Once a week I read my Signal at the Boston Market across the street from my office in Burbank. I tally it as a diet lunch whether I have the three side’s meal, Caesar salad or the lean turkey sans Parmesan mayonnaise dressing. I read long ago you should never do anything else while you eat or you’ll eat too much without realizing it, or enjoying it, and you might have to start all over. Well, not only do I linger for 60 minutes over our local paper; I’m usually so entertained by the locals, and the newspaper, that I don’t even notice which side I finished first.
I wish my old bud in the film industry Tim were there sometimes to enjoy the verbal calisthenics taking place. He, along with the giggling girls I went to high school with, are the only people I enjoy people watching with. Although my mom and Charlotte do pretty well.
First are the two guys in the corner. I was halfway through Pauline Harte’s lucious column on sequined thongs or electric facials when their conversation reached the dim recesses of my mind. It seemed like a normal enough conversation that I was eavesdropping on although something was off. It was the inflection of the speech my Dr of linguistics brother would have picked up on immediately.
The were running through their lines from some rolled up script. No doubt one of the numerous pilots we are subjected to every season and a half. They never looked up as I tried to decipher whether it was a drama or comedy, but the three city workers in the booth next to them did. They made a few disparaging remarks—silently mouthed that I thankfully didn’t get—and then giggled and gestured towards me noticing as well. It was quite the scene. But the actors noticing, not a chance.
Then there was the gorgeous hunk trying to get my attention while I read a few tell its. He kept talking at me no matter how often I held my newspaper up. Come to find out he was on some kind of wireless, cordless, receiverless, phone. He appeared to be talking and gesturing to me but in all reality he was negotiating his contract renewal with his agent. When he started noisily licking his fingers of all his Parmesan sauce I sighed. He must have gotten what he wanted.
His next call was to a friend thanking him for a referral to a trendy new restaurant that boasted an excellent wine list. The guy was nowhere near twenty-one, he was sitting in a Boston Market— not the left bank of Paris! What’s that all about? Image?
Then the piece de resistance: a loud, tearful, babies cry broke through it all. The actors kept reading, telephoning and licking their mutual chops. While my milk seemed to come in—as it always does when I hear a baby’s cry—they never even looked up. I put away my tray, folded up my paper and gave the mother a smile and knowing nod while she sat cuddling her babe, alone. Her kisses soothed him over the noise and he immediately calmed. So did I.
I’m POSITIVE it is not this way for every actor—at least not the ones living with their families in Santa Clarita—but in their own realm, well, they’re simply put…out of ours. Thank God for Santa Clarita and all the people that won’t let a baby’s cry, or anyone’s for that matter, go unheard!
Now if we can just get more singles here I’m sure Chris Dickerson would move on down from Burbank. Or at least some old films at the Plaza would bring his bereted, film reviewer’s soul closer to a new, more appreciative, home.