Posted by Elliot Steingart
Life is hard sometimes, especially when you have irritabile bowel syndrome. As a long-time survivor, I’ve learned to cope. Though this past week my irritibilty went straight from my bowels to my head.
It started at 9am when my co-worker Greg popped into my neighbor Matt’s cubicle to analyze the play “Clybourne Park,” which I was hoping to see at the Mark Taper Theater.
“I really appreciated the metaphors about gentrification,” Greg began.
“Yea, it’s one of those plays that really makes you think.”
“I like how the play shifts from the 50’s to present day.”
“Yea, you realize not much changes in terms of class struggle.”
“Do you mind not giving away the ending?” I interjected.
“Wo! Elliot, the grouch.”
“Sorry, I want to see the play and you are giving a scene by scene synoposis. At least give me a spoiler alert!”
Then my company hired another Elliot without consulting me first. A slap in the face if there ever was one. He’s a sports writer and also a Steeler fan and to his credit, seems like a really nice guy, but every time I heard my name I turned around and found the team shaking Elliot’s hand and patting him on the back. What did he do? He’s only been here a day.
“How are we going to tell the Elliots apart?”
“It’s kind of obvious. He’s the black Elliot.”
That isn’t p.c. so he’s Elliot S, the Steeler fan. That’s also me!
For our company meeting we ordered chinese food – Mongolian Beef, Orange Chicken, Shrimp with Walnuts, lo mein, string beens. There were three giant trays left over. My plan was to eat the leftovers for lunch. Since my cubicle is closest to the kitchen I know the shelves. I know who the Almond milk belongs to, I see Kimi’s Pomegrenate juice. There is an unmarked chicken pot pie in the freezer. If that was mine I wouldn’t put my name on it either. For all intents and purposes the company’s chinese food was mine, that is until Tracey noticed the Chinese food in the refrigerator. On her way back to her cubicle she announced, “I’m going to eat leftover Chinese for lunch. There is a lot left!”
Way to steal my idea! “Jesus! If you tell the whole office, there will be nothing left over.”
I calmed down until the morning of “Bagel Thursday.” The office rushes into the kitchen spreading their flavored cream cheese and sharing their plans for the weekend. I’m trying to cut down on carbs so I pretend I’m not temped by the nearby sesames. It’s hard to to focus and harder making a phone call when co-workers are yelling, laughing, and singing during bagel mania and then leaving one of the poppies to burn in the toaster.
“Jesus, Christopher! Who left the toaster on?”
“Elliot the grouch is back.”
“Yea, I’m the bad guy!”
My buddy Richard came over to pound me up. “How are you, sir?”
“Yo, not great. I know I’m supposed to be in a great mood because I work in an office, but I’m a human being. Sometimes I’m not in a good mood. ”
“Like today?” Matt yelled.
Fortunately, I had a date that night. I picked up Jessica en route to an indie rock show at the Echo. I drove a block past the Echo, the biggest mistake of my life.
“Wo!! Is that a space??” She yelled. “How about that?? How far are you driving?? You can park on a side street you know!”
“Yea, you may need to relax.”
Jessica complained about walking three blocks, the weather, waiting in line, the crowded bar and being tired. Was she also suffering from Irritible Week Syndrome? Worse, was this how I sounded all week? She downed the $13 “Old Fashioned” I paid for in three gulps.
“I’m tired. Do you mind taking me home?”
“It’s safe to walk.It’s not like Echo Park is a sketchy part of town.”
I went home, did a few pull ups, and checked my Facebook and saw a status update from Richard.
“Two years ago my life was taken advantage of in the worst possible way,” It read. “Since then, although life has thrown some curve balls my way, I can’t be happier at the fact that no matter what happened in the past has only made me a stronger, more resilient person.”
Thanks to Richard for putting my own struggles in perspective. Next time I will plug my ears when co-workers reveal important plot points, and accept that other people in the office are entitled to the same Chinese food that was not even mine to begin with. I appreciate that there is now another Elliot in the office and the fact that he is black is awesome. And any female who would complain as much as Jessica will make it easier for me to ask Jdate for a full refund.
I’m happy to share the irritability has returned back to my bowels. It’s nice to be back to normal.
