When I first lived in Los Angeles during the early ’90s, my colleague Carolyn and I often met after work for a drink. We usually convened at a bistro-type joint on Ventura Blvd. in Woodland Hills, a mecca it turned out for celebs looking for a casual, anonymous dinner. As such, the two of us sat at the bar for the five-o’clock happy hour, talking shop and boys directly across some pretty recognizable SoCal folk. Fresh out of a midwestern college, I initially flustered at the sight of famous people, until Carolyn told me enough times that in L.A.? Homey don’t play that. You pretend celebrities are like regular people and barely cast a glance their way.
So on we’d sit, Carolyn with her Chardonnay, and me with my Milwaukee-brewed beer, ignoring the likes of Steve Perry, Eddie Murphy, the police captain from 21 Jump Street, and Chad Lowe. Although, I will admit to once being openly agog at Eddie’s gold silk track suit and bevy of bodyguards. Also, Jim Carrey looked really lonely once and Carolyn physically restrained me from giving him a comforting hug. Every now and then, I broke her L.A. rules and gushed at the 21 Jump Street guy (who later appeared in my beloved X-Files) or asked Alicia Silverstone for a cigarette, but all in all, I attempted to be a vacant citizen face of non-impressedness.
My L.A.-ification didn’t take long and soon enough, celebrity sightings became de rigueur. That guy from Talk Soup? Big whip. Courtney Cox? So what. Of course, my skin also thickened at the number of people, men usually, who claimed to be celebrities when they weren’t. High-heeled, red-lipsticked women often accompanied these caddy men in the hopes that they weren’t lying. And did I tell you about how once I rode in the back of a famous movie producer’s car after the L.A. Open? I totally thought he was full of it, until I saw the stack of marked-up screenplays in the back seat of his Mercedes.
Ah L.A. There’s nothing like you in the world.
Meanwhile, after a break-up with a decided non-celebrity, and in the jarring aftermath of putting my heart back together, I frequented my little bistro more often. A few years passed since I first began to visit the place, and so when two men came up to us for conversation, I sneered at their VIP posturing.
It turned out to be an interesting encounter…
(I AM SORRY! I KNOW! I CONTINUE STUFF TOO MUCH! IT’S JUST THAT TIME IS A WILY ASS AND IT RUNS OUT ON ME! I PROMISE TO COMPLETE THE STORY TOMORROW! AND TO TAKE CAP-LOCKS OFF!)