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Four Days In L.A. (Part 4)

I wake up in Tasha’s bed after a quick three hour nap that I wish was longer. The fan is blowing on me because it is hot as fuck in the San Fernando Valley, and ever since early May I haven’t been able to go to sleep without the sound of a fan blowing in the background for some reason. We have plans to meet our friend Dave for dinner, which was originally supposed to be lunch, but had to be changed because of the massive amount of sleep that I did not get the night before, coupled with the copious amounts of alcohol I ingested.

We’re supposed to meet him at 7pm, but of course it’s closer to 7:20pm when we finally arrive at Delancey on Sunset. We say hello, and I apologize for Tasha’s tardiness which always seems to surprise me even though the girl has made a career out of being late. At one point a few years back, we were headed to Jersey for one of my friends weddings. Our flight was set to take off at noon, but to make sure we got there on time, I had to lie and tell Tasha that the flight was taking off at 11am. Needless to say, when it was 10:15 and we were driving in the car to the airport, she thought we were going to miss our flight and was genuinely concerned.

“I’m sorry I took so long. Are we going to miss our flight?” She asked

“Nope.” I replied

“How are you being so calm about this?” she asked

“I lied. The flight doesn’t take off for almost two hours.”

“Asshole.” she says with a smile.

Asshole maybe, but I’m an asshole with good intentions.

Tasha and I sit across from Dave and we start to eat and drink and talk about the last few months. There is a history between the three of us that goes back to the Trent & Tilly days from 2012. After we wrote, shot, and edited our first webisode, our director quit on us because he was afraid of being sued cause we were using a Beastie Boys song in our opening credits. It made absolutely no sense to us because once we uploaded it to You Tube, it recognized the song and wouldn’t allow us to use it, so we had to change the music to something non-descript to avoid music licensing infringements. Instead of getting all upset (which we did) the next six episodes were directed by Dave Parker who is more known for his work in the horror genre than the comedy genre. We went on to make some really funny episodes and believe it or not Dave’s sick sense of humor really helped in the process.

I’m not impressed with my glass of Malbec, but the pizza and the penne alla vodka are delicious and as we stuff our faces we reminisce and talk about the last few months and what we’ve been up to. Dave is working on a new project, Tasha is starring in Clown Motel, and I’m slinging drinks 987 miles north of here. If you would have told me that’s what I would have been doing three years ago, I probably wouldn’t have acted surprised, but if you told me I’d still be friends with Dave whom I met on MySpace 12 years earlier, that would have been a shocker. I guess back then the internet was a little more safe and infested with less creepy people than today.  Thing is, regardless of where I met him, Dave is a great guy who has helped me through some real difficult times during those 12 years. He is a true friend and he might actually be slightly more dramatic than me, if that’s even possible.

We pack up our pizza and we head outside to say goodbye. I finally feel a little more normal and Tasha and I head back to Beverly Hills to watch Boyhood and get some real sleep. Occasionally during the movie we hear the sound of ticking across hardwood floors of the apartment. It almost sounds like someone is wearing high heels and running through the house, but in reality it’s just Rocco who is in desperate need of getting his nails cut running back and forth between the living room and the bedroom and sometimes stopping to look out the screen door. I eat another slice of pizza, and head to bed.
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Monday morning starts out with a trip to Starbucks for coffee, which if I can be totally honest I hate about myself. I hate Starbucks, but they have saturated the coffee shop market so much that I’d be an idiot not to buy into the convenience of having one on every corner in every neighborhood in the country. Where else am I going to go for coffee anyway?  Congratulations corporate America, you won.

“Can you drive me into Hollywood this afternoon?” I ask Tasha

“Yeah, for what?” She asks.

“I want a new tattoo.”

“Cool.”

