Driving around in a city like Los Angeles, you see celebrities fairly regularly. I came here from a small town, so for a while it was quite shocking to me.
My very first week living in LA, I saw someone in Beverly Hills walking down the street, and bigger than life – I knew him! What are the odds?! I thought to myself, “Wow! What a small world! I drove 2,000 miles to get here and in the first week I see an old friend!” I slowed down and couldn’t place where I knew him from. Was it high school? Were we friends in college? Did we work together at some point? Oh, no. It wasn’t an actual friend. It was Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad.
Maybe in my mind we were friends, but not in real life. So one morning I was flying down South Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills, near all the super-fancy shops of Rodeo Drive). I was keeping up with the somehow smooth, fast flow of traffic. If you’ve ever been around this area, you probably will find this part of the story to be the least believable.
But it’s true! Anyway, I’m marveling at the rare and wonderful treat of moving quickly in Beverly Hills, and there’s an older woman on the sidewalk coming up from where the shops are. She’s got short gray hair and is trying to make a call on her phone, but it’s clear that she’s not getting great reception. She’s doing that thing where she’s holding it to her ear, then pulling away to look at it, and realizing she can’t see that well because she’s old and needs to have it further from her face to see clearly, then putting it up against her ear again.
We’ve all been there, right? Where’s the Verizon guy when you need him? I continue flying down the street when this woman, completely lost in her struggle of trying to complete a telephone call, walks RIGHT OUT INTO TRAFFIC.
I slam on my brakes and slam on my horn as loudly as I can, and she immediately realizes what she’s done, backing up onto the sidewalk, nonverbally apologizing. That’s when I recognize her face. Jamie Lee Curtis, is that you?!
I’m a huge fan, but really, you need to take better care of yourself! I realize how badly that could’ve gone, and go about my day with thankfulness that I did not kill international film star Jamie Lee Curtis.
Several months later, I’m on the West Side in Santa Monica very early in the morning and have to pick up someone closer to Malibu. If you aren’t aware of the social geography of LA, Malibu is more posh than posh. Private beaches galore. I rarely have pickups in Malibu because a lot of those people have their own drivers and couldn’t be seen living like one of the plebeians who uses something so cheap and common as an Uber! Aka the opposite of me.
I adore making sweeping generalizations, so I’ll tell you that this place is largely a bunch of 1% d-bags. Filthy rich people who only care about themselves. This was illustrated perfectly as I tried to enter Malibu on surface level streets. They are tight in some spots, near the hills of the Pacific Palisades, and at one point a two way street was down to a single lane because a moving truck was sitting there unloading. I was heading in, but it was rush hour, so everyone else was heading out towards the city. And every single person went right past without any regard for me at all.
I got angry, I swore, I saw red, but the bottom line was that I needed someone to do the right thing. Just one single person in this sea of pricks to look out of their Tesla roadster through their Gucci sunglasses and see that there is a human being in need of some help. Just a simple act of, not even kindness, but civility more than anything. That’s when my savior appears.
Some really fancy car, but I honestly couldn’t tell you what kind, as my mind was foggy from every Mercedes, Maserati, Ferrari, Bentley and Porsche that passed me over those several minutes. The woman driving slows down and stops traffic, leaving room for me to go around the truck, rolls down her window and waves me in. I give profuse thank-you waves, and literally say it out loud, even though she can’t hear me. And as I pass her up close, I recognize her face. OMFG IS THAT JAMIE LEE CURTIS??!
It was nice to know that after our last encounter, she didn’t hold any bad blood against me. Considering it was her fault anyway, I felt like maybe this could be interpreted as her making up for her little misstep near Rodeo Drive. On days like this, LA drivers could all stand to be a little more like Jamie Lee Curtis. LA pedestrians on the other hand, not so much.