11.25.13 at 8:30 am | Learning code of conduct
10.28.13 at 9:09 am | Parents Meeting Girlfriend's Parents,and more
8.2.13 at 9:12 am | Guest blog written by my dad
7.24.13 at 9:38 am | Going home
6.25.13 at 9:36 am | The longest day of the year
5.24.13 at 11:43 am | Taking the Socks off
January 11, 2012 | 11:34 am
Posted by Elliot Steingart
Dating artists is a way for me to support the arts and get great deals on paintings.
I emailed an artist I know named Amy to paint a picture for my apartment for $100. I gave her a two week deadline and offered to take her out for drinks. She replied that her paintings normally go for upwards of $4,000. In my next email I told her that her talent warrants that kind of money. I just don’t have it.
“I may have something in my studio I can sell you.”
She sold me a painting for $150 and agreed to go out with me. After picking her up, I said “I’m new to Los Feliz so I figured you could show me around.”
“No, I’m not good at that.”
“Not to worry. We’ll drop my car off and have a drink. You can see your painting and then we can go out.”
I opened my most expensive bottle of wine, a $12 Bordeaux. “Pretty good, yea?”
“It’s sour and it needs to breathe.”
“Of course,” I pretended.
“I know that your art work deals with the relationship between architectural spaces and the psyche. What were your intentions behind this painting?”
“If I wanted to paint an elephant I would have painted an elephant.”
“Of course.” I decided to delve further. “So what’s it like being an artist?”
“I party at night, and sleep until 10am or sometimes 1pm. All depends how I feel. Why? Do you have a job or something?” She finished smoking a cigarette on my balcony. “Where are we going?”
“We’ll take a little walk to get a drink.”
“You didn’t tell me we would be walking. These shoes aren’t for walking.”
“Sorry, I thought shoes were for walking.”
We secured a booth on a crowded night at my new favorite bar “Ye Rustic Inn.” I ordered vodka sodas and chicken wings. “So what kind of guys do you normally go out with?”
“I like older men and bad boys. You’re too nice. I like guys who treat me like sh*t. I have to go to the bathroom. Where is it?”
She came back from the bathroom and ordered another drink. “So you know, I’m not going to sleep with you.”
My phone vibrated. I looked and saw that Amy who was sitting right next to me had sent me a nude photo of herself.
“What do you think?”
“I like it.”
“I have lots of photos like these. That’s all I’m going to show you.”
“Will these be on exhibit any time soon?”
Over the weekend I went out with another artist, Jill, a 30 year old grad student who drove an hour to meet me at The Dresden, the classy 1950’s era night-club where “Swingers” was filmed. I ordered a Vodka Collins and she ordered a Whiskey Sour and fried zuchinni. The Jazz band played so loud I couldn’t hear what she was saying. I could hear a few key words and responded back the best I could I while eating her zuchinni.
“Near Wilshire and La Cienega.”
“Of course,” I nodded in agreement.
The Jazz flute softened to the point I could almost hear her mention that I look like Seinfeld. “Did you use to wear braces?”
“Yes, but I’d rather talk about you. Do you have a favorite painting you can show me?”
She scrolled through her Iphone showing me a neon painting of a guy and a girl kissing in front of a volume equalizer.
“This painting would look great in my apartment.” I complimented her earrings before asking the price of the painting.
“This one is going for $1,050. I think I price my art too cheaply.”
“Yea, for sure,” I pretended.
We ordered another drink before walking over to “Ye Rustic Inn” where we sat in the same booth I sat with Amy. After showing her pictures of my week-old niece, Dylan, she said she was tired and that she should go. “I’ll buy this round,” she insisted.
A girl sitting at the bar shot me an evil look and then interjected. “No, you should pay.”
“You should go back to eating your quesadilla,” I mumbled under my breath.
Later that night I looked at Jill’s website where I discovered her series of nude self-portraits. They were colorful, to say the least.
Getting to know both artists made me realize I am less of an art enthusiast and more of a naked enthusiast. For the female body is the greatest piece of art. And I’ve been to LACMA with an Art History major so I’ve seen my share of art. After noticing many phallic paintings I said, “I didn’t realize this was Los Angeles County Museum of Penises?”
“No, this is art.” she shot back.
Receiving a text of a naked female is art. Sending a text of a naked male is harassment.
Who knew such insight could come over fried zuchinni and chicken wings? I’m just supporting the arts.
January 4, 2012 | 12:01 pm
Posted by Elliot Steingart
At 5am I awoke to the news that my sister, Ariel gave birth to a healthy baby girl. It was an easy birth. I slept right through it. There was a rumor that the baby’s name was Blake. I like the name Blake, but Blake Silver is the kind of girl who thinks she is always right and never returns texts. Much like Ariel.
