It’s Day 24 in Los Angeles and I applied to work at Hooters yesterday. I sat in my parked car on Hollywood Blvd at 11 in the morning and poked and toyed with my cleavage until it was kinda propped under my chin. I took a sip of the beer I had poured into my Kleen Kanteen (yes, at 11am), and that thing happened that always occurs after I take a single sip of alcohol– my chest flushes, my eyes fill with tears, my heart tightens, and I am flooded thinking about all the possibilities for me and my life. There I was– in my car, drinking beer before noon, hoping my nipples weren’t showing, feeling very far from my dreams, and trying not to let any tears run my mascara because I still had to prance into Hooters and hum along to Taylor Swift as I filled out an application.
I’m reaching that part of the journey where things start to get a little murky. I can’t find a job, I don’t have an agent, the sight of celebrities and actors fills me with longing and dread, I’m running out of money, I feel selfish, I’m whining myself ragged, I don’t want to be an actress, the monster is here. It’s that particular brand of confusion and self-loathing that can make morning drinking and Hooters applications seem like good ideas. Job hunting, auditioning, hustling for an agent– these things do violence to notions I have of myself as individual. I feel like one of too many, I want to drink and sleep and eat fried food covered in creamy salad dressing in bed. Under the blankets. Wearing a sweatsuit. With the heat on. And the lights off. And no toilet paper anywhere in the apartment. Wait, but if I do that, I probably won’t get hired at Hooters. And I need a job. Damn.
But maybe there’s something to be said for moments like these, too. After the initial flare-up, there’s usually a reminder, albeit a tiny one, of why I’m here, of what I crave, of how many people I love, of all that is right in my world. For me, yesterday, it was knowing that in a few hours, after applying to ten more restaurants, I would be driving home. I would pull up to my apartment on Elmwood Avenue, I would give my roomate’s dog, Boo, a kiss, and I would open all of the living room windows. The afternoon breeze would come in, the hardwood floors would be warm from the sunshine, I would play Townes Van Zandt and change into shorts and lean against a wall with my legs crossed in front of me. I would think about watching the newest disc of “Game of Thrones,” I would contemplate walking over to Larchmont and getting an ice cream cone and a book. I would definitely have a glass of white wine. I would let the time, the air, the space, the hope wash over me. And so I knew, even as I checked the “no criminal history” box on my Hooters application, that there might be something else on the other side of all of this.