I have gotten four new tattoos in the last 10 months. Up until recently, I hadn’t gotten any new ink since 2006. That’s like 10 years without getting a tattoo and that’s just too long. Why did I take such a sabbatical from the needle?  Well I thought more tattoos would hinder me from getting any acting jobs in L.A., so when I finally decided I was going to leave, I ceremoniously went out and got a bunch more on my arms. In retrospect, I don’t know if more or less tattoos has anything to do with my acting ability but my mother must be soooo proud that I’m getting another one. (blatant sarcasm)

I’m actually really excited about this new one because it represents a mindfuck that Hollywood played on me. There is this constant pressure to stay young as fuck and to try your best not to age at all. I used to lie about my age on dating websites, but that’s just because although I may BE 40, I certainly do not LOOK 40, and what type of women are on dating sites looking for 40 year old men? Not the kind that I would date. I guess for awhile I wasn’t owning up to the truth about myself. Ever since I left L.A. I don’t really give a fuck about how old I am. Truth is I’ve been on this earth for forty years and only now am I ready to really own it, that’s why I got “Copyright 1975” on my wrist. No more lies.
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I walk into True Tattoo on Cahuenga as they were playing an old punk song I like by Propagandhi. I know I picked the right day to do this. Tasha comes in and sits there while the needle buzzes my skin with permanence for what seems like the thirtieth time in my life, even though I only have sixteen, pardon, now seventeen tattoos. Maybe I’ll stop at twenty, or maybe I just won’t stop. It’s my body and this is what I chose to do with it. Oh my God, I sound like the title of an episode of some shitty day time talk show like the View.

The artist finishes up, swabs me with green soap and a paper towel and wraps up my wrist in a bandage. I’m simultaneously happy I got this tattoo and concerned that for the next hour and half when I’m wearing this bandage on my wrist, everyone who sees me is going to think I tried to kill myself. Oh well. People have probably thought worse about me before.

Tasha and I go to St. Felix a few doors down for drinks and a little appetizer. I hadn’t eaten anything for breakfast, but I’m also going to meet my friend Rosanne in an hour for drinks and appetizers, and then later tonight I’m going to meet another friend, Abby for drinks and dinner. Pretty much all I’m going to be doing today is boozing and grazing. It’s at this point that I wish there were more than twenty four hours in the day and it’s at this point that I realize my time in L.A. is almost over.

 

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Four Days in L.A. (Part 3)

I wake up on Shaun and Adam’s couch at about 7 in the morning. Truth is, I didn’t really sleep well and it was kind of hot all night and I was still wearing the same clothes from the day before when I got off the plane. I try to think about what happened after dinner last night, and then it all kind of comes back to me.

I remember going to Magnolia with Tasha, meeting up with Shaun and Adam, and having some more drinks before we headed over to The Well. Across the street from that bar is the Hollywood Palladium where I worked on and off for 8 years, and as I looked at it now on a dark night it seems so peaceful and quiet, unlike the last two years of my life when I worked there.

That place was always a shit show, which I assume must be a trend in my life because the place in Seattle that I currently work certainly has the same qualities of shit I used to endure on a daily basis, only worse.  The only thing that is missing are the bands and the intermissions where I would be able to get a half hour break from bartending. A break now? What the hell is that? I make drinks for 8 hours straight and probably haven’t taken more than an seven minute break since I’ve been hired.

“Do you live in the city of Seattle?” Adam asks.

“I live like six miles north of the city, but it’s still Seattle proper.” I replied.

“Seattle Proper!!” Tasha mocks

Has no one ever heard of that saying?  But, that’s pretty much the epitome of what my friends and I do. We talk about shit in our lives, bust each other’s balls, then do it all over again. Adam I leave the small group to have a smoke outside and we start talking about the last six months. It’s great to see him again. Adam and I are a lot alike in the sense that we’re both really good guys who never seem to get a break when it comes to relationships. I guess you could say we are handicapped in some way. He tells me about a girl at work he had been into that didn’t work out, and I tell him about the girl at work I had been into that didn’t work out.  There is this humbling connection he and I have when it comes to talking about failing in love, and yes you read that right.  I did not type the word “falling” because the former seems to happen more than the latter.