I started a rumor that the baby’s name was Blair. It spread like wildfire to my mom and then my dad, but was dispelled by my sister. Fortunately I can name my own daughter Blair. I just know she will excel at winter sports. Her brother, Bart Steingart will be the comedian I never was. His blog for the Jewish Journal will get so many hits and even an occasional share on Facebook.
My niece’s name is Dylan Silver, a great name. It serves her right. She was a wonderful fetus.
At 5am Ariel is describing the feeling of giving birth. Before hearing about the opening of my sister’s cervix, I asked to speak to my brother-in-law, whom I call Billy. He calls me William. Not sure how this started it just kind of caught on and has continued since the first time I called him Billy Boy. This time he addressed me differently.
“Mazels, Billy! How’s it feel? Did you cry?”
“Yes, I did. It feels great. We’re just tired, but it’s awesome. You have no idea. It’s just crazy.”
“What was it like seeing your wife give birth?”
“We took a video of the birth. I’ll send it to you.”
“You can send me the edited version. Waist-up, please.”
My parents flew to Chicago earlier in the day and were at the hospital for Dylan’s birth. We decided I could be more helpful to Ariel and Brian once the baby is a couple months old. I would have liked to have been there for the birth. Years later it will help me when Dylan becomes a teenage truant journeying around Chicago in a red Ferrari with a hipster and his hypochondriac friend. Uncle Elliot could say “Dylan, this isn’t like you. I’ve known you since the day you were born.”
Now I’ll just have to lie.
“What’s breast feeding like?” I ask my sister.
“It feels like someone sucking on your boob. Are you going to include that in your blog.”
My sister is a breast feeder and my parents are now grand parents. I’m good with “uncle,” a title I share with Billy’s two brothers, Scott and Robby. I call Robby “Cousin Rob” since we are buddies and it’s kind of hard to define how we’re related. I’m excited that Robby and I will go halfsies on birthday and Hannukah gifts. I’m thinking it’s best if we start off small. Gap Kids, then work our way up to Lululemon and later a whistle she can wear for her teenage years.
In most of the pictures I’ve seen of Dylan she is wearing a pink “Metallica” beanie. I never thought my sister whose bedroom wall consisted of Vogue Magazine Covers would have a baby with the same fashion sense as “Beavis.”
Dylan pulls it off. I’m sure later in life she’ll day be swept off her feet by a nice young man in Pre-Kindergarten, or some six year old punk with temporary tattoos who can’t even tie his shoes.
It’s an exciting time for our family and for everyone who knows Ariel and Brian. I’ve received more congratulations on Dylans’ birth than any other time in my life. I’ve appreciated all the well wishes, but I really had no part in making the baby. Thankfully.
“Ariel is very relaxed, and very happy. She is already a great mother” according to my mom.
I can’t imagine Brian is relaxed since he is the most hyper person I know, but I know he will be a great father.
Over the four years I visited Ariel and Brian when they lived in Palm Desert, they did a pretty good job of feeding me, and giving me clean towels. I know they will provide a good home for Dylan who I will meet for the first time in March.
I’m excited to be Uncle Elliot, and look forward to making funny faces and giving Dylan weird nick-names. I can’t wait to teach her how to crawl.
I already love this little girl who I haven’t even met. Till that day comes, Uncle Elliot is just a phone call away.
December 28, 2011 | 12:07 pm
Posted by Elliot Steingart
Hanging out with baby boomers is always an adjustment since it’s not something I normally do for 36 hours straight. My parents arrived in LA over Christmas weekend to help decorate my new apartment and teach me the right way to hang pants on a hanger.
My mom, a vegetarian of sorts for the last 30 years, decided to give up chicken and fish for good, she informed me. She read a book by a doctor who claims that by not eating anything with a face and also giving up oils, you can prevent heart disease. This is the same woman who a day earlier sent me a youtube video of a man in the wild being fondled by gorillas. She would be in charge of hanging my collection of eight square mirrors I bought at Ikea above my bed.
My dad was in the bathroom hammering a shower rod over the shower doors. My job was to let my mom know if the first mirror was straight. Without measuring tape it was hard to gauge if the first mirror was centered, and even harder to tell if the mirror was straight.
After the mirror was glued to the wall my dad came out of the bathroom. “It’s crooked!”
