Gathering the Troops

This week has been fun trying to invite people to my Superbowl party. The first and only rule is: no emails as it kind of defeats the whole purpose.

I don’t have a Rolodex of everyone I’ve met in the last 18 months but that’s okay. It’s an excuse to track people down and talk to them.

So first, I called the people I know well enough to have phone numbers for. Gunther obviously. And his stupid friend Gordo. I also called Monica but she wasn’t home and I left a message. I called Scott and we caught up for a bit. He’s been auditioning a lot and has a new girlfriend. I invited people from work like Janet, but not Neil and Kyle because they’re just co-workers not strangers I talk to.

I ran into Polly and she’s coming. And my new friend Luke from the pet store.

Tracking down the rest has been a challenge. I left a note for Maria the cleaning lady but I’d be surprised if she showed up. I also left a note for letter carrier Hung and Pedro the newspaper guy.

But I visited Ramon the dry cleaner in person. He was actually very helpful in explaining who was playing and the backstory for the game. I also invited the Cheese Guy and Check-out Girl in person because I was Whole Foods anyway and it was easy. The check-out girl (with the nose ring) is named Astrid and I made sure to invite her in front of Michelle so she didn’t think I was asking her out. She asked if she could bring a friend and I said the more the merrier.

All in all, I invited a couple dozen people and I have no idea how many will actually show up. But I’m buying a lot of beer and a couple party subs from Bay Cities so hopefully it will be a decent turnout.

Meet Our Panel of Experts

Here’s what our panel of experts had to say, weighing in on the situation with Elevator Girl:

1. Janet in Reception: “Don’t make a big deal out of it. Don’t email her. Just wait until you see her, shrug it off as an embarrassing mistake and move on.”

2. Neil at work: “Marny is much hotter than Michelle. After you break up, do you think she’ll go out with me?”

3. Gunther: “Whatever is meant to happen will happen.” [Thanks, that’s real helpful.]

4. Scott: “You made your move, it didn’t work out, why are you still thinking about this? You should dump Marny and start dating Marny 2, 3, and 4.”

5. Monica: “Just be honest with her. Apologize, but don’t downplay how you feel.”

I have a feeling that I’m going to go with the girls’ advice on this one.

Part-C

The party on Saturday was a blast. Even on late notice, a lot of people showed up. It was a Halloween/costume party/housewarming for Scott and he invited so many people that it was impossible to get from one side of my apartment to the other. I haven’t had a party like that since college.

I was dressed as David, the sculpture. (Don’t worry, I had a gray marble-colored body suit on.) Marny was an Orion slave girl so we kind of matched in a weird way, which was totally a coincidence since I forgot to coordinate with her. Anyway, Scott dressed as a Centaur, but the best costume was Gunther’s Tom Bosley.

Anyway, like I said, it was packed. Lots of women in sexy outfits. I was hanging out with Marny for a while but then she said she had promised to stop by another friend’s party. I couldn’t leave my own party so she took off at around 10:00 and said she would come back later and stay the night.

At 10:01 (it seems) Michelle showed up with Adam. They were dressed as Mr. and Mrs. Brady and it was kind of cute, I guess. I had been drinking (duh) and went right up to introduce myself. Adam is some kind of famous surgeon but all I could think was that he was way too old for her. I talked to both of them for a while until Adam went off to get them drinks.

I talked to Michelle for a long time. But I didn’t make my stupid move there. No, I waited until much later. I was dancing with Monica (platonically) and I kept looking over at Adam touching Michelle. I mean, not like groping her, just you know, putting his hand on her back and stuff. For some reason I was getting really jealous. I know I had no right to be but the alcohol was making me crazy.

At about 1:00 am the party had thinned out and Michelle said she and Adam were leaving. He had rounds or something in the morning. I said, “Can I talk to you in private?”

She went into my bedroom with me and I just blurted out, “I think I’m in love with you.”

I don’t know why I thought this was going to go over well, like she was going to say, “Oh, my, God, I feel the same way.”

Instead, she turned white and said, “I have to leave.”

I said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to freak you out. Wait.”

She stopped and I took her hand. Then I just kissed her.

I know. It was totally stupid. All the signs were pointing toward “Don’t do this.” But I did anyway.

She pulled away. I looked up. There was Adam. He said, “What’s going on here?” and then he just punched me. Hard. In the stomach.

I didn’t throw up but I wanted to. Michelle took off.

And then Marny came back.

I don’t know how I could have fucked this up any worse than I did. I am totally screwed.

Part-A

We are having a party this Saturday night. Officially, it’s to welcome Scott to the neighborhood but unofficially it’s to invite Michelle.

Plus, I have met a lot of people in the past few months and I thought it would be fun to invite every stranger I’ve met. Well, the ones where I got their name and contact info.

Gunther is a given. I’m going to invite Monica as well because I think she’s cool and I don’t care if Gunther gets pissed off. Who knows, maybe the party will make them realize they should get back together.

