Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Dumb Blonde Lightbulb Moment

I know you have asked yourself this, how many blondes DOES it take to screw in a lightbulb

Sure, this is a joke of mythic proportions. Along with all the other dumb blonde jokes. Hell, I've even laughed at most of them. Mostly because I'm blonde and I can screw in a lightbulb, so, you know, ha-ha.

But now the joke should be, "How many blondes does it take to screw in a halogen lightbulb, or fluorescent lightbulb, or energy savers, or LED's or CFL's? This joke just got real.

I'm not going out on a limb here by saying I'm pretty darn good around the house. I can fix broken doorknobs, drain a sump pump, change a fuse, light a water heater, patch a boo-boo and even mow the goddamn lawn.

Recently, my office wall light, hidden behind a lovely sconce, burned out. I replaced it with another halogen energy saver. Didn't work. Then another. Nothing. So I typed in the dark because who has time to deal with this stuff. I have books to write.

After tripping over my kid's tennis shoes for the fifth time and finally twisting my ankle, I thought I had better call an electrician  But first I had to find one. I certainly wasn't going to faffle with the wiring behind the sconce. A girl could get electrified.

At the same time, two wall sconces blinked off in the guest bedroom. So he or she could fix those too.

In my neighborhood, a fabulous woman called Paulette Light started this referral system. I had actually started one of these years ago, before Angie's List; I was even in beta, but I am just too damn ambitious. I wanted a referral system in every city in every state, then every country, all at once.  I was 70 pages deep in HTML planning with no end in site and eventually put it aside and moved on.

So when I came across Paulette's TheFriendex,  not called Momstamp I was overjoyed.  It works! Because it's our neighborhood and nearby environs, but is quickly growing and made up of friends, friends of friends, and so on. So the referrals are much more dependable and reliable than say- Yelp- which I never believe anyway.

I found a short list of electricians and jotted down their names.

"Hi. Is this the electrician?"
"Yes. I'm an electrician."
"Oh fabulous. I got your name off Momstamp. People seem to like you."
"Oh. Great. I can't say I know what that is, but happy to hear it."
"So this is Manny?"
"Uh, no. Josie."
"Oh, sorry, I wrote a bunch of names down. Anyway..."

I went on to explain my entire ordeal and almost got into my childhood before he could stop me. Then Josie said:

"What's a conch? You have sea shells on your wall?"
"No... you know those things on the wall that cover light bulbs."
"Oh. Sconce?"
"Yeah. Sconce. Sorry. Did I say conch? I've been writing all morning. My brain is mush."
"Okay. Have you put in a new bulb?"
"Well sure. But it didn't work."
"What kind of bulb?"
"The new kind. The twisty kind."
"Those are fluorescence energy savers. In some houses, they work for a bit, then stop. Have you tried an old fashioned bulb? The kind from 50 years ago?"
"Shit, has it been that long?"

I put in an old fashioned bulb. It was tricky because I couldn't see inside the sconce.

"Okay. Hit the on switch. The wall switch."
"Oh. Right."

And it worked!

"Oh my god. I have light. Josie, you're a genius. Can you help me in the guest bedroom?"

I took the phone into the bedroom and stood on a chair, just over the bed.

"Oh. These are shaped like a worm."
"Okay. Those are halogen. See the clips that are holding the worm?"
"Yep. I'll unclip those."
"Well, be careful. Don't touch it if it's hot."
"It's freezing. I did it! But I can't wiggle this worm out."

And with that, I fell off the chair. It seemed like slow motion. Like in a Tom Cruise movie. My entire body was in free fall, the phone flew to the ground and I hit the bed and bounced once.

 I quickly got up and grabbed the phone.

"Josie? Sorry. I dropped the phone. I think I will leave this for later."

No way was I telling him what happened.

"Well, you sound all set."
"Can I pay you? You are so awesome."
"No. Glad I could help."

I had a feeling Josie was laughing his ass off after he got off the phone. I actually just told a woman how to screw in a light bulb. I bet she was blonde.

I now have light. In every room. And if I trip, I can no longer blame the dark. I do keep flashbacking on that free fall. Thank god my bed was there.  But then again the reason I fell is that I stepped on one of the 20 fat pillows I stack on the thing for some reason.

