There were only three seats at the bar, a peculiar set up for a Hollywood watering hole with newfound prestige. As it turned out, all three seats were occupied. In the first seat was a crocodile skinned Lana Marks handbag. In the middle seat sat a woman, her back arched so that I could see the depth of her spine and the zipper running up her Oscar de la Renta dress. And in the third seat rested the woman’s pleated Valentino shawl, delicately wrapped up like a nest of angel hair pasta.
“Are these seats taken?” I asked, gesturing toward the two inanimate objects flanking her.
The woman — I pegged her to be in her late 40s — looked from her shawl to her handbag back to her shawl again. Believing this was a sufficient enough response, she went back to staring at her $18 Gimlet. Realizing I wasn’t moving, the woman turned back and said, “Do you mind? You’re crowding my space.”
I thought, I know who you are. You’re another one of those entitled prima donnas; a trust fund baby who grew up with two ponies and complained she didn’t have a third. I thought, you grew up in Westlake Village and starred in two or three community theater productions, the most notable of which was Oklahoma! Maybe you played Gertie or Aunt Eller. Or maybe Daddy threatened the director or Mommy pulled a few strings and got you the part of Laurey. I thought, you’re another future victim of Hollywood, stagnated by a slew of failed auditions and humiliating casting couches. You breeze through life expecting the world to hand you what you trust is already yours. Your brain has been pumped so full of wild delusions, you truly believe three seats aren’t enough to accommodate yourself, a shawl, and a handbag.
I thought, you’re one of those people that volunteers to work at soup kitchens, but only on Thanksgiving mornings. And even then you refuse to go because of a mild hangover or Lithium-induced paralysis. You march for women’s rights, but then don’t vote. You wear Black Lives Matter t-shirts, but don’t know what the A.C.L.U is. You watch H.G.T.V, but then change the channel to CSPAN when you hear a knock at the door. And, just admit it, you secretly love that Kylie Jenner Pepsi commercial.
I thought, I know who you really are you conceited shit bird. You drive 55 in the far left lane and then cut over at the last second to make your exit. I thought, you’re the one I honk at when the light turns green and your Range Rover doesn’t move. I thought, you pump your gas while smoking your Cloves and Instagramming your lunch. You don’t tip the maid because you think it’s her job to clean up your vomit tinted green with half-digested Crème de Menth. And you hold up the Starbucks line and then order the same fucking thing you always do: a triple venti, half-sweet, half-fat, caramel macchiato with an extra shot and caramel drizzle.
I thought, you’re one of those people that insists she’s allergic to gluten, soy, milk, eggs, beer, yeast, nuts, sugar, and corn syrup, even though you eat brioche, egg-white omelets, feta, almonds, and, oh yeah, triple venti, half-sweet, half-fat, caramel macchiatos with extra shots and caramel drizzle.
I thought, you’ve probably never even seen Star Wars.
I thought, I got some life advice for you, lady: first, go watch Star Wars. Then have a beer. Purge your inbox. Update your apps. Read the classics. Subscribe to something. Go to at least one baseball game a year. Wash your car once a month. Floss daily. Moisturize. Drink more water than most articles say. Donate. Find a rooftop, sit on it, and stare out at the horizon. Write more letters. Talk less. And please, for the love of God, stop telling me how great Hamilton is.
Lastly, I thought: look, lady, there are hooks under the bar top for a reason, so do us all a favor and move your fucking shawl and handbag. You’re not saving those seats for anyone and your obliviousness only makes this worse. And I know you know the hooks are there. And I know that you know that I know that. And I know that I’m not the first schmuck to wander up and see your callous disregard for everyone else in the room.
I thought all of these things in an instant, but the only thing I said was, “Sorry,” and moved to the back of the bar.