Julie Makes a Dream Date

The best thing about working nine to five for the first time is not working at 8:59 or 5:01. While flat out quitting would mean losing my unemployment, I am ticking off my sentence on the calendar like Clint Eastwood in Escape From Alcatraz. Should I arrive a couple of minutes early to my mindless temp job taking subscription orders at the Legendary Hollywood Trade Paper, I sit in my car with the radio blasting. While my real hope is to cause a minor earthquake, I'd settle for news of some freak snow, hail or locust storm causing everyone to flee the premises indefinitely. Failing that, at day's end I'm so adamant about leaving work on time that I covertly turn off my computer a minute or two early and sit there like Warren R. Schmidt, watching the clock strike the hour.

At 4:57 on Friday, the phone rang. I considered picking up the receiver and putting it down again quickly, knowing it would then ring through to one of the other girls. But then I saw the trio of office snipes, among whom my precision-timed departures are a running joke, purposefully yukking it up clear over by the Xerox machine.

"Subscriptions, may I take your order?" I asked through gritted teeth, cradling the phone to my ear while gathering my keys in one hand and my bag in the other.

"Yeah, how you doing today?" said a voice double for the rapper Fiddy Cent. "You sound like you fine, baby. You fine?"

"Spell your name, please. Come on, chop-chop."

"First name, "Aggravated." Second name, "Hollywood." A-g-r-a-v, then the number eight --

"Wait, shouldn't there be two "g"s?

"Oh woman, you fine."

"It's one of my favorite words. I also like obliterate, sanguine and nunchucks."

"When I blow up, I'm gonna take you out on the town," said my dream date, "Agrav8ed hOLLYwOoD." Since he takes his mail in Seattle, Washington, I figured that was more a threat than a promise. "I know it's not easy, but you really should try to get down here," I told him. "I mean, since you're already bastardizing the name."

"Oh, I'll be there, baby. I'll buy us a crib in Bel-Aire, how 'bout that? Show off my shorty on the T.V. show."

"Your shorty?"

"That's you, baby."

"Oh. I thought you were being disgusting." When he lowered his voice to whisper his credit card number like the combination to the Philadelphia Mint, I decided he might be crazy, but he sure wasn't stupid. He made me swear the issues would start arriving on time, since he likes to get down to "bidness." Any delay and he'd have to "put out" my "fine ass" and get me fired instead.

"Promise?" I cooed.

"Don't you come at me with any of them nunchucks, girl."

That I couldn't promise in return, since it was 5:01 by the time I walked out the door, past my heartless co-workers high fiving each other and snickering. Another thing they won't tell you in film school is that some people have an uncanny natural ability to fake it until they make it, for as long as that may take. For the rest of us, hanging on even one more obliterating, sanguine, nunchucked minute can feel like too much to bear.


  1. Hahaha...How can you stand working there? When I quit my day job to become a photographer, I swore I'd never go back.

    Sometimes, during filming, I'll be standing for 12 hours in the rain but it still beats sitting in the office (somehow) :).

    Ok, back to my bidness. :)

  2. The man's a genius. Calling a date-line without the $3.95 a minute charge and getting a subsrciption thrown in.

  3. Anonymous3:54 PM

    This has got to be one of the best blogs I have read. Thanks for the good read and hang in there. Make them Bitches squirm.

  4. I don't know if I'd be the best datelin operator, except for those with a fetish for being bitched at. That's show bidness, guys.

    Thanks for writing all! You all keep me hanging on that extra minute...


  5. Found this blog from Kung Fu Monkey. You write like James T. Kirk dominates, which is to say, effortlessly and brilliantly. I'm a writer myself with about 7/8s of your natural chops, so I know it isn't actually anywhere near as easy as you make it look, but I admire your style enormously. And you're funny as baby jesus on a pogo stick, too. Rock on with your bad self. Don't drink the kool aid.

  6. Another one referred by John Rogers here.

    Julie, I so feel your pain. I have often thought that if I had to once again tie on an apron to go take orders at The Cheesecake Factory or answer the phone for one more prick boss who, swear to God, has had me cut their meat at lunch, I would not be long for this world as I would most assuredly implode in a fiery ball of rage.

    On the other hand, as John told me a long time ago, until you make it, always have a day job that you hate. It’ll keep you hungry and remind you why you want to write.

    I look forward to digging through the archives and catching up on your life in Hollywood.

    Best of luck.

  7. Welcome and many thanks for your kind words Highlander and Johanna. We don't always have to say nice things to me here. Sometimes we can say, snap out of it, you self-absorbed gutless wonder. On the other hand, you rock feels a whole lot nicer. Much gratitude for taking the time to write. Tell your friends! JGTH

  8. I am actually worried what he really uses those nunchucks for.

  9. Anonymous9:35 PM

    Julie -- I enjoy your site a lot and it reminds me of everything I miss (moving back to Florida because of an ailing parent). There is someting a little fun about the craziness of that town. I'm looking forward to coming back.

    I was out there exactly five years and moved back in March. I thought I might switch back to writing short fiction and books, but I realized I loved it there. Every homeless guy outside 7/11 in a wheelchair faking it, every jackass barrista with a godhood complex, every silver spooned brat in the Beverly Center is a jigsaw piece in the building of our work. I miss being in a place where things happen and am such in a place that watches the place where things happen.

    What we do is hard, so very hard. We aren't actors that people can size up in a moment from a headshot. We aren't directors with a film in dozens of festivals. We are writers and we have to convince
    people to commit the time to read our work. We are the pains-in-the ass that they tolerate, but the true backbone of what makes them money.

    You have all that and you're a woman. One more strike against you than I have.

    I took a year off, but I'm ready to get back into then fight. I'm being honest with myself and am saying I did not use the last five years there to the best advantage. I actually blew it there and got distracted by life. Do what ever you have to and
    stay. Keep fighting even when the dogs are barking at
    the door.


    "An absolutely necessary part of a writer's equipment, almost as
    necessary as talent, is the ability to stand up under punishment, both the punishment the world hands out and the punishment he inflicts upon
    Irwin Shaw

    9:34 PM

  10. I put up a link on my site too, but it won't generate as many visitors as John Rogers :)


  11. Anonymous5:25 PM

    Vivian horseradish. Sanguine is delightful. As are nunchucks. I like frappe'. Nice blog.