Saturday, January 15, 2011

Making Things Happen

When you sit down at a cafe, square your arms like a king along the rests of one of two comfortable chairs at the small round table, and look over at a stranger, the temporary companion in life sitting in the other chair, you might have something like this happen.

First I have to say this man, working at his laptop, is in his mid thirties, and has the looks of a movie star. Not unusual in L.A. His job is SEO, search engine optimization. Getting businesses high up on lists when people do Internet searches. He is interested in getting into the movie business, asks if I am a writer. I have writing I would like to make money from, I answer, can he help? He can get this site and others noticed, he says, but it would be up to me to have something to sell on it. Don't at the moment.

After talking about other matters he offers me a ride. What direction is he going? Doesn't matter he says, he'll take me where I am going, if not too far. So we are in his new and expensive car, which of course I comment on. A gift from a movie actress he says. Met her when he had a shop with partners selling luxury furniture. Went out once. She liked him. Asks him to meet her a few days later at a Jaguar dealership, and there presents him a choice: does he like the dark one better or the light one? Take his pick. The ownership papers came in the mail a little while later. He told more stories, as we moved slowly through the 5 o'clock traffic. He used to sit at the shop with People magazine open before him, concentrating on one famous person or another. Sooner or later they would appear in the shop. He even tried this trick of concentration on birds, and they appeared in the sky as ordered. I don't know what to think. He says if you are grateful you get what you ask for. At least it works for him. I told him that last week I was wondering what had happened with a girl from Romania I used to know. And then a couple of days ago she wrote me an email after no contact for seven years. Come to New York and see her! She was traveling with an Italian boyfriend who had to go home suddenly for a family emergency. The problem with this invitation was that the last time I saw her she was robbing me at gunpoint with her boyfriend of that time. A case of be careful of what you ask for, I said. He laughed.

We arrive in Westwood, and at the Hammer Museum we stop and I get out. Goodbyes are exchanged, and as I close the door, he says

I asked for you.

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