Los Angeles is a friendly town filled with a lot of creative people. Sometimes I find it a little too friendly. Sometimes, I just need the parking lot guy to just be a parking lot guy and not a wannabe filmmaker.
Back in New York, you could say two words to someone, and they would just be that---two words. Good morning. Good evening. Thank you. Because I always tried to be ‘that nice lady', I said those phrases as sincerely as possible. However, at the end of the day, they were just phrases of civility that say I acknowledge you as a person, I know you exist, but I'm not your friend.
When I drove into the parking lot in the morning, I said good morning to Parking Lot Guy. When I left, I said good night. Why should I not be ‘that nice lady in the red car'?
Then one morning, I noticed Parking Lot Guy reading a screenplay. We got to talking, and sure enough, I admitted to writing a thing or two. Unfortunately, this revelation led to the usual tsunami of questions. Oh you're a writer. Would I have heard of any of your stuff? Has your stuff been made? What software do you use? Do you have an agent? Do you have a manager? Do you? Do you? Do you? Will you read my script?
Suddenly, I was not just nice. I was an ‘in' to that magical world of writerly success and glamour. That world doesn't really exist, and my space was being intruded upon. All I wanted to do was park.
Then I remembered that I was in LA.
In LA, you can't just have acquaintances that you are nice to. Everyone is your friend. Sure, most of these friendships are shallower than a kiddie pool. Sure, these connections might be thinner than embroidery thread. But friends are friends are friends and also a popular 90s sitcom.
So that assistant to that big Hollywood agent who could bring me fortune and glory. Yeah, that guy. Well, he's a friend of mine. We emailed. No, we never hung out. No, I don't know when his birthday is, or if he's even a socially desirable friend. We never sat down and talked the craic. But! We emailed. So. . .so. . .rationally, it really means absolutely nothing.
Except in LA.
I read somewhere that all Steven Spielberg wants is for a lot of people to like him. True to his character, he makes likeable films with likeable people. Naturally, he is successful in Hollywood.
Maybe I should try to be more likeable. Unfortunately, I would probably end up annoying myself.
But getting back to the Parking Lot Guy. Maybe in some wacky future, he will become totally successful in a total way. Maybe in this wacky future, we will be friends because I am that nice lady damn it.
Or maybe nothing will ever come of it because in LA, more important than friendship is Parking.