I don't know if you New York folk are aware, but here in LA we don't take the subway or bus to get around (unless we're, like, seriously poor). We drive these things called "cars," which is like your own personal taxi that you drive yourself, only it isn't putrid yellow and doesn't run on a meter or smell like exotic cuisine. The downside is, when your own personal car malfunctions, you don't just get out, tell the driver "Fuck you very much," and hail another one. You actually have to deal with it yourself.
So I had to take my car in for service this afternoon. To kill time while I waited, I glanced around for a desirable spot and found only a McDonald's. I knew I was in for the long haul so in I went, purchased lunch, and got a Diet Coke with the intentions of greatly abusing my refill privileges over the next few hours.
Sitting in the next table over was an older lady, whose name was June, who was on the phone with her friend Marilyn for a good hour. Marilyn, it seems, had just gotten an atrocious new 'do for $85. "What did this creature do to your hair for eighty-five dolars? ..... You mean it's standing on end like a rock and roller's?" Marilyn was obviously extremely distraught. June was sympathetic. Later, June complained that her "medical doctor asked if I was a lesbian!" She continued, "I mean, I have on gay friend, but I don't engage in that lifestyle. Maybe he had made a pass at me and I just didn't pick up on it..." I couldn't help but smile, which June saw, because after she hung up she looked at me and said, "I'm sorry if my conversation was too loud and nasty for you."
"Lady," I wanted to say. "You should read my text messages."
But I didn't say that. She then asked about my laptop (I swear, this iBook is a better pussy magnet than a Porsche!). And asked if I was writing a screenplay. Etc., etc. Same story, different sabre tooth tiger. June continued to ask me questions and talk for an hour about everything from religious freedom, McCarthyism, fidelity in marriage, Proposition 8, the Kennedys, Medicare, Casablanca, and a disfigured war veteran with a prosthetic leg she met on the bus who told her, "At least I still got my penis."
She also berated me for liking Sex & The City: "Why do you like it? What do you get out of it? So this Sarah Jessica Parker goes off with Mr. Big and what does she got? Money? A designer wardrobe? Is she a role model for you?" I said no, even though I kind of meant yes. She's a writer! She's a socialite! She's irresponsible with money! She has lots of romantic drama but uses comedy to ease the pain! I made sure not to mention that I had gone as Carrie Bradshaw for Halloween last year...and that several of my friends still refer to me as "Carrie." June made sure to add that she wasn't a prude, and then started in on my uneducated generation because I like "that Sarah Jessica Parker" but hadn't read Tennessee Williams. I wanted to tell her that if she wanted to pick a bad example of my generation, she could do a lot worse than me, but instead I sort of just nodded and waited for her to stop.
She didn't, though.
And she didn't even say anything nice about my hair.