Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Halle Berry or Litigious Lawyer?

I was involved in a minor car accident a few weeks ago. LA is an impossible city to drive in. Not only are you constantly negotiating gridlock traffic at all hours (where are these people going on the 5 at ANY given time?) but you also have to deal with rude, obnoxious assholes who become outraged if you obey the law.

I tend to drive safe, slowish, okay, like a grannie. I listen to music and enjoy myself.

When a red light turns green, I wait ONE second because people run lights all the time. Then: HONK! HONK! YOUR SECOND IS UP! For all that moron knew, I saved his life.

Here come the insults. I drive the speed limit. I actually STOP at stop signs. This enrages drivers.  Most of them Vin Diesel types or pick your beefy actor from The Expendables 1 or 2.  Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger...

"What the hell is wrong with you, stupid woman!"

Often they will tailgate, keep honking, harassing me, more obscenities, and eventually weave their way around, just to get in front of me with their giant SUV and SLAM on the brakes to teach me a lesson for my good driving.

I asked myself, if this person is in such a  hurry, they sure are spending a lot of time wasting it on me.

On top of ALL that you have the crooks that try to trap you into an accident, forcing your car into another car, thus you are at fault. Then they sue, for their sad, sad pain, fraudulent injuries, and their inability to EVER work again. Like they ever did before. Even if just a fender bender.

I'd get a bike, but I have kids and I simply refuse to get a three wheeler and take it everywhere we go. And I just can't do the Croco bike. Can't do it.

Back to the recent incident. Once again, I come up against, essentially, a malingerer. 

This took me by surprise because at first the girl seemed pleasant, like this wasn't any big deal. At first I thought it was Halle Berry, the resemblance was that striking.  But isn't Halle pregnant?  Then on closer inspection, she had a whole Morticia thing going on, long black dress, creepy night creature nails, too much vampire make up.

Okay, not Halle Berry. Just dressed like the Cat Woman but in a long dress. Nonetheless, quite pretty. After the initial denting, she took off. Just left. Maybe it was Halle. I know celebs do that. Weird. But no. This was a malingerer, posing as a movie star.

Red Flag #1

The driver secretly makes a call and conspires their next moves. She must have been in her Cadillac which was now out of view.

Halle: I swerved to avoid hitting a car, then sped up to beat the light, but SHE HIT ME!
Husband: Good. What kind of car?
Halle: Brand new. No plates yet.
Husband: Awesome. What is she wearing.
Halle: Casual, but James Perse casual.
Husband: Perfect.  Go start blaming her. I'll Google her. We'll get some money out of this. BTW, are you hurt?
Halle: No. But I missed my Pilates class, dammit.

I'm assessing my damage, a small scrape under the hood. Halle storms toward me, now in her battle gear mode, repeating over and over. "I HAD THE RIGHT OF WAY. YOU ARE AT FAULT."

Red Flag #2 ^ ^ ^ Never stop blaming.

She was in my face, towering over me with her stilettos, doing the finger pointing thing.

What it felt like ^ ^ ^ ^   but alas I did not kick her in the nuts.

BTW a great description phrase: "I used to get up and get excited to go to work, but now I'm happy being a malinger."

I go about my business.

Halle: Why are you taking pictures of my car?
Me: So you won't leave and kick in the door and headlamps. Maybe you'll hit a wall and get a brand new car. Who knows? All I know is my instincts are screaming here to NOT TRUST YOU.

I did not say this ^^^  I said nothing. She kept repeating her mantra, "I had the right of way. You are at fault."

She was getting rather worked up, a dither. Even angry, her skin was radiant.

In a coincidence, a police cruiser happened by. Suddenly Halle the wicked witch turns into Halle Berry the Make-A-Wish supporter. She instantly sprouts a halo, all smiles.

Halle: We're fine officers. No one is hurt. Just a small dent. We're all good friends here.

We are? Okay, maybe we are. Maybe we can be friends. I would like that.

They leave, and the witch returns. Well, so much for my fantasy. I get her info and go to Bed Bath and Beyond because the place comforts me. I love squeezing the down comforters  while talking to the sales people. I told everyone the story. They empathized.  I must have spent $400.00 on bath towels but it was worth it.

RED FLAG #3:  Malingerers take their sweet time in reporting accidents. Why? Because they are very busy figuring out medical issues that will make the cut. And in her instance, she claimed horrific neck pain and WORK WAGE LOSS.

"OH god, I'll never be able to function again. She was going 4 miles per hour!" ^ ^ ^

I find this so hilarious. The girl lives within 30 miles of my house. I saw her going to the gym and driving to work. Plus she mostly works at home.  Enough about her. Whatever amount she is paid off, is dirty money. She will have to live with the karmic dues that will be coming her way.

