I believe seasons are super important psychologically ( I have a PHD) because they serve as a reminder that time is passing, and that you should be in a different place than you were last winter, or spring, or summer. Plus, it is impossible to make small talk about the weather in a place like LA, because what are you gonna say? “Oh my god, it’s such a nice day today!” Yeah, no shit. The little girl I babysit responded to my “It’s so nice out!” with “Gaby, it’s like this everyday.” I hope she goes to college in Syracuse, NY as punishment for her comment.
Everybody has complaints about their neighbors yet, ironically, I’ve noticed it’s often the neighbor who chains girls in his basement for 13 years that get rave reviews. When those who live next door to a serial killer are interviewed on the news, they almost always express shock and reminisce about lending their serial killer neighbor sugar and barbequing with them constantly. #chainingissohotrightnow They had no idea he ate people?! Really?! It’s like, did you not notice there was barbed wire on all windows of his house, and that there was a random 16-year-old girl shadily giving birth in a tent in the backyard? I don’t get it. Do you not watch SVU?!
So my neighbors aren’t thattttt bad (which is sorta suspicious). Maybe I shouldn’t complain, but there is this one guy in my building, who I think, is mid-nervous breakdown. I’m talking a breakdown of epic, Britney 2003/Miley 2013 proportions. #twerking What leads me to this belief is that he perpetually throws shit out his three-story window. More specifically, this guy throws hangers. Like I have seen an arm (I can never see his face because he is like a mysterious unicorn) chuck 50 hangers off the balcony in a single sesh. Our street is then riddled with hangers and looks like an abortion clinic pre-Roe v. Wade, or like an Ashanti/any R&B singer’s music video. C’mon, we all know that, without fail, the concept of every single R&B music video ever is that there’s this young, strung-out girl, in a huge mansion, with shiny legs, wearing a night gown, whose throwing her boyfriend’s stuff out of a window onto his Escalade in the driveway because, duh, he cheated on her and she JUST found out. Oh, and it rains at one point. So the throwing of the clothes represents that she is done with her cheating boyfriend’s bs, and she’s going to be an independent woman. Mad props. So inspiring. But I don’t think that’s where “The Thrower” is going with it, and I live in the Jewish ghetto of e-Rob, so there are no Escalades.
But like, we’re not living in New York (unfortunately). It’s LA. It’s uncomfortably sunny and clean, so hangers and garbage strewn all over street is not part of the scenery, it’s really noticeable. We all know it was you, Thrower. Also, didn’t your mom teach you not to throw random things out of windows?! That was like the first thing my mother taught me when I was born. Like the day I was born, I learned that. I still suck my thumb, and I wet the bed for years after it was appropriate, but so help me God, I did not, nor will I ever, throw obscure objects out of my bedroom window.
Recently, “The Thrower” has actually escalated to throwing paint and beer bottles out of the window, one of which shattered the windshield of this poor girl’s car who was parked outside of our building. She was apparently borrowing her boyfriend’s Benz for the night. Ya, I would rather break my pinky toe and only be able to eat gluten-free foods for a month, than to be in that poor, poor girl’s predicament. Very unfortunate story. Anyway, I’m sure the girl got broken-up with shortly thereafter, and then gained a substantial amount of weight. All in all, if I had my way, I would THROW this guy out of the building…no pun intended. #punwasintended #spent4minutesthinkingofapun
So, in other neighbor news, my roommates and I recently put up a mezuza on our front door, which, if you are unfamiliar with the item, is that little rectangle thing that hangs on the right side of the frame of a Jewish person’s door, and is supposed to protect the house from all the anti-Semites that now know a Jew lives there. If you just read my mezuza explanation and thought, “hmm, I don’t get it,” then you are basically a skinhead. Whatevs. Anyway, we have lived in this apartment for a year without having a mezuza up, because we are lazy and would rather be “tindering” in our respective bedrooms. However, as soon as we put up the mezuza, our Israeli neighbors, who we assumed knew that we were Jewish, because (A) we have Friday night Sabbath dinners constantly, and (B) they have seen my face (i.e. they should just know I am a Jewess), have been trying to “bagel” with us non-stop. If you want to read more about my views on “bageling,” read this…
In short, “bageling” basically means that you want to bond with someone over both of you being Jewish, by dropping subtle (or not so subtle) Jewish references because you desperately want that person to know you are one of them. #gevalt #schvitz What’s good about me is that I never need to bagel with others because I always look like I’m about to audition for the role of the oldest daughter in “Fiddler on the Roof,“ so people just bagel me. I’m so lucky. I imagine when Indians want other Indians to know they are Indian, they call that, “Saag Paneering,” or when Italians want someone to know they are Italian, they call it, “Bruschetta-ing”. Ok. I’m done now…I think. Should I keep going? One more. Thai people call it, “Pad Tai-ing”. Sorry. That was offensive.
