Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Los Angeles: The Glamorous Life

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A friend of mine once tried to start a magazine.   He explained to me how magazines became successful.  You take some niche topic (Golf, Fishing, Teenage Girls’ Fashion, Investing,  New York City Upscale Mothers) and you write articles which make your readers feel insecure.  This way, they’ll continue to read your magazine and buy your advertiser’s products, hoping that ONE DAY they could be as successful as the person on the cover.

I pretty much use the same technique here at Citizen of the Month.   I know that for many of you living in god-forsaken places such as Montana, Pittsburgh, and Staten Island, I must be the single most glamorous person you’ve ever encountered.   After all, I live in the star-studded entertainment capital of the world — Los Angeles.   I open my shades every morning and hear the birds singing, smell the ocean air, and see Lindsay Lohan walk her dog.  My life is all about glamour.  Sometimes, I think of quitting blogging.  But then I remember all the “little people” — people like you — the ones who depend on a little elegance and sophistication to add meaning to their small-town lives.    You can easily compare me to a Fred Astaire movie of the 1930’s — top hats, champagne, and Cole Porter — letting the sad, Depression-era audiences have a little bit of taste of “The Good Life.”

My Sunday began like many others in the beautiful City of Angels.  As I awoke, a beautiful Hollywood actress walked out of my shower.  I admired her perfect naked body.  She was exotic, with a sexy foreign accent. 

“Remember to watch Windfall on NBC this Thursday,” she said, reminding me about her upcoming appearance on TV.

“Of course, Sophia.”  I said.

Los Angeles.  City of Dreams.  The sun.  The beach.  Famous actresses. 

I was living my dream.  

“How about we go have some brunch?’  I asked her, as she combed back her hair, her highlights shimmering like the crown of a goddess.

“Sure.  Where?”

Those of you who live in boring places like Washington D.C., Atlanta, and Paris probably don’t understand that this is a complex question.  Los Angeles is filled with some of the most fabulous and cutting-edge restaurants in the country.  I know that for most of my readers, going “out” means shlepping over to “Mr. Pizza” at the mall with the kids.  But for someone like me, going out means choosing from one of the hippest and trendiest eateries in town.  For us Angelenos, eating out is important.  Like clubbing and shopping on Rodeo Drive.  You need to be part of the scene.  “See and be seen” is our motto.

“How would you like to check out ‘Chicago for Ribs’?” I asked my naked actress friend.

“Is it any good?”

“I have no idea.  But I received a two-for-one coupon in the mail.”

“Cheapskate, as usual”

Although I don’t mind using a coupon (Men: only use a coupon ONCE you’re married), I’m always embarrassed giving it to the waiter.  What to do?  Make you wife do it.

“Here’s the coupon.”  I said, as we entered Chicago for Ribs, trying to shove the coupon into Sophia’s hand.

“Be a man for once in your life.  You give him the coupon!”

I sighed.  Sophia was right.  How difficult can it be to give someone a stupid coupon?

We were greeted by Frank, the maitre d’ (can you call the guy who takes you to your booth in Chicago for Ribs a maitre d’?) .  He was a sourpussed man in his forties who looked like he took a summer job at Chicago for Ribs in 1980 and never left.

“You should give him the coupon NOW,” said Sophia, as we went to our table.  “They like to get it before you order.”

I hemmed and hawed.

“Give it to him now,” she repeated.

As we sat, I showed the coupon to Frank.

“I received this coupon in the mail.  Is it OK to use it today for lunch?”

“Yes.  I’ll take it. ” The stone-faced maitre d’ replied, not really giving a shit.

Our waiter approached.

“Hi, I’m Jamal!” he said with a smile.  Finally — someone friendly!

Sophia ordered beef ribs, with side dishes of corn and coleslaw.  I ordered chicken, with side dishes of baked potato and beans.   Originally I was just going to order a sandwich, but since Sophia ordered something for $12.95, it was mathematically important that I order something for the same price — or the whole point of a two-for-one coupon is lost.

