Where am I and how did I get here?
This is an accurate paraphrase of the thought that kept churning through my head on the most unusual evening out that I spent when I lived in California.
Not long after moving to San Diego in 2005, the husband and I decided to go visit my best friend Laura who had lived in L.A. since 2001. In the four years since moving there, she had acquired an eclectic group of friends and I had enjoyed so many of her stories. Now, only a couple hours drive from her home, I just couldn’t wait to see her.
So on a Friday afternoon we loaded up my dad, Baby EB, and our best We’re In California and SOOOO Spontaneous Now attitude, and drove north. I don’t remember that we had a plan, except that we were staying in a fancy hotel and going out with Laura. Her boyfriend (at the time) had a business dinner planned at the Chateau Marmont, and so immediately following that dinner we were going to hook up with him.
My memory of the Big Things in life isn’t great. But I do recall drinks at a VERY crowded outdoor bar next door to The Chateau, and seeing a whole bunch of girls who were trying with all their might to look like Britney Spears.
At some point Laura told us that it was time to go next door. So we dutifully left the outdoor bar and walked over to The Chateau. The entrance actually looked like a long driveway, sort of like a back door. And there were two security guys standing at the gate. As we approached them, something really funny (to me) happened so fast. We acted like we were heading in. They stopped us and said we couldn’t because the restaurant was full. Laura immediately told them we were guests of a particular celebrity. And suddenly I felt like I was in that scene from The Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy, et al., approach the gates of the Emerald City:
Guardian of the Emerald City Gates: … Now, state your business!
Dorothy: [Dorothy and friends, all together] We want to see the Wizard!
Guardian of the Emerald City Gates: [gasps] The Wizard? But nobody can see the Great Oz! Nobody's ever seen the Great Oz! Even I've never seen him!
Dorothy: Well, then how do you know there is one?
Guardian of the Emerald City Gates: Oh, you're wasting my time!
[starts to close the window]
Dorothy: Oh, please! Please, sir! I've got to see the Wizard! The Good Witch of the North sent me!
Guardian of the Emerald City Gates: Prove it!
Scarecrow: She's wearing the ruby slippers she gave her.
Guardian of the Emerald City Gates: Oh, so she is! Well, bust my buttons! Why didn't you say that in the first place? That's a horse of a different color! Come on in!
And on in did we come!
After a while at The Chateau with Laura's Gorilla and JK and Spike, someone decided it was time to move on. So we all headed out the door, back down the driveway. JK lagged behind a bit, and even I could tell that something was… how do I say it… not quite right.
Suddenly from behind I heard hurried footsteps. And then out of the darkness came JK, holding a plate absconded from The Chateau, which he proceeded to CRASH over Spike's head.
(This was the first time I had ever seen someone crash a dinner plate over someone else’s head in real life, and I had the distinct impression that it was all in good fun. That’s not normal to me.)
Once the cackling slowed, various pieces of porcelain were picked out of Spike's hair (and head), and it was determined that none of the bleeding needed immediate medical attention, we continued on our way to Ye Coach and Horses, a regular haunt for this group. Because that’s just what you do after someone’s scalp is lacerated by a good friend and a dinner plate.
The rest of the evening was extraordinarily ordinary, and so I remember it well. I had a really great time sitting next to one of this generation’s most wickedly brilliant talents in the film industry, and just chatting life. We talked more about my job than we did his. And though I’ve only visited with him a time or two since then, my sense is that this is just how he is. He (just like The Gorilla) is really, genuinely interested in what you have to say. He is interested in the human element. He is interested in people.
And as a side note, I often think about the little life lesson I took from that night: the value of being able to make someone else feel like they are the important one in a conversation. When I have consciously attempted to employ that social approach, I find that I gain way more than I take.
**This story is part of Hollywood Housewife’s Celebrity Crash Link-Up. This week it has been super fun to read all the stories she has written as she toasts, and relives, everything that was involved in her decision to move to Los Angeles nine years ago. You should definitely check her out!!**
photo by brokentrinkets