Friday, January 27, 2012

Unrequited Love - Foolish or Romantic?

When I was 6 I fell madly in love with a blonde boy named Jim Rike. He was gorgeous. (I should look that guy up on Facebook actually ...note to self...) Anyways, he was the first boy that ever really made my heart skip beats and make me want to listen to cheesy love songs. He once gave me half of his sandwich at lunch and I'll never forget the day he picked me first for Red Rover. You know why I won't ever forget that day? Because it was the first lesson I ever got in being led on.

That's right JR - I'm still slightly bitter about it. He picked me first. He shared his sandwich with me. He asked to talk to me after recess. I thought he was gonna ask me to be my boyfriend and have lunch with him. I was so excited. I remember I told my best friends at the time, Bonnie and Jennifer, that the first boy I laid eyes on in first kindergarden now wanted to date me in first grade. I was really excited. He waited for me outside my cubby to gather my belongings; my new kids on the block back pack, my new kids on the block lunch box, my paula abdul jacket, my my little pony umbrella. He took me to the playground, held my hand and told me he had something really important to ask me. My little heart was racing, my little palms were sweating, I caught a brief smell of myself and made a note I needed to start wearing deodorant. But this was happening I could feel it! He opened his mouth and then the words came out. Could I help him with my friend Jennifer. He had a huge crush on her and didn't know how to handle it. He knew i was the coolest, nicest, most fun girl in school and if I thought he was cool, surely Jennifer would think so too. I could feel the tears building in my little eyes and the knot tightening in my little throat. I took a deep breath and I learned a skill that has carried me along , unfortunately, until now. I lied to him. I told him it was no big deal and of course I would help him out. We should definitely just be friends and I had zero interest in dating him. My friend Victoria (present day) would call this the beginning of my pattern.

I have to say though, it worked out really well for me. Jim and I became great friends, he was great to talk to, he even got the girl with my help. But where did that leave me? I vowed I would never do such a thing - ever again. But then I have, repeatedly. What is this obsession with being friends with unrequited love? Who cares! Most of those dudes, don't bring anything to the relationship anyway. I did it again in college when the love of my life broke up with me and then I actually, actively helped him get girls...and he did! He thought I was the coolest kid on the planet, he even at one point did what I'd wanted him to do for the past year, ask me to get back together. I said no, because I was in the cool game way too deep. I couldn't get out. Then I lost him. Forever.

Now I'm trying my best to remind myself that I have enough friends and if I guy I like just isn't that into me, I don't need to be friends with him. I have great guy friends who would do anything for me. Who treat me like a sister and who aren't trying to hook up with me...when they're sober :) . Those are my friends. The guys I can call when I'm sick, or who'll help me move, or who will let me talk to them on the phone about my greatest fears, my favorite shows and my silly crushes on silly boys who don't like me. Those guys also remind me...that I probably don't like them anyway and that my competitive nature and nurturing persona just wants to, as my friend James says, "fix the broken toys". He has a point. I don't want to fix them, per say, I just want to help I guess. I don't know, I'm sure Freud has a few theories.

And there's something to be said about not chasing them. Which is what I do! I say fine, you don't like, me lets make lemonade and be buds. No harm no foul right? But my mothers wise words come back into my head. You can't play hard to get, you have to BE hard to get. I should have told Jim on the playground to take a hike and let him learn the word Bitch for the first time. I should have never let my college love talk to me about girls - what am I a dude? No. Its one thing to be friends with someone but its another entirely to ignore your feelings. Unrequited love is not romantic. Its foolish and sure, sometimes when you are feeling nothing, feeling something seems like a better alternative, but its not. The longer we stay there longing, waiting, hoping for the part of the movie where the other person turns around and says they can't believe you've been under their nose the whole time, the more disappointed we'll be...that doesn't happen in real life. That's not me being cynical - I think that's me being realistic. Not everyone has a right to be in your life, you know? They just don't.

I want to be with the guy that takes me behind the playground and tells me he can't let another day go by without asking me out. I want to be with the guy that doesn't let me talk about other dudes I like and that doesn't tell me about the other girls I'll never be. I want to be with the guy that calls...not texts. I want to be with the guy that thinks it sexy I have flannel Pajamas (they're pretty sexy though, don't knock em, till you see 'em).

But what do you do when you think you know what you want, but you just don't think the timing is right for you either? Do let someone just pass you by?

