Poodles and a Western Call


It’s funny what seems rational as I sit in merciless, cruel, heartless traffic on the 405 headed to my restaurant job in Santa Monica. I’m very seriously considering purchasing a mattress for the backseat of my car. I’m practically living in my Honda anyway due to constant auditions and long rides to work — why not sleep in it, right?

As I watch people next to me pretending not to be texting, others smoking in rapid succession, I take off the embarrassing gym shoes my restaurant forces me to wear, which have rubber stopped heels, and think about the week I just survived.

My Head… Expectant Lupe pops in

“That’ll be ten dollars.” Lupe —the friendly lady wearing an eco-friendly green name-tag pinned to her even greener, even more eco-friendly apron — smiles expectantly behind the cash register at me. I’m at a very L.A. eclectic grocery store. She taps her plum colored, long, prettily painted fingernails on the credit card machine with attitude. Just like Bette Davis would do while smoking a cigarette and speaking one of her famous lines: “I’d love to kiss ya, but I just washed my hair.”

“For a piece of chicken?” I blurt out in a way most people would classify as rude.

The executive producers show up

The room is full of “suits.” Everyone is staring at me. Judging me. I stand there confidently in the black dress that took me an hour to pick out, ready to nail the roll I’m being called back for. I can’t tell if they like me. It looks like they’re scowling at me. Callbacks like this make me sort of sick. I prepare myself until I’m emotionally drained, pretend to like the other girls I‘m up against, try not to notice/care if the executive producers are scowling at me and then somehow not check my cell every two minutes for the “You booked it!” call from my manager.

Charging poodle arrives

A large poodle charges me while its owner nonchalantly strides far behind, looking at the graffiti painted on the sides of buildings off Melrose Avenue. I furiously scream over to him in sheer panicked madness, “Ever heard of a leash?”

The dog looks offended, slows down and unhappily trots back to its owner — who I realize is a small child. I unknowingly (in my defense) yelled at a small child. He looked like a grown man from where I was standing!

It’s happened: I’m my mother.

The Western call

“Alice. You didn’t get the role.” My manager disappointedly informs me the callback didn’t turn out the way we had hoped. I walk to the roof of my apartment building (can I be up here?) and cry. “So many auditions…will any ever pan out?”

The phone rings.

“Alice…you booked the western-indie movie; you’re going to Arizona,” my manager proudly informs me.

Booking a movie puts a spin on waiting tables, I tell ya. Today scraping coleslaw doesn’t seem so bad, even if it did spill all down my apron.

Alice can be reached at AliceActress@yahoo.com

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Tales of a Toluca Lake Actress

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