06 March 2010

A Typical Friday Afternoon

Just had a conversation with a very good friend of mine who lives in Chicago. My friend and former colleague is one of those young, very successful types. Andy lives in a Frank Lloyd Wright designed home (a beautiful home in a great section of Chicago, with a lovely park behind his house, a dog named Jake, and a great fiancé who puts up with them both); he also has two homes in Colorado from whence he hails. He's a handsome bloke whose mother (the downhill racer extraordinaire) and solid-as-granite father reared a scion who can charm the mortar from a cornerstone.

"Jg., as much as I have loved my time here in Chicago, I think I need to move to California." How many times have we (we few, we 30 million Californians documented and undocumented) heard such lovely sentiments from friends across the country (and south of the border). His words weren't empty wishings after drives and a home along PCH, but were rather an earnest consideration and desire for perhaps a better lifestyle in warmer climes.

So, for Andy, I thought I'd jot down my most recent Friday afternoon. It went something like this:
  • Morning swim at the 'Y' (the same YMCA where I played hoops with Michael Clark Duncan the night he broke his leg) and then off to chapel at my youngest son's school. The drive to chapel and back to home-office took over an hour to travel 11 miles there and back. Before heading out for my first appointment a quick check of the post for an unemployment check (Shoot! Hopefully Saturday mail, then). You see, Dear Reader, even though we're hoping (and wishing and praying) for a successful investment/beginning of this venture that I've mentioned in a previous post, no money literally means NO MONEY. The frustration of my drive, however, was lessened by the gorgeous backdrop before me of snowcapped mountains from recent storms.
  • Lunch meeting with a new client in Beverly Hills. I was rocking my Michael Kors plaid wool suit, old English cap, and favorite scarf (a blue cashmere number I purchased for $9 [$90 discount] from a Banana Republic bin in New Orleans -- I regret not buying five more to this day). The day was a bit cold with clouds and some rain, so we dodged the raindrops and went across the street for some excellent Thai food at Telesai. My partner picked up the tab on this one; thank God for partners.
  • After-lunch discussion back at client's office, with 270 degree view of L.A. (yes, to the beach also) that included cigars and sitting on the veranda watching the storm break up before our eyes, thinking about what could be (if things go right, dear Lord!). Our client is quite a famous singer/actor who is just the nicest person in the world. The rainbow stretching from Sunset Blvd. to Long Beach 30 miles south, btw, was gorgeous and humongous (gormongous?), and I kept looking at either end for that pot o' gold.
  • Afternoon run to The Coffee Bean for a quick fix of a vanilla latte. I check some email via their free WiFi and notice Tom Begeron (Dancing with the (former) Stars and America's Funniest Videos). I was glad to see no one bothering him -- he seems a decent fellow -- and the twenty-something attractive PA or DGA trainee to whom he was imparting his vast show-host advice. Not that anyone would bother him, he's just Tom. Now, Angelina Jolie, yes, when she was here with one of her little babies, paparazzi were all over her/them like stink on the script for Bruce Willis's latest Cop Out. Total crap effort and film. Gawd was that a nasty stinky pile that Kevin Smith grunted out. What were he and Bruce thinking?!
  • Grabbed a few magazines and the latest Stephen King book (Under the Dome) at Barnes and Nobel. I was standing quick-reading Script when I noticed out of the corner of my eye a rather handsome guy looking my direction. You know how you can sense someone looking at you? Anyway, I ignored this unsettling feeling and went back to reading when a typical SoCal middle-aged (very attractive but in a plain running errands sort of way) woman stood next to me and grabbed a magazine as well. She had one of those ubiquitous tats around the ankle that woman of a certain age seem to prefer. The guy was still looking our general direction, so I looked over the woman's shoulder back to him as nonchalantly as I could muster. It was the actor Jack Wagner. He looked great, but like he'd had some work done you know? That's when I noticed what he was actually looking at: his girl Heather. Heather Locklear was the woman with inked ankle standing next to me. She was trying to hurry for him, but she wanted to grab a magazine or two like the rest of us trying to get on the road to beat the afternoon traffic.
  • Back to Beverly Hills to the client's office for a recap "happy hour" meeting at Boa, the restaurant that anchors the bottom floor of client's building. I'm getting tired now from all of the driving and hours in SoCal traffic, but excited nonetheless about the potential of this new business and the contract we just signed. Three of us have a celebratory libation or two (or three) and I notice a scrum of middle-aged hipsters sitting on the couch, one of whom is rocking a way cool chapeau along with a sophisticated affectation thrown in to boot: Don Johnson is sporting a full beard (and socks). He wears it well.
So, dear Andy, if you want to come to L.A., you'll battle an occasional winter storm, hours and hours (and hours) of traffic with your fellow Californians looking cool in their new nifty cars, observe enough "star" sightings to fill a TMZ photog's quota, and hopefully, mirabile visu, discover one of the nicest places to live on the planet. However, SoCal's wonderfulness has nothing to do with celebs and their sycophants, or cool cars and their price tags, or great restaurants sparkling with smoking-hot models who smoke (though, let's not change too much too quickly). It's the people (the ones I've known for the last three decades): they're a laid back, genuine, and caring lot. It's the activities: the skiing, the museums, the surfing, the beach, the mountains, the hiking, the sports teams for your kids. It's the weather: perfect -- especially in San Diego.

