As I put together Roan’s school stuff for tomorrow - backpack, lunchbox, set out some clothes, make sure homework is in homework folder- I realize I’ve also put out a stack of MY things for MY day tomorrow.
Roan’s first day of kindergarten. 105 degrees outside. Always the hottest week of the year. Sweat trickles down my chest. Our stomachs feeling full of rocks and butterflies at the same time. He lines up. Chokes back the tears looks at me with furrowed brow.
Last week I was picking up dinner for Steve and I at Choza Mama, a great Peruvian place down in Burbank.
It was a lovely warm night and I brought Ned with me. As soon as I entered the restaurant to pick up our food Ned was surrounded by the usual people who compliment him and say things like:
"He looks like a little old man!"
"He has a BEARD!"
"Those eyes are so human!"
"WHAT IS HE?"
This is the standard round of questioning I get whenever I take Ned out. And yes, I AM bragging altho I take no credit for his beauty.
This particular night a boy, about 8 years old, walks up to me.
"May I pet your dog?"
"Sure, he’s very friendly." I say.
The boy bends down and pets Ned and I immediately think, “This kid is a child actor.” Not because I’ve seen him in anything but because the way he asked if he could pet Ned was as if a director had told him, “Go ask that lady if you can pet her dog.” Every movement was premeditated and the lilt in his voice suggested, “I’m a cute kid!”
"Yeah, my dad and I love dogs." He said.
"Oh that’s nice." I said. And then paid for my food. The kid went back to sit down across from his dad. I walked by with Ned.
The dad motioned to me with his finger in a way that suggested he was a customer at a brothel and I was a prostitute. Like “come over here, whore, I’m gonna pay you and you’re gonna be happy to f*ck me.”
The dad had a big blue tooth ear piece in his ear and a whole Chicken on his plate. The kid had some sort of green/black mash on his plate. Something I didn’t think was on the menu.
"My dad loves dogs too." Said the kid.
"Awww, that’s nice." I said.
Then the dad says, “What kind of dog is that? look at his eyes! And his moustache!”
I said, “we just rescued him…”
"Yeah, we have a ranch with 15 rescues. In Arizona."
"Oh nice.. So you moved out here… for…"
"Oh my son— he’s the hardest working Child Actor in Hollywood. He just completed 42 films in the past 6 months!!!!!!!"
I knew it.
"That’s great." I say. Except I’m kind of lying because I REALLY feel sorry for this kid. Every move and expression says "Please cast me! Please like me!" Even if he is in a situation where he’s not being auditioned.
"Well," I say, "Good luck to you."
Then the dad, mouth full of chicken says, “Oh he doesn’t need any luck. He is THE most cast Child Actor in LA today. To date. He’s amazing. He doesn’t stop. Just booked a show on Disney. And 42 films in 6 months!!”
The kid smiles and looks down at his mush.
I don’t know what to say so I say, “Well, enjoy your meal. That’s really great for you guys.”
And the dad hands me his son’s card. And the card has a pic of the kid giving that same pleading smile. I put it in my pocket. The dad says, “You oughta get that dog of yours in the movies. There is MONEY TO BE MADE!”
And I look down at Ned and am happy that though, perhaps, I myself, would have liked to have been in ONE film in the past 6 months, and that maybe Ned could be the next Toto, I’m pretty happy toting my Peruvian food home, walking with my scraggly dog. My dog who gets so many compliments he could easily let it go to his head— but instead— just presses on, moustache into the wind, happy to simply sit in my lap.