There was no way to remove the mirror, but at least the shower rod was in tact. We managed to hang all of the mirrors on the wall thanks to my dad saying either “crooked” or “good” even though the difference between “crooked” and “good” was hardly good.
My dad interrupted our wall mounting by taking out a deck of cards and asking me to pick a card and then re-insert the card back into the deck. He made me cut the deck, haphazardly shuffled the cards and asked “Is this your card?”
Followed by, “Okay—is this your card?”
Next he placed a quarter in each hand and asked me to point to where I thought the quarters were.
“In both hands.”
He opened his fists and both quarters were under his right hand.
“Pretty good!” he exclaimed.
“Yea, cool trick.”
“He does this trick at the farmers market” my mom interjected. “He says, ‘if you can tell me which hand the quarters are in I don’t get a free sample. If you can’t, I get a free sample.”
My father is the kind of person who learns magic to get extra apple slices at the farmers market.
While at happy hour in Los Feliz I was reminded of a conversation that my co-workers were having about if they ever saw their parents drunk. Someone said that they remember their mom once drinking too much when they were a little kid.
“The last time my dad drank too much was the last time I saw him.”
It’s Christmas Eve and my dad is the only patron at this near empty bar on Vermont performing amateur magic for the female bartender to get an extra sample of Delirium Tremens.
In the middle of the night we awoke startled by the crashing sound of the mirror falling from just above my mom’s head on to the floor. The one night my mom stays over in my apartment she is mere inches from receiving a permanent facial scar. Was this my dad’s latest illusion?
In the morning, freshly recovered from her near death experience, my mom insisted we take a walk to Albertsons to buy almond milk. The cashier handed me a dozen “Win Big” instant savings coupons. I also bought a Bingo Lottery scratcher which I handed to my dad to scratch off with my house key. While my mom and I finished unpacking groceries my dad exclaimed, “You just won $500!”
“A Christms Miracle!” I exclaimed.
My mom verified the matching numbers and we headed back to Albertsons to redeem the winnings. After shutting the door I checked my pockets like I always do.
“I left my keys inside.”
“What are we going to do?”
“Who needs keys when you have $500?!”
High from winning the lottery I texted a girl I met two nights ago telling her I just won $500 and that I’d like to take her out the next night. We handed the winning ticket to the cashier who inserted the ticket into the machine, input the lotto # into the system and pressed a few other buttons.
The machine spat out the ticket.
“Not a winner.”
Clearly we had all the matching numbers. My mom, dad and the cashier all saw proof. The cashier tried again and achieved the same result. We decided to drive to the next closest Albertsons. My dad handed me the card back. I looked at the numbers just to make sure.
“B7…I28….N36… G50….” I paused then took a deep breath. “Where do you see G50?”
“What do you mean?”
“There is no G50. It’s G60! I didn’t win anything!”
Twenty minutes earlier I texted Tammy that I won the lottery and that I would take her out. Now I would have to spend money I didn’t have and tell her the only lottery I won involved instant savings on Pepperidge Farm.
As we drive up the hill to the Griffith Obersvatory my mom is emotional that my sister is mad at her and makes my dad call her. We are all upset we are locked out of my apartment. I haven’t showered since Friday and I’m wearing a hot dog tee shirt.
My apartment manager was celebrating Christmas with her family until 8pm leaving us most of the day left to explore Los Angeles on the one day nothing is open. We couldn’t agree on a movie and my mom vetoed Chinese. The magician who could not distinguish a 5 from a 6, suggested we go to the Hollywood Cemetery to see some of the famous people buried there.
“You know in LA we can see famous people who aren’t dead?”
Families were mourning their loved ones and my dad is asking for a map.
“Can you tell me how to get to Charlie Chaplin’s plot?”
From there, we took a scenic driving tour through Hancock park, discovered a German sports bar in Koreatown, my mom and sister made up, and we laughed recalling our misadventures over Pad See Ew in Thai Town.
Falling asleep to Christmas Vacation was a fitting end to an exhilarating Steingart Family Christmas weekend. After my parents left the shower rod fell down, and the next day at work I received a little Christmas bonus in the amount of… $500.
December 21, 2011 | 11:36 am
Posted by Elliot Steingart
“Elliot Steingart prepares for his biggest challenge yet,” begins HBO 24/7: ‘Steingart vs Himself.’
“I trained for my move to Los Feliz like Marquez trained against Pacquio, minus drinking my own urine. I prepared mentally, and physically to live on my own. I did crunches and asked the guy from Time Warner for decorating tips.”
