There is a part of me that misses those days in the hills above Sunset…
This is as far as my script about an author who moves Downtown to escape the pretentious idiots in Hollywood had progressed. See, I write at Starbucks and most of my friends don’t understand that a writer’s office is pretty much wherever he opens his laptop—in this case 11th and Grand.
“Hey Oliver,” said my buddy Rick, who’s been overseeing the remodel over at the AT&T building for the last year and a half.
“Hey Rick.” I would have invited him to sit, but he sat before I could get the words out.
“Well, since yesterday…I’ve started on the script for Stan Peters.”
“How’s it going?”
“I should be done by this afternoon.”
“That fast? I thought they take longer to write.”
“I was being facetious.”
“Oh. Hey, what do you think about this whole auto industry bailout thing?”
I closed my computer to save battery life. “I think its socialism. I’d hate to see any of the car companies go under, but I think there is a much bigger issue to consider.”
Rick looked at me thoughtfully. “Like tax payer dollars? Why should we bail them out?”
“No, bigger than that. An argument can be made about taxpayer dollars and getting paid back with interest, and job loss, and broader impact, and on, and on. The bigger issue is a society that doesn’t want to accept that there’s such a thing as consequences for our actions. This country was built on failure and adversity. I’m worried that removing these as part of the equation will not lead to success.”
We talked about this for another half hour.
Rick looked at his watch. “Damn, I have to get back to work. I’ll catch you tomorrow.”
I opened my computer. “Maybe this economic downturn will cause business to rethink the notion of relying on formula,” I thought to myself. “Maybe the mediocre people who run the show will be in the unemployment line where they belong.”
I would have typed something but…
“Hey Downtown Oliver Brown,” Kenta said, sitting down with coffee in hand.
“How’s the writing going?”
“Great, the new script is practically writing itself,” I said with a sigh.
“Oliver, you know the idea I told you about, Wild Moguls, I need your advice.”
I closed my computer. “Shoot…”
“Well I talked to a guy that financed Google and he said that he was doing something along the same lines. I wanted to hit him up for financing but now I’m not too sure what to do. I’m supposed to talk to him again tomorrow, what should I say?”
“Ask him for a job. He’s not going to finance a company that’s going to compete with his own but you’re young and on the same page as he is—he’ll give you job.”
“Kenta, that’s the problem with your generation. You can’t just go from nothing to CEO. Learning the business from someone who actually knows what they’re doing may go against your entitlement DNA, but trust me you’ll be better off.”
“My entitlement DNA!” He laughed and held out his fist so we could do the high-five replacement. “Oliver, you’re so right. Why does my whole generation feel so entitled?”
We talked about this for thirty minutes.
Kenta jumped up. “Oh, the ticket guy…Gotta jump. Thanks Oliver.”
Three more people stopped by my table before I could get my computer open. Then there was a moment, which of course is when the attractive blonde at the table in front of my own stood up, walked three feet over to where I sat and sat down.
She put a nickel on the table. “Can I ask your advice about something?”
I looked down at the nickel. “It’s probably not worth that much.”
She smiled. “It is to me.”
“You have to tell me your name first.”
She extended her hand. “My name is Misha.”
“Nice to meet you Misha, I’m Downtown Oliver Brown but my friends call me Downtown Oliver Brown. What type of advice do you need?”
“I usually sit in the back corner.”
“I know. I’ve noticed you, but you don’t usually look like you want to talk to anybody.”
“Because I don’t. Or I didn’t. Why does everyone talk to you? I want to feel like I’m part of something the way you are.”
“People talk to me because they can tell that I like them…And that I’ve failed so badly in life that there’s no chance of my being judgmental.”
She laughed. “I bet I’ve messed up more than you have Downtown Oliver Brown.”
“How old are you?” I asked.
“Trust me, at nineteen you just haven’t had enough time to make it to my level of debauchery. Besides how much trouble can you get into at FIDM?”
“How do you know I go to FIDM?”
“A cute, blonde, nineteen-year-old that does homework at Starbucks on 11th and Grand?”
“That’s true,” she conceded, “but I’m not the typical FIDM girl. I don’t hang with any of them.”
“I figured that.”
I looked down at her feet. “You don’t wear Ugg’s when it’s eighty degrees out. That wasn’t even cool in 2003.”
“So you can tell I’m a misfit because I don’t wear Ugg’s?”
“Something like that.”
“Can you tell I just got out of rehab a few months ago?”
“It doesn’t surprise me.” I was really starting to like this girl. “What were you in for?”
“Coke,” she said, clearly wanting to test my nonjudgmental limits. She wasn’t even close.
“I did a lot of coke in the eighties.” I tried to look serious but I actually have fond memories of those days, so I smiled.
“You’re smiling,” she said, more amused than shocked. “You are a bad boy…” She thought for a moment. “You know they put me in a psychiatric facility for two weeks before rehab.”
“Do you want to have dinner with me tomorrow night?” I asked.
“Of course I do. Why do you think I came over and sat at your table? Did I mention my last boyfriend was a rock star?”
“Can’t scare me away, Misha.”
She bit her lower lip, as cute girls will do. “Good.” She stood up. “I want to stay, but I have to go to class.” She picked my iphone up and dialed her number. “Call me tomorrow around 6:30…give me a hug.”
I stood with my arms around Misha for a second. They feel so small when they’re in your arms. There’s something strange about dating a girl young enough to be your daughter. But like so many things these days, aging just isn’t what it used to be.
I opened my computer and my phone rang it was Todd from GrooveTickets. “Hey, I thought you were writing a blog about the Grand Opening of Versus? I can’t find it anywhere.”
“I haven’t written it yet, but I’m going to.”
“Well, how was it?”
“The place has potential.”
“I think they envisioned a Hollywood style club Downtown.”
“I’m going to talk to them.”
“After I’m done writing this script.”
“Okay, call me later if you want to meet up for dinner.”
I looked at the first line of the script and decided to change it to: My days living above the Sunset Strip seem like a lifetime ago.