INT. LARGE DINING ROOM - EARLY EVENING
Decadent, but in a good way. Peeps stand, waiting to be told how to serve the VIPs for tonight's charity event. I am one of them. Lost in my own thoughts until an old MAN approaches me.
He searches for my name tag, squinting his eyes until they're almost closed. Damn, his breath smells like two week old trash in 99 degree heat.
Man: "...Lauren. Where do you live, Lauren?"
I smile, trying my best not to judge him or assume that he's crazy.
Me: "Culver City. Just moved here."
His weird looking eyebrows perk upward and beyond. Ohh, fresh meat.
Man: "That's great. Why are you here in Cali?"
Me: "Welp, I graduated last year and want to become a television writer."
He smiles, which reaches his eyes. I immediately melt. Why, I don't know. Maybe it's the way his clothes smell. They remind me of my grandfather.
Man: "Oh, I can get you in touch with a lot of people who can help you."
Like Peter Pan or the Easter bunny? I've heard this before.
Me: "Cool. Where do you live?"
What the hell, I'll add to the conversation. I got nothing else to do.
Man: "I live in Hollywood. I love it there, but I want my own home. I'm a hair stylist.
Hmm, I wouldn't have guessed that. Cool.
Me: "Nice. But, you're here catering...instead of doing hair?"
Man: "Yeah, 'cause I like to hang around you young people. What I make here in a day I make in an hour doing hair."
Hmm, this sounds weird. If you make a TON of money doing hair, would you be giving up your entire Saturday to make much less?
Me: "So, you volunteer for the fun of it all?"
Man: "No, I get paid. Probably the most out of everyone here actually. But it doesn't effect me 'cause I need to focus on opening my salon anyway."
Me: "How did you get catering experience if you're in the beauty industry?"
Man: "Oh, I used to own my own catering company. I decided to let it go after getting into hair. There's more money there. But anyway, I can get you tickets into the Laugh Factory and stuff like that."
He sounds and looks like a pimp who just wasn't cut out for the business and decided to make cartoon pornography instead.
Me: "That's nice of you. Thanks a lot."
Man: "I mean, seriously. These guys will get you in the right direction. They know people like I know people."
Who knows which way to go? I stare out at the beach behind him, not really listening but hearing every word. I can't help but think this is another bullshiznit person from L.A. who has nothing to give but false hope and broken promises.
Let me be real with you. I'm not a fan of pessimism or assumptions, yet I find myself falling into their traps at times. Especially in Los Angeles when I meet peeps like the Man. I feel like Los Angeles is full of individuals, unintentionally or intentionally, trying to suck the life out of you, as well as pretending to be someone they're not.
Then you have those few who give you a shot, or link you up with another person who changes your life. It could happen at a bar or during dinner when you happen to run into your friend who's eating with a producer as he complains about having to fire his overpaid assistant. Insert you. Or maybe, you could help a woman across the street who owns a restaurant and needs a new server, this giving you a bomb ass job to support yourself.
You can meet someone who shares words with you in a dining room, whether they're true or not and let it be just that. A moment in time where you talked to a man who gave you interesting advice and reminded you of your grandfather. I smiled and laughed with that guy in the dining room more than I did all day. Sometimes, that's all a person is meant to bring into your life. And sometimes, those can be the most powerful moments. Ever.
Gotta go get my hair done.