So it started with my roommate wishing our Israeli neighbor a “Shanah Tovah” (i.e., a “Happy New Year” for you mezuzah/Jew haters). That slowly escalated to our Israeli neighbor speaking to me exclusively in Hebrew. Then came the small joke about how many Jewish holidays there are. Now it has gotten basically unbearable. I respect and genuinely admire a good “bagel,” but with this guy, I have to literally wrack my brain for obscure Jewish references just to keep up. It’s exhausting and getting harder and harder to come up with relevant bagels. For example, yesterday I saw him in the garage, we looked at each other and he said, “Rahm Emanuel, right? What can you do?” I responded with something like, “Yeah what can you do? So sad about Amy Winehouse.” Today, I’m thinking about just saying, “Monica Lewinski,” and then shrugging my shoulders. Oy.
Then there’s the person in our apartment building who didn’t clean up after their dog took a massive shit in the elevator. They just let it rock out. That’s all I have to say about that.
There’s also the abusive boyfriend who lives upstairs. He yells at his girlfriend a lot, walks around the garage in a robe, and looks like a Slovakian warlord . The guy parks next to me and I never smile at him because I feel like he’s planning a genocide or, at minimum, a mass shooting. #alsointhisseason
Despite having to dodge hangers, avoid stepping in dog shit, and fellow Jews trying to discuss how delicious Israeli pickles are, I am happy to call our little apartment home. Who wants to live somewhere where people don’t yell really loudly and are completely unhinged? Not this girl.
Gems like, “We’ve got it all wrong, we pay for food and water, and it shouldn’t be like that.” I felt so connected with this guy because I too, think bottled water is all a scam. #nycwaterhasflouridefordays But like, sometimes you need to buy some things, like chips, and bread, cheese and stuff. Sorry, I know I’m fixated on dairy. He then told me all about his girlfriend who’s beyond amazing, so amazing that “people meditate to her.” I was jealous because I’ve always wanted people to meditate to me. ” She’s so much above me” he said. Me: “Oh my god, don’t say that! You’re great!!!!” OH MY GOD, I’M SUCH NOT A HIPPY AND I HATE MYSELF. I AM SO BORING. I couldn’t have had less interesting things to say, so I asked what drugs he was planning on doing this upcoming Phish weekend. I’ll have you know, he was planning on rocking out to some LSD and acid. ” I once had an acid trip where I thought all my friends were burning me at the stake, but then I realized they were just telling me not to have an ego,” he explained. I kind of got where he was coming from, because once, when I ate a weed chocolate by mistake, I literally hallucinated a whole conspiracy around Adrianna’s murder on the Sopranos. You can read about it here…
You know those Facebook friends who you have zero to do with in real life, but remain Facebook friends with simply so that you can screen shot their aspergian status updates to your real life friends? Oh my god. I’m such a bully. It’s because I’ve been beaten down by life. #validexcuse
Anyway, one such Facebook friend of mine posted some quote about not knowing how much you’ve grown until you go home, or maybe it was, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” or “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” or “there’s no use crying over spilled milk.” I don’t know, but bottom line, it was lamely cliche, and apparently really resonated with me.