I've met two gentlemen on airplanes. One relationship ended with a "i'm sorry we've been hanging out this weekend and we're together, but I'm married." slap.tears.end scene. - the other, was a multi- year, cross country love story that i'll always cherish and hopefully write books about. His name was Ian, and we literally fell in love on a plane. I mean, that weird thing that people talk about happening, that you KNOW for certain doesn't until it happens to you? Yeah, that happened to us, but unlike a perfectly craftily movie plot or novel, we had 3000 miles to contend with and lovers who were close by who ended up being something real instead of five hours of a plane ride frozen in time. He did the right thing, he moved on. The irony of course is that now I live in California. The storyteller part of me wants to show up at his house and tell him I'm here and we should give this crazy thing a shot now, but that didn't end well for George Clooney in Up in The Air... and I have a feeling it wouldn't end well for me either.

I hope, and I have a feeling that one day, someone won't let me go. He'll show up at my doorstep. He'll let me know that I'm not alone in whatever it is we are doing. He'll know I hate roses. He'll know I like making dinner. He'll know I secretly love playing Taylor Swift songs, he'll know I write short stories about conniving dogs, that I can eat sweet and condensed milk out of the can (i know its gross, i got it) ...because he'll make the effort to stick around.

Okay, I've written a novel. Enough procrastination ! Sorry for the rambling!! I'm writing a teenage web series, which makes me...very reminiscent of old times.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Quinciañera

I've had pneumonia for the past few days so I've been unable to torture myself with the usual bootcamp 6am ritual. Instead, I've been taking my dog for early morning walks to the dog park and late afternoon walks to delude myself into thinking I'm working out.  There are lots of nice places to walk to in Culver City so its usually a relaxing walk.
























It was during one of these walks the other day that I encountered the only thing that's ever really made me wish I was Mexican...other than Telenovelas and Gael Garcia Bernal. Okay, maybe tacos, too. It was a real QUINCIAÑERA party! We are talking the big gown, the mariachi band outside, the limo, the attendants (which are like quinciañera bridesmaids), the flowers, the big cake, the very tacky party that accompanies it. You don't understand though, this is the first time that girls have these huge parties in their honor where everyone not only dotes on them, but gives them money! Its like a pre-wedding wedding - except the person you marry is yourself!

It's kind of genius! Not only do people give you gifts and celebrate all of these feminist ideals of you becoming a woman and finally can stay out a little later and even date, but they also reward you by giving you money! Its a whole day, dedicated to how awesome you are.

So you know what, this year, I'm having a double quinces -solo wedding. Yup. I'm going to go all Carrie Bradshaw and throw myself a party/solo wedding where I register for expensive shoes and a big dress...not like the one pictures, but you get the idea. Okay, so maybe I won't do that, but I did feel a strange sense of happiness and excitement for her. I crashed her service and sat in the back listening to the priest and the lecturers give her advice about becoming an woman.

That word, "woman" really stuck with me. Here this fifteen year old is getting anointed an adult and I, well, still consider myself a girl really.

I remember the first time someone referred to me as a "woman". When I got divorced I briefly dated someone who was a very good friend of mine in college. We were great together but timing was NEVER our thing. So I remember we went up to visit his parents and everything was really lovely and he made a comment about me being the "woman" he was dating. I was shocked. Woman? Woah there buddy. I know he didn't mean it to sound old, he was just being respectful, but it was the first time I'd ever heard anyone refer to me that way. It was bizarre. You spend your whole life trying to be an adult and then you get there and you wonder how you got there so quickly.

 I wonder what i would say to my 15 year old self? Probably a lot of "it gets better, don't worry eventually you'll get along better with your mom, that guy you think is awesome is gonna be bald, that teacher you liked is never gonna date you, that dress will never be acceptable under any circumstances." Yeah, I would say all of those things to my fifteen year old self, but I'd probably think about a few more thoughtful things too like, "you're not fat, stop being stupid, don't date that asshole you're way too smart for him, don't think flirting will always get you what you want, your girlfriends really ARE gonna be around in some pretty dark times to come, your step dad is actually a pretty amazing guy, you're gonna have a shit ton of siblings and its gonna be awesome, your gonna do all the things you want and then some, you're gonna get married, you're gonna get divorced, your two big heart-breaks are gonna rip your heart out - don't try to be friends with them - its stupid, not everyone is gonna be around, but the important people - man - they keep coming back even when you royally fuck up. You'll meet new people who'll come into your life and be closer than you ever though. Just when you think it can't get worse, it does and then it gets better than you could ever imagine. Those are just a few of the things I'd tell my fifteen year old self. That and wax more.