The meal was both decent and mediocre.  Real BBQ lovers would have probably thrown the “Chicago-style ribs” from the top of the Sears Tower.  But Jamal was a nice guy, who kept on refilling our iced tea.  Jamal also had great teeth. 

We received the bill.  It was $35 dollars, with drinks.  There was no discount for our two-for-one coupon.  I looked over at Sophia.

“No way!  You handle it, once in your life.” she said.

I waited for Jamal to return.

“Um…  We wanted to use a coupon with this.”  I told him.

“Sure.  Just give it to me and I’ll take care of it.”

“Um…  Actually, we already gave the coupon to the other guy when we first walked in.”

“Who?  Frank?”

“I think so.” 

“OK, I’ll ask him for it.”

A few minutes later, Jamal returns, shaking his head.

“Frank said you never gave him a coupon.”

“Isn’t Frank the guy at the door?”

“Yes.”

“I’m positive I gave it to Frank when we sat down.”

Sophia was getting impatient with my method of “taking care of things.”

“Could you bring Frank over here, please?!” she asked.

Jamal returned with Frank.   This was the same sourpuss who I gave the coupon.

“You didn’t give me any coupon.” he said.

“Of course he did!” said Sophia.

“I told you I got it in the mail,” I added sheepishly, hoping he’d remember our conversation.  “I asked you if we could use it at lunch…”

“And I told you ‘yes.'” Frank said.  “But I never took the coupon.”

I quickly went through all my pockets, emptying everything onto the table.

“I’m POSITIVE I gave you the coupon.”

“I SAW him give it to you,” said Sophia.

“I don’t have it.”  said Frank.  “And I really need that coupon for accounting purposes.   Let me check in the back one more time.  Although I certainly don’t remember you giving me any coupon…”

Sophia and I were left there with Jamal.  Sophia was getting pissed.

“What is the big deal with this goddamn coupon?  Do we look like we would sneak in here, couponless, and FAKE having a coupon?” 

Jamal smiled.

“Don’t worry.  I’ll just take it off.   Frank loses everything ALL THE TIME.  The only reason he works here is that cousin is the owner.  Frank’s a moron.”

Jamal took $12.95 off of the menu and we went on our merry way.  

The rest of the day was equally as fabulous.  We went to E-Z Lube and got an oil change.  At night, I played in a high-stakes Texas Hold-em tournament with five women.  At the end, I beat an eighty-two year old grandmother in heads-up action.  I won the $100 pot.   The grandmother deserved to lose.  She was a card shark.

I do LIVE the LIFE!   Don’t hate me because I’m glamorous.

 

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  Learning from Barbra Streisand

37 Comments

  1. Right no one is as glamourous as you. That’s what I thought this morning as I stepped out of my shower and there was no one except my cat to admire me!!

  2. Neil, it’s hard not to be jealous of such a glamourous existence. I hadn’t thought about coupons since I left the States – although poker is becoming quite the thing in Paris – they even show it on French television. See, we’re trying to catch up in the high stakes world of glamour!

  3. Paris — There are no coupons in France? Not even for the dry cleaners?

  4. If you didn’t get a 2-for-1 at EZ Lube, then the day was a waste. So, did you?

  5. God, well being from over here in boring Washington, DC I’m feeling quite jealous. Gosh Neil, how do you do it? Can I be you for just one day?

  6. Kevin — $19.95 at Ez-Lube. It came in the same envelope as the Chicago for Ribs… I made out like a bandit on Sunday!

  7. Um, my protential beau drinks Le Pabst Blue Ribbon, chilled to perfection, straight from Le Can …

    A fabulous life in the real LA indeed. 🙂

  8. You need your own infomercial…

  9. Neil, can I have your autograph?

  10. i am also a beautiful person living the life in southern california; however the only naked celebrity walking out of my shower was (oh, wait. i did sign that confidentiality agreement)..

    never mind.

    and today i got a VIP discount to have my car’s windshield replaced. woo!

  11. thank you, Neil.

    glad you wrote about card shark grandma.

  12. Wow. I was thinking about moving out of Iowa back to L.A., but after reading your post, I doubt I could handle the fast paced action and adventure. If only I could be as cosmopolitan as you are.

