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When I walked into the restaurant, I had no firm expectations. A colleague, or almost a colleague, Marc, a young man I had chatted with occasionally at work out to lunch, supposedly to talk about a play he wanted to produce. Probably, I thought, he wrote this play. Probably, this wasn’t about art or business. Probably it was about meeting me and getting laid.
Our paths crossed about once a week when we went into Rob’s office to drop off scripts. We were both reading scripts for a studio. Most people who do that job count themselves lucky, it’s a union job and can be a very interesting one. Most people use it as a stepping stone to meet higher ups, people who can ‘help them’. This is the Hollywood way. Everyone is supposed to be someone who can help you. There is even an old saying for actors that if they have a choice of making a cup of coffee at home or going out for one, they should go out for one because you never know who you may meet, i.e., who could help you.
I was an actor. I took heed. I accepted lunch dates and went to parties and called people back and did all those things. But, probably because of my personality and, let’s face it, everything else about me, meeting people didn’t usually do me any good. For one thing, I’m genuinely shy. I wasn’t raised to brag, in fact the opposite. I generally find talking about myself kind of boring. I don’t know how to use people to further my career. That sounds more self- reverential than it is intended to, I literally don’t know how. I don’t actually get what a ‘contact’ is. but I know it is different than what a friend is. And I don’t know how to fake believing that the former is the latter.
This restaurant was famous for its big salads at lunch. I never ate dinner there, I fantasized that it was completely empty because people only went there to make deals or meet contacts over lunch..
I had a pretty bad attitude but so, it turned out, did Marc. He had genuinely written a play, it didn’t have a part in it for me which he told me right away, he had just wanted to have lunch with me, he said.
“Why?” I asked, I was so taken aback by his honestly.
“I like you,” he said. “I think you’re funny. And pretty. And I wonder how you got this job.”
“Ex-boyfriend,” I said. “He was temporarily assistant to Rob when they closed the Paris office and he knew that I speak French, and they gave me enough scripts to read that I got in my days to join the union. You?”
He looked down and shook his head as if he didn’t want to say.
“I don’t want to say,” he said, looking me straight in the eyes.
“You slept with someone, right?” I guessed.
“Yep,” he nodded. “But to be fair, when I first got out here, I slept with pretty much anyone. Dana just happened to have clout at ___________(studio).”
I knew who Dana was. Everyone in Hollywood knew who Dana was, she probably had clout at every studio. She was known as a great, scheming bitch in a place where that is neither a compliment nor a dig, just a descriptor. But she was good at it, and that was a compliment.
“I know you’re judging me,” he said, “but you sort of the did the same, right?”
I nodded yes.
“In a way, I guess.” I said. I saw some subtle differences but I also saw his point.
I looked at the giant menu and put it down immediately.
“I always get the Cobb.” I said. “I like things chopped.”


I enjoy reading you!

This is great — particularly the part where you do all those “descriptors” of yourself. Hard to imagine, but then you would know.
Lovely writing.

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