As if having a 45-minute conversation with a stranger about Brazilian wax jobs wasn’t peculiar enough for one day in LA, there I am sitting alone at the lobby bar of the St Regis Hotel at 10pm on a Saturday night, nursing an absurdly overpriced vodka rocks, when a woman sits next to me and says, “Isn’t music just the most wonderful thing?”
She nods toward at her debonair partner, who’s playing impromptu Gershwin tunes on the bar’s baby-grand piano. “Yes. He’s quite talented,” I politely reply as I sift through my stack of mind-numbing hotel press kits.
Now, I’m probably the worst person in Los Angeles at recognizing celebrities, and this women sure looks like Roseanne Barr, and she sure sounds like Roseanne Barr, and the diamond-studded “R” hanging from her necklace is probably a sure giveaway to most people, but it wasn’t until the bartender said, “Can I get you another drink, Roseanne?,” that it finally occurred to me that I’m sitting next to Roseanne Barr.
But by the time I figure out who I’m having a conversation with, we’re already hip deep in a conversation about the dubious future of mankind (her companion has already left the scene at this point).
Roseanne’s hammering away at me with somewhat logical arguments as to our inevitably swift demise as a species, but as fate would have it I had just finished reading Bill Bryson’s enlightening tome, A Short History of Nearly Everything, and Jennifer Eveland’s excellent essay on Buddhism in Thailand, so I was fatefully primed for just this sort of tête-à-tête.
Two hours and several cocktails later we’re still locking horns on the subject.
Meanwhile, the bartender (typical of LA wait staff, he’s an extremely handsome and charismatic bloke who was a former Israeli soldier) is lecturing us both on current political philosophies pertaining to global confrontations.
If I didn’t have to pee so bad I’m sure I would have had them both in the crushing grip of reason, but nature called and I had to say goodbye, knowing that all I would return to was a bill I couldn’t afford.
And that, my friends, is a typically unpredictable day in Los Angeles. You can spend a week visiting the city’s “in” venues and never even glimpse a celebrity. Then when you least expect it, someone as charming, introspective, and sociable as Roseanne Barr will sit next to you at an empty hotel bar and strike up the most memorable of conversations.
~ Matthew Poole