The dawn breaks and we see an excitable Elliot Steingart waking up from his first night in his new apartment to the sound of church bells. “Ding, dong. Ding, dong. Ding, dong.” Probably, a one time occurrence, he thinks. One hour later churchbells sound again. “Ding, dong. Ding, Dong.”
“Thank you, father, but I’m trying to sleep,” he cries.
Now awake, Steingart returns to the familiar routine of watching a Netflix under the covers on his laptop. He watches “The Fighter” a film about “Irish” Mickey Ward. It’s a story similar to Steingart’s own upbringing as the youngest of nine children living in the shadow of older brother, Dicky his trainer, who once knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard, but has since fallen to the depths of crack addiction. Mickey’s girlfriend, Charlene is the brash redhead Steingart dreams of. Though he would not want Charlene yelling at his mom about how he doesn’t need throw pillows from CB2.
Channeling Mickey Ward, Steingart does two sets of 12 push ups. After which Steingart finds a note that is left under his door:
Are you going to church today? I’m at Danielle and John’s, need a ride to church. If you’re going please call me.
After hearing the church bells and receiving a hand written invitation to attend services, Steingart waits for a phone call from Pope Benedict to formally introduce himself to Catholicism. The good Catholics of Los Feliz are unaware that days earlier Steingart declined to participate in his office Secret Santa. Out of 15 co-workers, Steingart was the only onlooker. Co-workers viewed him as Scrooge. He viewed himself as Jew.
Steingart re-reads the note, and wonders why Rose would need a ride to church since church is two blocks away.
Meanwhile the fight begins, the inner struggle of how someone lives by oneself. Every fighter has those standing in his corner training him for the challenge ahead. For Steingart, his camp is as important to his success as Dickey is to Mickey Ward.
Ryan, his roommate the last three years, had left for Pittsburgh for a month when he received a text from Steingart notifiying him he would be moving out of the house.
“Do what you gotta do, bro.”
Steingart tried calling, but received no answer. It was not the way he hoped to break the news to his friend and roommate. When Ryan returned, his hair grew longer.
“You shouldn’t cut it. It looks good.”
“Your face isn’t as fat.”
“Thanks! I lost 9 ½ pounds on Weight Watchers for Men.” A humble brag, indeed.
It was Ryan who helped Steingart carry his queen bed up three flights of stairs, and move the rest of his belongings into the new apartment.
Ben, Steingart’s friend and second roommate the last two years, continued to serve as audio/visual consultant, unplugging plugs for Steingart, and teaching Steingart the basics of plugging speaker wire into a receiver, and fielded calls once Steingart could not do so on his own, and promised to come over and to set it all up.
Richard, the office manager at his company, welcomed hourly interruptions from Steingart.
“Should I buy the couch from Jennifer Convertibles?”
“Would you get Netflix or Cable?”
“How does this tape measure work?”
Over the last couple of months Steingart has relied on Richard to build a basketball hoop, retrieve his Blackberry contacts, check his car engine, hide a Slim Jim at his desk so he won’t eat it and take bets on college and professional football. Steingart was amazed by Richard’s skill set and ability to take his money. Steingart was the only person in the office approaching Richard at his desk at 9am by saying “Want some action on UCLA?”
When the two made a $5 wager on the Cotto/Margertio rematch it was Richard who bet on Margertio, a fighter with only one good eye. Steingart, a victor for the first time, was grateful for his friend Richard who drove all the way from Wittier to mount Steingart’s new television on the wall, and then hang pictures and configure his wireless internet network.
And his parents, the two people in Steingart’s camp who’ve stuck by him the longest, visited the apartment and persuaded him to sign the lease. It was they who called from Target in suburban San Diego.
“How big of garbage can do you need for the kitchen? Make a list of stuff you need an we’ll get it here since these stores won’t be open on Christmas when we come up to help you decorate.”
“Thanks to the people I depend on I am able to live better independently. There will be struggles. It will be boring at times, and sometimes lonely, but it’s nice to have strong people supporting me. Plus I can always go to Church.”
In the next installment of 24/7 “Steingart Vs. Himself,” Steingart wonders how the Jewish Journal will respond to his upcoming conversion to Catholicm.
December 14, 2011 | 11:55 am
Posted by Elliot Steingart
I’m like the Brett Favre of OkCupid, a grizzled veteran hoping for one last shot of glory. I thought I could reclaim some of the magic from my earlier days of internet dating. This time I think I’m calling it quits. As I prepare for retirement, and meet women the natural way (at bars), I’ve stumbled upon some gems in my OkCupid inbox.