I’m going to track down Polly, the girl with the three-legged dog. Plus Mario, I’ll text him. I will leave a note today for Hung (wonder what he looks like).

At work, I need to invite Kyle even though he’s a dick. If I don’t invite him and he finds out about it I’ll get a lot of shit. Neil obviously. Also have to remember to invite Janet, the receptionist. And Daphne. And Maria, the cleaning lady? She’s a bit out of the age range for this party, but it’d be nice to drop an invite anyway.

There’s a few others that might be weird to invite like Hector the newspaper guy and Ramon the dry cleaner but if I see them I’ll mention it.

Of course, Scott is inviting people, too, otherwise this party might be pretty pathetic. Maybe his director friend will bring a new girl for me to date after I break up with Marny and before I marry Michelle.

Speaking of Marny and Michelle, assuming Michelle comes, I wonder if Marny will sense that something is up. On the other hand, Michelle will probably bring her boyfriend Kal-El, so maybe I won’t even have a chance to talk to her.

Anyone else out there in L.A. who feels like dropping by a little shindig in Brentwood, drop me an email.

Two’s Company

I have a new roommate. Well, not yet.

But next weekend Scott’s moving in. It’s only for a while, till he finds a new place.

So why did I say yes? I thought of plenty of good excuses to say no that would probably not offend him (and some readers sent in some of their own), but the truth is, I couldn’t justify saying no with the mission of this Project. I’m trying to be a people person. I haven’t had a roommate since college because I liked being alone, but now I don’t like being alone so much and maybe it’ll be nice to make a connection with another guy. You know, make an actual friend.

I talked to Gunther and Monica about this weekend and Monica especially agrees that living with someone else–especially someone you don’t get along with 100%–is a good test of maturity. Besides, Scott already hooked me up with Marny, and though that’s probably not going to last forever, Scott knows a ton of people.

Going the Distance

Venice was fun. Monica and Gunther are like the parents I never had.

I mean, I have parents, but these two seem like a couple from another era. We sat on the sand in Venice and just hung out. No books to read. No paddle tennis. Just chilling, walking along the water, and talking.

So naturally I talked about Marny. I like her. Well, some aspects. She’s actually really smart and she’s got a quick wit. But she’s so obsessed with celebrity culture and trying to become a famous actress it really bugs me. Like if I don’t know who some loser from some reality show is, I’m the one who’s out of touch.

Gunther said something about acting in L.A. that I thought was kind of poetic. He said, “Trying to make it in this town is a no-win proposition. If you fail, it breaks your heart. And if you succeed, it destroys your soul.”

Wow. Nailed it.

So when I went out with Marny last night to see “Going the Distance” (crappy romantic comedies are the price you pay for dating), I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind. After the movie, Marny was analyzing Drew Barrymore’s performance in annoying “actor-speak” detail like how she was “in the moment” and shit like that.

Then she talked about getting new headshots, obsessed about some audition, and fantasized about being in a big Hollywood movie.

I said that it seems like actors are all narcissists. Everyone wants to be famous but nobody wants to do anything worth being famous for. She got all upset.

I tried to make it better by saying, “Why do you want to be famous anyway? Didn’t your daddy pay enough attention to you growing up?” I laughed.

She said, “Yeah, my Dad left us when I was seven.”

Oh, shit.

We went back to my place and just went to sleep. This morning I was thinking, great, now I’ve got a new reason not to like Marny. Not only is she obsessed with celebrity culture and being discovered, but she’s damaged. She’s got emotional scars.

And I’m writing this on my laptop right now as she’s sleeping right next to me and I’m thinking, I don’t feel like trying to fix her.

I Have Plans

For the first time in years, I have plans for Labor Day weekend.

Tomorrow, I’m going to Venice Beach with Gunther and Monica. Saturday night, I’m going out with Marny. Sunday, we’re going to hang out, maybe go to see a movie. And Monday, there’s a cookout at the director guy’s apartment. All things considered, this Talk to Strangers Project has been pretty damn successful.

Mailbox Guy’s Girlfriend

I met Monica last night. Gunther invited me over for dinner and I hung out with the two of them all night. Monica is really cool. She’s in her late-thirties

and divorced and she immediately bonded with me in a big-sister sort of way.

Monica sells jewelry in Venice. She and Gunther have this totally zen approach to life. To them, it’s not about making money or acquiring stuff. They just try to have as much free time as possible so they can go hiking and shit.

I told Monica about the Project and she thought it was really cool. I told her about Marny and how I’m actually starting to like her. Monica just laughed. I’m not sure what was so funny about that but she seemed to think it was a “typical male” way of approaching a relationship.

Anyway, Monica invited me to join them on Saturday in Venice. We’re going to hang out at the beach. It’s weird. I’ve lived in L.A. for four years now and I’ve never actually gone to the beach before.