But, all of "this" costs a lot. It's an expensive place, this Southern California splendor. So, there you have it, Dear Reader, my humble perspective for those like Andy considering a life resplendent in LA luxe.

Note: Dear Reader, this typical Friday afternoon actually occurred over two days, but I think artistic license allows me to conflate these two rather fungible SoCal Fridays.


Alexandra said...

fantastic. this is what SoCal is all about.

also, thanks for your idea!

Char said...

so very different than my afternoon of washing clothes, feeding the cat and making a pot roast.

:) a great read

Emma P. said...

I've heard I'm supposed to hate fellow writers, but how can I hate 1 so nattily attired?
Found your site via Nikki Finke. I like your astute observations. Hope you don't mind if I continue to lurk...

JGregg for FatScribe said...

Alex - hope i helped ... thx for taking time out from your NZ journey!

Char - that's what i'm here for, girl.

Emma P -- loves me some Nikki Finke! please lurk as much as you'd like. the sartorial side of me is all an affectation!

Caleb S. Garcia said...

Love it dude. You keep busy and it sounds like exciting things are in store. Who's living the dream? Johnny G is! A rocky dream but we take what we can get and make happen what we can make happen.

My Dog-Eared Pages said...

I love this SoCal post... and it sounds like a good week! A friend of mine lives 20 miles from Malibu and says it takes him 7 hours to get there!!! I think we all consider life in LA luxe.
Have a wonderful weekend... ;) Barbara

lisa golightly said...

Sounds lovely. I do hope your car environment is comfy and condusive to brilliant ideas ! ( and bravo on the new contract ) Cheers to you ! Lisa

P.S. If you are in SF on any 1st Sunday of the month ... I'd love to see you at the Alameda ! ;)

Jg. for FatScribe said...

Caleb -- no, YOU da man.

Barbara -- Love your blog, and thx. for stopping by! Yes, LA luxe is wonderful, especially if you can acquire it on the cheap AND you are gainfully employed!!

Lisa -- My car IS quite the comfortable ride --> I've bragged about it in a previous article:

When I pocket my Montblanc fountain pen in my Brooks Brothers suit, riding in my Lincoln MKX, looking at (my) Malibu through aviator sunglasses, I could be projecting something shallow or materialistic. Or, not. I could be another victim of Madison Avenue, or merely one who appreciates a certain aesthetic or the quality of a well-made item because that was the way my father dressed or that was the car my mom drove. (Btw, my mom drove a pea-green Honda Civic and my dad wore blue pants with white belt and shoes.)

Jg. for FatScribe said...

Lisa (con'd!) -- as I was saying b4 I incompetently sent my comment -- my wonderful MKX is such a "God thing" that there's no bragging, merely sheer appreciation for this purchase from 2 years ago. Hope you're great and if we're ever up there on the wknd., done and done re: Alameda! -Jg.

lisa golightly said...

Ha ! And my mom drove a gold duster and dad held up maroon polyester with the white belt.

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Hmmm...A Frank Lloyd Wright for Cali, now that is a tough choice. After reading your typical Friday, I'm feeling like the something stuck to the bottom of your Cole Haan loafers. Must chime in
a.) what was Bruce Wilis thinking. He was on Letterman the other night & he was a bit of a nut-job.
b.) great look sporting your BR cashmere scarf & I like my Land Rover better than your MKX ( :
c.) I do believe Jack's had work. I always think of him from his General Hospital days. Did you know he had 5 LP's? Who knew?
d.) BB with Michael Clark Duncan, you are just too cool. Really!

All in all, I'm thinking dear Andy just maybe should sell his Chicago pad to be near his good friend J Gregg.
Last - I'd still faint from seeing all those celebs (shameful I know).

Loved your post x

Jg. for FatScribe said...

DT -- 1st: i bow down to your Land Rover (Range Rover Sport weighs heavy on my at present!). You win!

2nd: I've consulted with in-house legal depts at Waste Mgt. and Blockbuster and a few oil and gas co's. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Houston. My colleagues had great homes (waaaay more spacious, better designed than typical homes here!) and their quality of life seemed superior too. The weather ... not so much.

As always, Deb, thx for your kind words! Still waiting with baited breath to hear about your Scotland decision!

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Hope you didn't think of me as a prat for the Land Rover comment? I bought it after driving a Mercedes 2 door so to be back in an SUV was a delight; but have to admit, it looks like a bread box. The cayenne was a much better driving machine hands down.

You are right about the quality of life here. Houses are a fraction of the price, huge and the architecture is quite appealing. Not one day goes bye that I don't give thanks for the time I've gotten to enjoy this home. Our pool is the size of most hotels and I feel very fortunate to live like this. But, it's time to enjoy some culture and be free of things I don't need. So that leads to the decision in regards to Scotland. Hell yes..but a few ducks need to get in a row to make it happen. The biggest duck being an income for ole' (really ole)
Deb. Prayers accepted!
Sadly we lost my mother-in-law to cancer a week ago tonight at the age of 69. Yet another tragic reminder that one needs to eek every bit of joy out of life while our lungs are full of air. And, I need some joy!!
So you don't like Houston's muggy, syrupy, scorching weather?!