Which, btw, I just purchased on Dark Friday.

Rhonda Talbot weighing in on light bulbs.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Something About Einstein

I came across this article today that distills into 10 "Kick Ass" lessons we can all learn from Einstein. In reading, I thought I would repost something I wrote as these are the very lessons that have carried me through my life and in my opinion essential to everyones. But I call them gifts. Einstein was a gift to all of us.

My published Einstein article.

When I was eight-years-old, my young mother handed me a slip of paper with an Einstein quote, “He who joyfully marches to music rank and file, has already earned by contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.”

Why she gave this to me and not her other five children remains unclear. Perhaps she saw in me my disillusionment with the rat a tat, airless echo of school, the Catholic Church, the Sunday roast dinners, our predicable life.

I had been punished a number of times for staring out the school window day-dreaming, maybe about stink bugs, who knows? Then thwack goes the ruler, held by a tightfisted, chalky nun, who sent me off to kneel on the concrete hallway floor for two hours. I would later go home and draw pictures of nuns being kidnapped, held in dark closets being starved to death, begging for mercy, often choking on their own wimples. I hid the stories under my bed, accompanying the other stacks, all stories concerning some level of inequality.

It was during this time, music and freedom were calling my mother to another place, another life, one where she wouldn’t be a “wife,” a more hopeful existence. She was a “hippy” to my father’s buttoned- up businessman.

By the early 70's, she had had enough. My mother did not have many heroes, as they were fleeting and then dead; Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, the Kennedy's, she herself became disillusioned.

But there was something about Einstein that settled into her very core, then mine.

A few days later she confided in me. “We are leaving. Tell no one, your sisters won’t understand. Thor (my father) will be at work and return to an empty house, to compliment his empty existence.”

Then: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” She added, “Don’t forget that. Ever.”

Thus began my own obsession with Einstein. I tucked these quotes into my grandmother’s jewelry box she had given me just prior to her death.

Legions of people remain enamored by this brilliant man, Albert Einstein, not just for what he discovered, accomplished and how he radically changed the world, but because of his childlike innocence, his unlimited curiosity, his great humility, and a legacy of words that continue to endure.

He was a rascal, those wild eyes, the mop of hair, his crumpled clothes, the rumors of his flirtatious encounters. This made him real for the rest of us. He has permeated our culture from the Three Stooges to the bobble heads in the film Night at the Museum.

When you ask a complete stranger to define genius, they often replay casually, “Oh, Einstein.”

I began to collect quotes and read about him in libraries, his humour brought me tremendous comfort. He wasn’t some impervious man one couldn’t access. Quite the opposite. He didn’t believe in separating himself from others and in fact, loved sharing his ideas, while helping others expand on their own. He was approachable. Both alive and dead.

To this day, I keep a tip sheet of quotes tacked up near my computer, and read one every day. It really doesn’t matter which one, as I come away with yet another interpretation.

Born with a kind of eternal intelligence, his curiosity about all “things” began to emerge at age four. While examining his father’s pocket compass, Einstein was baffled. What was causing the needle to move? The empty space made no sense to him so he began to build models and mechanical devices. He wanted answers.  All that empty space! 

Why Einstein? Among so many brilliant minds, he continues to inspire. What of DaVinci, Tesla, Newton, Hawking, Aristotle, Edison, Cervantes. The list goes on. They too share not just powerful minds, but an endless pursuit through curiosity and instinct. They knew knowledge was important, had to be learned, but could only get them so far. The rest is mystery.

My belief is Einstein embodies the mystery. He thought through images and sensations. Something we can all understand. His quotes alone speak volumes and one quote could be expounded into an entire book. “Keep things simple---this requires patience, perseverance, allowing room for empty spaces.”

Turning complexity into simplicity is no easy task.

So many of Einstein’s ideas, beyond his incredible discoveries in the world itself, which would ultimately turn the world on its head, would all contain room, empty space, air to breath.

E=mc2, is thought to be the most famous equation in all of physics eventually setting the stage for the development of the Atomic bomb and nuclear power plants. But had he known where this was going he thought perhaps he should have become a watchmaker. Einstein was very much against war.

