The waitress always asks us for tea, and we always say yes. It was the time in my life that the only social media I was using was match.com, I was a big fan. It was like a candy shop of men, and you had a pretty good idea of what they would taste like before you bought them. They make it easy while online dating to be the truest version of your asshole heart. You get to click boxes and cut out hundreds of potential suitors based on things that they most likely cannot control. Things that you would never admit to anyone else that are total deal breakers for you. The boxes you click are honest, but also make you feel like the worst human in history.
He must be over 6 feet tall.
He must make over 150,000 a year.
He must like dogs.
My favorite thing to tell my friend while sitting at the 101 drinking tea was:
“I met someone.”
Sadly, her answer would always be, “like, met met, or met online?” I would look at her, wishing so badly that the next words to come out of my mouth were: "Met, in real life. I was jogging in the canyon with my dog, wearing an adorable hot pink sports bra and booty shorts with my shiny long ponytail blowing in the wind and he just came up to me and we started talking, running, then he let my dog lick him in the face. Then he licked my face and in between the water bottles and sunshine and spandex it’s a match made in heaven." When actually, my answer would be, I spend hours of time each night snuggled up to my computer searching through hundreds of make profiles, while in my sweatpants, the ones with the bleach stains. Having not showered for 2 days, and also eating mozzarella cheese, just a big old ball of it with a fork chewing with my mouth open, looking for a mate. Doing all of this because the thought of showering, living, being anywhere where I could meet someone in real life would involve talking, eye contact, and being out of my sweatpants. All of those things seem really overwhelming.
“Haven't met yet met.”
Insert friends awkward eyeroll.
“But he's super cool. His profile is bascially everything I want, photog, skinny, tall, sexy, lives in LA. He's been sending me the most insane emails. We are perfect for eachother. He's amazeballs.”
Insert second awkward eyeroll.
The problem is that I live in an online culture, I buy all my clothes online, I get my restaurants recommended to me online, I get directions, photos, status updates all online. I’m more comfortable with online, we are a generation of human beings with robot hearts and we like it that way.
The easiest thing to do when someone is pointing out your own flaws is to focus them back to their own.
“You need to start playing shows” I say.
"I know. but where? With who?" she replies.
“You should just find some random open mic night in Silverlake and go, I'll go with you.”
And of course, at that moment, like most moments in Los Angeles, a group of impossibly charming, sexy rock n roll hipster boys walk by the table and obviously check out the girls. Their pants are ...oh so tight. I am instantly in love, and questioning why I am not looking for love out in the real world because the real world is full of the really tight jeans, and really tight jeans are...
“Can I bring them?" I say laughing.
It is nighttime and we are walking down the poorly lit street in Silverlake. The street is home to charming store fronts, record stores, outdoor coffe shops and people riding by on cruiser bicycles. She is carrying her guitar case and we are the chichest looking poor people I have ever seen. The sign says, SUNSET JUNCTION, a little cafe filled with trendy looking people. A little yelow sign hangs above the window that says "Open Mic Tonight- $10 minimum purchase"
We find the entrance to the coffee shop, and enter into a dimly lit room filled with books, and random excentric art on the walls. Inside are five small tables with chairs and in front of the window is a single mic and mic stand. In the back of the room is a cashier selling coffee, muffins and bananas. There is a staircase going down beside the cashier. The sign reads "Open mic upstairs, narcotics annoynomus downstairs" There are four middle aged men sitting all at their own table, looking nervous, ready for open mic.
We sit down at a table in the back.
"Everyone understands? Ten minutes maximum, then you're off. Whose first?" says the host of the night.
All four middle aged men raise their hands.
A series of men wearing oversized leather jacket and Nike running shoes takes the stage. They all tell bad jokes. We start out trying to be encouraging, but by the time the third awful comedian takes the stage, our eyeballs are rolling and our heads are in our hands.
Finally, it is her turn.
She heads up to the mic and unlocks her guitar case with a loud click. Sets herself on a stool behind the mic and looks out to me with a nervous smile. No one in the room claps for her, but I go mad, hooting and hollering and making a big deal about it. She struggles with the mic, closes her eyes and begins playing.
The room goes silent, all eyes are on her for a moment, the a few people from the downstairs narcotics annoymus meeting even climb up the stairs to see what this sweet music is all about. For a few moments we think this is going to turn into a magical dream coming true montage of greatness. But it doesn't.
The song ends.
I am still the only person clapping.
"Thank you." she says.
We leave the cafe and walk back out into the night. She is visibily dejected.
"It was really good?" I say. "It was. I wouldn't lie."
She says to me, "You know, in the movies they never show this part. The awkward musical showcase at the comic circus bullshit."
I know what she means. It's like, I wish my mother had been a total dick and forced me to go to school and get a real job. No one ever tells you how hard it's gonna be to follow your dreams.
"It's just hard to believe that with all the people carrying guitars around LA, that there might be something so special about me." She says.
Sometimes, being a friend means speaking the truth, and being a mirror to reflect how wonderful the people who cannot see their own wonderful, are. I was that.
"Well, there is something special about you, but you just can't see it because...you're...you" I say.
And we walk back into the night convinced that we deserve it all, and that we deserve nothing all at the same time.