My fifteen year old self would probably not listen to a word I just said, because she knows everything. However, she would lecture me on a few things I think as well. She'd tell me not to give up on love, because its everything. She'd tell me to not let anyone tell me I'm not good enough. She's tough, or at least she pretends to be. She'd tell me that I can surely flirt my way into and out of any situation, because she's a little feistier than I've become. She'd tell me to get a tattoo. She'd tell me to play my guitar more often. She'd tell me to write shitty love songs and short stories that no one will ever see just for me. She'd tell me to call more people and stay in touch not just on the computer. She'd tell me to take more pictures and make scrapbooks. She'd tell me to treat myself to more manicures. She'd tell me to be a little more selfish. She'd make sure I bought myself a nice pair of shoes. She'd tell me to take more chances, to not be so guarded. She'd tell me to do more karaoke and to sing in a cover band. She'd tell me that Rob Thomas will get divorced one day or I will find a musician that looks like him. She'd let me date a musician. She'd ask me if I ever became an actress now that I'm in Hollywood. She'd ask me how I ever lived so long in New York since I could never stand the cold. She'd ask me if I ever found my dad. She'd ask me I was happy.

I wish I could go back in time and hug my fifteen year old self because that little girl - man...she needed it.  She would probably never let me, but I would anyway. I would make sure she knew that life was going to get crazy fun and sometimes just crazy.

When I think about it that way, I guess, yeah I'm a woman or whatever, but its still a weird word to say. I think I'm gonna stick with "girl" for as long as its not too ridiculous...

I tell you what though, I am very excited for what my 45 year old self will say to my 30 year old self. I have no idea what to ask except - I hope you're happy, I hope you never gave up on the things that make you laugh and sweat and cry. I hope you always find time for karaoke and dancing. I hope you didn't stop playing guitar. I hope you still flirt with strangers on the subway, even if its innocently. I hope your pillow smells like someone you love. I hope you jumped out of a plane, I hope you swam with sharks. I hope you've visited more than just three African countries. I hope you finally made it to Italy.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Starbucks of Clinics

I have been in waiting rooms all over the world. Literally, all over the world. In London, I sat in a horrible  cold clinic that I found at the end of the gray tube line where I waited for hours to have someone spend five minutes with me. In Spain, I had a doctor tell me for thirty minutes that my poison ivy was because I hadn't eaten enough meat to protect me from the vicious herbs and in New York, the doctors barely even knew my name. I once had a doctor in New York tell me I was gonna be a great mother and even bring in my prenatal vitamins until I pointed out he had the wrong file and I was the one with strep throat. Had I been able to speak I would have chosen a few other words for him.

Today, however, I had the most amazing clinic experience. Yes, the Starbucks of doctors, is in West Hollywood. I don't even want to tell you the name of the place, for fear that you will all leave your current, overpaid, underwhelming doctors and cause a wait at mine.

The experience really begins the second you walk in. The decor is not a stuffy waiting room with the horrible beige carpet and overly cold air conditioner. No, it looks like a coffee shop. There are tables with chairs propped around and everyone is enjoying the free tea you are free to help yourself too. I drove in wheezing, gross and felt like I stepped into a casting call. Beautiful people everywhere, the medical staff looking like they just auditioned for a role on Grey's. The atmosphere was nice and quiet. I thought for sure it was too good to be true. They must not have medical degrees. I thought for sure, I walked onto a set.

But no. Once i filled out the necessary paperwork I asked how long the wait was. The kind, beautiful zibby-allen-look-a-like  nurse informed me that my wait would be about 20 minutes, but should I have something to do, she would give me a PAGER and let roam about the streets of LA until she gave me a ring that it was turn. I couldn't believe the convenience! I sat in my coffee shop like chair wrote and took advantage of the wi-fi. When it was finally my turn to see the doctor, I didn't feel rushed or unimportant. My doctor answered all my questions, my nurse helped me laugh a little through my uncomfortable tests and the nice boy nurse apprentice that looked like Jesse Metcalfe told me where to get my drugs a little cheaper.