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We chat for awhile and before I know it it’s close to one in the morning and it’s at this point when the memories start to get a little fuzzy. However, one of the last things I do is spot a sign on the door of the building next to the bar, and I laugh because I can’t believe we were just talking about this. I snap a picture and I show it to Tasha

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The next morning  the sun is shining through Shaun and Adam’s living room window and even the blanket that I draped over the curtains isn’t really doing any good keeping the light out. The fan is on full blast and it’s not long before Tasha comes to pick me up and we head over to our old apartment in Hollywood where I haven’t been for the last six months. It’s already approaching 88 degrees at ten am, and I can feel all the wine, bourbon, and beer seeping out of me as I sit on the porch and wait for Tasha to get there.

“I need a burger and a diet coke” I say to her as I get into the car.

She puts the air conditioning on blast and we drive over to Carlton Way to do the final walk through at the apartment. After we park I run into my old landlord and I wonder if he knows I haven’t lived in the place since January and I’ve been illegally subletting it to my bff. I tell him we’ll be ready in about 20 minutes for the walk though and I head up the stairs and walk into apartment #310 for the last time ever. It’s smaller than I remember, but it’s just as empty as the first day I moved in back in 2011, minus the bed and the two couches Tasha and I have to dispose of in the middle of the hottest part of the day after I’ve barely slept and I am still wearing the same clothes from the night before. This is going to be tough, not mentally, but physically, but maybe a little bit mentally too as I would come to find out.

As Tasha cleans up parts of the bedroom and the kitchen, I get to work moving the box spring and mattress down the flight of stairs and into the trash area. It looks like a furniture store down there as there are tables, chairs, a bed, and other stuff  and I assume someone just moved out until I notice a sign posted on the wall. The sign reads something like:

“Do not take any of the stuff in this area, it is infested with bed bugs.”

Gross. I throw Tasha’s old box spring down against the wall and I make sure not to touch ANY of the other items near the dumpster. I’m not surprised at all by the fact that there is a bed bug infestation going on at that apartment. Tasha and I went through the same thing back in 2012 when we had to get rid of my old bed and cover everything while they bombed the apartment. I remember her and I checked into a hotel room down the street that day and took the cat and the rabbit with us against the rules of the motel. That afternoon we got drunk on chardonnay and ate thai food until some time after the sun went down when we could move back into our apartment.

My sunglasses are slipping off of my face in the stifling California heat, so I head back up into the apartment, dragging my feet and desperately in need of food and water which will eventually come but not before I look around the apartment and reminisce a little bit.

5741 Carlton Way #310 represented a dream that Tasha and I had for years. A dream of being successful creators of our own TV show, and even though we didn’t carry out the couch ourselves, that couch was where it all began. I can’t put into words what we went through over those 3 and a half years, so instead let me post a picture of Tasha’s instagram that she uploaded shortly after we finished the walk through of the apartment that day which pretty much sums it up.

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Trent & Tilly, the web series, and then the TV show was the lifeblood of me and Tasha’s career, even though we didn’t make a dime off of it. We made a bunch of webisodes and a half hour pilot episode, but you’ll probably never see them. We worked really hard, sacrificed a lot, and in fact, I went into debt thousands of dollars just trying to stay in Los Angeles another two years to see if there was a chance the show would actually turn into a reality.  It was such a good idea for a TV show, and it still is so I’m not going to give away any plot elements just in case.  We had celebrities in the pilot, agents to negotiate our deals, managers who wanted to rep us, people who wanted to work with us and people who we fired for being idiots.  But the real magic of it all was that Tasha and I had this obvious chemistry on screen that everyone could see, and sometimes was captured when we weren’t playing our parts, but instead, we were just playing ourselves. Here is an example from 2014 of what I mean:

I finally meet up with Alex, who also was the inspiration for a character in our show, and he walks me through the apartment making notes of what needs a touch up, the couches that need to be removed, and what needs to be fixed like the window in the kitchen that I broke last summer when I was frustrated as fuck.  I remember a wrote a blog about that day….

