Location: Rodeo Drive, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA
So I’m walking down Rodeo Drive and I’m feeling good. People are loungin’ in sidewalk café’s, traffic’s cruisin’, I’m taking it slow and I’m thinkin’ “Hollywood is MINE baby”. I don’t care that no one knows who I am cos I’m wearing bitchin’ pants and everybody’s noticin’.
“Man, those pants are HOT” calls a dude from a low-slung mustang, “Woo-hoo” breathes a guy, passin’ me by and giving me the old up’n’down. And I’m smilin’, but I’m keepin’ it to myself cos I want to look cool.
Inside my pants I don’t feel so bitchin’. I just can’t stop the weight from goin’ on. In restaurants I just keep my head down and eat what I need – can’t stand to watch the whales shovellin’ up their pancake plankton by the ton and chuckin’ it down their open throats. But three weeks on my clothes are stretchin’ at the seams same as theirs are. “Mean pants man”, another dude is checkin’ me out as he cruises by. Guess Hollywood don’t mind as long as you flaunt it.
The pants shouted at me from the window of some store on the K Road in Auckland the day before I left. I leapt off the bus I was on faster ‘n’ you can say “L.A.” and ran right on in and bought ’em. Soon as I put them on I was already there, imaginin’ Hollywood, with me in the pants causin’ a stir. I’d march in to wherever the stars hang out and I’d get a table, no problemo, just because I looked so fine.
Now I’m headin’ up the other side of the street, peerin’ out the corner of my eyes to see who’s lookin’. Past big men with little dogs and chicks in five-hundred-dollar jeans. No one knows who anyone is but everyone’s pretendin’ they’re someone and walkin’ like they own the world.
I’m doin’ the same, perfectin’ my Hollywood step, usin’ all my space plus some, when the pavement jumps right out and grabs me. In a heartbeat I’m sprawled on the floor, face on concrete, poise in the gutter. And I’m thinkin’ “The pants, the pants, please don’t say I’ve ripped the pants.” And it feels like five minutes I’m layin’ there before I gather my shades and my scattered pride and stand up. I don’t look round. I don’t wanna know who’s lookin’ at me now. I brush myself off and try not to care that I’ve grazed my elbow and there’s blood runnin’ down my arm. And I look down at my feet and walk on up that hill.
My Hollywood step’s the last thing on my mind now; I’m just tryin’ to maintain my dignity. Then I think about Audrey Hepburn and how in “My Fair Lady” she pulls that face to get men to look at her on the street, and how Naomi Campbell fell off those Vivian Westwood shoes on the catwalk and I think “Hell, so I fell over on Rodeo Drive in bitchin’ pants. Even the most glamorous people make a fool of themselves at some time.” And I smile. I let out a laugh, look up at the bright sun and the blue sky and tell myself “I have SO done Hollywood”.
Text © Naomi Wiggins, all rights reserved.
main image: Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Los Angeles, California, USA. By jjron – Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19503018