Not only did they know my name but between my X-rays and my tests, I came out of there not nearly as poor as I thought I would have. In new york, I wouldn't have gotten through the door without insurance for less than $150. WIth everything I had done and the doctor and specialist and radiologist looking over my X-rays, I'll tell you that I didn't hit that amount. Did I mention how hot my doctor was? Made me seriously think about taking the MCATS holy hell. He was married or I would have coughed up a phone number. Well, I guess then, it was the starbucks of clinics circa 1998...not 2012 prices.

The bad news is I have pneumonia. The great news is, now that i have a doctors office, I'm starting really feel at home here.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Occupational Hazzard

Sometimes, people are just strange. Really strange. I was sitting here at Starbucks, minding my own business, trying to avoid at all cost re-writes that have been dictated to me on my latest project, knowing that I eventually must get to them, when a stranger approached me to watch his bag. Sure. Why not. Presumably just going to the bathroom, i sat there and watched the bag.

For an agonizing five minutes I stared at the bag. What was in it? Why didn't the man go to the bathroom like I thought he was going to, who was the man in the suit he was speaking to outside, why was my neighbor  in the adjacent table starting to get nervous, what ever possessed me to agree to to this?! Why are my palms sweating and why did that lady dropping her latte on the floor startle me so much that i slightly peed. yes. I did that.

Okay, so maybe I've been writing too many mysteries lately, but you can hardly blame me for being overly cautious these days. The guy was wearing a green puffy vest, a hat, sunglasses - I know what you're thinking, I thought the same thing, what was his disguise? I mean, he wasn't even wearing an ironic tshirt. He was just strange. Not like story book strange, like real life psycho killer rip your fingers off strange. (there's a difference).

I thought back to the Girl with The Dragon Tattoo. You know that scene at the end where the guy makes a comment about why people never trust their instincts? Why their fear to offend is greater than their fear of self preservation? That's what this felt like. A weird guttural get the hell out of dodge scream from the insides of my already dizzying palpitating heart. I kept waiting for him to pull out a gun, for the backpack to blow up, for sirens to wail, for the five o'clock news to come early to the group of unsuspecting coffee conneseiurs and wanna be writers.

I've clearly had too much coffee today and need to switch over to writing a romantic comedy. As of this blog entry, no such shoot up happened. The strange man in the puffy vest is picking at his ear and has now stuck this finger in his mouth. Strange, yes, but serial killer - eh, the jury is still out.

I began to wonder, why is it that I don't sit in a coffee shop and imagine two people meeting and falling in love? Why is it that all the secret rendezvous in my head seem contrived, planned, and infamous instead of chance encounters and sparks of new love. I"m sure my therapist has many theories.  Blah Blah Blah, parents, Blah Blah Blah daddy issues, Blah Blah Blah ballet class.  I don't know, maybe they're right.

The idea of dating terrifies me. I lied when I said that the 1984 version of the torture with the rats was an audition. The 1984 torture version of the rats is probably the prospect of a promising first date. First dates in general are just interviews right? I rock interviews. As a competitive person, I generally excel at all interviews, no matter the format, but a promising, real, non interview first date - wouldn't that be something. Something where I don't give the rehearsed, canned answers to all their questions, where I don't list my resume or give the obligatory funny story of my dog's recent kidnap. I have no idea what that would be like.

I must confess the only dates i've been on recently have been purely for research purposes. (If you'r reading this now and I've gone on a date with you recently..yeah, sorry, occupational hazard). I"m writing a story about this lady who --- we''ll I won't ruin it, but she's not nice, she's very crazy and she has an online dating problem. ooo...maybe she knows the guy in the puffy vest! Huh...let me write that down....how can I get those two's lives to intersect...

See, now my characters are blending into my delusions.

So - no joke, the lights just went out at the starbucks. I almost hit the ground thinking almost out loud "SEE!! I knew it! It was that guy!! In the puffy jacket, he's gonna kill us all!!" But alas, the power came right back on. The dude is gone...and as of this posting - All signs point to me living to judge another poor unsuspecting stranger.



Thursday, January 19, 2012

La Art Gala

What do James Franco, Mila Kunis, some crazy frenchman and I have in common? We were all in attendance of the LA Art Gala last night (http://www.laartshow.com/premiereparty/index.html) and did not run into each other.