From memory, I’m going to go with the gist of the quote being that when you return home, it brings to light how far you’ve come in life. This little gem of a quote popped into my head on my most recent trip back home to New York. I realized that, yes, I’ve come a long way in that I can apparently live on my own across the country (and by live, I mean struggle along), but as soon as I step foot inside the house in which I grew up, I regress. Like, I basically become Michael Jackson, minus the nose job (so jealz), and the dance moves (only because I have scoliosis #icouldhavebeenacontender!). Like MJ, when home, I am firmly convinced that I am a child. This manifests itself in several ways…
In addition, typically, after I fix myself up a grilled cheese at my parents’ place, I waltz into the den, and proceed to lounge on the couch for hours at a time, while I cuddle my prince of a dog, Harry, and suck my thumb. I have an oral fixation, ok? Get up off me!
Fine, I won’t lie, I have become concerned about my thumb sucking. My wake-up call came when, once, in Vegas, I lost my purse and this blanket I like to hold while I suck my thumb (oh yeah, I forgot to mention, there’s a blanket too…her name is “Blanky” (with a Y not an IE—she gets piiiiissseddd when you mess that up), and found myself panicking wayyy more about having lost Blanky, than about having lost my ID, car keys, innocence, and two really really good lip glosses. (In case you were worried, I found all my stuff in the end because Blanky is a fucking champ, but I digress.)
So, to address my concerns about my thumb sucking, I asked my father, who happens to be a psychologist, whether he thought I needed to quit the thumb. His clinical response—“Eh, it’s your thing.” My Dad’s really good at his job. I think what he meant by those wise words was, “it’s not like you’re addicted to crystal meth or eating the insides of couches, at least not yet, so just do you.” Totally. #addictedtomystrangeaddiction
So, I basically ignored my not feeling well and went on to kiss everyone, share countless drinks, and even hold a few innocent babies. The next night, I got home and projectile vomited after a mere 2 margaritas. My whole life/meal flashed before my eyes. I knew something was up because 2 margaritas does not a night on the toilet make. I can tell you, it takes at least 4-5 and that annoying shot of whiskey that someone, you can’t remember who, made you take with them.
The moral of the story is that, just because you go home and sleep in your old room that looks exactly the same as it did when you were 8 years old, doesn’t mean you are still a child. It’s something I’m dealing with. In the meantime, as I type this, I have my thumb in my mouth.
As I wither away (emotionally, not physically #iwish) in LA for more and more time, I start to wonder if I will live in this sunny establishment “forever ever… forever ever?” That’s usually when I panic and have to be talked off a ledge by my 97-year-old therapist who looks and sounds like Yoda. Oh, you’re therapist isn’t 97? That’s weird. This fear becomes even more pronounced when I am around “LA Parents” which, as a nanny, happens fairly often. When I use the term, “LA Parents,” I’m not referring to people who live in LA and have procreated. Those people are generally fine. “LA Parents” are different creatures, often characterized by wearing linen pants and/or Obama gear year round, as well as naming their children things that aren’t real. I often think to myself, like, what if I continue to live here and become one of these nightmarish women who only wears workout clothes, and then am forced to name my child, “Lamb?” I mean, I can’t.
Oh, and if you’re wondering why these kids need to learn about fish in their natural habitat (solid question), they go to some hippie dippy school where the kids are allowed to call their teachers by their first names. Um, hello. Communism. My kid actually told me her friend goes to a school where they “don’t believe in homework.” Like, fuck off. Maybe I’m old school, but perhaps that is the reason why most people you talk to in LA seem like they are recovering from severe head trauma…they didn’t get homework. However, I will say that being taught in such a liberal environment has made my kids “color blind” which, trust me, I know is a super douchey term, but all I’m trying to say is they’re not racist jusssst yet, which is heartwarming.
Anyway, I’m hanging at the bus stop, waiting, and silently judging all those around me, reading my book of choice, “White Girl Problems.” I then notice I happen to be sitting next to an African American woman. I’m not sure if this is highly offensive, so I stop reading, and am forced to listen to the conversations of the “LA Parents” next to me. They are talking about their children’s diets. “Charlie loves grilled cheese, does that make me a bad parent?” They all laugh unnecessarily loud at this. My mind is starting to numb. I worry I have a tumor for like four minutes, but then realize I’m just really really bored.
