Westsiders have a fascination with downtown.
"Oh, it's going through such a revitalization." "Oh, it seems so cool." "Oh wow, have you been to that new restaurant Bottega Louie - the one that everyone just raves about?"
Then, when you pop the question, and ask them - how about coming downtown to my loft for a drink? - they say, "But, where do I park?" "Can I carry my purse?" (yes, that one is really true), and "Is it scary downtown - like, can we walk at night?"
So much for downtown's revitalization. They are mainly scared puppies, waiting for someone to drag them around on a leash. Or someone to show them the way.
That's what happened one night when my writers' group friend Eva came down from Brentwood.
I had raved about my loft. "Eva, it would be a great place for our writers' group to meet," I said proudly and enthusiastically. And since she was the leader of the group, (and we had been 'invited out' of three different homes) - she decided to build up her courage and come here.
On the drive down, the phone calls from her car began. "Nancy, where is Figueroa?" One minute later. "Do you have any idea where 1st Street is?" "Oh-my-god. I just saw the parking lot next to your building, come down, I'm scared to get out of my car!"
I bounced out the door (as, I said, I'm happy living here) and met her in the parking lot. It wasn't even six in the evening, and there she was behind her steering wheel, clutching her purse (yes, I confess now - she was the one who wanted to know if she should carry a purse downtown), and I opened the door, and said, "Come on, Eva, everything will be just fine."
The 100 yard walk to my building's front door, I am sure for Eva, was filled with daggers in her mind. Who was going to pop out of no where? Would someone shoot at her? Or worse yet, beg for money?
Once inside, I nervously went on and on, about how the staircase right in front of my loft's door, had been in a Hitchcook movie - Spellbound - and since she was a writer and a movie buff - I thought she'd get a kick out of it. She did for a nanosecond. Then the fear daggers came back.
"Nancy, I'm ready to see your loft NOW." As in, let's go inside before they get us.
I opened the door, and if I do say so myself, she instantly started kvelling. "Oh, it is so beautiful. The murals across the way, are so inviting. I love the windows. This is so charming, it reminds me of New York. Yes, you live in New York in LA. How marvelous."
Then, she turned to the right, and saw my bed. My wonderful, comfy queen sized bed. "Nancy, that's your bed," she said, as she pointed to it as if it were a dirty object. "Yes, Eva it is, I live in a loft and you can see my bed."
"The writers' group will be able to see your bed," she said pretentiously. But... since she was desperate for a space..."Perhaps, your loft will work out nicely," she lied through her teeth.
I could not believe how she reacted to my bed. The gall. The nerve. The chutzpah.
Eva left that evening, promising to talk to one and all about holding our next meeting here. Even though she had offended me, I liked the group, and was more than willing to have them come here.
Until, a few weeks later, when I ran into one of our members at a library performance. "Hi, Jane, I'm not sure yet, but our group might be meeting in my loft." She looked at me with a look that was priceless, and said, "I don't think so, Eva told us about your bed. But please don't tell her I told you."
That was it. I was fuming. Eva the bed monger had told everyone about my bed, and there was no way I was going to let her or that group into my loft. Ever!
Well, karma prevailed. I hadn't heard back from Eva after that night, but a few months later, I was hosting an event in my loft. One that Eva wanted to attend badly. She called and said, "Nancy, I miss seeing you and your wonderful loft. You know, I'm a bit short on money, but I'd love to come to your event. May I be your guest?"
There was dead silence on my part for about a minute, then I said, "I know about the bed Eva." Then there was silence on her part. "Well, can I at least bring a pillow?"
Needless to say Eva did not come to my event. And the bed monger, got bitten in the ass.