Art is one of those things that often beg the question, WHY. Why on earth do some people find something fascinating and others just see lines on a canvas. Art often times evokes thoughts of elitism and and people who have too much time on their hands, but the LA Art Gala and show last night made a believer out of me.

I was sharing with my friend Victoria, that I've only once, ever, put in a bid for a piece of art. I saw it months ago but I still remember it. It struck me, it inspired me, it made me wish I could create. That's really the sign of a great art piece. Something that makes a believer out of you.



 The space was enormous. All sorts of paintings, sculptures and bizarre creations lined the gallery. There were headless lamps that looked like something out
of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein and flowery montages of Marilyn Monroe. Some of my favorite pieces where the mirror image car or the dancing virginesque ballerina in the cathedral painting. We must have spent hours combing through all of the collections finding our way through the characters of artists and collectors some who stepped out of their own Vaudeville universes and others who were just trying something new.


I have nothing  monumental to report, except I'm glad I went. I left feeling ready to write, to create new characters and tell a story. There was one man in the crowd who particularly struck me. He was wearing a tic tac toe suit where women would play tic tac toe on his suit....and they did...often.

There were flamboyant shoes, there were feathers, there were stepford wives and new mistresses. There were all the characters of a game of clue waiting for someone to turn off the lights and solve a murder mystery.

No such thing happened of course, but seeing them all go about their night in their own habitat was spectacular.

I highly recommend an art gallery near you - you'll meet all sorts of characters.

Casting Directors Say the Darnedest things

I went in for an interview this morning to cast a small, micro-budget indie film. I've been out of work for a little bit, so maybe I over prepared somewhat. There may have been lots of unnecessary research done about potential leads and a full blown budget and character breakdowns that i had no business putting together for an interview.

As I was going through my budget and proposal the strangest thing happened. The producer gave me that look. I KNOW that look. Its the "i have a crazy idea just crazy enough to try that might actually work" look. I've given the look many times, sometimes paying off and resulting in a hero like save the night before a live talk show when I don't have a guest and other times, the idea was just crazy enough to almost get me fired.

I've never been the target of 'the look' however. It took me a moment to catch on to what he was thinking, but then I could see the little wheels in his brain turning. After a few moments of uncomfortable silence, he finally said, "Gabby have you ever done any acting before?"

Hoping that this is a trick question about my abilities to understand characters and how to coach an actor through an audition, I tell him that I've dabbled in in theatre in grade school. I didn't dare tell him that my rendition of Abigail in The Crucible caused such an excruciating panic in me that I still talk to my therapist about it on occasion or that I let the whole song play in the 2nd grade talent show and just stood there, frozen of the entire 3 minutes of the song. Being in front of a camera is not something I've ever been comfortable doing. The times I have, when they needed a last minute extra for one of my films or when I needed to translate for someone one live TV and I was truly the ONLY choice, have caused vomiting, dizziness, and diarrhea.

I tried to get us back on track, to discuss the job at hand, was I going to get this casting gig or not because if not, I had a day of  writing and proposals to get to. Then he did it, he asked, almost as in slow motion. I could hear the words coming out of his mouth but instead of hearing, "I know you're not an actor, but I'd really like you to audition for this part" I heard, "remember that time you made a fool of yourself  by going to homecoming with that way too cute boy that made all the cheerleaders hate you so you had to eat your lunch by yourself in the bathroom for two weeks? Lets try that again!"

I said thank you, I was very flattered, but not an actor and while i certainly appreciated the thought, I didn't want to ruin his movie. He left me leave and then darnedest thing happened.

He called. Five times. He said he could be wrong and I could be terrible, but could I audition and if it didn't work out, he'd let me cast the film. I perked up. I agreed. And so it came to pass that I have an audition this weekend.

An audition. I roll my eyes and can't even say it out loud. The practical part of me says, "just wing it, you'll blow it and just get to do the job you know you can do". But the competitive part of me, the dreamer part of me, the 15 year old insecure girl eating lunch alone part of me can't help but want to do a good job. Don't get me wrong. I'm a smart, fun, spunky girl who, I think, can do pretty much anything. Anything other than this, that is. You know in 1984 where towards the end of the book they try to torture the guy with his biggest fears, with the rats? That is what the equivalent of an audition is to me. I'm so good at protecting myself at disclosing just enough to be personable but not enough to be vulnerable.

