So there we sat. Two LA guys involved in a high-powered meeting. Jay’s from Los Angeles by way of Chicago. Over the past 10 years, he’s worked his way from being a feisty nobody to producing top movies with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. During the lunch he made maybe a nearly a dozen phone calls and dashed off just as many text messages.
The man moves, he shakes. He told me he’s been working 18 hour days throughout 2008.
Me, I’m an LA guy, too. LA-trobe, Pennsylvania, that is. I quickly calculated in my head that I’d worked maybe 18 hours total in 2008. It was mid-March.
We’d met on a Southern California golf course, have common interests and he was kind enough to meet for lunch during a visit to Pittsburgh to discuss the unpublished, rejection-magnet of a novel I’ve written
But the waitress may have surmised the sum total of my involvement in the meeting was to watch him make deals, exude charm and confidence while I just silently sat there dribbling bisque down my tie. I wondered if being around someone as supremely idle as me was making him uncomfortable.
I even thought of conducting a pretend phone conversation with some make-believe big shot. But I worried that tactic might backfire. There was a slim chance that the phone would actually ring during my playacting and my wife, for instance, would make me repeat aloud to her the groceries I’d been ordered to retrieve: “Oh, all right . . . broccoli . . . milk . . . toilet paper . . .”
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not LAzy. I like to work, that is if anyone calls what I do -- essentially talking and typing -- work. It’s just that I prefer to either play with my daughters or lean against a bar and babble with my buddies than talk and type. I’ve come to understand that I’m a sort of a work repellent. Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, no matter how many calls I make or how many trees I shake, I can’t conjure up a wage-earning assignment.
And just when things appear on the verge of their most desperate, voila, in comes some work. So instead of fretting about idle time, I tend to revel in it.
Plus, I can't imagine it's part of God's plan for me to be poor. I’m impoverished by a sunny optimism that misleads me into thinking something better’s always about to dawn.
Through 15 years of freelancing writing, it’s yet to happen. Maybe it will tomorrow.
Or the day after that.
But between phone calls, Jay told me I really ought to start a blog. He is very persuasive. He swore good things would happen. He convinced me and instantly circumstances began proving him right.
Good things did start to happen. Right away. At least for him they did.
I bought his lunch.