed by the Bay of Pigs dessert at Asia de Cuba.
Monday: We lunched at Sushi Sasabune, deciding to go for it with the Chef’s Choice tasting menu. Then we walked the streets of Beverly Hills, singing Roy Orbison’s "Oh, Pretty Woman" as we paced Rodeo Drive Baby… for the good stuff on him. Okay, so we didn’t sing "Oh, Pretty Woman," but we did have a looksee at the Reg. Bev. Wil. I skipped Fendi but belted, "When I was young, I never needed anyone. And making love was just for fun; those days are done. All by myself, don’t wanna be, all by myself, anymore." It’s the song piped into the background of Clueless when Cher, while navigating those same steps on Rodeo, realizes she’s in love with her ex-step-brother. I don’t have a brother. Monday night, just before sunset, we grabbed our In ‘N Out double doubles, animal style, and ate them at a rest stop on Mulholland Drive, winding up at Cold Stone Creamery for dessert. It was a total chubb fest, and we were running late for the red-eye flight back to Nueva York. "We’re dying here people! Don’t you have a shuttle driver? We’re going to miss our flight." In the shuttle, a man with two small children read from The Phantom Tollbooth with an ennunciated voice, which bordered on a British accent. "If you’re going to find your way, you must begin at Expectations. Oh, and if you happen to find my way, please return it as mine must be getting rusty in all this rain." I hate having expectations; so often mine lead me to destination Disappointed.
Now, I’m back in New York, destination poor and cranky. Back in New York means going to the gym, means fixing this crapass iPod. It means laundry. I’m feeling sad tonight, the kind of sad no one wants to hear about because there’s nothing to solve. It’s just something to sit through, to sleep on. I’ve tried good music, a movie, almost even tried a shower, but come now. It’s really hard to be happy being back here with so much so different. Maybe I just need to watch some Woody Allen or some Pretty Women. At least here it’s okay to feel cranky. I will wear black tomorrow, and then I’ll be back after my iced grande skim caramel machiatto. I’m looking forward to getting back to work.
Work it. Own it. Return what you can. (Next stop Gucci: I can’t justify $475 on clogs)