Below are my favorite emails that I sent that never received a response. This is a tribute to the dates that were not meant to be, and to the women who were spared hearing about my search for futons.
*These emails have not been edited from their original form. Viewer discretion advised.
Spanglish is a great movie
Feb. 15, 2010 – 6:13pm
I actually do a pretty good Sandler imitation from spanglish. i don’t do it much bc no one i know has seen spanglish.
I would love to travel to japan some day. what brought you to LA? do you go back to Japan at all?
Mar. 12, 2010 – 4:49pm
are dream worthy.
what’s lined up for this weekend? anything besides dinner?
Sep. 17, 2010 – 3:14pm
Hope you have a great fast. If you don’t fast, hope you eat lots of great tasting food tonight at sundown until tomorrow at sundown.
Any exciting plans lined up?
Sep. 18th 2010
Hey, how’s your weekend been? any exciting non yom kippur related adventures? I broke the fast with jamba juice. I also didn’t fast. Are you a rebel like me?
Turns out I also perform comedy (stand up) and have a dog, Pippin (enjoys being pet and eating tortilla chips when i give them to her).
How’s your day going?
May 25, 2010 – 4:17pm
Hope you’re having a great day.
I’m also socially liberal and good looking.
lets talk soon.
What we have in common
Feb. 11, 2010 – 2:57pm
i also love vietnamese food. pho is my favorite. love how you can’t find a pho restaurant without a pun. do you have a favorite place to get pho? 9021pho perhaps?
Feb. 11, 2010 – 11:48am
funny spotting the birthright bus in your okcupid profile. how was your trip? what was the highlight?
recently saw pictures of my tour guide with another trip. felt like he cheated on us with another group of young adults.
hope you are having a good thursday.
Feb. 11, 2010 – 12:12pm
always nice to meet someone who is also not too serious about judaism. been there, done that.
hope you are having a great thursday. any big weekend plans?
None of these ladies were interested in meeting Mr. San Diego, but at least they know that I’m a non-observant Jew named Elliot who likes ethnic foods, lives with a dog named Pippin and had a rather lonely February 11th 2010.
The best I can do is learn from every email I send to unsuspecting women like the exchange below from this past week between myself and a young art school grad whose work I admire.
Interested in Art Work
December 8th 2011 3:22pm
Not sure if you got my facebook, but I’m moving into a new place and am in need of art work. i really like your paintings. do you have anything for purchase, and or could i commision something?
Dec 9th 2011 4:29pm
“Hey great to hear from you! I’m sure we could figure something out. What is your budget/ how large of a piece were you looking for?”
Dec 9 2011 5:19pm
My budget would be around $75—$100. I would need a horizontal piece something that is a decent size. I’m moving into a studio that isn’t huge and would love something nice to hang over my bed. I really like painting 4 and something that would reflect my new life living in the hills of Los Feliz. I love the idea of a glass house on some sort of hill overlooking the city at dusk and love the colors and feel of the painting I attached. Best case scenario is that I could have the piece in hand by Xmas. Do you think this is doable? I’d also love to take you out for drinks as part of the deal.
Dec. 12th 2011 11:16am
Do you think this is possible? I’m trying to map out how I’m going to decorate the place.
Dec 12th 201112:16am
“Hey Elliot, the problem is that I have pretty much sold out of everything I have made—my paintings usually sell for 2-4 grand.”
It appears I low-balled Amy by $4,000, demanded the painting by Christmas and then asked her out. So, sometimes the best response is no response. That is unless you write a response to not receiving responses in which case I’m fine if you respond. Just don’t write to Mr. San Diego because you’re not going to get a response.
December 7, 2011 | 11:56 am
Posted by Elliot Steingart
Before I move in to my own place I figure it would be good to practice spending time alone. I’ve had good practice as it’s been some time since I’ve been with a woman. That, and I don’t mind spending time by myself watching HGTV and listening to Warren Zevon and eating rotisserie chicken with my bare hands and wearing my Penn State sweatshirt. I am content participating in these stay at home activities, but in order to start my life I must visit retail chains, something I rarely do alone.
