August 27. 2014
Tuesday night I have work and by midnight, my awesome staff has gotten me a cake and sang me happy birthday and given me some shots. “So what are you doing now? You gonna get hammered?” No, actually, I’m gonna go home and go to bed. And I’m so happy that the idea of staying out late and drinking is so unappealing to me in this moment. I’m looking forward much more to waking up early and starting my birthday right. (God, 30 changes you.)
So I do just that. Wednesday morning I head over to Natalie’s for a morning workout and chant. (Natalie introduction: one of my closest friends out here, we work together at the bar, we’re actors, we hold each other accountable for all our acting endeavors and are there for each other. Also, she is hilarious.) I text her when I’m outside her gate and she takes forever. What the hell is she doing? The door opens and there are Natalie and Gibby (Natalie’s boyfriend; he’s awesome). They’re holding what looks like a wooden block with three pieces of fun size chocolate sitting on it and candles sticking out of each piece. To be specific, a Tootsie Roll, a Nestle Crunch bar, and a Baby Ruth. Aren’t they the sweetest? Gibby really wants me to eat a piece of chocolate. “Which one do you want?” Oh, I’m good. Natalie chimes in (as she does often with Gibby). “Gibby really wants you to have a piece of chocolate. You have to eat it.” This is where Natalie and Gibby have their Natalie and Gibby thing that I love. Like, the expected response from him when Natalie said that would be, Nooo, I don’t care. You don’t have to. But instead, he doesn’t even look up, still looking down at the chocolate. “Which one do you want me to save for you when you get back?” OK, fine, the Baby Ruth. “You got it!”
With that, Natalie and I hop in my car and drive to the Santa Monica stairs. They are steep and narrow and my God, does it burn. We go up the first set of stairs and a homeless lady parks herself right in the middle of the climb and starts yelling. Something about us fucking panting like dogs or something. I don’t know, but it’s scary, so we move on to the other stairs. Do them four times and then I die. Dead. Legs are jello. It feels great.
We get back to the house where I guiltlessly eat my Baby Ruth. Yum. Then Natalie and I chant for 15 minutes. We go for a couple minutes before Natalie stops and turns to me. “What are you chanting for?” Well, when I’ve chanted before, it’s been few and far between, so I really have something to chant for on those occasions. But since I’ve been doing this 30-day challenge to chant every day, I haven’t been thinking about specific things as much. Mostly just for happiness. “My sister chanted for happiness for three years. That’s good.” Oh. OK then. Cool. Happiness it is. “Nothing for your birthday? I’m gonna chant for you to have the best year ever.” Aw, Natalie, thank you! So much love. We get back to chanting. As soon as we finish our 15 minutes, my phone is ringing. It’s Nikki (the director of the play). She would like me to be her Hipster. I just start laughing. What? Wow, I thought that was over. Already put this one behind me. But there you have it. I just booked a role in a play. And I had been saying for weeks that on my birthday I really wanted to have an audition or be working on a set or book something. And I did.
I start to worry a little bit about my finances but Natalie stops me. “Stets, we don’t want to be waitresses. We want to be actors.” You’re absolutely right. I get to act for four weekends in a row. It’s going to be amazing.
Later that afternoon, I meet Jon for lunch. Jon is a screenwriter I met while waiting on him at Brick+Mortar. He’s a regular. Comes in all the time and parks himself at Table 51 where he opens his laptop and puts on his headphones and works for hours. We always talk about writing but now we talk about everything else, too. Sometimes he even lets me housesit for him when his family goes away (he has a sick backyard).
Jon recently finished a screenplay and sent it to me, Anna Rose, and Natalie, with the promise that whoever read it first and gave him feedback would get lunch on him. Naturally, I won. I’m not being cocky. I just love assignments and deadlines, especially when the reward of food is attached. Plus, I know AR and Natalie. AR is super ADD and can’t focus on one thing for too long. And Natalie doesn’t read.
So Jon doesn’t know he’s actually taking me out for my birthday lunch. We meet at M Street Kitchen and I announce to him that it is in fact my birthday today, and I’m 30. He insists we celebrate with drinks. Well, he insists I celebrate with drinks. He has some work to do after lunch. So I order a glass of chardonnay and we catch up on life.
That evening, I uber my way back to Natalie’s, and Gibby drives us (what a nice guy) to The Huntley. It’s a really nice hotel in Santa Monica with an amazing view of the sunset. We take the elevator to the top floor and have a seat at the bar. We might giggle a little as we sit down. It’s ridiculous how excited we get about going out. This is what happens when you work in a bar. You don’t ever actually go out, so when you do, it’s giggle-worthy. We order some fancy cocktail that is quite deliciously expensive. The plan is to have one drink here and then walk somewhere for dinner. Anna Rose meets us a little later and one drink turns into three. Lucky for us, all you have to tell the bartender is that you work at Brick+Mortar and they don’t charge you. Pretty sweet deal.
We leave the Huntley and walk to The Misfit, a bar down the street, for dinner. After dinner we walk back to The Bungalow for one more drink. Natalie teaches me how to be engaged in our conversation while also checking out the scene. “OK so you’re looking at me, you’re engaged,…” I start laughing at her. She laughs with me. “Now you’re laughing, you’re having a good time, and see there’s a guy standing behind me?” I lean completely to the left and stare at said guy. “OK Stets, not like that.” Right. Not so obvious. Got it. I’ll be better next time.
Anna Rose drives us back to Natalie’s and I uber my way home. Have to be up early for my flight to Jersey. Today was a great birthday. 30 is gonna be the best ever.