I woke up from bed gracefully, like an actual earthbound angel. I was gloriously refreshed and living for me. It was my time. It was my moment. It was my day. I very rarely start my day in such a fashion, so it’s certainly one for the record books. Put it on your calendars. Remember this day.
With the entirety of the world ahead of me, I quickly dressed and darted out into HOLLYWOOD! I know that it’s nothing like what it’s like in the movies or even in our cultural imagination, but I really do adore it. There’s always the thrill of celebrity and notoriety and excitement. It’s not at all like being back at home. Things are happening here! It might not be something major, a movie might not be being made on your street and Meryl Streep might not be at your Coffee Bean, but there’s something alluring about this city. I’ve never tired of it. And though I’ll freely admit that, I don’t love it the way I love Paris. Nothing will probably ever compare to Paris. How could it?
The very first thing I had to do, now that the holidays were over and the shops were open again, was walk down to Schwartz Bakery. It is one of the only bakeries that I have ever awarded my full satisfaction. I really should make a list of them and post them on here. It’ll be good to keep them organized for my reference and to help you out when you do your own traveling.
As I was walking down Beverly, I noticed a café and my inner Jessica Fletcher came out. I recognized those chairs and that table and the placemats and THAT FIRE HYDRANT. GOD DAMN THIS WAS THE CAFE WHERE HARRY HAD LUNCH YESTERDAY! At first I was scared. Jessica was going to be so angry. Should I tell her? I wasn’t sure. Eventually, I decided that I had to. I was too proud of my discovery to not share my success, so I called her to look up pictures of the place while I covertly snapped images of the diners enjoying their early lunch.
Exalted and thrilled, I floated the rest of the way to Schwartz and was happily reunited with the old woman who works there. I have never seen anybody else in the shop. I wouldn’t want to see anybody else. She is the reason that I frequent this branch of the bakery, which is about fifteen minutes from my apartment. There’s another one just down the street, but it’s not the same without her. She has to be in her seventies. We always chat about something unless she’s busy or distracted. Today we chatted about the ridiculous prices of real estate in Los Angeles and then complained about the people with all their hustle and bustle. Deliriously happy, I took my black and white cookies (the best I’ve ever had), thanked her in Yiddish (as she taught me years ago), and started the journey back.
Back in the apartment, Jessica and I compared photos of the cafe and we confirmed that they were one and the same. She proceeded to have a complete and total mental collapse, which was worrying. She stretched out along the couch and started mumbling things that I couldn’t quite make out. This chaotic spell never fully dissipated, but it did indeed lessen, and we were able to go out and explore the city.
The first time I came to Los Angeles, I avoided the buses as if they were infected with plague. I used to have a genuine and terribly sincere disdain of buses. In fact, I’ve never used a bus in Paris. I think it’s mainly to of fear. They aren’t as easy to understand as the Metros are, but since the Metros in LA are barely used and hardly go anywhere worth going to, it’s important to either save up money for Uber or figure out the buses. I found an app for my phone that works remarkably well and helped me get to many of the places that I needed to be. I have become a fan of the buses. So, it was no trouble at all to find Rodeo Drive and start window shopping.
Jessica was, can you guess? deeply unimpressed. That is, she was deeply unimpressed until we saw a candy shop that somebody she watches on the Internet had been to. It is a beautiful establishment called Sugarfina where the shelves are festooned with small plastic boxes filled with gorgeous little candies.
I purchased champagne soaked gummy bears and something else that had champagne in it. Champagne is my favorite alcohol, you know? I like it more than gin. That’s saying something. We were in Beverly Hills, and so the prices were a bit astronomical for a handful of candies, but it was a nice experience. I was living for the people in the shop who were spending hundreds of dollars like it was nothing. Someday I want to be that free. I don’t need to be a multimillionaire, I suppose, but I want enough money to just go shopping and really shop. None of this saving for months to buy myself something.