I prefer not to use the term “running errands” because I think of joining my dad on endless trips to the bank or dry cleaners. For extra cash when I was a kid my dad would wake up early on Sundays and deliver the New York times to 10 homes, no more than a mile apart in Squirrel Hill, our neighborhood in Pittsburgh. It took him so long he would deliver Sunday’s paper on top of Monday’s.
I was the only child who suffered emotional damage from the boredom of waiting for my dad to choose which tennis racquet’s grip he liked best. But then he bought me gummies or baseball cards and the world was full of hope and glossy images of Twins first baseman Kent Hrbeck . Back in the family Accord, we would play the “look alike game” during which my dad would point to someone who kind of looked like someone we knew and then say with great enthusiasm, “Look it’s Mike Tobias.”
When I sat shotgun he would let me steer the wheel until I veered too far left on Beechwood toward South Linden. He even tasked me with delivering the majority of the papers on the route when I was strong enough to lift a whole Sunday New York Times.
As an adult male with no dependents, I’ve thought about becoming a Jewish Big Brother so I can take my “Little” to buy toilet paper and look for futons. I’d even take him for a soda if he behaved. I’m not ready to look after a child just yet. I’m just beginning to look for futons by myself, like two days ago when I visited a local futon shop in West Hollywood.
“Were you the one who called earlier about Aruba?” Asked the sales clerk, the only indiviudal in the store.
“Yes, I was.”
“Welcome. Make yourself at home.” He said.
My temporary home was a warehouse full of beige futons. “This is Morpheus,” he shared.
I took a seat on this sharp, modern looking futon named Morpheus. “How much is this guy?”
“Usually $459, but today Morpheus is marked down to $389.”
Sitting on Morpheus was like sitting on the floor. “I think Morpheus is too low to the ground for me,” I responded.
“Did you want to see Aruba?” He asked as he guided me toward the kind of futon that’s only passable in a college dorm.
“You’re sitting on Aruba. It’s the same length as Jamaica, but it’s wider and there’s more head room.”
“Oh. Can I see Jamaica?”
“Right now we just have Aruba in stock. Jamaica is in West LA at the moment but we will soon have Jamaica in olive, mocha and chocolate.”
I looked back at Morpheus to avoid making eye contact with the sales clerk. Why was this chocolate colored futon named Jamaica?
And why was every futon in the store mentioned in the song “Kokomo?” Bermuda, Bahama, the only futon missing was Key Largo. I’m sure she was in West LA with Jamaica.
Standing right in the middle of all these futons seemed exciting before I began to imagine all the long, restless nights of sleep each of the futons would cause.
“Why don’t you lie down and try out Cabo?”
I nervously laid on my back and stared at the ceiling so I wouldn’t have to see a grown man watching me lie on an uncomfortable futon. I crawled in the fetal position and grew more self concious. I gathered myself and jumped to my feet. “Are all futons like this?”
“It’s just the way they are made.”
“Well, this is all good info to have. Thanks for your time.”
“I hope this helped give you a better idea of what you want.”
I walked aimlessly around Target looking for duvet covers. 300 threads? What do I need all those threads for? With my Kmart bedsheets I can count all the threads myself. I sat on the only futon displayed in the store and then inquired about a 37 inch television, and left.
These two errands on an empty stomach left me famished and yearning for my father’s company. There is no bond between father and son wasting time in a retail store. Even seeing a Stan Tucci look alike near the Best Buy escalator wasn’t quite the same.
I have no problems being alone, but I’d rather suffer with someone else.
Dad, I guess what I’m trying to say is—you’ve always been like a father to me, and I really don’t want to ever look for a futon again so please buy me a small couch for Hannukah/my late January Birthday.
Your favorite paper boy,
November 30, 2011 | 11:37 am
Posted by Elliot Steingart
Looking for a place to rent is like starring in your own episode of “House Hunters.” In contrast to yuppie newlyweds sharing how much they like the fenced in backyard where all three of their Golden Retrievers can run for hours, I’m standing in a 400 square ft Hollywood efficiency saying, “I like how there is a stove.”
Most people rent in Los Angeles so there is intense competition when a decent apartment hits the market. When a less desirable unit is ready, I’m the guy that goes in to make sure everything is okay. I spend my free time chatting with apartment managers and feigning interest in studio apartments.
“I really like how it’s one big room. No, it’s great. It’s like living in a really large cubicle.”
I stop my car in the middle of a street whenever I see a sign for West Side Rentals. The Subaru behind me flicks me off and West Side Rentals tells me the unit has already been rented. It’s like I’m being told to f*ck off twice.