He worked on this equation for ten years, never game up, tossed it about until it made perfect sense. Input, criticism, rejection. He embraced all of it. His critics challenged him to work harder. One of the greatest lessons I've learned from Einstein is to embrace criticism, and not take it personally.

To this day, his theories inspire advances, in science, astronomy, physics, philosophers, new-agers!

I’ve been to my fare share of enlightenment lectures, where the self-appointed "gurus" often spout some version of, or direct quote from Einstein. “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” “Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds. “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used in creating them.”

Despite the many great brains, his would be the one cut into 240 pieces, kept in jars, cardboard boxes, often hidden, studied under microscopes. (We must get to the bottom of this!) Bits of his grey matter still remain in the University of Princeton hospital. All those years of cutting and probing and analyzing, really amounted to very little as most was hypothetical.

The irony rattles the very jars into a pulpy mess if only because it contradicts what Einstein tried to impress. Stay curious, questioning, love the mystery. Conventional knowledge, though essential, is finite. Imagination is not. This is what Einstein embraced. Perhaps the lore of his brain in a jar, rather than say Plato‘s helps prolong the iconic myth.

As a boy, his father of course knew little Albert was gifted, and perhaps because the elder Einstein (an engineer) had failed at so many businesses, he insisted his son stay in school. He enrolled him in a school in Munich to pursue engineering, but Albert was frustrated with the educational system and clashed repeatedly with the authorities, resented their teaching style and further still wrote about how schools were essentially killing the creative spirit and curiosity of its students. He was 15.

”The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”

When I read this in Junior High School, I could finally relax; a simple statement that brought along a universe of vindication because I simply could not understand the entire educational process of rote learning. It was too easy, too boxed in, too impersonal. I realized I would have to find my own way intellectually alongside the traditional, through books, and by age 12, sitting in on lectures by Rollo May, Erik Fromm, B.F.Skinner, Timothy Leary, and Marshall McLuhan.

I was no genius, simply curious and frankly bored with school and given the number of times my by now gypsy mother moved, staying on track in class made me weary. Another school, another teacher, another set of young people I would somehow have to navigate.

Something Einstein ingrained in me and I hope to never lose is his insistence that we all stay curious, intuitive and of course, maintain our sense of humour.

After countless failed exams at higher learning institutions, and his works of genius being overlooked, he carried on anyway with his writing and exploring; at the Patent Office, the only place he could find a job. Funnier still, he was overlooked for a promotion because he had not "managed to grasp technology!"  Nonetheless, it was here, the now 26-year-old Einstein would develop some of his most radical notions. Unrecognized and working for pennies. Inspirational indeed.

It would be ten more years before he would be awarded the Nobel Prize, (for his discovery of the law of photoelectronic effect) but after he became famous, the world was no longer just a place to study; it had become his stage, the Universe his canvas and he made all of this relatable to us.

Traveling the globe and meeting new cultures was an enormous highlight in his life.

His works, books and various biographies became my anchors during the hard scrabbled years of my life. As though their very weight kept me from floating away into space as my family drifted aimlessly around the country. He was my kite string and I held on tight. He made the crazy seem sane. The insane seem okay.

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger; who can no longer pause to wonder and strand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”

Recently, while driving my own eight- year- old girls to school, I said, “Remember, imagination is more important than knowledge.”

Through the rear view mirror, I watch them both roll their eyes in that “Oh please, Mom, just drive,” kind of way, they said in unison, “Okay, Einstein.”

Rhonda Talbot on her love for Albert Einstein.

Friday, November 23, 2012

We Bought A Zoo - sort of

This is a take on 'like mother like daughter'. Eve knew at eight what I didn’t figure out until age 30, regarding men; in her case, boys.

After spending many years in my teens, 20’s and early 30’s hanging out with guys who had no interest in me, though like a romance detective, I would decipher any remark, gesture, lack of remark or gesture, that in fact there was great interest, it was suggested to me to hand write on a sheet of paper, a list of what I was actually interested in regarding a mate. I thought this was so silly and dismissed this advice immediately.

I wasn’t really interested in a “mate” if that meant anything resembling a commitment. I was a carefree girl, like Blake Lively in the movie Savages. I think at one point I had four boyfriends at the same time, but nothing serious.