I have to mention I love my insurance company. I know that is not a popular thing to say,   but Progressive has become extended family over the years. Sure, we pay a fortune like everyone else. And mostly because of assholes like Morticia and their BS claims. But Progressive has a way of making me feel better about the entire awful state of affairs. They talk like actual people. They too have insurance, they too know how the system works and they know what they are dealing with regarding Halle Morticia.

After all Halle Morticia is a class action lawyer who specializes in settlements.

I suppose if you are going to dent someones Cadillac, a litigious attorney would be about the worst case scenario. That or a super fussy Cayenne owner.

For me personally it's always a huge disillusionment people like this even exist because I want to believe there is good in everyone. But sadly it's just not the reality.

RED FLAG #3  Malingerers bring attorneys along and have them do the doctor referrals. Even if they are one. How lame is this? We are talking a dent. And frankly, if I did NOT drive so slow and had sped up, she would have slammed into me (she was going over 65mph in gridlock, through a parking lane.) Had she hit me, she would have pushed me into traffic, and possibly killed herself and others.

Halle Morticia, first you should be ASHAMED of yourself, ASHAMED, and second, you should be grateful. It certainly could have been much worse.

RED FLAG #4  Malingerers refuse the initial offer from the insurance company. Halle is asking for some ridiculous amount; and also lots of time off work. Nice gig if you can get it.

I'm writing this to remind people to stay vigilante. Obviously times are hard financially for everyone and the malingerers are crawling out of the wood work. There has been a dramatic rise in fraudulent car accident claims. Some people actually throw themselves in front of expensive cars hoping for a big pay day. Some parents have their kids do it, because they can tuck and roll!

So, Morticia, by all means don't go into work, take your pain pills, lounge about and enjoy your pathetic life.

Meanwhile, I will continue to obey the traffic laws and drive the speed limit. Maybe one of these days the HONKER will be awesome Jason Stratham, at which point I would just sit at the light until he gets angry enough to approach me. Once he sees me, well, I'm certain he'll mistaken me for Rosie Hunting-Whiteley and invite me out for a coffee. You never know.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Marilyn Monroe, Leonardo DeCaprio, Poltergeist and Yard Sales

We have to vacate our home for a few months for some massive Money Pit kind of construction but without the studio financing. At first it seemed reasonable, then daunting, then simply impossible. But before this would turn into The Amityville Horror show, I saw an opportunity to unload. After all it is spring.

First was the initial dash and trash. My rule of thumb: if I havent used, worn, or remembered said object, out it went. Then, being a bit obsessive, I thought, well, I hate that sofa, and my desk, and that chair too. And those fucking night stands. You get the idea.

After giving most of it away, and one day left before we had to leave, we reverted to our Midwestern roots and had an "estate" sale.  Every table, chair, toy, basketball and book was vintage.

Yard sale is really fancy talk for house vomit. We've all seen them and one often has to avert their eyes. Ours was more like this.

Mark kept telling me to wear a loose top and sit outside to attract customers. I thought this was seriously oddball. But on a rare occasion he's right, so I sat under the shady elm and read The Great Gatsby, a movie I had otherwise planned to see that day. I don't get any props for shout outs, but it would make me happy for this film to do well because I like all involved. Carey Mulligan's face makes me spontaneously bust into tears.

It was Mother's Day, but in my house I pretty much do what I want whenever I want, so it doesn't hold much meaning. Except for the children who put a lot of thought and effort into their plans. Cards, candles, home made muffins, and then this cute thing Eve crafted during the sale. Haven't a clue where she found wildflowers.

People came. Many. There was the creepy door knocker guy from Poltergeist. He's all bones and black capes. I swear it was him. Kids, if you haven't seen this film, it's worth it. And read the history too.

I need to make a shout out to Michael Grais, the writer of Poltergeist,  because, well, he's awesome.

Also this remains one of my all time favorite haunted house movies.

As another aside, I love Leonardo DeCaprio and have seen every movie he's been in including The Beach, which I still have no idea what it was about, like Club Med on steroids or something. But I also love his friendship with Tobey Maguire. Look how cute.

Given their ragtag shitty apartment upbringings, not unlike my own, I have a lot of respect for both of them.  They did not come to my vintage sale.   I wonder if Leo remembers me. We met at Golds gym once years ago. He asked me where the towels were.

Still friends.

Back to Mr. Poltergeist. He keeps pulling out a fat wad of fake Monopoly money. He sits down next to me on my private bench!

Poltergeist:  So, you have any silver, gold? I have a lot of money. (Flashes the Monopoly bills.) But we have to keep this secret. I buy a lot of things.
Me:  Everything for sale is on the lawn. I don't have any gold for sale.
Poltergeist: Jewelry? You must have some in the house there.
Me: Nope. I hate jewelry. I don't even have gold fillings. They're all porcelain.

