Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Blogging for Books #6: My Life As Sitcom

I am about to flout Jay's rules. Haha! Check me out, kids, I'm a 40-year-old soccer-mom suburb-living rebel!

But it's necessary. Because he wants me to tell you all about how my life could be a sitcom. And my life right now is not even remotely funny. Which is not to say that I never smile, or laugh, or have fun. But I know living in a sitcom. Living in a sitcom was a friend of mine. And you, current life, are no living in a sitcom.

And so, let me take you back a decade or so...[insert those Wayne's World wavy lines indicating a flashback]...

It's the fall of 1994. Baroy and I have been dating for about six months, and I've taken a voluntary layoff so that I can stay in Los Angeles to be with him. When he asks me to move in, I'm delighted...and a little nervous. Because while Baroy lives in a huge, gorgeous, dirt-cheap apartment in the gayer-than-gay part of West Hollywood (think beautifully landscaped lawns and beautiful men everywhere you turn your head), he doesn't live there alone. And therein lies the premise of our sitcom.

Let me introduce you to our cast, shall I?

First, me. TC. 30 years old. Living without a net for the first time in her life.

Baroy. 38 years old. Up to his ears in debt and making less than $10 an hour writing scenes for a guy who runs acting workshops.

M. Mid-30s. Actor, dancer, singer. Broker than broke can be.

G. Also mid-30s. Director, actor, singer. Also broker than broke can be. M and G are a couple, and share one of the apartment's three bedrooms.

Mo. I have no idea how old he was; probably around Baroy's age, but who cares? The outcast. A hugely overweight man with a penchant for walking around without a shirt on, a set of dentures he frequently clicks in and out of his mouth while talking to you, a nasty habit of 'borrowing' stuff without asking permission, and a sometimes-job in the porn industry, writing scripts. (Yes, they have scripts. Or so Mo claimed. We were unsure.)

So there we were, the five of us--the heterosexual couple, the homosexual couple, and the guy neither side wanted. I was the only girl. Except, of course, for my best friend (a lesbian) and her partner, who dropped in from time to time to somewhat even things out. Also in the supporting cast is D, Baroy's best friend, a big-band leader and small-plane pilot with whom I categorically refused to fly, citing Glen Miller, Buddy Holly and that La Bamba guy as my excuse. Oh, and A, piano-bar player, who claimed to be in competition wth me for Baroy's love.

There is no way to describe some of the moments we all shared, no way to capture the look on Mo's face one night, as he was trying to impress D with tales of his success in the porn industry, and Dan shut him down with, "Oh, yeah, you're a regular F. Scott Fitzgerald. How many h's are there in oooooohhhhhh, anyway?" There's no way to put into words Baroy's reaction when he opened the door one day to a porn actress wearing a (barely) half shirt that said "Fuck me" on the front. And certainly no way to put into words his body language when she began to walk down the hallway to Mo's room and he could read the back of the shirt: "Fuck me again."

There were moments so stereotypical it would be hard to pull them off without them becoming cliches, like the night Baroy and I were walking home from dinner when there was a Barbra Streisand concert on on HBO, and literally two out of every three houses on our street was blaring it. There was the night that M was mugged just in front of our house (well, actually, he was rejected by the muggers, who looked at the handful of change he was carrying to go get a pack of cigarettes and threw it back in his face, laughing at him; M later said that was way more humiliating than actually being mugged), and the West Hollywood police came by, and EVERY SINGLE NEIGHBOR came out of his house to see what he could do to help, because the West Hollywood police are nothing if not hunky. There were the constant "who's gayer" competitions between G, the least gay gay man I've ever met, and Baroy, the gayest straight man I've ever met. Baroy inevitably won.

The night Baroy and I got engaged, we came back to the apartment and woke G up to tell him. He sat up with us into the wee hours of the morning, celebrating. M was out of town with a road show, and when we called him to tell him, the first thing he did was ask to talk to Baroy. I could hear him yell from across the room. "What, you couldn't wait until I got home to ask her?" (That moment turned out to be somewhat prophetic: Almost two years later, when I went into labor with Em--having already asked M to be her godfather--he was again on the road. He hopped onto a plane and made it to the hospital within minutes of my giving birth. He's never forgiven me for not waiting until he got home.)

M took me shopping for my wedding gown, watching me prance around half-naked in dressing rooms up and down Melrose Place (though we ended up buying the first one we saw, because his eye is THAT GOOD), and then did the alterations for me. At our wedding in New York (we had two; one in NY and one in LA), G was one of Baroy's groomsmen, and M was one of my bridesmaids. When the very Italian, very New Yawk matire 'd tried to get him to stand on the groom's side, M said, "No, I'm not on the groom's side. I'm on the bride's side." The guy turned to Baroy, eyebrows raised. "Well, see, we're from California," Baroy said, "and..." The matre 'd raised his hand. "Oh. That explains it," he said.

We all moved out right around the time Baroy and I got married. Things with Mo had deteriorated seriously, and we were all making enough money that we didn't need to share expenses any more. But, to be honest, I rue the day we left. As much as I love my kids and my friends and my house right now, that was by far one of the best times of my life. M, G, Baroy and myself had a major four-way love affair going on. As M slurred to me one night, presenting me with a rose as we celebrated his birthday at A's piano bar, "If you only had a penis, I'd marry you." The feeling was mutual--except, of course, for the penis part.

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