I was more keen on a challenge, or setting my sights on an unattainable guy to fall in love with me. That was my end game. Then he could leave.

And I set my goals pretty high, that is, picking men that would require a lot of effort; popular actors, hot musicians, sexy marrieds, men on the Forbes list. But I knew I could never turn a gay so didn’t waste my time there.

I did have a short marriage to a handsome actor, but knew also he had tons of other girlfriends. Not that I cared. It was more about closing the deal. But after a while, this situation became downright embarrassing.   

“I saw Blah-Blah with this hot chick in the gym whirlpool." Then someone would add, "Oh, I saw him grinding Miss Famous TV Star in Ralph's parking lot." This went on for a while. I found it amusing.  Finally a few girls did an intervention. 

"Don’t you care? He’s your husband and father to your son." "You could get crabs!" "Weren't you raised Catholic or something?" "Where is your pride?” Well, that one bothered me.

While Blah's actions didn't concern me, I did care about my reputation, or I guess I cared what other people cared about it. People were looking at me like I was some kind of door-mat, or worse; a bad parent!!

So when he was off shooting a film, I decided to file for a divorce… but just before I had a chance, I met this adorable 23-year old who lived with his mom, so in an effort to speed things along, I threw the husband out and had the boy move in.

The boy and I had a few things in common: music, films and spending my money. He also travelled in a pack which can get awkward. And expensive.

Also his mother didn't like me much. She was a big time feminist and judged me because my own mother had been a Playboy Bunny back in the day.

I quickly moved on to a high profile artist, though I had no idea he was married (killing two birds in a way.) 

I was nearing my 30’s so this had to stop, dammit, if only because my son was getting old enough to gauge my mood swings. Prior to my dating string, I didn't have mood swings.

Muhammad, a clerk at the Ride-Aid, is like a mood ring. He lives in a perpetual state of ecstasy and wears holiday hats.

He saw me nearly everyday, and depending on how I appeared, he would adjust his interactions. For example, say I am in my pajamas buying shampoo.

"Ah, the goddess has arrived. Some day you make good man a very happy man." 

I would break into tears, followed by laughter. Then tears. I held it together my entire life and now I'm coming undone? This made no sense. 

My moods were out of control, so when I saw this cute guy walking his dog in my village I asked for his number. Without solicitation. He looked like Ben Affleck so that was enough. 

“Hey, can I have your number?”
"Call you later."
“I should tell you I’m a loser and have nothing to offer. You’d think by 35 something might have panned out, but no.”
“Shit happens.”  Here I was quoting Forrest Gump. I kind of felt like him.

Ben Affleck's doppelgänger was true to his word. I had to pick him up as he didn’t have a car, or a job, or a decent pair of jeans and he lived with his great aunt Mildred in Torrance. He was also not very bright. He didn’t know who the Vice President was.

"Yeah, I'm not a Bush fan, but I like Jeb. Maybe he will take over, yunno?"
"Jeb has already been President. So."  I've never claimed to be the kindest person.
"Right. Can he run again?"
"Of course, Ben. I think you should double vote for him."
"It's Eric."
"Who cares?"

I should point out he was not in any way afflicted with mental deficiencies. He was simply dumb.

"You don't have to call me, okay?"
"My great aunt doesn't have a phone anyway."

With my son at his dad's, and feeling lonesome, I went to the movies with plumber Joe. He picked me up in his dilapidated work truck and it got worse from there. I liked him as a plumber, so didn't proceed with the "date." 

"Could you kindly take me back home? I'm having internal girly issues."  Men never, ever question this.

I called a girlfriend and she told me if I wanted a man in my life, I ought to make a list of qualities I would like them to have, then shove it in a drawer. I made the inane list and decided to not see any more men, get on with my life, focus on my son, my job, my life. I was so much happier.

A couple years later I meet Mr. Nice guy at Starbucks, who was relentlessly harassing me and holding up the line until I gave him my number. But he was hokey funny about it. 

"What's funnier than a mocha? A bloka? Get it?"

At first I had no interest in him because he paid way too much attention to me; the calls, the flowers, the weird greetings cards, “I meow you?” Really? 