I had an instant flashback to 10th grade when the hottest boy in school asked me to homecoming. He was really cute and I was awkward looking at best with frizzy hair and hairy legs. I thought it was a joke. I thought for sure this was a cruel prank dreamed up by some horrid cheerleader and her gang of skirt wearing pom-pom throwing thugs. But it wasn't. He really did want to go out with me and for the first time, I remember feeling pretty and wanted. It certainly didn't earn me any new friends but I remember actually going out with him and realizing how much smarter I was. All of the sudden I didn't feel lucky, I felt strangely validated. I could go out with a guy like that! He was lucky to go out with me too! What a concept.  Our match made in John Hughes Movie Heaven didn't last beyond our date and pda induced make out session in the hall, but sometimes just being asked is all the ego boost you need.

But what was I saying by agreeing to this charade? Was I admitting that a part of me felt a little ego boost was worth potentially taking someone's spot who really wanted to do this with their life? I was just about to call and cancel and demand that my credentials speak for themselves to get the job I know I can do, when it hit me like a hooker in relationship with Ike Turner (pre-Tina). This is the perfect opportunity to do something out of my comfort zone. Truly out of my comfort zone. The truth is, this WILL make me a better casting director. This will make me a better producer. This will make me a better writer. How can I give actors any sort of advice if I've never truly been in there shoes.  So I'm gonna do it. I probably won't get it. I'm not an actor, I don't know how to act, but I'm going to learn what its like to audition and be a better professional for it.

I'm going to prepare. I'm going to let myself want something I've never wanted and know that the odds are truly against me. If I don't get it, which I won't, I will have leaped out of a plane, hiked a mountain, run a marathon, done something different. Well, 2012 you certainly aren't boring, I'll give you that.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Susie Spaghetti

I was schooled at the dog park today by five year old Susie Spaghetti. Her name is not really, spaghetti, as she confessed to me in between bites of her chocolate muffin, but since her name rhymes with spaghetti and people are going to call her that anyway, she's opted to just make it easier on them, plus it'll come in handy when she becomes an actress she says or an astronaut, whichever she decides after college.

Susie Spaghetti's first observation of me was that I was obviously not married and did not have boyfriend. I agreed with her assessment. She pointed out that she knew this about me for a few reasons. Five year Susie Spaghetti says that no married lady has nice nails like mine (thank you, spaghetti) or such dull split ends. She says I really should let my hair grow out because what good are pretty nails if no boy will want to run his fingers through it. I did just get a hair cut susie...but I see your point.

The five year old oracle, Susie Spaghetti also informed me that my choice in dog was very telling. She said that min pins are not mommy dogs and no mommys have them. They are too much work, she informed me and they "loners" she said. They have a lot of energy and take time away from the daddy's. I asked Susie Spaghetti how she knew this and she said her mommy told her.

Now, obviously I'm not taking Sabrina to become a pound puppy anytime soon, but I thought a lot about Susie Spaghetti's advice. Yes, I do think my dog choice says something about me. Sabrina is strong willed, stubborn, loud...but sweet, kind, and cuddly when she wants to be. Sometimes she just wants to be left alone and yes, sometimes, she wants to be a loner.

Regarding my need for a make over, well, maybe Spaghetti isn't that far off. New year, maybe new color, maybe a new work out routine. Maybe, I need to go back to embracing my LOL lifestyle and truly try something new. Why not. I have that windsurfing lesson with my friend Nicole I haven't' taken yet and some new trapeze lessons i'd like to try out.

I said bye to Spaghetti and immediately called my friend Emily to make plans for the LA Art show tonight. I booked a hair appointment with my stylist Rey who informed me i'm way overdue for some color and damage management. Alright Spaghetti...you're on.

Discovering Muizenberg

There is a little town in Cape, Town called Muizenberg. Its a surf town in one of the most advanced cities in Africa, but you wouldn't know it by the lack of blackberries and iPads that are noticeably missing from this little oasis.




 For starters, even staying at the nicest ocean front hotel doesn't guarantee internet service, something not really included int he brochure. It may seem a little bourgeois, but when you run your own business and depend on communication, it can be daunting to realize that you're thousands of miles away from communicating with the person whose promised to employ you, provided that you can respond in a timely fashion. Its paralyzing at first. I panicked. I drove to nearby towns in a frantic search for communication to the outside world. I was missing it. For the first few days - i completely missed it. I got into a fight with the people at the internet cafe who had no idea why they didn't have internet for a few days and didn't seem to much care about my plight either. I begged, I offered all kinds of money and maybe even hinted at services rendered...desperate for a satellite signal, for some DSL, for a goddamn modem connection. Anything that would connect me back to civilization.
 