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Alex speaks in a thick Russian accent and as we finish the walk through he has some very nice words to say about me and Tasha.

“You are good tenants.  So EEEF…you ever want to move back in, it will be ok no problem.”

This comes after he tells me that when they renovate the apartment they will probably charge $1600 a month for it.  As much as I appreciate how much he appreciated me as a tenant, there is no way I would ever move back into this apartment building and pay $500 more a month than what I was paying.  Besides, I don’t want to live in L.A. anymore but even if I did, you can’t go back.  You must go on.

I shake hands with Alex, he tells me that my security deposit refund should be in the mail within two weeks and I highly doubt I’m going to get anything back, so you could imagine how surprised I was the other day when I got a check in the mail for $600.  That pretty much paid for my trip and whatever expenses I incurred over the four days.

This was a hard day in L.A. Not only was it hot and I was tired and suffering from Hollywood allergies, but I had to say goodbye to a time and a place in my life…again. Six months ago I blogged about how in the last few minutes before I left for Seattle, I took a last look around the apartment as Tasha asked me if I wanted to take a picture. When I heard her say that, I got a little choked up and I said “No, I just need to go.” This time tough, I indulged in that opportunity.

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Thirty minutes later, Tasha and I find ourselves exhausted, sitting in a Carl’s Jr. on Pico and San Vincente eating cheeseburgers, fries, and drinking diet cokes. I miss Carl’s Jr. a lot.  It was probably one of the most rewarding fast food meals I have had in decades. We sit there chowing down our first bit of food since the day before reflecting on the afternoon, emotionally and physically drained from the last 24 hours. There is really only one thing left to say.

“I need a nap.”  I say to her.

“Me too.” She replies.

 

 

 

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Four Days In L.A. (Part 2)

I got off the plane at LAX around 3pm on Saturday July 23rd.

I stop in at the International terminal, and I immediately think how I am going to be surrounded by anyone other than Americans so I should watch out for European families on vacation, dressed in tacky print shirts, khaki shorts, fanny packs, and middle-aged men wearing sandals that have no right to do so. It’s the only terminal that you can just walk into and get a drink at a bar without having a ticket to board a plane, so I sit at some pizza restaurant and order a skinny bitch, otherwise known as a vodka and diet coke.

I know you’re probably laughing at the fact that I sometimes order that drink, but it tastes good to me, and even if I’m hungover the next day  I surprisingly still enjoy drinking diet coke so that says something about the truth of my addiction to diet soft drinks. Probably not the worst thing in the world. I mean, it’s not like I’m a heroin addict.

I text Tasha that I’m on the Departures level of the International terminal because it’s less busy and easier to pick up people than on Arrivals. Thirty minutes later as I’ve been waiting outside on the top level for her to pull up, and after I specifically text her two more times to make sure she chooses the Departues lane when she gets to the airport, she calls me to tell me she’s on the Arrivals level. Of course she is.

I’ve known Tasha for over 9 years now, and the fact that I made a point to make sure she knew where to go, and she ended up not going where I told her to go doesn’t surprise me at all. That’s just Tasha. There are some people who can connect the dots when driving cars and multi task like a pro and who also have a good sense of direction. Sadly, this is not Tasha, but she makes up for it so many other ways that it doesn’t really bother me. I remember when it used to, when we dated almost 7 years ago and we were the pinnacle example of a hot and cold couple, which probably had everything to do with how dramatic we both were. I’m sure it was no accident that Katy Perry had a song out that year by the same name.

Thing is, Tasha is one of my favorite people and the only ex of mine that I became best friends with after we broke up. It was almost like life wouldn’t let us NOT be friends. After the relationship we worked together, we lost a pet together, we went to all my friends weddings together, and then we created a televison show, sold it, and then lost the deal together. She’s my best friend and we’ve been through some good times, some difficult times, and some shit times, and all of that has led up to this momemt, me returning to L.A. after six months and her pulling up outside the terminal in her pearl white Fiat Abarth.

