Thursday, July 07, 2005


Cramming the single life

As a lot of you know, for the past several weeks, Our Man in LA has been living the single life, as Stephanie Wieland (aka, Our Woman in LA) has been in South Florida directing a show with the Lovewell Institute of the Arts. As such, Our Man in LA has done his part trying to determine what a single guy in the country's second largest urban area goes through on a nightly basis.

To be honest, it wasn't all that fun. Sure, many of the single guys I work with offered to come over to "drink beers and play Playstation". But the truth is, that I've been married long enough that this offer translated in my mind to, "Why don't we come over and trash your house, and then you can clean it up." So that didn't happen so much.

That said, alongside trusty Northwestern pals Hans Noel and Rick "Condor" Porter, I did manage a few of LA's escapes for the young guy - just in the last week. Among them:

1) Saw my first ballgame at legendary Dodger Stadium. And do I have the sunburn to prove it. Man, it gets warm up there in Chavez Ravine! But I did it all - had a couple of beers, a Dodger dog, and did my best to "Think Blue". For those of you who don't know, there's actually a big sign - a la the Hollywood sign - facing Dodger Stadium that urges you to "Think Blue".

Whatever. Didn't help. The Dodgers lost to the Diamondbacks after the longest ever eighth and ninth innings (at least five pitching changes in those innings alone).

2) Caught a show at the Viper Room. For all I know, I stood where River Phoenix breathed his last. MK Gallina, a great singer I knew from way back in Chicago, did a show there last night in their acoustic room. Good turnout, and I got to hang with MK and her boyfriend, playwright Arik Martin. Good times.

I even got sassed by the bouncer. Picture this. A total hipster looking guy trying to effect a Tom Waits look. He's text-messaging, and we're waiting to get in. I say, "Hey," because I don't know if he sees the paying customers. Nothing. I say "Excuse me." Nothing. In my head, I'm imagining some 21 Jump Street scenario where I'm not going to get into the concert because I don't use enough hair gel.

Finally, I say, "Dude." He says, "Dude. I'm fucking busy. Hold on."

It's one of those moments that you wish your brain were quicker. In some alternate universe, where I'm funnier and quicker, I reply, "Oh, you're busy. I thought you were deaf."

But I'm neither funnier nor quicker. I just mumbled something like, "All right. Fine." And I rolled my eyes at my buddy Hans. A minute later, the erotic poem he was texting was complete, and I got in to pay my cover charge.

Alas . . .

3) Checked out a 4th of July party up in Los Feliz. Hunicutt and Granata hosted their annual independence day bash. We celebrated 229 years of USA with a few beers and sausages, not to mention an adequate view of the fireworks over the Silverlake Reservoir.

Good times. The hostess asked me and compadres Hans and Rick on more than one occasion, "Gentlemen, can we bring you any more meat products." After years in the Midwest, where people think macaroni and cheese is a salad, it was a striking difference.

4) Hit Hunicutt's show at Improv Olympic on Hollywood Blvd with Hans and our pals Danny and Kelly (who got engaged on the 4th). Strange seeing an IO team do a Harold again after all these years.

Stranger still, Our Man in LA was pretty proud of himself for hitting a show that started at 11p.m. on a Tuesday night. Prouder still of the Diet Cherry Coke and gravy-covered fries he consumed at Mel's Drive In only a half hour before.

Sad but true. Our Man in LA is in his 30s now, and these kind of activities don't come without consequence. Wednesday was not my proudest hour at work, if you want to call it work. Further, my stomach is suing me for breach of contract.

5) Openly shunned the kinds of rental and theatrical movies that I normally attend with my wife. It's true. I actually walked into Blockbuster's Romantic Comedy section and scoffed at anything I would normally be forced to rent.

"You will not beat me tonight, Bridget Jones," I yelled. "And you will kneel before me, Hitch. Kneel! And one day, your heirs!"

It attracted a little bit of attention. So I just rented my violent guy movies and got the hell out. Since then, I've seen most of the action flicks in the New Release section, plus most of the first season of Miami Vice. Not to mention hitting the theater for Batman Begins (twice), War of the Worlds, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith (which feature no - I repeat, no - female nudity).

The Single Life for Our Man in LA comes to an end this weekend, when I journey to Florida to see the wife's show. From there, we head back to SoCal.

It's been fun, this single existence. But I won't miss it.

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