We crossed the street and worshiped at the Saint Laurent boutique. If I could pick a designer to dress exclusively in, there is absolutely no doubt that it would be Saint Laurent. Hedi Slimane is an absolute genius. Good old Yves was a genius, too, but his clothes for men have always been very dated, even when they were new, I feel. He was a much more brilliant women’s designer. I would be saying these things even if Harry Styles didn’t regularly dress in head to toe Saint Laurent, too; the clothes are that good. I’ve decided that I simply must save up for a few things. I want a pair of boots and I simply must have the black and white leopard print shirt. It’s perfection on earth. I can do without the black pants that cost hundreds of dollars. I get perfectly lovely black pants at the GAP. I’m a master of blending, tu sais?
After Jessica and I both gazed lovingly at these boots:
And these boots:
And this coat:
We carried on down Rodeo Drive as Jessica taunted me, trying to convince me to buy the boots that I want. They’re $895 and if I hadn’t been blowing through money like the end of the world was speedily approaching, there is no force of nature that could have stopped me from commandeering the shop and carrying a gorgeous Saint Laurent bag down the street. Annoyingly, a sense of strange frugality overcame me, and I resisted the purchase that would have made me deliriously happy for years.
I was enjoying the window shopping and the people watching — I just love plastic surgery, and I fully intend to get a great many surgeries in the future (if I don’t die looking like Joan Rivers, something went wrong) — but Jessica was alarmed by the great number of reflective surfaces in the shopfronts. She has a strange phobia of mirrors. And the sun. She’s basically a vampire, except she eats garlic like candy. She’d had enough, so I took her to Robertson Boulevard, another shopping street that I enjoy walking along and looking for stars. The Ivy is there, after all, and it’s a Hollywood institution. It’s not the best, really, but the people watching and the ambiance are beyond. The restaurant is veritably festooned in roses, but we weren’t going this time. And there weren’t any celebrities on the patio, so I wasn’t deeply upset.
I noticed a shop around the corner called Lady M’s Cake Boutique, and we simply had to stop by. I wonder each and every day about what ever happened to Lady M, my psychic reincarnated Atlantean priestess friend from Cairo? She used to respond to her emails, but then one day, she just stopped. I can only assume that she ascended this astral plane and is now with Anubis and Thoth. (That’s what she said was going to happen anyway and she believed it with the entirety of her heart.) It was quite good cake.
Jessica poked at hers and made retching sounds around the kindly Japanese tourists.
We walked the other way down Robertson and made our way to the gay areas of West Hollywood. My sister, though not a homosexual herself, knows more about homosexuals than most homosexuals. Take that from a homosexual. I think she enjoyed the various sex shops, gogo dancers, and people sauntering about in their underwear, but then I was nearly hit by a car and that seemed to spoil all of her fun.
I’m not really sure what happened, and it didn’t bother me at all. I’ve told you about my immortality complex before. It’s a very real thing. I just don’t think anything is ever going to happen to me. I’ve nearly been smashed by a car three times now, but here I am with no allergies and no broken bones, not even psoriasis or a minor case of genital crabs. I’m fit as a fiddle. It’s irritating sometimes.
After slipping in a puddle of lube on the street, Jessica was tired of venturing out, so I carried on. LACMA was open for free on the weekend to Bank of America cardholders, so I went down there and sauntered around for a while, looking for the galleries of Egyptian antiquities. I have a list saved on my computer of all the museums that have major Egyptological collections.
After a nice look at the European art, I finally found the Egyptian pieces.
I was not terribly impressed by the quantity of items on display. There was a sarcophagus, some vases, a few scarabs, and a number of stele, but they were nice enough and I would enjoy looking at anything remotely related to the history of Egypt. I’m a lover of languages and have practiced the translation of Egyptian hieroglyphs for years and years and years, and recently I’ve gotten much better after acquiring a copy of Gardiner’s Egyptian Hieroglyphs; it really does a wonderful job of explaining the sentence structure and the meaning of various words.
