Day 53 and I’m sitting at my favourite coffee shop, outside the yoga studio. I’m people watching in the sunset. Women in leggings and shawls swank past me in one direction, buff men jog with ice cream cones and bonsai dogs in the other. Many people have sunglasses even though it’s getting dark. One woman has a parasol and makes sure her friends have noticed by talking repeatedly about it. There’s a pair of crows eyeing up scraps from the table and debating with themselves if they could eat our eyes and get away with it. A parking warden stalks up the street looking at all the meters seeking the ones that are flashing red. He joggles along in his tucked up grey uniform, pudgy hand sweating on his pad, sunglasses sliding down his nose. He’ll be disappointed this time. I put a dime into the three that were flashing when I saw him down the street. Not on my watch, buster.
Larchmont Village is a pretty typical Hollywood street but it has become my local. Expensive parking whilst it’s free on the neighbouring streets. Three banks. Yoga. Ice cream. Bagels. There’s also a bookstore and a music school, loads of food outlets and a Mexican selling fresh oranges from a trolley. Three places exclusively for coffee (two if you don’t count Starbucks), the inevitable Chipotle and a constantly shifting sea of tattoos, yoga mats, dogs, zimmerframes, strollers and canvas bags. People lazily greet each other in the evening sun. In the coffee shops there is usually someone who is having a conversation designed to be overheard. “Yeah and I got this offer for this major series and I was like Harvey Weinwho and I spoke to my agent and my agent was like telling me I’m a genius and really beautiful and I was like nah nah I’m not THAT beautiful and then Al Pacino told me I was the best actor in the world and have you SEEN this new necklace it’s just darling.” I usually want to give them a big hug and tell them it’ll be alright. But they’d either take it the wrong way or burst out crying and howl “IM A FRAUD” wetly into my ear. And I can do without that.
This evening coffee ritual costs 5 bucks which is extravagant when I’m down to 12 a day, but worth it. I always find a seat outside, and at this time of day the shoutyshouty-me-me people have gone to acting class or to their shift at the restaurant or back under their rock. I say that but literally as I wrote it a guy strolled past in a Nirvana Tshirt : “yeah its a good deal it’s with HBO and they’ve got millions of bucks and they’ve got this great cinematographer”. Most of them have gone. But you can see how people feel comfortable to talk loudly about their hopes and dreams here. It’s a cultural thing, everyone does it, it is positively encouraged. And a lot of the time it’s not bullshit as things are happening for people. Over here, if you ask me, I’ll tell you that I’m a movie star and Shakespearean actor. In London I’ll shrug and say I’ve done a few nice jobs over the years I suppose, but hasn’t everyone? I’m going to try and take some of the former home with me, and stick some glitter to myself, so feel free to slap me with a dead fish if you hear me sounding off total bollocks. You can take that sentence as permission. I’ll even cook the fish and eat it with you afterwards in thanks. But more than ever I feel like I have to go to a positive kind of war when I get back. 15 years after leaving Guildhall I want to see if I can get the simple little jobs you traditionally get on graduation. I graduated straight into a movie and then my mum died before it hit the cinema and I lost myself. Whatever damage that did has been repaired by time, and capped by this trip. Now I’m moving towards work that brings me happiness. Which I feel I am allowed to seek. Which makes a change. Something has shifted.
An inward looking blog today. But I’ve done nothing but write emails about myself all day. It can have that effect. Miss you guys. My flight lands on the 19th at 10.40 am so I reckon I’ll be easily home by 12.30 unless there’s hijinks in immigration. I’m going to drug myself for the whole flight so hopefully I’ll have a lot of jet lag party in me. If you need my address PM me. Xx