It all began when I foolishly complimented my boyfriend on this cool fish tank he had hanging on the wall of his room. We had just started dating, and he was probably trying to woo me via fish, so the following week, he surprised me with my very own hanging fish tank thing. “Living Art,” as he so embarassingly referred to it. (I’m with him for his good looks and good looks ALONE).
I was forced to get a “betta” fish for the tank, which any person who knows the first thing about fish will telll you is super, super lame. We get it betta, you’re colorful, but color does not a good pet fish make. However, I will admit that if my mothering skills for my betta are any indication of my future parenting skills, my children will be confiscated by child services before you can say “Eminem’s mother, Debbie” three times quickly. I cleaned the water like twice in the four months I owned the fish, and I overfed him more than a 17- year- old girl in an anorexia ward. #livingvicariouslythroughhim I NEVER played with him, and I changed his name daily, which was clearly a mind fuck for him. The poor guy was confused, alone, and suffocating in his own shit. He looked a little pale the other day, and I actually had a lot of free time that day, like I might of been home ALL day…but I still didn’t change the water… and then he croaked. I feel terrible. Don’t look at me. ( my hand is over my face).
Everyone agreed that my recently deceased betta had bad energy, so we decided to go spring break wooooooooooo, and get a goldfish to replace him. I picked out a morbidly obese goldfish, and two little sperm fish to go along with him. We named the golden prince, “Gus,” and the two, little, lady fish were crowned MaryKate and Ashley, because they were thin, fashion forward, and didn’t give a fuck. I made a vow to myself that I would take care of these new fish like they were mammals, cuddly, or in any way appealing at all. I would not treat them like they were the worst things to happen to me since getting my first period.
It is a well-known fact that anyone who goes to Soul Cycle is an avid “Soul Cycler.” So, if you’re like me, and only go to the place once in a while (more specifically, when you need to become anorexic for summer), you feel like a Muslim on a plane, aka like everyone is staring at you suspiciously, alarmed, and silently judging you. Everyone at Soul Cycle so effortlessly changes the height and gears on their bikes and smoothly clicks their cycling shoes into the pedals, but I constantly need to ask some blonde who works there, to come help me. Meanwhile, while I struggle more than a Sudanese immigrant to make the requisite adjustments to my bike, some girl on the bike next to me always stares ahead blankly, offering no assistance whatsoever, like I’m Kitty Genovese, and she’s one of the useless neighbors (#bystander-syndrome). Once I am finally saddled in, I typically survey the room and notice that the girl next to me might be a regular, but she clearly doesn’t have the metabolism that I have, and I immediately feel better about myself, no offense. Also, I should note that there’s this one part of the class where everyone in the room sort of stretches their arms forward at the same time which, unfortunately, makes me feel like I’m in a Hitler Youth salute practice session or something (especially with all of the Aryan looking blondes in peak physical condition surrounding me (aka Hitler’s wet dream))… but maybe I’m being oversensitive. After all, to me, people doing anything with their arms together in unison immediately screams, “I’m a Nazi,” but maybe that’s just a deep rooted issue I have.
Anyway, this week’s particular experience at Soul Cycle wasn’t half bad. The teacher had rhythm like a member of the Jackson Five in their heyday, I was sweating like a whore in church (in a positive way), and I hadn’t even been experiencing my standard deathly fear of bike gears. Things were looking up, and I was even thinking about buying a $45 tank top to demonstrate my support for the cause. At the end of the class, the teacher starts playing “Imagine” as the “cool down” song, which I thought was a little over dramatic, but I guess I could pick up what she was throwing down.
