Day 46. Driving a car is an expensive habit. Particularly as an actor. I made the mistake of telling one insurer I did this ridiculous thing for a living once, and now they all offer me fantastically high premiums. I can rarely if ever afford a car for a whole year. Their given reasons for these premiums vary depending on who you ask “You might be driving Jordan and her boobs are insured for x million”. But I suspect it is just that there’s still this notion that actors are constantly getting messed up on substances, jack-knifing off cliffs into buses full of tourists and generally blowing things up for giggles. Maybe I’m missing a trick by mostly trying to use my cars as vehicles rather than physics experiments.
I was a month out here before I splashed out on renting my geriatric Chevy. It makes things considerably more accessible, allows me to zoom around and meet people, but comes with a price. Like in London, drivers are targeted for revenue generation here. The tow truck industry is huge. In my area, different random streets have to be cleared of parked cars on different weekday mornings for street cleaning. The cleaner comes through once, flanked by an army of tow trucks, and then for the rest of the morning, even though the work is evidently done and it makes no sense to continue to keep it clear, the carnappers continue to drive around the damp streets hoping to entrap people who are employing logic over caution, or just not paying attention to the small print on the signs. Shop parking lots have varied and detailed restrictions and timings, all geared towards maximising removals. You have to be very very careful indeed where you put the car.
I wasn’t. They towed me. On an oversight. And obviously I’m an idiot for it. And even though the car was in the pound for less than an hour I was still charged storage and out of hours fee as well as basic towing. For a single incident, an admittedly stupid mistake, but one that impacted nobody’s ability to park, obstructed no traffic and served no logical purpose other than to generate money, they stung me for $340. That’s my entire budget for the rest of the time I’m here. And to add insult to injury the hairy old guy in the pound was a jerk. He looked like the guy who assaults you with a broken bottle in the parking lot of a bar in some cheap 1980’s flick. I kind of wanted Patrick Swayze to come and kick him in the nadgers. Ok, fine I was in the car pound, not Disneyland. They aren’t supposed to be fun. Nobody ever said “Daddy daddy can we go to the car pound?” or if they did they grew up to be Satan. But when someone cuts your legs off they should at least say thank you for standing still. I could fly to Paris for $340.
Today has been spent mostly alternating rage with panic. I had a couple of little oases, one where I met with a deeply passionate and connected woman who wanted to help me out here, and one where I went for a swim. But mostly I’ve been a little trembly, repeatedly checking my bank balance, edgy, sweary. It seems so excessive. I wonder how it can even be legal. It must be more than the value of the car. But the car isn’t mine so I couldn’t abandon it. Once bitten, twice shy, I was lucky on Oscar night, karma’s a bitch and other assorted platitudes.
There remains the matter of my shot budget. I’ve been thinking about things that I can offer I exchange for mid term loans from anyone. I can’t earn legally in the US and I’m here for another 18 days. I can take writing commissions, offer up childcare or dogcare when I get back to London, accommodate someone in my Chelsea bedroom for a bit while I kip on the sofa, dress up silly and perform Shakespeare speeches of your choice after dinner like I do at The Globe…. I could write a customised Hilaire Belloc style cautionary tale to anyone who might want one. “The lamentable tale of Mister Al, who underestimated human rapacity and was going to have to eat cockroaches until he was rescued by…” PM me . No, seriously, pm me. I’ll gladly write something to commission. Damn. Is it just two days ago I was proudly laughing at people crowdfunding for this sort of purpose? Yes. Yes it was. Humility, you bugger. You always wait for a bit of pride before waving your magical shitty stick. Alakasplat.
(Image is not mine. I was in no mind to take a photograph today so I ripped it off the net. It’s actually a memorial procession of tow trucks. Perhaps mourning their loss of KINDNESS. The monsters.)
Ps under advisement I’m putting my bank details here but obviously it’s nicer if I can message you all individually and work out what sort of lovely things I can do for you or how when if you can be paid back etc etc
It’s Barclays (of course) Account Number 40551627 Sort code 20-35-93. And my PayPal is firstname.lastname@example.org