I keep searching and try to imagine my life inside each of these units I see like the newly remodeled top floor unit on S. Oak Knoll Ave. When I took that left onto S. Oak Knoll for the first time I envisioned growing old on this quiet Pasadena street lined with oak trees, walking distance to work. I liked the high ceilings, and the idea of Pasadena where I could wave an American Flag in the Rose Parade and vote Republican.
My co-workers Stacey, Kimi and Matt all approved when I took them for a visit.
“It’s super nice.”
“Oh, and there’s a pool too.”
“And you can walk to Panda Express!”
I didn’t mind that Evan, the apartment manager kept calling me Elias since she was now taking me to see #14, the only available upstairs unit. When I walked in Evan’s office a girl was filling out paper work.
“She’s interested in the downstairs unit. ” Evan told me. “She will take a walk with us upstairs so she’s not just sitting by herself.”
We entered #14 where the current tenant left boxes and dirty towels on the floor.“Are you ready to put down your deposit?”
“How about I let you know after the weekend?”
After driving away, I received a phone call from a 626 number.
“Hi, Elias. This is a courtesy call to let you know that the girl is going to be taking that apartment.”
I expanded my Craigslist search to other parts of Pasadena. One ad appeared daily in different forms: “Garden Apartment!,” “Ready Now,” and “Your New Home Awaits…”
Each time I clicked on the ad I felt empty inside. I flagged the user for abusing his posting privileges, but figured I might as well at least see this 750 square ft unit on S. El Molino, close enough to El Paseo in Old Town.
I met the older gentleman in his 70’s whose craigslist ads I despised. I shook hands with this soft spoken individual who led me towards my new home, an unimpressive, outdated brown carpeted one bedroom apartment.
“So how’s Craigslist working out?”
“I’ve posted a little bit on there.”
“So I’ve seen,” I said to my new friend whose ad now has more flags than the Rose Parade.
My co-worker Andrew suggested I consider Highland Park which he described as “Up and coming.”
I drove through York Street at night and seemed to pass an endless strip of liquor stores and guitar shops. It didn’t seem like this area was up or close to coming. Andrew asked me what I thought.
“It’s not for me,” I replied politely.
“Why? Are you too good for our neighborhood.”
“It’s not even like that. I just would just never ever live there.”
Over Thanksgiving weekend I took my parents on a driving tour of Silverlake around the reservoir and down to Franklin through Los Feliz until we landed on Rodney Street, a pleasant side street situated between Hillhurst and Vermont. As we waited to get buzzed into a three story building we looked through the names on the intercom and identified Wasserman and Isaacs, nearly one Jew per floor. Brenda, the friendly Romanian apartment manager showed us a beautiful studio with hard wood floors, new kitchen tiles, a large walk-in closet and a balcony with views of Wasserman’s apartment.
“What do you think?”
“It’s great. What do you guys think?” I asked my parents.
“We both like it,” my mom responded. “But, it’s up to you.”
Brenda invited us into her home to discuss the terms of the lease. I asked about the utlities as grown men were getting wacked in the nuts with whiffle bats on “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
“Im about 90% sure I want to live here,” I told Brenda who I’m sure was thrilled I still possessed a good 10% of self doubt.
Imagining late night meals at Fred 62, hikes in Griffith Park, and living in an area as fun to pronounce as “Los Feliz” compelled me to forward my Sports Illustrated subscription to Rodney Street. I’m excited to invite people, or a person to start with, and see how much room there is with my bed, couch and record player. My mom suggested purchasing a divider to make the studio seem like it has two rooms. I’ve looked at dividers on Overstock.com, but not sure how I feel about the idea of a giant Tetris piece next to my bed. Meanwhile, my mom is busy researching historical facts about Los Feliz.
“Did you know that Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse while living in his uncle’s house in Los Feliz?”
“Yes because I too read the Los Feliz Wikipedia page.”
I also know that “Rebel Without a Cause” was shot at the Griffith Observatory and “Swingers” was shot at the Dresden Room. It’s a shame my episode of “House Hunters” will not cement itself in Los Feliz cinematic lore. If Walt Disney can sketch the beginnings of Mickey Mouse in Los Feliz I too can thrive here, or at least continue blogging for the Jewish Journal.
There is much to discover in Los Feliz and much more to learn about the new studio and how it will smell since I’m the only one living there. If the place smells I cannot blame anyone else. It won’t because Los Feliz will be a fresh start. I just know it.