August 31, 2011
Benson was born in Canada. “I call it Poland, because the winters are so bad.” He asks me about myself, and when I answer, he lifts his hands in the air and waves his fingers at me. He’s sending me “blessings,” he says. He has this spiritual/guru kind of bent to everything he says, and it’s not my kind of thing but I’m sure some girl reading this will be all over him like soybeans on tempeh. He’s got the charisma of a preacher, and as much as I blush around people who sincerely use the word “chakra,” I find Benson interesting to talk to.
Benson tells me about wanting to find a girl who’s working on herself in therapy. “I work on myself — but in a fun way.” He quotes from a book he’s writing, “Stop trying to be good and start trying to see good.” But when I ask him about how often he sees a therapist, he says, “I did a few years of therapy but I work with a healer all the time. Someone who has a system where she helps you get rid of negative patterns. She started doing sound therapy — it’s really difficult to explain. She’s removing limited belief systems.” “How does she do it?” I ask. “I don’t know … I just breathe.”
I really want to help Benson find someone. He’s genuine about his search, and there are definitely other people who are into this sort of stuff. I’m just not one of them. It’s not Benson I’m annoyed with — he’s a good guy — but industries built around charging people for hocus-pocus. Sound therapy to delete patterns in your brain that aren’t serving you?
He tells me about being an actor for the past 20 years, and that he’s working on a DVD called “Master Your Audition.” “It even has a section where I look directly into the camera and say, ‘You’re amazing, you’re talented …’ ” He continues, “If God were preparing me for an audition, it has everything I want.” It sounds so odd, but later, when I show my wife a video of him talking about acting on YouTube, she says, “He’s interesting to listen to. He draws you in.”
I shift gears and ask about his hobbies outside of work. “My hobbies turn into my craft. I started painting, and that turned into people wanting to buy it, and putting them in galleries. I just had my second show as an artist.” He gave a painting to a friend of mine, and she says she loves it, so he might be on to something. He also goes to the gym five days a week, takes Pilates two days a week and meditates every morning.
“I keep kosher. I’ll never work on Shabbat or holidays. I just had to turn down a film in Canada because of it. I’ve been really lucky. On one shoot, it went late, and I got in my car, and as soon as it was Shabbat, I pulled the car over and walked home.”
“What do you want to get out of this?” I ask. He says, “To put myself out there, to commit to put myself out there in a bigger way. It’s in my book — shameless contribution …” but as he starts to quote from his book again, I stop typing. I need a break from the feel-goodness of it all and exit the Starbucks. On my way out, I take my plastic cup and toss it in the bin not marked for recycling. I’ve got a real bad temper.
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Seth Menachem is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter. You can see more of his work on his Web site, sethmenachem.com, and meet even more single peeps at mysinglepeeps.com.