The Academy Awards from a Balcony

The show starts promptly at 5:30 PM. I was invited to a private party by one of the advertisers who also works in our office… a gentleman in his 70’s (I honestly never bothered to ask about his age, but perhaps I should’ve). I was picked up at 3:30 PM and it started pouring – just like last year. The private party invitation said something about “if there is rain, we will provide a shuttle”- and so they did. We arrived in a small town north of Los Angeles, and my contact tried to establish the same as he walked up the stairs to the party and asked for the aforementioned shuttle. The shuttle was a BMW Z4 convertible (2-seater, top up in the pouring rain) that led us to a parking space. Little did the shuttle know that it had to transport lil’ ol’ me as well, on top of my contact – literally. So there I was: squeezing onto the lap of a 70-year-old guy (I really did not know where I was, nor did I care to walk in the rain), head horizontal to the roof and holding my breath each time we slowly crossed a bump on the private drive road to the private party. I wish to not comment further, and if I didn’t know myself, I’d totally say that this was made up. It wasn’t.

I popped out of the convertible, breezed past a couple of invitees with a polite, yet quick “hellooooo”, and went straight for the balcony where the wine was stashed. Honestly- my only reconciliation at this point. I usually do that.

I greeted everyone, and quickly claimed a corner of the couch – some of the 20-30 total vierwers got chairs on the sweet little maisonette upstairs. I didn’t, but my corner was just fine, after I had placed my bets on this evening’s winners (there were categories posted on cardboards everywhere in the house, and you got to place your number on a sticker on each of the cardboards, in order to win big cash afterwards).

The average age at this party is between 45 and 65, and I feel more and more comfortable (perhaps it was the wine, I’m not sure). The hostess is dressed for the occasion (blue sequin dress, calluses pressed into her pumps) and screaming from the top of her lungs as Neil Patrick Harris performs his initiating musical number. What I admire him for is that he doesn’t try to measure up to the previous year – it feels like a completely different scene, and you know he owns it! Neil Patrick Harris IS New York Musical Broadway. And he knows his métier. I’m impressed.

The first presenter is Lupita Nyong’o. An off-screen voice behind me screeches “Mary, don’t you love her?”

-“Yes” (Mary)

Glad we settled that. Mary loves Lupita and her 60,000 beads weighing about a ton.

I forget who wins the first Oscar and venture off to find something to eat. I land in the kitchen where I introduce myself to Alessandra and Jack. Alessandra is from Italy and does not make a secret out of the fact that “Southern Italians… we are the best”. My former stepmother, whom I deeply despise, is from Southern Italy, and I simply nod. I did not make an effort to ask her how she came to this opinion; I simply assume that she must be right, and walk away in an attempt to find more food.

I walk back to my little corner of the couch, where I find a lady past her prime in a man’s arms who isn’t her husband, nor is he anybody’s husband… once upon a time I’m sure he was, but for now, he’s the hostess’ father. Ok. The lady in his arms is wearing a tight tight black dress with a gold chain around her waist, is very loud, and appreciative of the hostess’ father’s attention. No judgment. I take my corner and watch.

As usual, the movies I’m rooting for did not win too much. I’m happy that Reese Witherspoon was a presenter, and that the Grand Budapest Hotel won 4 Oscars (really? 4?? I only knew of two… I just read up on the final results – I must’ve been out on the balcony way too long). I went to socialize with Christy on the balcony (initially, just to get some more wine- I absolutely must not contain my desire for wine at this point; and I’m honestly stressing this). Christy is a friend of Cynthia’s, who is a writer. I’m meeting both of them for the first time at this point. Both women are currently going through their third or fourth divorce and have no high opinion of men, but beautiful dresses matching their gold shoes and jewelry.

I also meet Alessandra again, who is also currently going through her second divorce (it may be an open competitio in this city), and she’s also having the same definition crisis (see earlier article) as I am. She turns out to be someone that I like to talk to. Mary (the hostess) is actually a producer.  She calculated our winning and losing numbers on the bets quicker than anyone and the general consent is “Yeah, she works in production – she’s always organizing”. Interesting – so that’s what producers do…

The gentleman who had been putting his arm around the lady in the tight black dress earlier had edged over to the end of the couch, and nobody was quite sure whether he was asleep or in fact a minute closer to the end of his life. “Check his pulse”, someone suggested. “I’m ok” – the gentleman confirmed.

Everything is ok.

I missed about an hour of the 3.5-hour show while I was out on the balcony, talking to Alessandra an Christy. During this hour, I had apparently now joined a book club and needed to go to the “Stone House” before 10 am to meet someone named Bruce. I have no idea why I would be doing any of this, but I will, just to find out. Stay tuned!

Congratulations to the big winners. I think Neil Patrick Harris did a fantastic job, from what I actually saw. This was a confusing, yet enlightening night – I definitely know that I’m in Los Angeles. Thank you for that! Just FYI, we also won $40 together ( I won $16, the  gentleman I went with won $24), and we each spent $20. It all comes back to you, I swear!

(#My500Words Day 7)


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