Down and out in Beverly Hills

I had a dream last night that I was visiting Los Angeles, and went by my old house in Beverly Hills where I used to live. A few doors down from Charlton Heston and Paul Allen. I’ve had this dream before, albeit rarely. Certain elements seem to be constant, even though none of them are based on anything real; there is always some kind of mention or visit to Malibu County as part of the trip, where I have never been, not knowing anyone personally to live within those hallowed streets. There’s also some kind of limo taking me around most of the time, and I’m always with a friend from back home, who I am showing around the old neighborhood. There’s always something going on at the house, like a party or event, and, in the dream, the house is bigger, and is all-white, not the pinkish-gray stucco it was when I lived there (and may still be, for all I know). Also in the dream, while the house is enormous, it is usually in some kind of huge complex of buildings, like it’s a giant, enormous condo, and you have to have a code to get into the building and take an elevator up to the floor where I lived. None of that is as it was when I lived there, in any fashion, nor have I ever been in a building like the one I dream about, except maybe that time in NYC with the guy whose parents’ condo was bigger than any house I’d ever been in. But that’s another story.

In last night’s dream, as is typical in the dream, I manage to get in to whatever the party/event is that’s going on at the house through charm, subterfuge or both. All the furniture is gone, and there are big, open spaces and (it’s a dream, bear with me) sweeping views of the ocean through giant, clear windows. A lot of it is white, like Yoko decorated it or something. I take my guest around and explain different things that have changed and retell different stories of what went on in the house and where. So as not to get thrown out, I act like a party guest who belongs there, though I am nervous the entire time that I will be discovered and ejected. That part is VERY much how I felt the entire time I lived there, so at least one element is accurate. At the party in last night’s dream, there was some kind of silent auction going on, like it was a charity event. I was talking to a really familiar blonde actress, who I recognized in the dream, but now that I’m awake, I am not sure if it was Cameron Diaz or Chloe Sevigny or Drew Barrymore or who it was. We chatted in this friendly way and there was this rehabbed, antique copper stove up for sale for $9,200, and the girl said she was going to buy it for a friend of hers as a housewarming gift, some other famous female actor that we both knew, as she had just bought a house in the Colony. Because everyone spends $9,200 on a housewarming gift for a friend, right? She said how cute the little stove would look in the small kitchen in her new house, now that her friend has “downscaled” by going to a bungalow in the Colony. I thought how ironic it was that someone would think that moving to Malibu Colony was downscaling. Maybe David Geffen comes over for coffee to welcome you. I pretended it was all normal chit-chat for me, like you do when you are among rich and/or famous people in LA, for whom reality is a completely different animal. The woman and I were so friendly that my friend actually thought I knew her when we finally took leave of her company to go look at the rest of the house. I remember telling my friend that I had finally learned how to pretend to fit in with those people. That once I had left, I was able to see how you had to act to pretend to fit in, and now I was better at it than ever, as I had nothing to lose. If they figured out who I was and kicked me out, so be it. We’d go to the waiting limo and go somewhere else.

I’ve no idea why I have this dream. I did not much enjoy the period of my life when I lived in LA, and some of the worst times I’ve had anywhere were in that house. And yet, it was Beverly Hills, some place you are supposed to feel really, really lucky to be. It was like being trapped in a castle or something. A castle I finally became determined to leave, one way or another, even if it meant purposely taking a turn wrong on the 101 while going 90 mph. I’m glad I didn’t have to leave that way.

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