November 9, 2002
Oooooffff... I've been up since 6:30 am and only made it back home 12 hours later!
Hate, hate, hate the 405. Beginning to reevaluate our decision to take residence
in Orange County. Seems like all the auditions worth going to are in Hollywood.
Well d'uh!!!! Of course I knew that to begin with. I just didn't think the distance
would be such a problem. It's not so far really. But I was really naive to the
whole freeway traffic situation. Well anyway, it's definitely too soon to make any
plans to relocate seeing as how it's been going lately.
A typical day for me starts with waking up at an ungodly hour (such a torture for
the non-morning little me!). I have to if I want a chance in hell of beating the
traffic so I can make it on time to some of these cattle calls... Oh ooopppssss did
I say cattle? I meant casting calls of course! By the time I get there, there's
usually a gazillion Actress/Model/Waitresses already in line, all waiting to be discovered
as the next "It" girl. Nine times out of ten, they have the three Bs:
Body, Beauty, and Blonde hair. Looking at them, I feel like I have about as much
chance at making it as a goldfish in shark-infested waters!
After hours of waiting in line, the gates of hell finally open to momentarily let
out a disheveled fellow combatant, her eyes alternatively filled with despair, disgust
or worse, just plain tears. The assistant producer is on her heels, clipboard in
hand, ready to call the next victim. He is usually either a fat man with a Lakers
cap, a checkered shirt and jeans showing off his paunch or, in the alternative, a
tall, icy beanpole with black rimmed sixties style glasses and a number of pencils
sticking in her upswept do.
Once your turn arrives, you are led into a medium size studio where the only furniture
is a table and two seats behind which either the casting director or the director
himself is sitting, usually with a sour-faced assistant. If you are lucky, you are
provided with a stool to sit on while they turn on these, bright, blinding lights
on you. If the light alone hasn't managed to blind you completely, the unbearable
heat from the huge light bulbs will melt all your carefully applied make-up, making
your Lancome foundation drip into your eyes, and down your face. And of course,
a steady diet of coffee and cigarettes will do nothing to improve your nervous state.
"You speak of Divine Judgment?" asked Camus, "Allow me to laugh.
I have known what is far, far worse... which is the Judgment of Men."
And here, as opposed to courts of law, there are no rules, no political correctness,
no due process, no second chance. Usually, the decision has already been made the
first second they have glimpsed at you. If your judges feel particularly benevolent
that day, or are simply ready for a good laugh, you will be allowed to "read"
for the part. Your most heartfelt performance, whether it be Shakespeare's Cordelia
or Sheniqua, Steven Seagal's "love interest" in the 24th sequel to "Under
Siege", is never... I repeat... NEVER allowed to conclude. You are lucky
to have uttered a few syllables before the dreaded "thank you" emanates
from beyond the enemy table.
If you are a glutton for punishment, you ask for a reason. This is like asking why
your boyfriend has decided to dump you. Why... Oh why would you subject yourself
to such heartache? After being told too many times that you are "too ethnic"
(translation: not blonde), "too voluptuous" (translation: fat!), or "too
sophisticated" (translation: old!!!!!!), you will soon learn to take it all
with a smile, thank them right back and move on.
After a day spent hitting the pavement, you come home and wait by the phone like
a lovesick teenager wondering when... oh when will that magical word "callback"
Today, one excitement among the boring old routine was running into Chloe, whom I
worked with in New York. I was surprised to see that she has had a hard time too
swimming with sharks, despite possessing the 3Bs. But I guess in a town full of
goddesses, even Chloe feels the heat of competition. We exchanged emails and promised
to keep in touch. I am sure I will run into her again one of these days.
I miss my Ali so much being away from him all day.
I must admit I love having a cell phone now, since it allows me to talk to him while
on the way home stuck in another 405 traffic nightmare. The great thing is we have
never managed to run out of conversation. We can be discussing the most silly things,
such as stupid pop trivia contests on, for example, who remembers the names of all
cast members of 80s TV sitcoms. Or, we can have a passionate debate about the pros
and cons of school vouchers. It all depends on our mood. Whatever we discuss, hearing
Ali's voice on the other end of the line is the only thing that makes it tolerable
to spend the next 45 minutes stuck in a stop and go situation just because people
ahead are slowing down to take a look at an accident that has occurred on the OTHER
side of the freeway. (Why they do that, I will never understand).
As soon as I step into the house, I peel my clothes off and change into my favorite
pajamas then run into my love's arms. We mostly have dinner at home, some pasta
(Ali's specialty) and wine, with jazz playing in the background (Wynton Marsalis,
or Chet Baker). After dinner, we can end up playing takhteh (backgammon) for hours.
Or watching a good late night movie. Sometimes, Ali will read his latest work out
loud to me and I tell him what I like, or what I didn't find clear enough. We have
become such homebodies and I love it!
Today it was raining buckets, which is very unusual in Southern California: I think
they get about 3 days of rain per century!!!
I didn't have a raincoat or umbrella or anything, and finding parking on the street
is a nightmare even on good days. Lo and behold, who do I see standing on the sidewalk
holding an umbrella with one hand, and reading Death in Venice in the other? I started
-- "Ali!... Sarmaa mikhori azizam." I exclaimed as he got into the car.
(Ali, you will catch a cold)
But he just smiled. He wanted to drop me off in front of our building but I refused
to get out.
-- "Hey! We're in this together! Just drive!"
We ended up half-running, half-tripping back to our place, completely soaked from
the rain (Our umbrella was so flimsy, the wind just turned it inside out, rendering
it completely useless.)
We were laughing uncontrollably when we finally made it home. Ali made a fire in
the chimney, and I made some hot chocolates. Mmmmm... . It felt so good to be warm
and cozy in our little nest after a trying day.
Well... Time to get into bed with my stack of industry papers. I will examine every
inch of these papers, circling new "opportunities" for upcoming cattle
calls with my red marker, until I fall asleep. I am so tired. My feet ache and my
eyes are burning but I have to go on. After all, I see people all day long trudging
back to work that they do not want to attend, whether they be construction workers
or attorneys. At least, the price I am paying is for doing something with my life
that I love to do. So keep on trucking, as the old song goes.
TO BE CONTINUED.