Click here for the Los Angeles Times Op Ed that ran Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012.
I love those articles that run in magazines following celebrities around and giving quantitative information about them: What time they wake up, leave home, take meetings; how many iPhones, BlackBerries, e-mails, clothing changes, personal assistants, crusades launched before lunch. There was one recently in the Wall Street Journal magazine about my friend Arianna Huffington. I don’t mean to be a namedropper here, but I honestly think of her as a friend even though I haven’t spoken to her in person for almost a decade.
At one point, when our lives crossed in Los Angeles in the ‘90s and oughts, we saw quite a lot of each other. When I was pregnant with my now 13-year-old twin sons, we even had a “date” to a screening of “Bulworth.” Those were the days before Arianna drove and before I had a cell phone and at one point, while I was trying to navigate my Jeep Cherokee to a parking space wherever this event was, she handed me her cell and instructed me to talk to one of her daughters to prove that Mom, just divorced, wasn’t out with a man…”
After the film, Arianna introduced me to her good friends Warren and Annette. Annette had recently given birth and put her lovely thin arm around my enormous girth and whispered in my ear to come with her to a quiet corner of the room, where she would tell me how to survive being a working mom. I followed her and leaned toward her cool alto voice to hear the mystical revelation of how she remained so slim, so perfect, such a babe.
“A swing shift nanny,” she breathed.
“Huh?” I thought. It must have translated to the stupid look on my face.
“You know,” she continued. “Someone to take over from the day nanny and ease into the night nanny.”
“Aha,” I agreed in the recesses of my brain. “Why didn’t I think of that?” The stupid look must have morphed to “Oh, right, I get it now,” prompting the beauteous Professor Annette to continue.
“And in the meantime . . .“
I waited expectantly.
“The pregnancy massage.”
By now, I was rapt. I stared into her pulchritude, counting the tiny creases around her eyes. “I have the most marvelous person,” she continued. “I’ll give you his number. Where do you live?”
Oops. Could I fake this one? Name a street, which she wouldn’t have heard of but would just assume was on the Westside, because that’s where everybody who’s anybody in L.A. lives? No, she’d just follow up. What’s your exit on the 405? Is it near La Cienega or Sunset? Is it off the PCH?
Better just tell the truth and get it over with. I took a breath. “The Valley,” I said.
“Oh.” She smiled, bringing up more wrinkles that somehow didn’t detract from her loveliness and managed to convey simultaneously sympathy and disinterest. “I don’t think he goes there.”
She walked back to Warren and Arianna and out of my life.