I found my true love in Albuquerque during a Hollywood night. As many of you know, I had attended film school in LA and for family reasons returned home to New Mexico. I had just started dating Marie, a lawyer in Albuquerque, but I didn't know her well enough to invite her to my film school reunion party. Perhaps I still had left my heart in Hollywood in more ways than one...
A starlet, the star of a cable TV series who was a Facebook friend, invited me to call her. Perhaps I had laid it on a little thick to her over Facebook messaging, This wasn't just a party of former film students, this was a party of Hollywood players. Rattlesnake Lawyer would get a green light by the second drink. I had this vision of closing a deal at the party and celebrating over a drink with the starlet.
After flying in and spending the night on my sister's couch, I headed to Beverly Hills. You've heard of Beverly Hills Cop? My life felt like an Albuquerque flop as I drove on the palm lined streets. The party was at the parent's house of a former student. The father was Janet Jackson's lawyer and his home was a cross between Downton Abbey and the Playboy mansion. The home was allegedly across the street from a home of a famous Scientologist actor who in an earlier film had thrown a party with his parents away. Not going to reveal his identity, because a joke is a joke and a lawsuit is a lawsuit.
After parking in front of the famous actor's home, I crossed the street to the party. The party was hopping, but within seconds of arriving, I felt very much alone. Many of the film students brought their spouses and kids. Damn, I missed Marie. We had just done a trip to Valles Caldera and the Jemez ruins in her jeep. This would have been another fine expedition.
I did the Rattlesnake Lawyer pitch to my former classmates and they weren't catching. "New Mexico's out this year," someone said. "Lawyers are even outer." Were they talking about Rattlesnake Lawyer, or were they talking about me?
Feeling lonelier, I called Marie a few times and gave her a play by play at this Playboy Mansion Lite. She might have been 800 miles away, but she was with me in spirit. I had far more in common with her than with the Serbian cinematographer.
People at the party must have assumed that I was negotiating a pay or play deal when I talked furiously on my cell phone in the corner. In some ways, I really was negotiating a long term deal, a life time deal. I just didn't know it at the time.
And then the phone clicked. I received a text from the starlet. She was going to be at a popular Beverly Hills watering hole with several of her actress friends. You know how you sometimes see a nerdy guy with a gaggle of starlets and wonder how he got there....I was going to be that guy! Green light indeed...
And yet, I didn't hang up as I stared at the text from the starlet. It was there at that moment in Beverly Hills that I knew I was truly in love with Marie. I didn't text the starlet back.
I soon went to my sister's place and fell asleep on her couch. I was back in Albuquerque on the six o'clock flight on Southwest. Two years later I was married.
Bob Seeger had sung about the Hollywood Nights in those Hollywood Hills. I knew at that moment in those Hollywood Hills, that I was too far from home.