March 6, 2011

Granola and Tinsel

Ya'll. I sat down to write tonight and the words wouldn't make an appearance. It happens. So, I'm going to post something I wrote in 2006 when I was living in Vermont and reminiscing about 2004 when I was living in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

16th January, 2006. 10:16 pm.

Tall, white and slightly boxy the Beverly Hilton looks the same as it did two years ago, the sun gleams off the white exterior in the same exuberant manner, while accentuating the lush green trees and shrubbery surrounding the building. It gives off the impression of a tropical paradise rather than the desert that it is. Two years ago I did not spend the evening watching the Golden Globes. Rather I was asleep, probably by nine, still suffering from jet lag and more second thoughts than I expected.
I did watch the Academy Awards. They shut down Hollywood Blvd for the entire week before. Stuck in the routine traffic jam traveling south on Highland Avenue, we watched the handful of workers line the four-lane street with a red carpet and erect a larger than life statue of a gold naked man. It seemed as normal and routine as our forty-five minute commute to our internships, a mere eight miles away, and the eight dollar parking fee to see the twelve dollar movie.

I believe I met "Agent" a few days after the Academy Awards. A rescue from paper cuts, crooked staples, drawers of black and white headshots and endless resumes. A rescue from "MailRoomWorker", with the too-short pants who always gave careful instructions on how to baby-sit the fax machine; a rescue from the mute grey cabinets and sterile white walls. 

A few doors down and over Agent’s shoulder was Beverly Hills. Composed entirely of windows, the “wall” behind Agent’s desk painted every fantasy I had ever dreamed of southern California: lush and green, although once again only a facade over the actual desert terrain. But in Agent’s office I didn’t mind so much, and I never understood why he positioned his desk with his back to it all. Perhaps he was afraid of heights.

Only slightly older than I, he often sat with his shoes off behind his cherry desk and we’d listen to Frank Sinatra, or occasionally Eminem, as the hours passed. He made sure I listened into all of his phone calls. I think mostly so he could have somebody to make fun of the industry people with. He never took anyone in entertainment seriously, and his office became a place of mediation between my growing loathing of the entertainment industry and my constant immersion in it. He would call his “crazy ex-girlfriend” and ask me to stay on the line and then make faces as she spoke; she was a true Hollywood stereotype. Agent held my sanity for most of the semester.

The internship really holds the only coherent memories I have of those months. The others move from warm swimming pools to the blinking lights of a Melrose psychic at midnight. Most of my memories revolve around car rides: Sunset blvd on a Friday night, Mulholland on a sunny day, a drive through Bel Air on Easter Sunday and “the 5” at 11pm on a Thursday night. Mostly I remember coloring books and trips to Ralph’s for bulk candy, the scent of the old BMW and Radio Disney, the only station it received. Writing by the light of my vanilla candle at night and falling asleep to Dashboard Confessionals…usually twice, because the four am entrances by my roommates were anything but quiet.

On Highland Avenue stood Shrek on a quite sizable billboard announcing his re-appearance on the big screen on May 19th. The add appeared most likely in late February and the first time, and every time, I saw it I could only think that I would be back on the east coast when he finally stormed theaters again. The time almost always seemed to be creeping by. That was two years ago and I still remember that date, May 19th 2004. 

Sometimes you need some tinsel to appreciate the granola.

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