“Welcome back, bitches!” She screams as I open the door.

I’m excited to see her. She looks great, but Tasha always looks great. She’s fabulous and takes good care of herself and has these big features and this natural beauty that doesn’t even wain when she wakes up from a hangover. I start telling her about my drink at the bar with Anna Faris, and she starts telling me about this indie horror movie she’s up for called Clown Motel.

Not Clown “Hotel” which I imagine would come with a continental breakfast and free Wi-Fi, but Clown “Motel” which is most likely located on a creepy, desert road with a gravel parking lot, two vending machines and an ice bucket. We laugh but of course I tell her I’m proud of her because I know that she’s is way more talented than this town has given her credit for.

We make our way back to her new apartment in Beverly Hills, but it’s not as glamourish as the Walsh residence from 90210. Tasha has just moved into this sublet with her rabbit Rocco after 6 months living at my old Hollywood apartment. We have to do the final walk through tomorrow, but now all I can think about is this little bunny in front of me who got me through some hard times the last year or so when he frequently lived with me in L.A.
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I tell him that my cat Dapple who he lived with for three years has passed away, but I’m pretty sure he already knew somehow. It’s great to see him, but it’s also time for Tasha and I to freshen up and go get ourselves some dinner and many many drinks.

We Lyft to Kabuki on Sunset and Vine which was always our go to place for business meetings, happy hour, (aka jappy hour) and gorging on sushi and wine. I walk in and accidentally kick the glass door with my foot. The host makes a funny comment and I realize I’m back in a town where people just speak their minds.

“If you break my door, we’ll just add it to your bill.” he says.

I laugh because it was funny and we get seated at a table and I immediately request a bottle of wine to start. We order three different types of rolls and a garlic steak, Tasha and I start catching up from the last six months.

I left L.A. because I felt like there was nothing left there for me. I was exhausted mentally, physically, emotionally and financially and I was tired of the struggle and the competition and I had been there for thirteen years and even though I aged gracefully, there is this enormous amount of pressure to stay young and defy the laws of physics. As an actor I had a small amount of success in my mid thirties, but by the time I turned forty, I was so over the rat race and the mental traps that I would seldom fall into that it started to take it’s toll on my confidence.

“You’re so much more confident now than when you left. I can see it in you.” Tasha says

She’s right. I used to get panic attacks in L.A. cause I was stressed as fuck, and my dating life was non-existent because seemingly the first and only question that everyone asks you on a first date is “What do you do,” which implies that the answer you give next will decide whether or not this person is interested in you at all. Everyone is a writer/actor/producer in L.A. but somehow if I told the truth that I tended bar at the Palladium and Wiltern it wouldn’t come off as an impressive field of expertise.

We talk about the drama that I had been through up in Seattle and how it started off so fucking great as I landed a lucrative job, was dating a hot girl I work with, was ready to plan out my future, but then I crash landed back to earth when we broke up in June and my cat Dapple died a few days later. That is a lot for someone to go through that quickly and I’m amazed that one of the only casualties of that debacle was the temporary loss of confidence I felt for a couple weeks and the erratic sleep patterns and highs and lows I felt along the way.

I guess a part of me understands myself enough to know all I really want in life on a daily basis is to feel like I do a good job, I’m appreciated, and that people like me. I’ll admit it, part of the reason I moved to L.A. was to follow that dream of having someone somewhere tell me that I’m good at what I do, but trying to live out that dream in L.A. along with the 2 million other hopefuls with stars in their eyes is just like being a small fish in a big pond trying to get a piece of bait.  Somehow though, living in Seattle and working at the bar is like being a big fish in a small pond. There’s less stress, the money is good, I’m doing well, and I work with a great bunch of people that I would like to think appreciate me for who I am. When it comes down to it, I really just want to be happy and stress free although those two ideas are easy to visualize and difficult to manifest.

“Are you happy up there?” Tasha asks me.

