“She what?” I yell as I drive down Sunset Boulevard. My cell phone gently rests on my thigh as I use the trusty speaker phone because I’ve lost my headset, yet again.
“Jesus, Alice, I said she just got a cappuccino machine out of the dumpster and sold it on EBay for four hundred dollars!” my mother shouts back.
“But didn’t she just find Jesus?” I joke.
“Oh honey, relax,” my mother utters, a little perturbed by my playfulness.
“Oh Jesus, she needs the money — what else is she supposed to do!” my mother exhales the Capri Ultra Light and ashes at the top of a pancake-piled high stack of old cigarettes — I just know it.
I pull up to a red light and notice an attractive blonde being photographed right there on the street. She’s wearing a bright pink mini-dress and equally noticeable high heels. She leans forward, extends her chest out, and flirts heavily with the lens, unbothered by the hundreds of passing cars glancing her way.
Struggling Actress, I think to myself. Or model. She’s a struggling something — that’s for sure. I watch her prance around the street as comfortable and confident as though she were practicing poses in the mirror at home. The man shooting her crouches low to the sidewalk. He wears jogging pants and a baseball cap. He’s into it. He’s on his back now angling the camera up towards the woman as she moves away from him like some sort of feline. So self obsessed. So ridiculous, I think again.
“Well I love the scanner she got me for Christmas; I don’t care if she got it out of the dumpster.”
“Move a little over to your left, Alice,” my friend Tony says as he snaps a photo.
I step a little over just like he says.
“A little more … out of the way of the garbage cans!” He fiddles with something on the camera then holds it up again, points it at me and clicks.
Tony started an online magazine and needs some photographs, so I’ve agreed to help him out. We’re at Griffith Park. A little boy chasing a balloon runs past quickly squealing excitedly, little drops of drool sliding down his chin. His mother runs and scoops him up, saving him from falling into a little ditch. She looks me up and down. She stares at the thigh high boots I’m wearing, the mini dress, the red lips. I see what she’s thinking: Struggling Actress. Self-obsessed. Ridiculous.
I feel my heart sink a little and my mood shifts. Tony asks what’s wrong. I tell him it’s just a headache.
Then I remember the blonde on Sunset Boulevard. I did the same thing to her.
And it occurs to me in this moment that never again will I be so quick to judge.
I just found my New Year’s resolution (if it’s not too late).
Alice can be reached at AliceActress@yahoo.com.