Last night involved dinner at a well-established Beverly Hills steakhouse with some of the ex-dot.com boys and Steve, the Controller of California. Steve happens to be friends with Bill — not Bill the Art Guy whom I mentioned in an earlier entry — but Bill the Hotel Guy who came out of his highly successful twenties and early thirties wondering, like quite a few of his equally successful, intelligent and workaholic peers, What the hell do I do now? The answer, for Bill, was to become the owner of a hotel in the Dominican Republic and to promote the cause of extreme sports in general and kiteboarding in particular. (The answer for a couple of others was to make movies).
Since Bill started dividing his time between the DR and here his appearance has become fashionably beach-disheveled, his hair a little longer, swept back. The sun has done something fantastic to the color of his skin. He often carries about a world-weary air, which has less to do with actual world-weariness and more with recovering from the night before. “Look at him, he’s all politician’d out,” Bill said, as Steve entered the restaurant in a crisp white shirt and tie and jacket. He looked sharp, focused, leaning forward where Bill was leaning back.
Steve is an appealing, likeable guy, and it’s going to be interesting to watch the future unroll. During the course of the meal — steaks all around — Steve floated the possibility that Arnold might not even run for a second term. He offered a couple of reasons for this that sounded plausible enough. My husband and I discussed this on the drive home and find it unlikely — what does a hard-driving superstar like Arnold do with himself if he’s not a hard-driving superstar? He can’t just step out of that personality like a man stepping out of a suit; no matter the external circumstances, I suspect that drive to conquer another election and serve out another term is hardwired into the essence of who he is.
I could be wrong, and many people are hoping I am.