other night I went out to dinner with Dan, the Hollywood producer.
He thinks my life would make a TV show and he wanted to meet and
talk about it. I figured that there's so little chance of it actually
working out, why not?
Here's what will
happen. I'll invest a lot of time and energy, get my hopes up,
then after waiting six months he'll tell me it won't sell. Or
maybe it will sell, and to be patient. Then another six months
will go by. I'll feel disappointed because something I never thought
about or knew I wanted didn't work out. Nobody's interested in
my life? I'll be outraged. Then I'll remember it's just as well:
I'm barely interested in it either.
We sit down in the Japanese restaurant and
he asks about my job, but as soon as I begin talking, he's fumbling
for something in his pocket. "Are you okay?" I ask.
He nods. "Keep talking, I'm listening." Just then he
pulls out a bottle of paracetamol and pops two into his mouth.
"Don't take it personally," he says, "I have a
I didn't take it personally. Until he said
that. Then all I could do was take it personally. The instant
I begin talking, his head aches so badly that he can't wait until
I finish my sentence before reaching for medication? Moreover,
if a conversation about my life induces a splitting headache,
it doesn't bode well for a television series. Mining this material
for a show could be fatal. Then again, if it has the potential
to make money, he can pay for a good doctor.
People say all the time that money doesn't
make you happy, but that doesn't bother me. I'm okay with not
being happy. And recently I've decided I'd rather be unhappy in
business class. There's more room to mope.
If I'm going to stay home watching television,
it might as well be on a flat-screen plasma in a bigger flat.
I stay in bed all the time, so it might as well be on Frette sheets.
I know money doesn't solve problems, but since I'm not solving
them anyway, why not ruminate more luxuriously?
In New York, I tend to encounter a lot of
people who are "fake poor". These are the people who,
when you ask them what they do for a living, are always "freelancing".
If you press for specifics, they smile and change the subject.
But despite working on something they're not yet getting paid
for - a book, a screenplay, putting a show together - they have
endless cash. The giveaway is if you start to talk about being
broke and how stressful it is, this blank look crosses their face.
A fake-poor person will then suggest getting together for dinner
to commiserate, and they'll choose a restaurant where a piece
of sushi requires a bank loan. It's not that they think having
money is something to be ashamed of, it's that they have the security
but don't want to acknowledge it. Having security means they don't
have to consider doing things they don't want to do, which is,
of course, what motivates people to make money.
All of which brings me back to my dinner
with Dan. He had enough enthusiasm about the project to convince
me to write a synopsis.
There are many ways to look at it. I've
chosen to embrace the positive.
When it fails, at least I can say I tried.
And maybe this time, I might even get paid for my disappointment.