So I was broke. Wait, have I started out posts with that line before?
Probably. I’m always broke, because I can spend money like a you-know-what. Jodi always says, “Even when you’re poor, B, you’re rich.” It’s true. I have always had a fascination with the finer things in life - but not in a creepy way. It actually comes from the details. For example, I remember being in one of the grimmest places I had ever been in my life -- a council flat in London (it’s another story how I wound up there, but there I was.) No dust ruffles or brass fixtures in sight. I used the “ladies", and as I walked out, I went to hit the light switch off and noticed, beyond the dirty fingerprint smudges from years of people hitting the switch and missing, was a yellow Post-it stuck above the switch - I WANT MORE scrawled out in ball point pen. A small detail, but I totally related and I never forgot it. I don’t know what that Post-it wanted more of - it doesn’t matter. It’s the sentiment. More. More love, More Cake, More Sleep, More Coffee, More Wine, More Time. I get it.
So, I was broke.
I called my cousin John, who worked in TV (still does) and asked him for a job.
I was living in NYC at the time, and he said, “absolutely – about time you grow up and start paying some taxes.” The one problem was I needed a car, so he lent me $3,000 to buy one. “Beata, this job requires a ton of driving; get a reliable car. A Toyota, anything, just make sure it runs and is easy to fix.” I nodded my head, took the money, and went out and bought a 1970 250c Mercedes Benz because I liked the grill – it looked like a Rolls Royce.
THAT CAR! Talk about a relationship. People in “relationships” have the luxury of breaking up, but with a car that you need in order to get to work, you just have to figure it out. I will tell you this - I learned everything my mother neglected to mention to me about relationships from that old car.
So here’s the deal – I looked at that car in Auto Trader Magazine and all I saw was hope and beauty.
I looked at that picture, and it represented everything I wanted for myself in life. I felt so good when I was around that car. I felt hopeful and important. I felt special. The only problem was that when I bought the car, I did not know that it needed a new transmission, and wouldn’t go higher than second gear, and later on, after I replaced the tranny, the car shut down randomly when you went over 65 mph. Other than that, perfection. So I did what one does in LA - I found a guy. He was like a pharma/phycologist, but for my car, and we spent many months together working it out in our own version of couples therapy.
“I got it! This time you’re good. It was JUST a coil heating up,” he’d say, grinning, so proud of himself as I handed him my week’s salary. He’d adjusted the medication for the tenth time. Full of optimism, I’d open that gloriously heavy door, the chrome of the handle reflecting the sun, temporarily blinding me. Lowering my torso down, I’d ease my body onto that smooth black leather upholstery. Feeling the chill of glamour slide up my spine like a shot of morphine, my eyes scanning the mahogany dash. I forgive you. It’s so good to be back together. I missed you. It will be different this time.
I’d pull out on to Santa Monica Blvd. full of optimism and hope, and by the time I got to Los Feliz and Hollywood, the car would be losing power - dying. Unable to make it up the hill. Like a bad relationship.
“WHY? Why does God hate me? WHY?”
I’d stand on the side of the road looking at the thousands of cars whiz by – healthy, happy cars. Why? Why am I the only one in THE WORLD with a broken car? Why am I the only one in this town with a car that won’t work? Tears, shouts, panic, drama. The entire range of human emotions, just before the firing squad pulled their triggers and ended my pathetic life in a glory of furious bullets and blood – except there was no firing squad. It was just me and that beautiful creature sitting by the side of the road. Mute.
To be honest, a barrage of bullets would have been welcome at that moment. It was clear to me that even though I did not accept when he’d said it, that maybe, maybe I should have bought that Toyota John mentioned. But true love is blind.
OUR TRUE LA LOVES:
Andy LeCompte Salon
Erewhon Natural Foods
The Way We Wore
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