THE ONE ABOUT ALL OF JERRY’S PRECONCEPTIONS BEING SHOT DOWN (A/K/A THE ONE WHERE I COPY THE “FRIENDS” EPISODE TITLE FORMAT FOR NO GOOD REASON)
There are a lot of things I don’t like, and one of the things I especially don’t like is downtown LA. It’s far away, nobody I know lives there, and pretty much the only times I’ve been there have been to see AWFUL theater at the Mark Taper Forum and to do jury duty. Soon it’ll be home to that ugly Disney Hall building, too. (Another thing I really don’t like is Frank Gehry. All his buildings look like they’ve been stepped on. Maybe the idea is to thwart terrorism by tricking would-be bombers into believing Gehry’s buildings have already been destroyed. Just a thought…)
This weekend was my six-month anniversary with Drew. Ordinarily, I might think it silly to celebrate such a half-milestone, but Drew being one of those rare things I like, for some reason it seemed right. Drew’s always extoling the virtues of downtown, so he took me to a restaurant called Ciudad on Figueroa. It was funky-looking, like what a restaurant in a movie set in the future looks like, and the food was South American. Both of these things intimidate Jerry, but I was willing to give it a shot.
While we were waiting, we saw Allyce Beasley (a/k/a Miss DiPesto from Moonlighting) walk in. Ordinarily, I might think it rude to approach a celebrity, but Drew didn’t hesitate. “Miss Beasley, I’m sorry to bother you, but I’m a big fan!” he cooed. (Maybe he didn’t coo, but I’m baiting Drew for a comment here, so let’s say he cooed.)
I stopped talking to celebrities after my family and I saw Bruce Springsteen in a restaurant in New Jersey when I was a teenager. It was the most exciting thing ever — it was right at the height of popularity of Born in the USA, and this was New Jersey, which if you listen to any Springsteen, is full of downtrodden blue collar workers and shitty carnivals — NOT celebrities. Seeing a celebrity is a rare thrill in the Garden State, so my sister and I went up and asked for autographs. I didn’t really want an autograph (I’ve never understood the value of having somebody’s signature unless you want to forge it — and don’t worry, Bruce, I didn’t), but it was the only pretext to initiate a conversation that seemed remotely acceptable at the time.
Bruce was very cordial and friendly (and I would hope he would be — we were kids), but his dinner guests seemed annoyed at the interruption. They gazed at Bruce as if he were being far too kind by indulging these rude children. I walked off with a good story to tell my friends, an autograph that got tossed in with some junk at the bottom of my closet and a slightly icky feeling. I resolved never to talk to a celebrity again in any such random encounter.
But Drew, who talks to celebrities a lot more than I do due to his job, and therefore isn’t frightened and awed by them as all decent people should be, had no problem speaking to Miss DiPesto. Thankfully, she was extremely nice and grateful for the recognition. She shook both our hands and even introduced us to her husband. She said we made her night, which made me feel good.
The next fear to be conquered was the menu. I’m the world’s pickiest eater, but I’ve resolved to be bolder lately, and Ciudad proved to be the perfect opportunity to test out my resolution. Only one menu item contained the word “chicken” and one of the few beef items also contained the word “stuffed”, which is a no-no to this boy’s stomach. But I found a suitable steak dish, and I tried all three of the appetizers Drew picked out. (It helped that none of them contained cheese, which is my kryptonite.) I even tried the dipping sauces. And I liked everything I had.
Downtown at night has kind of a crazy-sexy-cool atmosphere (RIP Left Eye). Except for pockets of activity, like the restaurant we were in, it’s almost entirely deserted. Most of the restaurants are closed, and the roads which were designed extra-wide to hold huge swells of traffic have hardly a single car on them. We sat on the patio, and I have to admit that as the sun went down, the skyline looked really beautiful.
So, I’ll admit it. I like downtown. I like South American food. I may occasionally talk to celebrities when they look nice and friendly and I think they’d enjoy the kind words.
But I still hate Frank Gehry.