Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Day 97: Doing jury duty with Phyllis from "The Office"

Oh I have been a lousy, remiss blogger.  My life has gotten in the way of my blogging, I do apologize for those of you who tune in.  I have to tell you all about doing jury duty with Phyllis Lapin (her real name is Phyllis Smith) from "The Office" fame.  I first got the jury duty notice, called in, was all scheduled for the week of March 14th.  Then, March 14th came and went.  Somewhere around March 21st I said, I better check that jury duty slip and put the dates down in my calendar - doh!  Missed the whole thing.  Now I was nervous.  Even a little clammy.  Bad memories and associations were flooding in...the time I got a notice from the library that I owed 12.00 when I was ten years old and I wailed for an hour.  This seemed exponentially worse.  My husband assured me I would not be arrested for contempt of court.  So I called the number and the robot scheduled me a date to commence jury duty.  The only problem with this date?  It was smack dab in the middle (well, toward the end) of Spring Break.  So after an awesome hang on the beach at the Hotel Del Coronado last Wednesday, I called in after 5:00 p.m. as instructed.  Nooooooooooo!  I was expected in downtown L.A. at 7:45 a.m.  Lauren had generously invited us to crash another night in her hotel suite, and I had to turn it down.  I left Beckett with his pals to stay and enjoy one more day, but after fortifying myself with a yummy crabcake dinner and a lot of iced tea, I gassed up the Highlander and hit the road.  It's been years (a decade??) since I drove 2 1/2 hours at night by myself, and I have to say, even with Ryan Adams and Stevie Nicks belting away, it was lonely and crummy.  And the 405, usually a nightmare at any time of the day or night, did not disappoint.  Road work (?) was happening, so I ran into one or two nasty traffic jams.
But back to my point.  Wait, was there one?  What was I saying?  Oh yes, Phyllis!  On day one I was in the wrong cattle line in the wrong building, went to the wrong floor and was listening to the spiel when I felt something wasn't right...the kind woman who I showed my slip to told me to go one block down and one block over to Temple and Spring.  Whoops.  So, in the big room where you wait all day to see if you will be picked, I recognized Phyllis.  But from where I had no idea.  Was she someone from Santa Monica -- the lunch lady at Beckett's school?  Someone who worked at Ralphs?  We were both picked on day one at 2:00 to be part of a jury pool for Judge Ohta's court, the same room and the same judge I had jury duty with almost exactly two years ago. Deja poo.  I kept glancing over at Phyllis and thought...maybe she is a character on one of the shows my kids watch...
Well, on day two I was sitting next to her waiting to be called in and I overheard a conversation and understood she is Phyllis from the office.  I struck up a convo, as I am friends with two writers and one actor on that show.  She was very sweet, and I enjoyed passing the time talking to her about writing, and the show, etc.  I'm not going to say much about the case except to say that it was an incredibly disturbing criminal/sexual case, and we were all relieved when, toward the end of day 2 the case was settled behind closed doors and we were all released of duty.  Phyllis and I hiked back to the parking lot at Disney Hall, and had a nice chat about New York Theater, and my writing, my husband's writing, her trip to St. Louis to go home for a visit the next day.  It was sort of the bright spot in my 2 days of servitude.

On a side note, went for the first time to an amazing dive in Chinatown called Yum Cha Cafe.  I would even go so far as to downgrade it from dive to dump.  BUT, in this flourescently lit cafe with beaten up communal tables, where I was the only non-Chinese speaking person, I had an AMAZING dim sum meal for 3.71.  The next time I am downtown on jewelry errands I am making a bee-line for Yum Cha!
Another silver lining, i got to hang with Nnogo, whose office is steps away from Disney Hall.  I met her for lunch on day 2 at the Disney Hall cafeteria.  However in a typical Rebecca/Nnogo plan, all did not go necessarily as planned!  By the time she got there I had to leave 5 minutes later and sprint back the 4 blocks to court.  Our timing was a little f'd.  But it was nice to see her, however brief.  I can only hope my duties for the city of Los Angeles were appreciated.  Translation:  Take me out of the rotation folks!  Give me a break!  Lose my number, L.A!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day 96: Front Row at Walt Disney Hall

When Karen offered me front row tickets for Walt Disney Hall I had no idea who I was going with or who was watching my kids, but I said yes!  I ended up taking Kalli.  Neither one of us have ever seen a show there, so it was a real treat.  When we got to our seats, they were amazing.  We were practically on stage.  The show was part of the Aspects of Ades festival, with the amazing Thomas Ades conducting the L.A. Philharmonic.  Unfortunately, the L.A. Phil that night were backing up opera singers, who stood at the front of the stage singing their way through this snoozer of the Victorian era comedy of manners and propriety -- The Importance of Being Earnest.  They prattled on and on (operatically!) about names, and courtships, and muffins.  Yes, muffins.  There was a five-minute back and forth exchange about this man's preference for muffins, which when sung in opera is sorta ridiculous.  So at intermission Kalli and I had a good laugh, and we decided to give up our unbelievably amazing seats at Disney hall to go get a taco and marg at Lares.  Having free front-row tickets is incredible.  Having a girlfriend who shares a look with you and you both know you're going to sneak out at intermission -- priceless!