I Digress

Photo by James BunoanThere was a Hummer out front, with an insouciantly personalized plate: NATI BYZ, it read, to no one's surprise. Shockingly —shockingly!—it was illegally parked in a fire lane. Fortunately, since we were spending New Year's Eve in gated and properly protected Newport Coast, I had left my keys in the car; otherwise, the temptation to sully my snowy karma with an act of (well-provoked) vandalism might have been too tempting to ignore. Vandalism is wrong, according to my editor —even the vandalism perpetrated by those hilarious anarchists who so charmingly blew up that SUV dealership.

Although it might ruin my chances for a quality tte–tte with some sharply suited Justice Department types, let me warn you that, despite my amusement at the above crime, you should not try to impress me like you're John Hinckley. The way to my tender heart is not through a Molotov cocktail but a champagne cocktail! And if it happens to be laced with a dollop of Rohypnol, you just might get lucky!

Or you might not. The jury is still out on whether the aggressive businessman trying to marry me at Chat Noir two weeks ago had his cousin drop me a granule or two. It was at least an hour after my second drink—after I'd headed off with compatriots Danaand Ginato Dennis Rodman's restaurant, Josh Slocum's, and then within one minute of arriving that I commandeered a $45 cab from Newport Beach to Santa Ana—before I started vomiting on my new red boots. (The cabbie kindly gave me a paper napkin. And then told me I was beautiful, which is true, but maybe not so true right then, so I was a bit confused.) So that is a long time to wait for a date-rape drug to kick in. On the other hand, I had two drinks and was vomiting and passed out before 11 p.m. I had even eaten food! Sun-dried tomato tortellini with a delicious diced tomato and roasted red pepper sauce! And I cooked it my very own self! And the drinks weren't Irish Carbombs!

The morning after my ill-starred Parisian Blondes (which were delicious!) I had to be in Malibu by 9:30 to pick up my son for a trip to Disney's Princess Classics on Iceat noon—he's a metrosexual in the making, that sweet boy—and so I got my hagged-out self up at 8. Then I went out to my driveway and realized I didn't have a car. This was getting complicated.

So I called another cab ($19) and arrived at Chat Noir (Gina had driven from there) at 8:45. I would never make it to Malibu by 9:30, obviously, but nobody could say I didn't try.

The valets, of course, had locked up my keys. So I waited. And waited. And missed my homegirl Arrissia, who used to drive me to pick up my car every weekend that I wasn't driving her to pick up hers, and I sat in the Noguchi sculpture garden, California Scenario, for a while, looking homeless in the season's first crisp winter morning. And then I went over to Pinot in the Westin, where they gave me coffee even though I looked homeless. And then I saw lovely Indian women gathered for a wedding in a rainbow of shimmering saris, plus there was a horse. It was some kind of bizarre French breed—I believe the girl told me it was a Pchtanghlwa—that looked somewhat Clydesdaleish, and she let me pet it, and it was supersoft! Apparently, this was his winter coat, and in summer it's more like sealskin! So I actually had a really good morning. Then the valets came at 10:30 a.m. and gave me my car. But my son didn't get to go to Disney Princess Classics on Ice because some guy with a Porsche thought he was gonna steal some tang. Either that, or I was just too drunk.

Disney Princess Classics on Ice was lovely, of course—I still went, even without my son, because we were taking a friend and her baby girl as their Christmas present, even though the tickets were free. God bless the PR ladies at Disney on Ice! Baby girl was hypnotized for the solid two-hour performance, and I almost started crying during the Sleeping Beauty number “Once Upon a Dream, because Commie Mom used to sing it and “I Wonder” to me when I was a baby girl. They're the prettiest songs in the world after “I Will Always Love You” (the Dolly original, which she done penned, not the graceless, bombastic, overproduced, Whitney Houstoncover) and Neil Young's “Harvest Moon” and maybe “Lotta Love” too. Not “Whole Lotta Love.That's a different song altogether.

Speaking of ice skating, we were bamboozled into going to Huntington Beach's oceanside rink by my sister, after she invited us to watch Assemblyman John Campbell film a commercial at the Boys N Girls Club under construction on Laguna Canyon. Whatever. Campbell has never played bass for The Ziggens, and his opponent for state Senate, Assemblyman Ken Maddox, totally has, even though he's still a Republican and all. And Campbell was totally wearing makeup.

So, the ice skating? I flat-out refused to go, because it was windy-cold, and I have weak ankles that would have just been flopping all over the place, and I hate it. But our girl Dana—different Dana—did, and mowed down scores of children, she claims unintentionally.

Dana promised not to mow down my son, but I'm still not going.

Speaking of my son, I finally did get him back, and headed over with him to the Traveling Langstons' gracious canyon home Saturday night to meet up for the OCCCA opening, but it turned out it wasn't Saturday at all. It was still just Thursday, and I was two days early.

When Saturday actually came, we headed over there again, and the OCCCA show was surprisingly good, so I'll actually have something to write about next week besides “Hooked! The Lure and Lore of Sportfishing” at the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum.

But then we went over to the much-vaunted (and much-despised by those who had signed up for spaces, only to have the price double from what they'd been promised) artists' lofts. And they were horrible! Three stories of crap: paintings of old men, mosaics of sandaled feet, and “erotic” photos of antheriums and breasts. Utter, horrific crap—and these people who can afford the half million for a loft are the ones who are supposed to revitalize Santa Ana? Everyone knows rich people have no taste! Ewww!

One space was good, though. It was a gallery run on the “honor system”: if you wanted a painting in the unsupervised shop, you were to take it, and leave a check in the lock box. Fabulous!

One summer I didn't leave my Berlin neighborhood for two months because the subway there is run on the honor system, and I sneered (jadedly) that I refused to buy a ticket on the honor system, but at the same time I was too afraid of getting popped by the random ticket-checking Polizeito go anywhere at all. But now I totally do believe in the honor system! And my karma's much better; I'd call it snowy even. I don't even key Hummers! Not even when they're parked in fire lanes!

So there we were in Newport Coast on New Year's Eve, at one of the best parties I've been to in my 30 years.

And you'll forgive me—like Jesus! Seventy times seven!—but I'm all out of space.


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