I sat in the little café section of the store with my so-called lunch and people watched. I tell you, the characters in this town are not just in the movies. They’re everywhere. I suppose that’s anywhere, really. The characters in my small hometown are just as loopy as the ones in LA, myself included. Both places. All places. We’re a strange bunch, we humans—anywhere you tend to find us.
There was the store manager I worked for who had her sweatshirts dry-cleaned, and her nails were perfectly manicured. But she was enormous. There was so much dedication to one area of her life and so much lack of dedication in another. I know, I know—obesity is like a disease, like alcoholism, like diabetes. We certainly wouldn’t judge someone for having diabetes (well, some would, but anyway) so we can’t judge people for their weight. But I just found her fascinating.
On top of being crazy characters themselves, people in my acting classes also smelled quite interesting. The baristas smelled like coffee. The caterers smelled like chicken cordon bleu. One guy smelled like socks—worn socks, that is. I never wanted to get close enough to him to ask about his life to determine why he smelled like socks. Hopefully I didn’t smell too much like a Zumba-class teacher or whatever I was up to at that moment. If I smelled like hanging out at Skye’s house, which would make me smell like patchouli, too, that’d be fine, I guess.
Even more crazy were the characters I dated. I’ve met tons of fellas at the Screen Actors Guild movie screenings, but actors really aren’t my favorite guys to date. Some weird competition thing would start to happen when one or the other of us would get more auditions and/or roles.
There was the roadie I dated whose tailpipe dragged on the road behind his dilapidated car. But he made his bed with perfect hospital corners. I’m all for hospital corners, but it just seemed totally incongruous. What makes us decide which idiosyncrasy to hang our hat on?
Then there was Johnson who didn’t seem to have enough sense to turn his name into a genuine first name, let alone something that didn’t imply dick—which he was. Oh, I try to be kind and give people the benefit of the doubt, but after doing that time and again with him, I finally surmised that he reveled in his dickness, his dickocity. He would have used the word surmise, not realizing that using erudite (there I go again, using a word he would’ve used) words outside of an academic setting doesn’t make people sound smart; it makes them sound pretentious and insecure, because insecurity is what makes people pretentious.
He was amazingly handsome; too bad he was so aware of it. One time he actually said, “I am so friggin’ vain. As well I should be!”
Then there was the super-rich guy....and the other one....and the other…and even that one with the Richard Branson hairdo, although he wasn’t that old. At least it wasn’t the Trump hair-…whatever that is. It’s certainly not a hairdo—more like a hairdither. Orange is the new…blue (hair, blood…okay maybe it’s not that funny). Back to my rich guys: they were so into how it all looked, not how it all was. The emphasis was on that oh-so-(not-so-very)-serious swag. And part of how it all looked was to have a beautiful date. Cyndi definitely had the same problem. Talk about mansplaining though—they had advanced degrees in that. Ugh! They liked to consider themselves masters of the universe, but they might’ve been the only ones who did. They could’ve been such great guys if they could’ve just calmed the frig down, if they hadn’t been pretending so much.
Hey, I heard that. Yes, actors pretend, too. But we have to dig deep to draw on real emotions in order for audiences to believe us. I’m going to humblebrag for all of us here. My spellcheck didn’t even question that word, so I guess it’s really an established thing now. Hollywood is known as a fake, make-believe world, but bah! If we’re not feeling those feelings, you won’t either, and you’re who we’re doing this for…at least somewhat, after ourselves first, because it’s what we love and live to do.
Back to my love (not so much) life. Then there was the Uber driver…and the other Uber driver…and the other Uber driver…and the other….although not necessarily in that order, LOL. Actually, they were intermingled with the rich guys. Then there was the guy I had to get a restraining order for. And the other. Fortunately the order worked with both of them, and they disappeared before they became full-on stalker nightmares. Plus there was the Burning Man guy and the dreadlocks guy and the man-bun guy. He was some Silver Lake hipster back when that w as the thing. He was a little younger, which was especially nice after all those older rich guys, but I’m not into long beards and man buns. It takes a really special guy to carry off that look successfully, and he wasn’t and didn’t.
There was Mr. It-Is-What-It-Is Guy. I mean it is what it is, all right, but I didn’t have to be reminded every five minutes.
It might sound like a lot, and I did date a fair bit, but I really only averaged one relationship a year for a few months over the twenty-odd years I’ve been in LA. They never lasted very long. Now I know why, but I didn’t at the time.
Oh, people. What a wild bunch we are. Quiet and scared of our shadows. Outrageously flamboyant to hide that we’re scared of our shadows.
Worried, obsessive, OCD, tightly wound—that was me. Drippy and oozy and gorgeous and melodramatic crossed with easygoing, yet suicidal—that was Cyn.
I quickly put on my sunglasses to cover my tears. Cyn, Cyn, Cyn.
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