Thursday, October 15, 2009

Maybe I can trick Charlie Sheen into reading this

One reason I think Charlie Sheen would want to produce these stories is I had an encounter with him once. He’d remember me, I know he would, not like I'm a star struck stalker. Just-

When Lizzie and I were homeless back in 2004, we finally got into a shelter after living in our car on the streets of L.A. for six months. But you can’t stay in a homeless shelter without paying rent, so first thing the shelter made me do was apply for welfare. Then in order to keep the welfare checks coming I had to enroll in GAIN. So even though I'm a college graduate with a resume full of good jobs, in order to keep my $475 a month coming from Welfare for me and my daughter, I had to attend two weeks of training on how to find a job, things like, look the man in the eye, shake his hand, be confident.

Then in order to keep the checks coming I had to go out and apply in person for jobs that weren’t there. They made me drive my 1995 Ford Taurus all over the city where I’d then park, wander into an office, ask to leave a resume, and inevitably be told, “We don't applications in person, apply online.” Or they’d take your 2 cents worth of paper and throw it in the trash after you walked out. Still GAIN said I had to have a signature from someone and an address and a name of the person who I spoke to about a job, five of those a day supposedly or I would not get my monthly check and two weeks’ worth of food stamps.

I don't know if the other people in my GAIN class were going to five businesses a day and handing in a resume, but by the time I’d hit the welfare office I was so out of esteem, I wasn’t able to decide anything. Just point me in the direction, tell me what to do, I’ll do it. So I got in my car and drove through Beverly Boulevard, Fairfax LaBrea traffic.

I drove out Beverly, out Sunset, out Santa Monica, to the places where I used to be able to get jobs in minutes. Back in the 1980s.

That's what put me on South Robertson Boulevard one afternoon, in this Ford Taurus that had a layer of encrusted grit sunbaked into the ten year old paint job. I’d bumped into a lot of things in the past six months, so the car was decorated in dents. And me, inside, with my skin matching the color of my gray hair, a broken sun visor rubber banded to my head, I'm driving down South Robertson Boulevard looking for the address of I think it was Lions Gate USA offices, or something like that, some totally ridiculous place for me to even be applying for jobs, but these are the agencies and industry I thought I knew, the industry I’d grown up in, well at least on the fringe of it.

Okay, ahead of me is a conflagration of cars, I maneuver my way through. Turns out it’s this chi chi Bev Hills eatery and the jam up is because people are pulling up, getting out of their cars, handing the keys over to valets, and running in to have lunch with the people who give each other all the great jobs while the rest of us pick crumbs off the sidewalk.

I pull around to pass the clump of cars, and pull up beside this monster black windowed vehicle huge like they're all driving those days, and just as I pass the driver’s seat, out steps Charlie Sheen from behind the steering wheel. So as he steps out of his ATV by BMW or whatever it was, he ended up looking straight into the dented passenger side of my Ford Taurus, staring right through the gritty window, which was down because the AC had long since quit working - looking right at me, with my baggy eyes shaded under the visor, my mouth may even have been open revealing the new black spaces I have now where teeth used to be right in the middle of my smile.

Charlie Sheen looked up and saw me and got this look of HORROR on his face. Like he’d never seen anything so awful in his life. He was stunned, he stopped and gaped a moment and did not move as I chugged by at my ten miles an hour. In fact our eyes met, as far as you can tell when someone is wearing thick shades, and the revulsion was so obvious in his body language, if not the mouth hanging open in horror.

Horror. I was a living horror movie character, driving by Charlie Sheen that day in Beverly Hills spring 2004.

I know I made an impression on him.

So now I think Charlie Sheen is the person who would produce these stories I'm holding onto, these stories I'm sitting on.

Maybe I should invest in a pair of shoes, a designer dress from Ross or TJMaxx, really shop and find an outfit, and start lunching at that restaurant, if it’s still there on South Robertson Boulevard.

But I still have the spaces in my teeth. I fit in more with the invisible homeless people on the sidewalk outside.

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