He got up and left but I was told he came back three more times when I was inside, still inquiring about gold. He was about to approach my ten-year old daughter and her dad chased him off the property.

Halfway through both the book and the sale, a small beat-up car pulled up.  A young woman in a nurses outfit walked over to me.

Nurse: I have Marilyn Monroe in the car. She saw the TV for sale. She's not well, and we need to keep it quiet. No cameras.

What the hay? But after Poltergeist Man, I'm  thinking so this is where the freaks go. Yard sales. They must get day passes. I love Marilyn Monroe. Could be interesting.

Nurse: I rarely bring her out, but she's had a lot of surgery and needed some air. But again, no autographs.
Me: Of course. Of course. No worries. We are very discreet.

A very old, yet elegant woman was helped out of the Rambler? by her nurse.  She hobbled over to me and asked if she could sit down and would I get her some water. Okay. I got her some aspirin too. She reminded me of Gloria Stuart in her Titanic role. May she rest in peace.

We were sitting on the bench, under the elm, while her nurse caressed the TV.

Me: Nice to meet you.
Marilyn: It's just so hot. I recently had surgery. I live in constant pain.
Me: Oh, I'm sorry. What  happened?
Marilyn: Everything. I had throat cancer twice, hernias, lost a kidney.. the list goes on and on. It's truly a miracle I'm alive.
Me: That's true.
Marilyn: You know, I really am Marilyn Monroe.  Oh, it was awful. People can be so cruel. They stole everything I had. So I got out.
Me: Where did you go?
Marilyn: I live right over here. Near Korea Town. I don't need much. I'll give you ten bucks for your TV. I can't fall asleep without one and mine was stolen.

Theoretically she could've been Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn was around 87, she had good skin. She looked much better than this pathetic meme on the internet, a very sad rendition... "If Marilyn Monroe were alive today."

Marilyn noticed my book.

Marilyn: Oh! I love Fitzgerald. An era better suited for me. I'm a huge reader. I'm mad for Dickens. Do you have any iced tea? I had the throat cancer and get so parched. I'd kill for a parasol.

This woman spoke in a strange British/Bostonion accent. I wondered if she was schizophrenic. Then decided she was just lonely. My daughter brought her a glass of iced tea with a lemon wedge.

Marilyn: You have lovely daughters. I always wanted children.

This was now getting weird and I wanted her to go.

Me: You can just take the TV. Take anything you need.
Marilyn:  You're a dear. Bye-bye now.

With that, she jumped up, as though she was no longer in pain, and got in the car. Her nurse loaded in the TV and few other things including a couple Iphones. They waved.

By 1:00 pm everything was gone except for the sofa I loath. I had it reupholstered twice, yet, I've never been a fan. My style is now changing to minimalistic. Clean lines, no clutter, and the kids can sleep outside.

While I was inside the kitchen eating muffins and imagining myself lounging in Philip Johnson's Glass House,  I heard a motorcycle roar up. I looked out the window and saw Mark, who has a knack for connecting to any human, talking smack with a Hells Angel, or maybe it was an actor from Sons of Anarchy.  Soon they were besties, back slapping, laughing.

I heard Angel say:

"This couch is perfect for my son. He just got out!"

Mark:  So happy to hear that. You can have it for 100 bucks.
Angel: Deal. I'll send a truck. It's all coming together for Junior.

I'm thinking of course, coming out of what? Prison? Rehab? The closet?

But who cares. Mark sold it. The difference between us is he actually sells the stuff while I just give it away.  I actually get angry when he puts prices on things.

Me: Are you joking. Who the hell is going to give you 50 bucks for the shit table?
Mark: What? It's vintage.

He got the 50. Then I made a deal, one I am most proud of. We had a rabbit hutch, very high quality, clean, fresh oak, and nearly new since the rabbit we bought it for died within a week of it's purchase.

We have so many animals in the back yard, particularly lizards,  it's possible the poor thing died of shock.

But the woman who wanted the hutch, also a neighbor, needed it for her chickens.

Neighbor: I can have this? It's perfect.
Me: Sure. Just bring me a fresh egg one day.

All said and done, we were done, and Mark gave me all the loot. The next morning, the chicken owning neighbor came by and gave me a basket of fresh eggs. People are so kind.

All in all, the estate sale was a success. Our house lost a lot of weight. Now I'm off to Cannes. I'll try to surreptitiously take pictures while on the many yachts I hang around in, then will give a full report on the shenanigans that are la Croisette. I know I won't have another Keith Richards encounter since they are touring and PS they were awesome,

but maybe I'll trip in my stilettos in front of Ryan Gosling. Until then...