But eventually I discovered what Muizenberg natives already know. Mornings are made for surfing, for writing, for getting reacquainted with the people you are on the trip with. After all, this is why you're in the middle of no where right?  You discover that the trail from Boyes road takes you Fish Huek and Simon's town where there are delicious crepes and the best vineyards South Africa has to offer.  All of which...have wifi should you need to stay connected, but by the time I discovered this, I'd already spent time with my crazy brothers and remembered why it is that I miss them so much. Because they do things like go convince my parents to buy them "fizzy grape soda" so they can get drunk with their underage friends, and play music, and make rice crispy treats and jump on me and make fun of me. Slowly, the reasons for staying so connected, all the time, became less and less important. 

 Surf lessons, swimming with sharks and penguins in the morning, exploring and some work in the afternoon, the Knead bakery for the best carrot cake in the city, the cutest waiters, and every language you never even knew existed. They also have the best internet in town - right in front of the beach - for free.

 The funny thing is, once I let go of the need to be connected, I found all sorts of ways to do so. The stranger at the record shop buying every old Hendrix vinyl they had whose hot spot hooked up with my iPhone, the skate boarder at the bikini shop with her 7 little skate boarder kids and her iPad connection, the random restaurants who claimed they never really had internet, all of the sudden had it, but no one was overly excited or applauding. No one cared. Not even me, to my surprise.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dubai- me back

Dubai wasn't exactly on my to do list, but when embarking on a writing sabbatical, still a little ego bruised from an almost relationship, I picked a place that had a few shallow things to make me feel better:
1-the worlds largest mall
2-a language I couldn't speak
3-no romance
4-no chance for drunken phone calls and confessions of love.

Dubai, on the way to my Cape Town travels, seemed to have all I needed. No grand gestures of love erected from marble, no chance for flirting at the bar, no distractions.

Unfortunately, I was so incredibly wrong about the concrete built on sand. It was not only beautiful, it was was inspiring and luckily way too expensive, or I may have stayed there longer than I planned.

First of all, the mall is not just a "mall" its the worlds largest shopping area with food and goods from all over the world. You could spend days getting lost in its various corners and hiding places. Artists and writers looking to hide from the crowds were uncovered, by me, trying their best to pretend not to be inspired. Pretending that they weren't overhearing lovers or painting strangers was very amusing, but I spot my own people. I found them instantly. They were not happy about my discovery, so I opted to protect their identities by not snapping a picture. I was feeling generous.

What i couldn't help but photograph of course, the Burj Khalifa. Talk about majestic. Opulence tends to breed contempt among my old new yorker hippie friends but the truth is you can't help but be in awe of this building. Not only is it incredible that it stands, but I find it fascinating that someone imagined it to life. I mean, I still have a hard time figuring out my food processor, but someone designed it and built it and made sure that it worked, that it stood, that it could support and shelter all of those people. Hey even, Tom Cruise found it impressive in Ghost Protocol. It's a must see. With beautiful  dancing fountains in the foreground, it's easy to see why so many people find love there. If i was looking to escape romance, I certainly went to the wrong place.

I tried to distract myself with more shopping- I mean, my Bloomingdale's card did work in Dubai and as I found out, buys me about half of the things it does in the states. I did manage to get a little piece of New York at the Dubai Bloomie's though as there is a Magnolia bakery, complete with my favorite German Chocolate flavor. Heaven in the dessert does not even begin to describe my elation.


 Since I couldn't escape romance or feelings of being one small piece in a larger puzzle, unable to control anything (thanks Burj ) I went for a stroll in the aquarium. The Dubai(ans) don't do anything halfway so of course they have the largest glass panel in the world, in the largest mall in the world, next to the largest building in the world that houses the largest indoor aquarium in the world. Mediocrity is not something to be tolerated.



So, i sucked it up. I made new friends, I spent some money. I even broke through a little writer's block and finished my first short film...which I just sold. All in all, i'd say it was a pretty successful trip.

I also did not drink and place inappropriate phone calls, so there is that.

On to South Africa!