This is how I keep myself entertained in the elevator ride to the 18th floor of a Beverly Hills condo, to deliver food. I love these mirrors that make it look like you’re a one-man team of reject Rockettes! I gave up on trying to get a good photo, and just did a bunch of posing, big arm waving and semi-high-ish kicks. It was right after that, that I noticed the camera in the upper corner of the elevator.
The walk back out of the building – past the front desk guards – was awkward. When I had come in, there was one sleepy guard. When I walked out, there were 3 guards, laughing and waving goodnite.
But that’s not my story.
I worked a lunch delivery shift that I had carefully orchestrated into my schedule. I would wake up early, go to the gym, bring a change of clothes, go right to work. If everything went perfectly, I would seamlessly arrive in Beverly Hills with my chin up, wearing my happy-hat.
Things quickly fell apart in the gym locker room when I discovered there were no towels and I had to dry off with my NorthFace jacket. THEN, I realized I had forgotten a bra. With only a T-shirt for my topside, I quickly brainstormed. (1: Use an ace bandage? 2: Wear a bunch of shirts? 3: Get a cheap-o Walgreens bra?) I picked option 3. But when Walgreens had nothing but jock straps and tighty whities (which I considered cutting apart and fashioning into something), I just went bra-less in Beverly Hills. I don’t own jugs. It wasn’t horrible. Just mildly inappropriate for jogging. (For the record, Rite Aid has “As Seen On TV” bras. Wish I had known that…)
But that’s not my story either.
My story took place on an evening delivery pick up from Piccolo Paradiso on Beverly Drive. It was super windy that night and cold and I was enjoying a moment of cozy warmth inside the restaurant while the order was being put together. The clientele was predominantly gray-haired, dripping with tasteful diamonds and pearls. It smelled like garlicky, fresh-baked-Italy in there. I drooled a little.
The valet guy came in to use the bathroom, then he was back out on the sidewalk in front of Piccolo’s windows, in a puffy black jacket, his arms wrapped tightly together. I got my order, and was out the door. And I thought I’d say something to him as I left.
Me: “Goodnite! Stay bundled up!” The wind was becoming ridiculous.
Valet: “You too! Have a nice evening!”
Me: “Thank y–” AND THEN my boot laces caught onto each other in a cat’s cradle of death and I slammed into the concrete so hard I skinned both my knees, my elbows, my hands. My pants ripped, as did my sweater. And my ego broke into pieces.
While I was falling, I somehow remembered two things. 1. Don’t let anything happen to the food 2. Don’t smash your cell phone again.
So I fell in this weird arms-out dive (Italian food bag in one hand, my cell phone lifted up to Heaven – in the other), landing on my knees/elbows/chest with a horrible grunting pig sound.
I could feel the stink-eyes glaring at me from inside the restaurant. “Look at that lazy thing…napping on the sidewalk like that.” The valet came over to ask if everything was alright. We both checked to see that the food was ok. (We know our place.) I was bleeding and my knees were killing me, but the food was pristine.
As I sat in traffic, popping Advil, with my legs painfully shaking against the clutch in my car, I began to think… Oh my god. If I would sacrifice my skin and clothes for an order of lasagna, what else would I do for this food!
I pictured flinging my body into traffic for steak frite. Taking a bullet for tiramisu. Promising my first born for roasted brussels sprout medley.
My devotion to the protection of this food is terrifyingly limitless. This is my gift to you, Beverly Hills.