Burger With a Splash of Grace Kelly, please
There's something about writing in a space that's not my own that's fascinating. A bunch of strangers look at their screens while they eat, forks clink against plates, mouths slurp hot coffee. It's oddly comforting to know that other humans are going about their business in a shared space. At home, surrounded by books, I get distracted. Then there's social media, the cat, laundry, the refrigerator. In a public place you have no choice but to focus on the food or your phone.
I was running an errand in Santa Monica, driving on the boulevard (Sheryl Crow's song "All I Wanna Do" inevitably always comes to mind when I'm here). I spotted a diner with a red canopy that looked inviting. I got my errand done a few blocks away, then called Cafe 50's to inquire about their wifi. I headed on over with my laptop. The place did not disappoint. One of the best hamburgers I've eaten in LA so far. It was hard to write with so much to distract me on the walls. A Look magazine cover of 'The Americanization of Sophia Loren' to my left, with a Life Magazine's February 12, 1951 image with Grace looking very serious in a veiled hat to my right. An article on the wall towards the bottom with the headline '10 ways to hook a husband.' In front of me, a huge poster of my favorite drink when I was a kid, 7up.
I had to ask myself: who were the women who read these magazines? Where did they live? What were their dreams, their hopes? Did they really only think of catching a guy? Or did they want to be intrepid reporters, banking executives, chefs, teachers? How many were actors trying to get a job selling toothpaste? It made me wonder what I would have been like, living in the 50's. I don't know if I'd have the courage to be in a diner by myself. Writing.
I had to wonder what was Grace Kelly really thinking about under that veil? Her stare is aloof but is her fear peeking out?
Ok, enough speculation; I have to get back to my writing. As they said in the 50's : Toodle-oo!
I love the story of how my parents met because it seems very 1950s. They met on a brownstone stoop as my father was singing a little doo-wop. --Jane Krakowski