We’re not quite there
There are some people who handle the unforgiving heat of July with a grace that I will never possess. Where you might see a normal person glisten, I am dripping and squinting because sweat has run into my eyes. Gnats seem to prefer my nose and mouth over even horses and I will happily take on any challenger for most unflattering tanlines, so confident am I in my victory.
So saying all that, I was somewhat perplexed when a man in a white Mercedes two-seater, the color and make of choice for the third and fourth wives of all Saudi princes, ushered me over after I’d finished a long hike with my dog who looked almost as bad as I did. We are a sweaty, matted pair.
I had noticed the car a block or two earlier, and had been annoyed when it didn’t move out of the crosswalk for me then. Seeing it again, I assumed I had dropped something, or maybe it was a friend of a friend; so I very stupidly removed my earbuds and leaned down.
"What?" I asked, shittily.
"Hey… Where are you from?" He asked. Please know that whoever you are imagining, was the man driving this car. Yes, he has thick, wavy black hair that curled around his ears and yes, it was slicked back. His shirt was obviously salmon-colored and I don’t know why I’m continuing because you know the stereotype I’m describing.
And here’s the thing: asking someone where they’re from is not how you begin a conversation with a stranger on the street. Because I either have to ask, “Like, do you want to know where I grew up or where I was born? Or where I live now?” And then I tell you and that would be that. Because I’m not going to follow up because I don’t care. I don’t care where anybody is from. Maybe if you have an outrageous accent I might speculate about it, but I don’t feel like a meaningful conversation about geography is going to arise, you know?
I don’t know if there is a good way to spark up a conversation. My technique is to love someone from afar for two or three years and never make direct eye-contact until they start dating someone else and it’s not really working out. But this guy? I don’t know. He was doomed with me regardless, because I don’t want to talk to anyone when I’m dripping wet and smell like old mustard.
Maybe something like, “Excuse me, miss? I’m sorry, I was driving this douche car, which - please don’t judge me by, it belonged to my weird uncle and I was just on my way to donate it to the charity of your choosing - when I spotted you. YOU. I don’t know if this sounds crazy, maybe it’s the way you tripped several times as you walked or perhaps it’s the way your sports bra has turned your breasts into some sort of meat tube, but… I just had to talk to you. I just had to know you. And now that I’m close enough to see the hot sauce stain on your shirt, I’m glad that I did. Thank fate or god or sheer dumb coincidence that we were at the same place at the same time in the universe! Where are you from, tell me everything.” And then he’d put on this song.
As soon as I realized this was a creepy afternoon pick-up; which was immediate from his stupid smirk, I groaned and walked away. To which he responded, “Whatever bitch, you should be flattered. I’m a producer.”
And this is not fair for the following reasons:
- I am not a bitch. It turns out, very few people are. I get “cold” and “standoffish” fairly regularly but please know that I don’t mean to be and also don’t really know how to be otherwise. My social intelligence is very low but I am fairly certain that I am in the range of decent-to-good as far as people are concerned.
- Whether or not I should be flattered is irrelevant, you can’t make another human being feel a feeling.
- I have lived in Los Angeles for four years and every time I meet a person who is shitty in the way that the rest of the country assumes we’re all shitty, it makes me a combination of sad and angry (sangry: adj.). Because why the fuck is this considered the norm? I know so many good, kind, talented people in this city, but somehow Gold Chain here is our unofficial ambassador?
- There was one more… oh right, it’s 2013 and it’s important for me as a woman to point out that this still happens. Just walking down the street, covered in dust and sweat and some horrible idiot thinks it’s okay to approach me without invitation and then insult me when he is refused. It’s disgusting and tragic, no matter how infrequently it happens. Any woman that is walking alone should not have to worry about being accosted.
I kept walking, fighting the urge to turn around and yell, “you better get that car home before daddy notices that it’s missing.” Mostly because I didn’t think of it until just right now.
Finally, I just want to say, if you are a producer and you want me to suck your dick at 3 in the afternoon on Los Feliz Blvd while your luxury rental idles and the beats of the latest Maroon 5 single dictate my head bobs: it had better be a 30 minute comedy and will you please read my pilot?