Nonetheless, my girlfriends urged me to keep seeing him, give it a chance. He was single, age appropriate, educated and had a job. And clearly was into me. He called everyday, sometimes twice.

“Hey there! Just calling to tell you it’s 80, the sun is shining, and don’t forget to go outside and take a big bite out of that orange ball!”  He sounded like Rick Dees, drove a unfashionable sports car and had a company called Vegables despite his being an attorney.

“Maybe he has a puppet business on the side.” This was my sister’s explanation. “He likes kids; that’s good.”

I kept on, despite my utter discomfort, and waited for four months before he would meet my son. Their interaction is what clinched the deal, since he did all things boys love to do, play catch, rollerblade, do cartwheels, fart and laugh.

“Mom, this is how it should be! Finally it’s not so boring around here.”

My son was seven, and frankly I was growing tired of putting together 12,000 piece Lego buildings.

Years pass, we marry, and he asks if I would consider having a baby. I didn’t think it would happen so I said yes.  And not only did it happen, but I had twins.

I took to the bed for two years. My life as I knew it was over. No more travelling, no more getting validated for a job well done, no more parties, no more fun… and to think another 18 years of this!  Just when most of my friends would be shoving their kids out of the house post college and going to Tuscany, I would be attending parent-teacher meetings, birthday parties, museums, zoos, and teaching them stuff!

Well, it’s simply endless, not to mention, I would now be the OLDER mother as opposed to the young single mom which I kind of enjoyed because it threatened all the other older moms.

When the girls were eight one of them wrote of list of what she thought she might like in a boy, if she were to ever marry. Where this came from, who knows?  She told me she had no interest in ever getting married but thought the list might come in handy. 

When I looked at her list it bore an eerie resemblance to the one I had written, but I was 31, and she was eight.  Let’s compare.

My list:    (I never throw things away so there it was still in my lame box with this photo!)

1)     I am his first priority 2) Must have job 2) Funny!!!! 4) Smart 5) Well read 6) Kind, caring 7) Active 8) Likes animals 9) Cute but glasses, hair loss, bangs not a deal breaker.

      Bangs not a deal breaker? WTF? Likes animals? I don't even like animals. I must have been assuming if an animal lover would also like kids. At least I didn't put double-chin okay.

Apparently these days on the school grounds girls chatter about all types of subjects, but she told me there is one group that is mostly concerned about boys.  

“Boys, boys, boys,” she said.  “I don’t even care. These are the same girls that are all aflutter over Persian cats and fancy pants! They don't even like rats. Snooty. I mean who would not want a boy who loves dogs? Or snakes? Or geckos? It makes no sense. They only care about Justin Bieber. I told them, --Oh no, you didn't just say that and hell to the no!”

When I looked at her list a number of times, every characteristic pretty much defines their father, who takes them to the zoo constantly, pet stores, rescue centers, farms, peoples yards, and they are all in cahoots regarding these animals so I won't find out. As if, they are everywhere.

They are hidden all over the house. We are talking, well the dogs, but also wild life -- mini sharks, gerbils, hamsters, birds, reptiles, snakes, rats. They have actual shrines with candles and inspirational quotes.

And now they want a zebra. This is where I will have to put my foot down. I'm pretty sure what they are doing is illegal already as a house can only handle so much without being an actual zoo. Of course one of their favorite films is We Bought A Zoo. Dream come true. (But I would be dead in that, right?)

Eve's List:

Rhonda Talbot on growing up, romances, marriages, children, animals and snakes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Halfway Decent Girl of Thanks

Just to a note to all of those who are purchasing my first novel, A Halfway Decent Girl, off this website. I was quite happy to receive orders and happier to send them out. Your interest means a lot to me.

All of this Amazon and other sites are so very complicated, and I like adding a personal touch. Sort of a virtual book signing.

Beating Heart

So thanks again as this helps me push forward to complete the next book. Getting there....

As all writers know, we need the occasional break and sometimes I just go to Russel Brands crib. He's super nice and gives me words of encouragement like "Hey then, you can do it. Right on." Btw, he has an awesome set up.

He has a view of a lovely Pepper tree, along with phone wires.  But still, I mostly just look at walls where photographs still need to be hung. Ideally I would like my desk to look like this.