So I had a jolly time, running my finger along the glass saying, “Amun is beautiful to…something…he is beneficent to….something.” I’m not quite the best, yet, but I was still proud.
Little did I know that people were watching me, and then decided I was knowledgeable enough to ask questions to. They wanted me to explain the various mummification tools in a display case, and so I did, with great aplomb. I was talking about the misconceptions of brain removal and the uses of obsidian blades, and I was just getting on a good tangent about the various uses of cedar oil in low-class mummification when one of the workers said, “Sir, you can’t give lectures.”
I nodded, but asked why. He said you have to be accredited or a tour leader or a member of staff, they don’t let the public go off. My people were upset, but I did what I was told, muttering how sad I was that I couldn’t teach them all they needed to know about natron salt before making my way to a gallery of Islamic art. This wasn’t impressive, either. LACMA needs to beef up their middle-eastern art collections. The Buddhist and Hindu pieces were absolutely beautiful, though, and stretched on through many rooms.
I had about an hour left before the place shut down, so I went and found the building that houses a collection of Mesoamerican art. I’m just getting into the archaeology of the Mayans, Aztecs, and Olmecs, and though it doesn’t captivate me totally like Egypt does, there is something about it that entices me. The collections are housed on the upper levels, and I found myself going into a pitch-black room that showed a twenty-four-hour-long film that spliced together moments of hundreds of different movies. None lasted for long, they were just the characters looking at watches or clocks or talking about the time…this goes on for twenty-four hours a day, synched with the current time. I admired the artist’s dedication, but wondered at their motivation. What compels a person to make a film about nothing more than time?
While I sat in the dark, I started to think up a premise of another story. It’s a murder mystery set in Los Angeles, and I have lots of the locations figured out. I just need to figure out who my characters really are. There’s a detective, but he’s the only one I can understand so far. It’ll come in time. I’ve got two other stories in my creative queue waiting for me to work on. I see this one more as a movie anyway, but I have never written a screenplay. First time for everything, I suppose.
I left after a while and enjoyed the Mesoamerican art upstairs. There wasn’t nearly enough of it, but it was the largest assembly I’ve ever seen. It’s too bad that their civilizations were housed in the middle of rainforests. Nothing much can survive the moisture. It was a great primer, though.
As I exited, I walked under an iconic art installation — some giant boulder teetering on either side of a walkway. I hate art, but yet, I love it. It’s an odd love of mine. I could easily be an art historian, but I think I’d routinely lose my shit. Anyway, as I was walking, I passed a girl, who said, “That’s not who I think it is? I’m gonna take a picture.” She did, as I tossed my hair. I was living for me. I’d rather be recognized as a celebrity in my own right, but being photographed in any situation is a treat.
Starved to death, Jessica and I went to the Grove for dinner at Morels, a French restaurant that I have long been meaning to visit. It was wonderful. We had cocktails and fondue and I had a really lovely kale salad that was covered in grapefruit — the combination is delightful.
As I was eating my fondue, I looked up to see a woman looking at me. This isn’t terribly uncommon. I’m not trying to be vain or pompous, but I know I’m not ugly. But this woman’s face rang bells inside me. “A STAR! A STAR! A STAR!” my brain screamed out, then I knew; that was Sarah Paulson! I squinted with my newfound knowledge, then Sarah Paulson knew that I knew it was her and she did that smirk she does and disappeared.
“JESSICA!” I muttered sharply and explained what went down. She immediately looked up some pictures. It was undoubtedly her. Then Sarah Paulson returned walking the other way, still supporting some old woman and smirked at Jessica! We knew it was her. And she knew that we knew it was her. Then she vanished. Then Sarah Paulson came around for a third time and I told Jessica to run. She did. She chased poor little Sarah Paulson back into the concierge area of the Grove, but Sarah Paulson is a slippery one and escaped our clutches.