  13. Neil, Even those of us in nowhereville, USA know that if you were really living the glamourous life, you’d have your low-carb,low-fat, microbiotic (or is it macrobiotic this season?) meals delivered to you to maintain that ever so important LA figure…Way to be a coupon clipper – that is sexy!

  14. I was waiting for Luke Perry to show up and kick Frank’s ass.

  15. I like to read your blog to find little similarities between myself and the fantastic people who color your glittery life. Who knew that a beautiful Hollywood actress would eat ribs?

  16. Please tell me you tipped on the $35 and not on the reduced price. Don’t make me have to mail Jamal the correct tip with a note of apology on behalf of non-waitstaff bloggers everywhere.

  17. I always thought most of your glamour came from having your penis write half of your posts.

  18. Woe is me. Sitting here in NC nibbling on lunch takeout from The Palm. ::sniff, sniff:: Life is so unfair.

  19. As a fellow cheap bastard, I am proud of you!

  20. I’ve changed the title three times already. Is it glamorous or glamourous?

  21. Either glamorous or glamourous. The American spelling is likely glamorous. But it’s a preference like theater and theatre.

  22. “…see Lindsay Lohan walk her dog…” is that some sorta euphemism for raunchy sex?

    same question for “…we went to EZ Lube”.

    and

    “I beat an 82 year old grandmother in heads-up action”.

  23. I’m so glad there are other fabulous Los Angeles website-type people out there. For example, yesterday Jennifer and I went to not one but TWO 7-11s, and then we went to Target where we did things like “eat hotdogs” and “buy crap we don’t need” and later we “complained about the heat.” It’s hard to be so busy and important in Los Angeles. I do not know how we manage.

  24. It is more grammourous to use the European spelling. Heh.

  25. You really do live the life Neil. If only I’d stayed in Los Angeles.

  26. Non-Highlighted Heather

    July 24, 2006 at 4:52 pm

    Ha. Great comment Laurie. As for you, Neil, it’s a wonder that you’re single. Poor Sophia. Get that woman down here so she can finally know what it is to eat a full price meal.

  27. You know, I used to be immensely jealous of you glamorous L.A. bloggers . . . until I realized how many of you there are. The backwoods of New England may not be nearly as fabulous, but I might just be the most entertaining aspect of it.

  28. Neil thankyou for allowing me to comment on your site….i know i’m not worthy….
    don’t make me go back to MY life, please?

  29. Round these parts, I’m known as the “coupon queen”! Neil, I’m glad to know I have a “coupon king” counterpart in Los Angeles.

    Saving by coupons is how we’ll make our first million. Have you made yours yet?

  30. I am so confused. Here I am thinking Neil is single/separated/nebulously untethered, and yet a glamourous Sophia slinks around his house naked and they lunch together at fabulous rib joints? How can I fantasize about Neil if SHE keeps popping up in his life?

    Here in NC we have some glamour as well – backyard pools (inflatable), celebrities (local, some of whom are farm animals), and all the ‘cue you can eat (sometimes 2-for-1). It will have to do, I suppose

  31. “glamourous” is more Zsa Zsa.

    tiff, neil is so L.A. that he does what all the cool celebs do: break up, get back together, sell the whole story to the Enquirer or Vanity Fair, and then reqests that we respect his privacy. ;0)

  32. I am so backwoods…

  33. Let me get this straight: you took a hundred bucks off some old lady? Did you at least offer to buy her some cat food to tide her over until her next Social Security check comes in?

  34. glam-guy, you must be doing something right in this life or a former one.

  35. Little person here on a cattle farm here in rural Georgia, about an hour outside of boring Atlanta, marveling over the fact that you Angelenos like to “see and been seen” with two-fer-one coupons.

  36. We don’t have a Chicago for Ribs here in Atlanta…it sounds like we’re not missing much. 🙂 I am of the opinion that any restaurant that takes coupons does not have a maitre d’, but a herder.

  37. Painter Beach Girl

    July 26, 2006 at 6:48 pm

    As much fun as it is to be here, I am missing the quaintness and less people of New England! Where did all these people come from???????????????????

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