So I left Soul Cycle feeling refreshed, reinvigorated, and ready to tackle the hellish place that is our world. I also decided to purchase a chocolate protein shake that tasted like glue, but I’m ok with it, because it’s all part of the process. I got into my car and debated whether I should take La Cienega (dumb, crowded, LA street that stretches really far) or Doheny (dumb, crowded, LA street that stretches really far, but has a few more palm trees). I don’t know why, but I decided to take La Cienega (probably because I like to make myself suffer). So, I’m minding my own business, not even texting and driving for a change and just sitting there like careful Carrie with my foot on the brakes due to the fact that I was on a huge hill, when, all of a sudden, I hear a huge BOOM and feel someone slam hard into my rear end #thatswhatshesaid. Before I could say “Livin La vida Loca,” I was essentially penetrating the Porsche in front of me. I looked back to see what this idiot behind me was doing, and that’s when the bitch in a blue Scion ( should have been a red flag) who hit me, pulls up next to me for a second, looks at me directly in the eyes, and then guns it. She hit, ran and sped off down La Cienega, and I was left having unprotected anal with a Porsche.
Apparently, the restaurant business is one of the hardest to succeed in these days (that, and the luxury/decorative soap industry—terrible business idea). That said, I think that even if the food in a restaurant is eh, the prices are pre-recessionesque, and the bathroom is just about as clean as the Port Authority facilities after the Puerto Rican Day parade, if they have decent customer service and don’t manage to make the customers feel fat, ugly, or slutty, the restaurant will probably stay in business for a solid two to four years.
Everyone and their mother has, at one point or another, walked out of a restaurant feeling like Rosa Parks, a child star at a moderately trendy nightclub, or Christopher Dorner at an LAPD function, aka UNWANTED (too soon?). It’s probably because, in L.A. at least, most waiters are actors. These thespians are pissed off because they all have bachelors’ degrees, grew up affluent in a wealthy suburb of Jersey, and would much rather be living the dream of being a reality TV star on MTV’s True Life: I only wear monochromatic colors, than waiting on you, God damn it! They recognize that while they’re getting you an extra side of ranch, Honey Boo Boo is achieving at the highest levels. So ya, maybe that’s the reason they’re giving you a little ‘tude.
Don’t I know it! I was a waitress for two weeks once. I worked for this Russian dictator who verbally, sexually harassed me. Meaning, literally, he verbally-sexually harassed me. He said things to me like, “I know you have sex with your boyfriend in the car…with no protection…when you’re on your period.” Are you emotionally ok after reading that?! I know. It’s beyond. To add insult to injury, he said all that in a Russian accent, which we all know that unless your a bad guy on 24, is an accent that doesn’t work for anyone. Sometimes, I think to myself, I must’ve made that story up, but then I remember, I didn’t. Each day, my boss, Stalin, also collected all of my tips and then, “gave them back to me,” at the end of the week. Stuff like that just doesn’t fly—not even in Soviet Russia. Needless to say, after I left work one day, crying because I was upset that I have a bachelor’s degree, grew up in an affluent suburb in Long Island, and want to be an actress, not a waitress, I quit. Oh, wait. Hmm. That’s awkward.
While rudeness at a restaurant is one thing, cheapness is another. Excuse you, don’t charge me $1 for a small side of spicy mayo. Like, do me a favor. Also, please don’t charge me $2 to add avocado to my sandwich—it’s just offensive to all involved. We all know the sandwich doesn’t taste like anything without the avocado, so just include it to begin with! It’s California, for fucks sake, there are more avocados here than Mexicans! You don’t need to charge that extra $2. Don’t try to play me for a damn fool.
However, I’m pretty sure I actually experienced the cheapest restaurant moment in the history of the service industry the last time I was in NY. My mother and I were at a bagel place in my hometown, and I was getting sexually aroused at the idea of eating a NY bagel. Mostly because L.A.-made bagels taste like, to quote the war biopic, “Anchorman,” the inside of a prosthetic leg.
