beautiful cars

Parts of our house are being renovated. Kill me now. The work in the master bedroom was supposed to take ‘three days’ — and that was a few weeks ago. When done, it will all look awesome, which is why we subject ourselves to this hell in the first place. But for now I am enjoying a brief oasis of stillness and quiet — and of course the very moment I even wrote that the doorbell rang and three guys trooped through into the living room, where they are now rustling paper and speaking Spanish in low deep voices that boom down into this room thanks to the bizarre acoustics.

Had friends over for dinner last night, and this time we had private chef Diana cooking for us. She showed up in the kitchen, eight months pregnant, cheerful and capable as always, her assistants — I swear, the most beautiful people in Los Angeles are either on billboards or serving food in some capacity or other*– setting up the table on the patio since half the house is shut down and the dining room stuff is in storage. So we wined and dined each other under the stars. One of the heatlamps went bust, and it got a bit chilly around midnight or so, but I was still wondering why in the three years we’ve been living in this place with this view, we’ve never even thought to eat dinner outside. (On the other hand, I am a case of skin cancer just waiting to happen, so our indoors natures probably not such a bad thing in southern California.)

Over Diana’s southwestern-influenced food, Scott, who used to live in this house before us — that’s how he and his tall whipsmart wife Jenny became our friends, since we’re all around the same age and have things in common — told us an anecdote about our famous neighbor. One night he came over to have dinner with Scott and Jenny when they were still living in this house, and he noticed the cars in the driveway. (Scott is a total car guy and has made cars his business — in fact, he was a couple of hours late to our dinner last night because he was flying back from some kind of historic car show, where, he informed us, he spent the day walking around and drooling.)

“There were three cars in our driveway that night,” Scott was saying. “A Ferrari, a Mercedes sedan and a Cadillac Esplanade. So Z** is all: ‘Wow! Look at that car! What a beauty! Can I get in it?’ So I said, ‘Well, of course.’ I’m just assuming that Z means the Ferrari, but I see him going over to the Mercedes. And instead of slipping in behind the wheel he goes to the back door and opens it and sits in the back seat. And he’s sitting there, happy as a clam, saying, ‘Wow! This is great! What a beautiful beautiful car!'”

And Scott realized that Z doesn’t drive. He doesn’t even have a driver’s license. He’s been chauffeured around since he was twenty.

A somewhat different perspective. A somewhat different reality.

*One time my husband E’s cousins, all twentysomething guys who live in the Bay Area or the OC, were visiting us. We decided to order in, and I put in a call to WhyCook. We were all talking in the front hallway when the food arrived. I accepted it, signed for it, and as I was calculating the tip I realized the guys behind me had gone completely silent. When the girl smiled and said good night and headed back to her car, I turned around and the cousins were all standing there in sheer, slack-jawed amazement. It was a moment before they could speak.

**This, of course, is not his real name. It’s not even his real initial.

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