So today is my first day at Amoeba. It’s actually more of an orientation thing. A cool, knowledgable chap named Mo shows me and another new guy named Jon around the place. That takes almost two hours. No joke. The place is that huge. I mean, I knew they process a lot of material and feed a sizable consumption beast, but the sheer scope of it boggles the mind. He shows us places we may never set foot in again, such as the loading dock, the telecom nerve endings center and even a small closet space just off the jazz and classical room. Truly nutty.
After that tour finishes and Jon and I fill out the necessary paperwork proving we are, in fact, human, Kirk gives me the lowdown on the mezzanine, which is where I’ll be working. The mezzanine handles everything movie-related, and in money-making terms, it has the highest “profit-per-square-foot” in the entire store. The proportions are way off. It generates a sixth of the revenue of the store and embodies maybe a twelfth of the floor-acreage. Randy and Ariel work up there. I know them from my early Rocket days. They were both dutifully employed there when I first started. Ariel juggled both jobs, then drifted off to Amoeba. Randy fractured his neck and had to spend some time wearing a large plastic collar, which he no longer wears. I think I owe much of the ease of gaining Amoeba employment to those two. They put in the proverbial “good word” for me.
I wrap up the introductory shift after about three hours and head home, only to find that a couple more potential dates have “winked” at me from the Onion Personals page.
“What!?” I hear you cry. “What’s this about personals? What’s up with that??”
Listen. I’ll tell you some other time. I’d rather talk briefly about Saturday night at Benihana. It is Sara’s birthday. Mark and I arrive early, share a sake (cold) and wait as, one by one, the various guests arrive.
Mark and I are at the bar, engaged in a cool conversation about life and work and relationships, so I’m actually a little disappointed when the first guests arrive. But the first guest is actually the woman of honor. So I guess I’m not that disappointed. Sara and Noah join us for sake.
Mark, Sara and Noah.
Soon everyone’s there. Carlos and Ruth, Danny and Louis, Sara’s neighbor Jennifer and Sara’s producer from The It Factor, David. Do you know any of these people? I thought not. But I mention their names anyway. You know, for posterity. And also to point out something. Maybe Mark feels this. Maybe not. But as we sit around that kitcshy table, watch as our (Latin) chef flips shrimp tails into his hat, applaud when the pepper shakers skitter about in his hands, sing as Sara’s absurdly rich cake arrives, aglow with twenty-six candles, laugh at her increasing astonishment as she opens one amazing gift after another and finally, push back from the table at meal’s end, satisfied and happy, I can’t help reminding myself that this is an elite group, Sara’s closest friends and family, and that somehow, one way or another, I’d stumbled into this circle like William Powell in My Man Godfrey, the bum among the aristocracy. Every one of them great people. Sitting among them, I just hope somehow that will rub off on me.
It’s an ice cream cake, studded with candles and Oreos.
And on a final note, I snap these next three pics of Ruth and Carlos at the end of the evening. They’re tired, ready to go home. But there’s a subtext here. I think perhaps I’m the only one who sees it. In fact, if I were to show these pictures to them, they’d insist it’s my imagination, and that they’re simply plumb tuckered. But two days later Ruth is set to leave L.A. and begin a trek to Spain, where she’s going to live and work for a year. Carlos is staying behind. He has a job here. They have two kids. The kids are going with her.
end of post.