So we get our food and drinks, and my mom’s coffee is cold. My mom drinks at least 5 cups of coffee a day because she’s a recovering coke addict (that’s not true), so she doesn’t play around when it comes to coffee. Her coffee needs to be hot, because lukewarm coffee is for people in jail, or those attending dermatology and/or public health conferences, and we were none of the above on that day, thank God. Just at the moment my mother took a sip of her cold coffee, a fresh batch of hot coffee was brought out. So, my mother went up to the front of the bagel place and asked, politely, if she could get a new cup of coffee. The employee’s lame response was as follows, “Can’t we just heat up the one you have? I’ll microwave it.” Ok, that’s definitely an idea. …OR you could give her a new cup of coffee because this isn’t the Warsaw Ghetto. Thanks for playing. “No you cannot,” answered my mother in her proper British accent. Nice. This pinhead clearly didn’t know who he was in the presence of. My mother was trained by Anna Freud. That’s Sigmund Freud’s aka the founder of Psychoanalysis’ freakin’ daughter. Ok?! My mother is basically Obama. She’s a bigger deal than gel manicures. Give her a new cup of coffee, puleeze.
I think it’s worth noting that this bagel place, aka Oliver Twist’s orphanage, keeps all coffee cups behind the counter because, apparently, they are concerned people might take the cups and help themselves to free coffee if they had an all access pass to the precious cups. Like, calm down. Have a little faith. This isn’t Queens—it’s Long Island!
Then, my mother demanded, in the nicest way possible (it for sure could have been nicer), that the restaurant employee give her a new cup from behind the counter. He replied, “Would you mind just dumping your old coffee out in the sink , and we’ll put the new coffee in the cup you have?” What are these cups made out of, freakin doymonds?! The only explanation I can come up with for why this guy was so emotionally invested in my mother drinking cold coffee out of an old, decrepit cup is that this dude must have been a hoarder.
I think my mother eventually got a new cup of coffee, but only after enduring more stress than a Haiti relief worker. It was finally time for me to take a long-awaited bite of my NY bagel, thank Jah (yeah, that’s my second blog in a row where I reference the Rasta diety #mycurlsdreadeasily #thecolorsonthejamaicaflagbringoutmyeyes) You know when you bite into something and it tastes like seltzer, or kinda like metal because it’s spoiled? Yeah, so that was what I experienced when I sunk my teeth into this bagel. I was so disappointed that I thought about going back up to the hoarder and asking for a new bagel, but was petrified to ask him because I’m immature and care about what other people think. So, I suffered in silence.
But, I plan on going back to that same bagel store when return to NY. Why is that, you might ask? Because, like I said, any restaurant customer will come back as long as you don’t make them feel fat, ugly or slutty, and the hoarder only made my mother and I feel poor.
By my calculations, they’ve got at least a good year and a half left in ‘em.
The ultimate sophisticated actress job is nannying aka babysitting aka glorified housekeeping aka modern day slavery aka basically a step above indentured servitude. Why is it “oh so classy,” you ask? Because it’s not bar tending, waitressing or go-go dancing. It’s also a job that allows me to demonstrate to the men of the world that I am “wifey material” because I “love children.” Sure. If you are behind the times and would like to read more about some of my nanny escapades, you can do so here:
So, I have been nannying for my two kids for a year now. For 365 long days, almost every single day, I have played an integral part in raising two stunning children. I know more about these two kids’ preferences when it comes to fruit juice and disney characters than I do about my zodiac sign. That upsets me because one’s Zodiac sign is the thing one should know most about in life. Above everything. Through nannying, I have learned that, it really is true that when you become a mother you stop giving a shit about yourself and put the kids first, and that’s kind of annoying. I mean, if I had a nickel for every time I gave “my kids” the last sip of a Starbucks passion fruit ice tea, or “colorful water” as they like to call it, I’d be richer than Bernie Madoff in his prime. I mean, these kids are basically turning me into Oscar Schindler. I’m so, so thirsty just thinking about it.
Moving along, the biological parents of my children work full time, so when the kids are on vacation from school, it is time for “Camp Gaby” to commence. So, what that basically means is, I take the kids to virtually every educational institution, museum, art gallery and lame place in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. When will parents learn that kids don’t want to learn about Black history or about the scientific reasons mentos makes coke explode. They want to jump around in a pool full of balls and play inappropriate games of ”doctor” with each other in a dark closet. Or, was that just me?
However, being a glorified camp counselor occasionally has its benefits. Sometimes we do fun activities on “camp days,” and on those days, I thank my lucky stars I decided to become an actress/nanny because who doesn’t love a good trip to Color Me Mine?!—You answered correctly—only a Nazi.
