April 5, 2011
I met Meredith through my friend, Matt. I was riding my bike in the hood when he pulled up next to me in his car, with Meredith sitting in the passenger seat. He introduced us, and she said, “You’re cute.” I said, “Thanks. I’m married.” With barely a blink, she asked, “Do you have any friends?” Very forward. No shame. She knows what she wants. Yet I remember thinking, “I’m on a little BMX bike — a man-child doing pop wheelies in the street. What’s wrong with this girl?”
Later, she added me as a friend on Facebook, and I realized who she was. Natty Gann! Of course she loves boys on trick bikes —she’s just a tomboyish girl, trying to make her way across the country to find her dad. And along the way, she’ll find love. Of course in the movie, “The Journey of Natty Gann,” her love interest was John Cusack — but as a kid I hoped it would be me. And because L.A. is that kind of a place, now Natty Gann was hitting on me. But she’s too late. My wife and kid are in the way. So I’m hooking you guys up.
The most surprising thing about Meredith is how grounded she is. There’s an expectation of craziness that goes along with being a child actor. But instead of rehab at 18, Meredith went to Harvard and got a degree in psychology. She came back to Los Angeles and continued working as an actor. It’s the only job she’s ever had. Yet you could sit with her for an hour, and the subject would never come up. You’d be more likely to hear about how much she loves kids. What she wants is a family.
“I want to come home from being at the beach with my baby and have to hold her butt under the shower to get the sand off … and I want my husband helping me,” she said. To which I said, “When you’re at the beach with your kid, and you forget the sunblock, and the kid’s burning, and you’re trying to find shade but the umbrella keeps falling over because of the wind, and the car’s parked far away because your husband was too cheap to use the pay lot, then these moments can feel pretty stressful. You’re idealizing them.”
She said, “I don’t idealize planning my wedding and picking out the dress. I want to go grocery shopping together, make dinner, spill salad dressing on the floor and argue about having to mop it up. I want real life.”
Recently, Meredith went back to school — Pepperdine Law — where she got a degree in mediation. She’s decided that she wants another career, in addition to her acting, and she enjoys resolving disputes. After a year and a half of on-the-job training, she got hired by a firm, full time. Mediating conflicts between bitter band members, angry employees and jaded spouses has shown her the uglier side of relationships. And it doesn’t scare her. It’s what she wants. Love — warts and all.
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.