I’ve been neglectful again because I had friends in town last week then a busy weekend catching up. But showing friends around LA is the very reason this Blog started–to share my surreal life–so I can’t abandon ship on that.
It was a full-on “Only-in-LA” week so I thought I should share it with you.
It started on Saturday when friends landed in LA. We went out to catch some lunch at Urth Caffe on Melrose and do a bit of people watching. It never disappoints and it’s always busy.
One of my favourite phrases when I’m out is “Oh,” said with great drama and excitement, “he (or she) is someone.” It’s true many people have that look about them. And I probably “see” lots of people out but just don’t recognise them. But as useless as I am at identifying people, the paparazzi never fail to impress me. One of my favourite things I look out for–maybe more than celebrities–is the paparazzi trying to snap that pic that might pull them in a small fortune.
Hiding behind the bushes was a pap doing his best to stay in cognito whilst trying to pap a pic. I looked and looked but couldn’t see who he had his eye on. Wonder if he got the pic he needed. Welcome to LA Andrew & Chris!
The next night we had dinner planned at one of my favourite West Hollywood restaurants. With one pap out the front I felt like I’d let the side down; this would be a quiet night. We sat down at our table straight away (unheard of) and it was really quiet at the bar. Given the request was a bit of “Celeb Spotting” I was a bit disappointed that I hadn’t delivered–or didn’t look like delivering.
“Oh, it’s such a shame,” I started saying. “A couple of weeks ago Chris Noth–Mr Big–was here.”
“Oh, love him,” said my friend.
“I know, me too. I’d love to see him.” No sooner had I said it but there at the bar was the man himself. “Mr Big” sitting at one of the bar tables. Sigh.
“Oh my god, oh my god,” I said, “it’s him.”
How cool we all thought immediately giving him the once over like he was there for the sole purpose of giving us someone to dissect.
“He looks good.”
“He needs a shave.”
“He’s grayer than I imagined.”
“He’s still hot.”
Just getting into the running commentary and he was saved only by JLo walking in. Yes. JLo.
“Don’t look now guys but JLo has just walked in.”
“That’s not JLo,” says MR H.
“Is it Beyonce?” asks our mate.
“Oh no, you’re right,” I say, “It’s not JLo. Bummer.”
Until common sense prevailed and my girlfriend announces, “Of course it’s JLo. Who else looks that flawless and perfect?
“We’re not in Glen Iris (Melbourne) or Lilyfield (Sydney), we’re in West Hollywood and you’ve seen her here before so you know she comes here! How can it be anyone BUT JLo?”
Well yes, now that you put it like that. Good point.
As she’s escorted to her table it becomes clear that she’s going to be seated in the booth DIRECTLY OPPOSITE US. We only had one way to look and that was straight at her. Poor us. Our poor boys. There goes any decent conversation for the rest of the night. (Actually, you’re right. Poor boys nothing).
And yes, there were a few more paps waiting outside when we left. I wonder who tips them off.
Cut forward a couple of days and we managed to arrange to get out to Paramount to have a quick look at the sound studios at Mr H’s work. Even if we don’t get to see anything I at least know my way around the lot and can conduct a mini tour of my own.
Well there we are in the “ADR” room (Automatic Dialogue Replacement) and I look up at the talent who’s on a break and recording some lines. I look again. And again. And again because I can’t quite work it out. It looks like David Duchovny. With make up on. I look again. He catches me (again) but I don’t care because it’s not him but I need to know WHO it is.
Meanwhile right next to me I’m completely oblivious to my friends–one apparently having heart palpitations, the other apparently trying to get my attention so we can make eye contact and telepathically give each other the thumbs up. We’re. Standing. In. The. Same. Room. As. David. Duchovny.
Nope. I’m too busy checking out the David Duchovny look-a-like, looking at him up and down and trying to work out who he is and how remarkably he has some of his mannerisms as David Duchovny.
Again, we’re in Hollywood, David Duchovny has started shooting a new series Aquarius on the Paramount lot (that one of my friends is producing) and he has make-up on but it doesn’t occur to me that that guy IS David Duchovny. I don’t deserve to live in LA.
Later as we’re driving a cart around the lot who should follow us but the man himself. My friends were sitting at the back of the cart (looking out) and had no choice but to look straight at him. Lucky them. I wonder what he was thinking: “who are these people I keep bumping into”. Or of course there’s always the fact he didn’t notice us at all. Nah … not possible.
Welcome to LA Andy & Jess.
Shanghighs and Shanghlows
I could end the story there. But I won’t. I’ve joined in an Instagram project called #myreality where we’re posting a pic a day on various topics. It’s been fun to be part of and gets me thinking about what pics I can post and also what pics I’ve already taken that I can share. (You can see my pics on my Facebook page in an album I’ve created of the same name). And if you’re not already following me on Instagram I’m @itstartedinla.
So it got me thinking I must be giving the wrong impression about #myreality. Yes of course I see amazing things (straight from movie sets) daily and get to do lots of fun things I never dreamt of only 15 months ago. But. And there is a but. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about FOMO. As settled as I am here in LA, I’m unsettled. I like our house but it’s only supposed to be temporary. I hate renting, I want to buy a nice house (not unlike the one I plan to build some day–one day–at home).
The kids and I have been chatting and if life is meant to be here for us for a while then we’re ready for it. We’re prepared to embrace it and stay. But Mr H doesn’t feel the same way. I’m pretty sure he’s in denial. He’s job is here, he’s happy here but he doesn’t want that lightbulb moment where he thinks he can lay down some roots here and settle for a while.
And so, life as an expat is about the highs and the lows. There was a saying in Shanghai and it was exactly that: the Shanghighs and the Shanglows. Some choose to dwell on the lows, we try to focus on the highs. And I don’t really expect much (any) sympathy from you. But when you read this in your house that you call your home think of me living in a sort of limbo land and count your lucky stars because with your life comes family, friends and security.
Not falling but “Fall”. Because we always end on a positive note it’s starting to feel more like Fall here now: it’s getting a little cooler and the Halloween decorations are out. Also, the air freshners and candles are scented for the “holidays” in a glorious combination of cinnamon, cloves and “apple pie”. It reminds me of this time last year when we were newbies and were trying to navigate around town. That smell reminds me of home and security and family. So I think we’re lucky the kids and I can picture ourselves staying here another few years and we can gently let go of the “smells of home” that lure us back. I think we’ve come a long way. As unsettling as that is it is somehow very settling.
And of course the start of Fall means Halloween, people have their decorations out and the “spirit” is out there. It’s a fun time of the year.
Happy Fall–or in many of your cases happy Spring!
xx It Started in LA xx