I think about this question a lot. Everybody in life just wants to be happy, I mean I said it myself three sentences ago, but I don’t think that happiness is something you feel constantly day in and day out. It’s a fleeting feeling that comes and goes like the seasons. Sometimes I can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning and start my day, other times I just want to sit on the couch and eat a whole pizza and not leave the house at all. Sometimes I’m depressed or sad, and other times I feel content as if nothing really bothers me. Sometimes I’m up, sometimes I’m down, and yes I realize that what I’ve been writing sounds like the lyrics to a pop song that has been playing over and over again in my life.

“I am right now.” I said.

And I really am. I’m back in the town that I spent most of my adult life in, I’m sitting at the table drinking wine and eating sushi with my best friend who I haven’t seen in six months, and I’m about to close the door on a chapter of my life that will hopefully help to open up another door to the next chapter, whatever that may be.

“Good.” She says. “It sure seems like it.”

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We order another glass of wine each and I text a few of my friends to see where they’re at. Ironically they are just down the street getting out of the movies at Arclight so we all plan to meet up in a little bit.

For the first time in awhile, I don’t feel stuck, I don’t feel stressed, and I don’t feel like I need to be someone I’m not. It just feels good to back in Hollywood.

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Four Days in L.A. (Part 1)

I got off the plane at LAX around 3pm on a Saturday. The air was dark and smokey, probably because of the wildfires that had been raging in Santa Clarita the night before. I immediately take a picture of the ominous sky and the sun that is barely shining through as I wait outside of the International terminal for Tasha to pick me up.

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I think about how I haven’t been back in L.A. since January.  On Monday it will be exactly six months to the day that I moved up to Seattle. Was it ironic that my trip back happened to fall on the six month anniversary of me leaving southern California?  Probably, but I think everything happens for a reason and here I am back in Hollywood after having gone though a roller coaster of emotions since June. I guess I needed a little grounding and I’ll be the first one to admit I didn’t think that such a toxic place like L.A would have been able to offer me that, but that’s exactly what it did.

It all started a few hours earlier while I was sitting at a bar in Sea-Tac airport having a drink with a stranger from Alaska, and a well known celebrity from California.

I got to the airport with an hour before my flight was scheduled to take off, and being that this was a well needed mini vacation for me, I started drinking early. I went to one of the bars in the terminal and found nowhere for me and my bags to sit, so I ventured further past the parents and kids flying everywhere and into uncharted waters and found a seat at Anthony’s Fish Bar. I ordered a bloody mary and some chowder, and stared at my phone like most people do in airports.

Sitting to my right at the crowded bar was a guy in his early thirties with tattoos and a bald head, and to my left was another guy who I never really spoke to. I settled in drank my drink, and ordered another bloody mary. Right around the time that my second cocktail  was delivered, I hear a woman’s voice ask the bald dude next to me if anyone is sitting at the empty stool next to him. Naturally, I look over and when I see this blonde woman in her early thirties, I immediately recognize her from TV and the movies, but I can’t remember her name to save my life.

What was that movie she was in that I never really watched but I kept seeing trailers for it waaay back in 2005? Oh right. It was called “The House Bunny,” and sitting two stools to my left ordering a pinot grigio was none other than Anna Faris, well known actor and wife of the immensely popular Chris Pratt. I guess this is how the trip is going to start.

A few minutes go by and I can hear the dude next to me and her conversing and even though I’m not in the middle of the conversation, I really want to be, but how on earth do I segway myself into a private conversation between two total strangers at a bar in the airport? Does this guy even know who she is, and if so, is he ever going to let on? Not three minutes go by until she leans over, and asks the bald dude a question.

“Who’s your friend?” Anna asks as she motions to me.

At this point, the truth comes out that neither one of us know each other, but apparently, we are all about to. She introduced herself as “Ahh-Na,” not “Ann-uh” which I already know is the preferred pronunciation of her name because I watched that episode of Entourage when she played herself and crashed into the back of E’s car in the Hollywood Hills wearing nothing but a towel.