But alas, it looks like this, or a teeny portion of it.

I should mention Melatonin is a lovely sleep aid when needed, it truly works. I keep it on my desk because I forget to take it sometimes and then I can't sleep which makes pushing the rock much harder the next day.

Insomnia has always been an issue since age ten, so if anyone has a solution, you will get a free book. And I will throw in one of my kids paintings because I sense they will be much more valuable with time than my own artistic endeavors.  Thanks again!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My night with Keith Richards

Years ago Keith Richards was my knight in shining armor.

Before I became an overly enthusiastic admirer and amateur historian of Keith Richards, I found myself sitting on the deck of the Hotel du Cap, having lunch with my boss, a prestigious director, a couple of producers from LA and two Rolling Stones.

It’s a rather amazing lunch experience all by itself if only because of the unnaturally beautiful and exquisite setting. The sea is turquoise; the sky is navy blue and the sun throws off a golden glow as though a handful of glitter was tossed down from the sky blanketing the entire affair.

Fun fact: the infinity pool had to be dynamited out of the cliffs and Edward the VIII’s dog is buried in their special celebrity pet cemetery.

Meanwhile, we were talking about a film project Mick Jagger and his team wanted to put together. I have no idea why Keith Richards was there. He sat at the head of the table, wearing a straw hat, a Hawaiian shirt, smoking a cigarette and said very little but would sometimes hum.

The producers were pitching this project about a fading rock and roll star that is given a 2nd chance. “This has Academy Award all over it!” I kid you not.  

This novel line came from blowhard producer, Billy, who talked the most and kept ordering expensive liquor and pushing around the staff. I knew him from LA, never liked him. How he even got on the project was a mystery but that happens often in Hollywood.

I should mention the staff at this hotel is outstanding. These men will throw themselves over a puddle in order for you to cross without getting your shoes wet. And they all wear crème colored outfits that match the hotel. I loved them.

My mind started to wander as it does in pitches and Keith leaned over to me.

(You will have to imagine the accent because I can’t write it properly. He talks in a very distinctive way.)

 “Hello. I’m Keith. You a friend of the directors?”
“Well, not really, I’m more on the production side.”

This made no sense. “Oh, I’m Rhonda.” 

"Help me Rhonda, help, help me, Rhonda," he sang. I mean Keith Richards sang at me. 

“Yeah, I get that a lot.”
“So you work with Billy? He’s one of the producers?”

Billy was shoving caviar in his face.

"No! No. I work with Pierre, the French financier."

I wanted to confide in Keith, tell him I loathed Billy, that if he is involved this film will never happen because he is that big of an asshole.

“Good for you. Beautiful day, right?” And with that, he got up and left.

“Pleasure,” he said to the group and wandered off through the throngs of people.

Back then I was quite ignorant regarding the Rolling Stones, knew very little, so little I could really only think of a few of their songs and I always equated most of them with Martin Scorsese. Despite the fact that I had been to at least four of their concerts.  Now I have so many favorites, well I nearly covet them all.

That night as I headed back to the hotel, Billy was in the bar. The bar is essentially a big hangout for celebrities. There is also a whole older rich man, younger model thing happening too. I never went in there.


“Hey. Wanna get a nightcap?”
“No Billy. I have work in the morning.”
“Well, who the fuck doesn’t. I can give you some coke for when you wake up.”
“No. But thanks.”

He grabbed my arm.

“Have a drink. Jesus. How often are you in the South of France? At the Hotel fucking du Cap. Plus how weird we are here together.”
“Why is that weird? We are both on the film.”

“Okay, come to my room and let me show you some one-sheets at least. You’ll be out of there in ten minutes.”

I reluctantly agreed, thinking if I didn’t go it might mess things up if this film were to actually happen. 

He opened his door like, voila, check this shit out. I have an expensive suite!

“Nice digs, right? View of the Mediterranean. Shame I’m alone.”

He had the eggplant suite. The hotel, as said, is amazing, but I found it funny he was in this room. The decor is hideous.

“Where’s your wife?”

“Oh, she stays back home with the kids.  Kick off your shoes. Take a hot bath if you want. There’s jellyfish salts in there.”

