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This past weekend, my best friend Elisa came into town. We spent the whole of Saturday in Malibu at Malibu Wines. The weather was in the toasty 90s, but there was plenty of vino, snacks, live music, and good friends. 

Elisa and I had a flight from their tasting menu, then we were able to keep the cool glasses. The souvenir and five generous pours cost us each $14, which I thought was well worth it.

Oh, and did I mention we also split a bottle of wine? It was the best of times.

PS: How beautiful do all of my friends look in the sunshine?! I think they may secretly be vampires…

The Realities of My Unemployment

For the past nine months, I was employed as the Executive Assistant to two very busy showrunners of a CW show. I was working “in the industry,” and had a “coveted job,” or whatever. That is, until two weeks ago, when I put in my notice… My first full day of funemplyment was… interesting. As in, a word you use when you aren’t sure what to make of something.

Being unemployed in Los Angeles is not a problem. In fact, it seems to be encouraged. Were you in a place like, say, New York, you’d want to know what was wrong with that person or put a quarter in their empty coffee cup. But here, if you walk around Melrose during a perfectly normal business hour like 11 a.m., you’ll see small armies of out of work actors, directors, writers, and wealthy heirs, just starting brunch while the rest of us snarl at the second phone line ringing. By “the rest of us,” I obviously don’t mean me, as I am now one of those out of work, vagabonds flaunting my lifestyle for all to see. Though, admittedly, it’s not quite what I imagined.

What I thought unemployment would be…

Start off on an early morning jaunt to the Chateau Marmont with my laptop and a big sun hat. Once there, I’d work on my novel/screenplay/regular play/short film/blog while sipping a cocktail AND a coffee. During which time, I’d be approached by no less than three (3) agents who would initially offer me a super-modeling contract but, after reading one page of said novel/screenplay/regular play/short film/blog, would fight to help fulfill my dreams of writing glory. In the end, they’d agree to share the duties of representing me, mainly because I give them no other choice.

This would all take place before noon, and for lunch I’d hop into my town car and head to the SoHo House, where I don’t have a membership but am ushered in by none other than famous ack-tor Leonardo DiCaprio. He’s had a “thing” for redheads ever since he made that little indie film, Titanic. And the news of quitting my job alone sends him into a fit of slow claps, which he continues through the lobby and all the way up the elevator until I tell him rather forcefully to “Knock it off.” Leo, as he would ask me to call him, would inquire as to whether I was free for lunch. I wouldn’t be. In fact, I’d be dining alone, because that’s what struggling writers do. They dine alone and pout alone so as to develop an air of aloof importance. Upon trying to clarify this to Leo, however, he’d fly into one of his wild temper tantrums and I’d spend the rest of lunch picking at a salad, all the while hearing him mutter, “I will have her,” at an adjacent table.

 Around 1:30 I’d tire of being offered glasses of free champagne by Ron Burkle and hurry back down to my car because, by that time, the paparazzi would have dubbed me the “Girl Who Broke Leo’s Heart,” and they’d be waiting. Waiting and watching. I’d “accidentally” trip a rather precocious photographer with my heel and suggest the others help him to his feet. While they all huddled around their fallen comrade, I’d slip away and zoom into the afternoon light blasting some Rihanna song that Ryan Seacrest so thoughtfully dedicated to me. As if that’s at all impressive.

My next and final stop would be Malibu, obviously. The typical LA traffic hellish nightmare wouldn’t be an issue, because Mayor Villaraigosa would have called that shit in. He heard from the three (3) agents who signed me that morning that I was the next BIG thing, and decided to close down the PCH to accommodate my budding success. Now that is how you impress a lady, Seacrest.

The town car would drop me off at one of those impossibly large homes up in the hillsides, where you have brilliant ocean views and The Edge from U2 as your neighbor. The thing is: my rental would be much larger than the shit box The Edge owns. So, when he would come over to try and be “neighborly” with some freshly baked snickerdoodles in tow, I’d turn off all the lights, draw the blinds, and pretend to be out. I don’t need some rocker with a permanent skullcap in my lavish home. I am very busy and have more important things to do. Like, change into my smoking jacket, perch on one of several outdoor balconies, and gaze out at the ocean while fantasizing about the violent deaths of all the people who told me that by quitting my job I’d never work in this town again.

What unemployment was actually like…

Start off on an early morning jaunt to 7-11 to get an extra large hazelnut flavored coffee. Am slightly hungover from the night before, but not enough to justify a breakfast sandwich. Make sandwich anyway, because this is the first Monday in months where I haven’t had to worry about being somewhere on time. Name it the “Freedom Sandwich,” and laugh alone in living room. After an hour of writing in bed, wearing that robe I accidentally spilled toothpaste on, I decide it’s time to focus on ME and sign up for a workout class.

Go to said class, and instantly regret eating Freedom Sandwich. It seems to only want to throw itself out of my body, especially when the teacher goes into those damn core exercises. Leave class to find parking ticket nestled under windshield wiper, and instantly recognize that this is what I get for not staying home and writing more.

Return to apartment and hallway smells like cabbage. Look up photos of cats for a good half hour to erase the memory of the parking ticket. Add some pics to Pinterest board titled, “Itty Bitty Kitty Committee,” and tweet one particularly funny video of a cat running across a soccer field. Get frantic phone call from work, asking where that email I sent regarding the holiday crew gifts wandered off to. Sigh audibly, agree to forward it on, and smile smugly at the fact that they still, obviously, need me.

By 4 p.m. am exhausted, and crawl back to bed where I nap on and off for the next hour. My plans for that night, to watch the second episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race at gay bar in West Hollywood, are foiled when everyone cancels last minute. They’ve all had a tough day at work, but so have I, and to alleviate the stress I pour a cup of dark chocolate chips into a teacup. Proceed to eat them one-by-one while watching re-runs of that TLC reality show about polygamist wives.

Fall asleep well before midnight after writing in my diary about how “weird” it is not to have to go into work. Eventually end up dreaming about the violent deaths of all the people who told me that by quitting my job I’d never work in this town again.

What this means for me now…

It turns out that in order to do all of the things I fantasize about, I first need to find a job that a) Pays well and b) Helps me get to a place where people value what I have to offer. I’d also likely have to become a socialite/heavy drinker of some sort, and wear bibs while brushing my teeth so as not to spittle toothpaste all over myself.

My main concern about all of this being… Am I completely insane or on the brink of a nervous breakdown (a la Mariah Carey when she went on TRL) to daydream like this? I think I often venture into my fantasyland more so than actual writing land and this concerns me. I have a very specific kind of Catholic guilt that manifests itself when I realize I’m still not exactly where I want to be, career wise. Especially since there are things I could be doing to get there faster (i.e. not looking up photos of Malibu mansions for rent). The way that I’ve rationalized my laziness is that it’s okay to indulge in some delusions of grandeur, because it at least gives me a place to strive for. If I didn’t want to belong to the SoHo House so goddamn much (even though I fully realize it’s insanely pretentious and a waste of good money and I don’t even own a nice enough car to get valet there), I wouldn’t work as hard as I sometimes like to think I do.