On one my favorite days at Camp Gaby, the parents of my children literally had me drive 45 miles to expose the kids to what amounted to be a petting zoo and vegetable garden. So we left at the ungodly hour of 7 a.m. and since I knew it would be a long day of petting animals and picking vegetables I had, give or take, 3 cups of coffee before leaving the house. I’ve gotta be honest with you, although I am a pro when it comes to coffee consumption, the combination of eating absolutely nothing that morning (thin is in) and the horrendous amount of coffee I had downed, had me feeling a little jittery.
Now, as someone who is prone to panic attacks, feeling jittery reminds me of the last time I needed to pop a Klonipin, and that, in turn, makes me even more anxious. It’s a vicious cycle and all very healthy. The fact that before I left the kids’ house, their dad proceeded to whip out an oversized map of Los Angeles and administer a pop quiz didn’t help my cause. I’m pretty sure Lil Wayne was much less nervous when receiving the results of his most recent STD test than I was during this 7 a.m. oral examination. “Ok Gaby, does La Cienega run North/South or East/West?” “Um, East, West, I think?” The look of disappointment on the father’s face could kill a man. His facial expression basically said “Why is the girl who takes care of my kids so dumb?” It was as though I had just told him that I was quitting babysitting because I was pregnant with the kids’ piano teacher’s child.
Just for the record, NEVER FUCKING ASK ME WHERE NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, WEST IS BECAUSE I DON”T KNOW. First of all, who am I freakin Magellan? Do I look like I’m the the voice of the Garmin? I’m confused. I mean, I can barely get myself around NY and all you need to be able to do in that city is count! How am I expected to memorize these Mexican street names and to determine, in abstract, whether they run north, south, east or west. I mean, give me a break! I’m not a cartographer, I’m a actress/nanny who was given her first navigation system as a Bat Mitzvah gift.
So I’m driving my children on the highway en route to the vegetable garden from hell, going over the answers to the MCATs aka the pop map quiz in my mind, when I begin to feel a little light headed. All of a sudden, like a wave of stomach illness setting in after you’ve eaten gefilte fish that’s been left out for too long, I felt a surge of anxiety. I started panicking, and then panicking about panicking, and thinking about what might happen if we were 45 miles away from home and one of the kids’ appendix burst. Oy, I can’t. What would I even do? I don’t know how to use a compass in life, and wasn’t paying even the slightest bit of attention during CPR class. I was brutally texting the entire world and attempting to calculate how much I’ve spent on parking tickets since I moved to LA (I’ve hit over a grand , by the way). My anxiety then transformed into a full blown panic attack, all while rolling down the high way 15-20 above the speed limit with two children in my car strapped to their booster seats (just fyi, they’re 8 and 10 year old). I contemplated pulling over and breathing deeply into a brown paper bag until I could compose myself. But, somehow, thankJah, Bob Marley came on the radio, and I was able to channel his positive vibrations and calm the fuck down.
Despite all odds, we finally arrived safely at the nightmare of a petting zoo that was our destination. I needed a cocktail but at least my breathing wasn’t interrupted, which was nice. The kids ran into the zoo to hang with a bunch of sheep, and I had the opportunity to leave them unattended so I could call my own mom and cry to her about my psychotic break. Every half hour, I thanked God that the kids’ appendixes hadn’t burst and assured myself the 45 miles would probably go faster on the way home. The only thing that almost triggered my Britney Spears’ “Gimme More” performance at the Video Music Awards-like feelings back, was the thought of their father asking me if I took the 405 North or South to get home.
I have always had a loving, deep connection to Hispanic culture. For one, I love beans. I also get what I’ve been told is “overly emotional” while watching the movie Selena. Perhaps it’s because my name is Gabriela Marcus and there has never been a customer service rep that didn’t think my name was Gabriela Marcos or Marquez, that has led me to feel that in a past life, I was born in the Bronx to a Dominican mother. I’m also dark and ethnic looking, and if you have never seen the cover of Anne Frank’s diary, you might mistake me for a Puerto Rican, not a Jew. My brother is the same way. He absolutely looks Dominican and when he was really little, some homeless guy at Shea Stadium called him the N word. Funny kinda, but not funny at all. Pretty disturbing actually, especially for a 7 year old. It explains so much of why he is the way he is, because not only does he have to deal with antisemitism, but he also has to deal with Racism apparently. The struggle is real.