See why I despised this idiot? Also, he looked like a combined effort of W.C. Fields and Gary Busey but with even bigger teeth. And he had small, creepy hands.

“There’s also a Jacuzzi with a velvet robe on the door. Should I order up some champagne?”

“I don’t drink.  So where are the posters? I need to get to bed.”

“Well go lie down. It's a French King. Huge. Like my dick."

Now I'm getting alarmed.  How much coke was this freak on?

Before I could grab my satchel, he had his shirt off and pushed me into his fleshy stomach. Seriously gross. 

“You want some of that? There's more down below."

I slipped out of his grip and headed for the door. 

"Hey now. Don't be like that. We’re in the city of love. With the Rolling fucking Stones!”

“Get away from me. This is not the city of love, idiot.”

 He was standing there, fumbling with his pant zipper then showed me his back.

"How about you give me a quick massage? You're too tensed up."

He had that kind of hairy back business. Could he possibly be more of a cliche? By now, I was more revolted than scared. 

I moved fast toward the door. He followed.

“I have a raging hard-on. Look at my dick!”

“As if!”

“Come back! What are you doing? Everybody has affairs here! I don’t want blue balls.”

Running down the hall, I feared he might be behind me, so I bypassed the elevator and ran to the exit stairwell.

Because my company was French, they had all these deals with hoteliers and put me in an Eden-Roc suite, usually reserved for Tom Cruise, Royalty or the Pope. I have no idea why me.

Walking toward my room, clutching my leather case to my chest I must have looked somewhat disheveled.  Then there is Mick Jagger and Keith Richards walking toward me. 

“Hey. It’s you. The money bird. You a’right?” Keith asked.

I sighed. Should I tell them? But they’re guys. What would they care? Not just guys, but famous ones. Yet, who am I? But they seemed cool. And shouldn’t they know the kind of people they would be dealing with if the film moved forward? They had morals. I heard it in their music. I felt a moral obligation.

“Well, you know that guy Billy.”

They both nodded and rolled their eyes. I guess everyone knew he was an asshole.

“Well, he insisted I come to his room.”
“Oh no, oh dear. What that bastard do?” Keith asked.
“Well he kept pulling on me, then started taking off his clothes and wanted to have sex. It was gross.  Anyway, I kicked him and ran out of there. I hope I didn’t mess anything up on the film.”

“Oh my god no. What a cunt.” This was Mick.
“We’ll take care of it,” Keith said.
They both patted me on my shoulders.

“You want to come down with us for a drink?”
“No. I need to get up early. Sorry, I didn’t mean to slow your night down.”
“No worries. We’ll take care of it. Get some rest.”

“Thanks.” I smiled and all I could think about was how awful my outfit was; a cheap black skirt, a white T-shirt and a cardigan.  A smarter girl would know how to dress, have drinks with two rock stars and grow up! But I was scared.  I wanted to crawl into bed and watch French TV.

“Don’t worry about it. Chin up. I’ll deal with it.” Keith said.

I took a quick shower and tried to scrape that freak off of me then wondered if he'd even acknowledge or remember any of this.

By the way, I did have a great bed. They have some special kind of thousand-count Egyptian cotton sheets that make you feel loved.

Who wouldn't want to climb into that every night?

I woke up to a wonderful breakfast of real coffee and croissants, then rushed to the hotel lobby to meet the director, my boss, and the dreaded Billy.  We were all going to Cannes for more meetings on the project.

“Hi, Prestigious Director. Where’s Billy?”
“Oh. He left. Some urgent business back home. Anyway, we don’t need him for the rest of this. Kind of glad.”

I will never know of course if Keith said something to Billy. Or what got him fired, because he was no longer on the project.  But the film fell apart anyway.

 I did see Billy overtime in LA at various functions and he was always a perfect gentleman, even once pulled out my chair at a charity dinner.


Now, of course, I know so much about the Rolling Stones. It’s impossible to write here how much I love this band and my level of appreciation for who they are and what they have accomplished.

And Keith. I fell in love with him after reading Life, which I’ve read twice.  His wit, intelligence, honesty, musical genius, humility and uncanny ability to stay alive astound me.  I only have a few living heroes in my life.  And he is certainly one.