Do you believe in great omens? I do. You know when life just glides, like you’re wearing woollen socks on a polished wood floor, and you can’t help but throw a sideways slide, complete with Fred Astaire arms. Yes, you know what I mean.
I’ve flown to Los Angeles many times but always, a couple of days before take-off, my hands start gripping onto door frames so tight my knuckles are bleached. I get scared. I tell myself that routine is far preferable to adventure, and that the world don’t need exploring. Whilst the wiser part of me just quietly, without fuss, goes about its business, doing the ironing, the packing, unplugging and the lights and throwing away anything in the fridge that could grow into a new cosmos while I’m trotting around a new city a few thousand miles West. Well anyway, my usual bus ride to the airport, through drab shades of grey, Middlesex towns, was replaced with a gorgeous friend, not only driving me to Heathrow, but sat with me until I walked off into the teleportation zone and the blue beyond. The turbulence on the plane that jiggled my bones, thrust the planes trajectory into LAX a whole hour earlier. I had no need to brace myself for mammoth queues at passport control and MY BAG was first on the carousel! I bid fare-thee-well to Victor, my transient neighbour on the plane, who had regaled me with stories and made the 10.5 hour flight feel like 1 hour, and set off on my way to Silverlake to stay with Stan.
Stan is fab. Stan came and got comfy on the chase longue inside my heart on my last trip to LA. I was excited to see him again. I always get this thing, when I see someone again from a previous trip and it’s like….oh, so that really did happen, and it kicks the ass of the ‘once in a lifetime’ thing that some British people like to label any holiday that goes further than the border of the county you live in. It also means that I made a friend.
Everyone should have a Stan. Stan is this guy that makes EVERYONE feel ‘rock star’. His greeting, as he peered at my face under the street lamp, ‘honey, you look FABULOUS. Did you fall in love since you’ve been gone?!’ God…someone wrap him up and put him in my shoulder bag!
After he’d got me all settled in. I sat on my bed..grinning. ‘I’m in America!’ Woo hoo (it usually takes a few days for that fact to come to the fore) Stan had put a vibrant pink orchid in my room, a colourful mound of fruit in a bowl, and a dancing Betty Boo doll on my nightstand. I went to bed happy. In the morning my American cell phone (I so prefer that title to what we in the UK call the ‘mobile’. It has the effect of making me feel instantly hip and a tad more sophisticated), tinkled a message. It was Stan, welcoming me into the day…all soft and sweet..’it’s a beautiful day’ he sang. He was right! The sky was so blue. So inviting. But it took me ages to come out of my studio and into the light. I was chiding myself for feeling so reluctant to leave the womb of my apartment. Crazy, scaredy me was holding me back..AGAIN! Once I did emerge, to go with Stan for a saunter with Bridget, his adorable, animated little Shitzu, all, well not all but most, of my ‘rabbit in the headlights’ little me had evaporated. We parted ways for the day. Stan was off to get his morning donut and I was set on going to my favourite wholefoods store. Nature Mart, on the fringe of the verdant and chic, Hollywood Hills. Yes, when you are a food obsessive..this is what gets you all excited. The discovery of wacky new flavours, alien packaging and exotic fruits and vegetables that have not been sucked of life after days of transit across oceans and plains. I was a happy. I devoured my dreamed about Ethiopian teff roll stuffed with spiced, soft, yellow legumes, and awoke my throat with a fiery ginger and lemongrass kombucha. Only then did I feel ‘home’.
In the evening Stan took me to see The Artist. This movie is a must. A silent film. So new a concept from so old a medium. The art direction is breathtaking. The story so simple and emotionally vital. The dog so darn cute. The French male lead so beautiful and captivating. It is a triumph. I will say no more because you need to experience it, if you haven’t already, with no pre knowledge to the artful production. The audience applauded. The protectionist stood in the foyer and enthused at its magic. People hung around to share reviews with friends. How wonderfully un-British! Impassioned, Stan and I felt we didn’t want the night to end so he drove me to Mohawk Bend. A newly opened, New York style bar, converted from an old cinema. It was full of ‘advertising, arty’ types, said Stan. He proceeded to flirt with everyone in range and spread his easy magic. With Stan, you are left with a glow. His fun words are like torchlight. He’s one of those people who manages to see who you are, the best of you, straight off, and has no bones in delivering his verdict with a Hollywood smile. He makes you visible. Lifts you, blows on your flame, and leaves you charmed as he goes on his way.
Everyone should have a Stan. I have and I’m keeping him! He’s shoulder to shoulder, lounging in my heart along with a few other priceless, treasured souls.
Tell me about YOUR ‘Stan’…..do you have someone who makes the world Technicolor? Please tell us about them…