Anna is extremely nice and sweet and at this point me, Anna, and our new friend Dustin all clink our glasses and cheers and start having a three way conversation about life, love, and tattoos.

Anna is considering moving to Seattle and not living in L.A. anymore and she asks me why I chose to move up here and without letting on that I know who she is, I’m honest with her and I tell her hey, if you don’t need to be in L.A. or you can fly in when you have work, there is really no need to live there, especially since the air and the view in Seattle is a lot cleaner and healthier for your mind and body and soul.

We talk about Dustin’s job in Alaska on a oil rig and how it’s a difficult position to be in a truck with a guy for 14 hours a day in the middle of nowhere drilling for oil and whatever else riggers do. He’s a really nice dude and he tells a story about how he recently got divorced from his ex wife but they are still best friends and they have a 21 year old son. Anna chats about how she once worked the coldest job ever in Canada in a city called Regina.

“When I got there, I saw a billboard that read “Welcome to Regina. It rhymes with fun.”

Now we’re all laughing because we know Regina actually rhymes with vagina and I’m trying to figure out when the director is going to call cut because what is happening now reminds me of being in a movie where you meet a celebrity at a bar in Sea-Tac airport, but then I realize that this is just my life, drinking alcohol at 12:15pm with two strangers, one of whom happens to be famous.

Dustin takes out a picture of his son and somehow we start talking about tattoos and he shows me and Anna the ink his offspring just got. It’s a new school tattoo of a green alien sitting indian style on the floor wearing Birkenstocks and giving the double middle finger while a big fat joint protrudes from his mouth.

“Yeah, he’s gonna regret that one.” I say

And believe me, I would know because I have a tattoo that I wish I never got.

“Show us!” Anna says.

And this is the point when I caved into the pressure of my new friends at the bar and rolled up my left pant leg and showed them the most regrettable tattoo I have on my body. A cat getting electrocuted

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“Wow, what is it?” Anna asks as she pokes my leg with her finger, trying to figure out exactly what I’m showing her and I’m somewhere in between a little nervous that she just touched me in the worst tattoo ever, and slightly impressed that I currently have a celebrity poking my leg and none of us think this is weird at all.

I go on to tell her that when I was 18, I had a guy who used to do tattoos out of my kitchen back in Jersey and that I must have been pretty young and stupid at the time to get a multi-colored cat having electro shock therapy from sticking a fork in a power outlet.

“But you know what, you should never cover it up because it will always remind you not to make impulsive decisions in life.” Dustin says.

He’s absolutely right, and he makes a good point, and it’s at this time that Anna asks me why I’m going back to L.A. I tell her the truth because that’s what people do when they first meet each other in airpot bars and I explain how the last month in Seattle was kind of rough on me as I lost my cat and my ex within the same week, and before I know it I’m showing Dustin and Anna pictures of both of them. But what am I really doing in L.A.?

I’m going back to take care of an apartment I have had under my name since I moved to Seattle almost six months ago, and I’m going to see friends of mine who I’ve missed these last 180 days and who have been there for me for years. I’m going back to get a sense of where I came from and perhaps get an idea of where I’m headed next and believe me, even though Los Angeles can be a toxic city, I think I’m able now to avoid the toxicity of the Hills and the San Fernando valley even though the the news reports are saying not to be outside for very long because of the smoke from the wildfires.

It’s nearing the time that I have to board my flight, but if I can be totally honest I kind of want to miss it and continue this random conversation I’m having at a bar in Sea-Tac airport with an oil rigger and a comedic actress, but I know that there is something waiting for me 967 miles south of here.

I say goodbye to Dustin and I tell him it was nice to meet him, then Anna extends her hand and as I shake it she reminds me that her name is Anna, as if I still don’t know who she is, but perhaps she likes that level of anonymity, so I never let on that I know.

I grab my bags, wish them both good flights, and I head over to gate 38 and board the plane for Los Angeles, but not before I text three of my friends telling them that I haven’t even landed in Hollywood yet, but I already have a great L.A. story to tell them.