Anyway, my oneness with the Hispanic people has also carried over into my work as an actress. I have had a few auditions/gigs which have brought me even closer to being a real life Latina. So, when I first graduated NYU, my first big audition in New York was for Law and Order. I wish I could say it was for Law and Order SVU but what do I look like to you, freakin Kate Winslet?! I’m not thattt famous. Sheesh. Anyway, I’m sitting in the waiting room to go in for the part of “The Hairdresser” and every girl in the waiting room with me is dressed like a certified hooker. There was more animal print being worn than you’d see in a forever 21 dressing room on Black Friday. I started second guessing the modest outfit I had chosen for “hairdresser.” I then started pacing and went to take a look at the sign in sheet. It looked like the cast list for La Bamba and/or any movie Salma Hayek or Penelope Cruz has been in. I felt very out of place. My last name wasn’t Rodriguez and I wasn’t dressed like a sex worker. I was toast. I stood out like a sore thumb.
Then things got worse. The first girl went in and mid audition, you heard her scream. Then she walked out, said thank you and left. Hmm. I wondered why she chose to scream, it didn’t really make any sense in the scene for the hairdresser, but I obviously assumed I was a terrible actress and she, the girl dressed in a pushup bra and knee highs was the genius. Rational. The next girl went in and screamed too. And then the next and then I got my shit together and realized that these girls were all going out for the role of “Latina prostitute” who in the scene, gets brutally murdered and raped, hence the piercing scream. I then realized that none of my fellow Latina audition friends were judging me and I didn’t need to feel insecure that I wasn’t screaming or wearing zero clothing. I immediately felt better about my choice to not wear booty shorts, my choice to not feel pressured to randomly scream in my scene as the hairdresser, but didn’t feel too good about my choice to do something for a living where the job is to pretend to get raped in an office on 27th street.
My second encounter with shitty acting gigs that predominantly Hispanic women and me do, was when I took a little gig for Party City. It was around Halloween time and Party City was trying to push the “Snooki Wig” as the costume to get. So I thought they were going to pay me and some other girls a hundred bucks to wear a Snooki wig on one of those morning shows segments, like they do when they show girls in prom dresses on TV. I was sorely, sorely mistaken. At 6 am, me and about fifty other girls who all looked exactly like me, got dressed into the most demeaning Snooki outfit ever and stood OUTSIDE in the blistering cold in front of the morning show building until Brian Williams ( whose daughter is brutally starring on Girls now) came outside and referenced the Snookis and then we were told to cheer loudly. Yup. Oh, and you didn’t get paid until you returned the wig so I had to stay for the whole thing. The entire time we were outside freezing our asses off worse than the victims of the Titanic, I was just chatting with Guadalope and Annalise about my life and how I was originally from Corona, Queens, but now I live out on Long Island, and how I’m half Argentinian/half Mexican/half Jewish. Apparently in addition to looking like Snooki, I’m also a pathological liar. I wanted to be cool like them. Oh, whatever.
On my way back to Penn station, I pondered the whole debacle. And then the line that I didn’t know then, but I know now, would be the mantra for so many things in my life, especially career related, came to me like a gift from God… “So this is what my grandmother survived the Holocaust for. So I could follow this dream and do this with my life.” Horrifying. So I could dress up like Snooki for a hundred bucks and make up obscure lies about being Latina out of sheer boredom and lack of blood circulation to my fingers and toes. And that is when I understood that as much as I feel connected to my fellow Latina beauties, I am not a Latina. I am a neurotic Jew who doesn’t actually fit in with Guadalope and Monica. So since then, I have only taken gigs that stay true to who I really am. For example, I recently played “urban girl” on an ask.com commercial. Woops.