Getting to work was a little weird this week because Hollywood was just all over the place.
Hollywood’s outer perimeter involved trucks, vans, semis, SUVs, and burly men with walkie talkies attached to their butts.
Conveniently, the street in front of the post office was blocked off. On tax day.
That man in the brown t-shirt and shorts was being paid $8 an hour to walk up and down the sidewalk and pretend to shop.
There were Meryl Streep sightings, and intimations of Alex Baldwin, but in the ten minutes I was out there I didn’t see anyone but crew and extras, so I gave up and went back to the office.
The next day I had to drop off some stuff at the post office. I’d been thinking about trust, in a very New Agey way, and how if you trust that things will work out, sometimes they will, though maybe in a way you never imagined they would. I thought I’d try giving the universe a chance to show me something unexpected, but in order to do that I had to get over to where shit was more likely to happen. So instead of heading straight to my car, I decided to cruise past the set one more time.
Hollywood wants this movie to have an organic farmer’s market foodie type of thing going on, so dozens of potted trees had their root balls sawed off so that De la Guerra Plaza could be turned into a Christmas tree lot.
This circle of hell was also populated by lights, umbrellas, and small women in thick coats. Well, you know, it’s Southern California. With all those palm trees around the only way to signify winter is to show people wearing long sleeves.
I’m sounding kind of down on this little invasion, aren’t I? It’s one of the more perverse aspects of my nature to complain about things that I’m actually sort of excited about. I love movies.
“Hi, Steve!” That’s what a woman standing next to me said. She said it loudly but in a real friendly way. Steve looked over and smiled, and that made a couple of other women behind me say, “Oh, he’s such a nice guy.”
The only thing that popped into my head to yell was, “Hey, Steve, let’s get small!” I’m glad I didn’t, though. Referencing thirty-year-old catchphrases only opens the door to remorse. Plus, the smile of a movie star stepping into a car he’s not going to drive can be a complex thing. To me, his seemed to contain measures of gratefulness for the attention, embarrassment at the attention, weariness of the attention, indifference to the attention, and just enough concentration to listen to his messages. All wrapped up in a polarized lucre shell.
For a moment he rolled down the window so we could see him again — the weird status acknowledgment and graciousness of a gesture like that in our allegedly classless society merits an essay that someone smarter than me would have to write — and still with the same weary/indifferent/worthy smile. Then his window hummed back up and he was gone and I decided the universe had just given me a little punch in the arm to show it liked me, but that I shouldn’t push my luck and wait for Meryl Streep.