A few weeks ago my parents visited me. They visit me once a year, for less than 24-hours. I know, I know. I’ve come to accept it. They go to Vegas for 8 days every year as part of their work vacations and they always drive up to see me the day after President’s day and leave the next morning.
This year, my parents saw my new apartment, new to them, I’ve been here since April 2005. I live in a modest studio but not too small in Hollywood. The building is old but not shitty. There is a nice big gate out front, grass, trees with little twinkly lights and it’s clean. My apartment has new hardwood floors, appliances, clean tiles and grout, no cracks in the walls or ceilings and a nice walk in close that I made into an office. I’ve made this place really cute.
However, I don’t want to be here forever and I plan to move in May. But it has served me well. Most parents, I think might find my apartment to be too small or not in a good enough neighborhood (I’m inbetween Hollywood and Sunset Blvd’s, West of Vine, East of Hollywood and Highland.) But my parents were tickled. They loved that the walk of stars was so close by. My father kept wanting to meet my building manager to thank him for “taking pride in his building by planting grass.” I love that. Total working class awesome-ness.
I am sometimes really glad I didn’t have totally rich parents who would keep pushing me and pushing me to not settle and to have the best. Because my parents want the best for me but also don’t look at it as a reflection of my worth if I’m not somewhere further along.
Later in the day we headed to the Pierce Cemetery in Westwood so my mother could visit her idol Marilyn Monroe’s grave. Rodney Dangerfield is buried there and his tombstone says, “There goes the neighborhood.” Pretty awesome.
My mother kept pondering the terrible inconvience to culture that celebrities have to die. “You would think….” she started and at my glare, just kept quiet.
My dad, a man of the people, strolled around excited to see Dean Martin and Jack Lemmon. And then the faggiest-assest gay man, a man so gay, only a homophobe meanly imitating a gay-man could act this gay. He shimmied around the graves showing his friends around. “Gurrrl…..(he said to his male friend) check it out! Natalie Wood!” He wore a tee-shirt that said “Bush Booty.”
My dad immediately started talking to this guy and they commiserated about the deaths of these taken-too-young stars. Then my dad left my side and continued exploring the park with the gay guy. My dad showed the guy his favorite graves and the gay guy showed my dad people in Hollywood that were important, but not neccessarily known names.
I could hear him screaming at my dad, “You don’t know who that is? He was the head of the movie industry!” And my dad, going, “Ohhh. Okay.”
I just loved seeing my dad, who has not been exposed to much in his life, just being very accepting and trotting around with a flaming queen. It made me giggle. My dad, a man who voted for GW Bush, twice. (He is just confused. My dad has libertarian and liberal tendencies but thinks Bush is for the “people.”)
The gay guy and my dad parted and my dad came back and said to me, “Now he was fun to see the place with.” And then he added, completely serious, “Mom would say that he was gay. I don’t know. Was he?” In his mind, pretending to not know if someone is gay, is how to express tolerance. It cracks me up. Then the flaming queen comes back to show my dad one last thing. My dad says, “Yes, pal.” And the gay guy says, “This is the grave of (so and so, I forget who) but you can’t tell because the name plate is all fucked up.”
My dad grew silent. The gay guy said, “You have a nice day!” My dad quietly said, “You too.” I asked my dad what was wrong. My dad was so sad that the guy was using “such foul language” around him. My dad asking, “Don’t these young people have any decency?”