Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The Supper Club
Over the past 18 years, I’ve lived in a city where last minute plans and frequent cancellations are the norm. I often think of the moment in the movie The American President when Michael J. Fox says “I tell any girl I'm going out with to assume that all plans are soft until she receives confirmation from me thirty minutes beforehand.” Life moves at a rapid-fire pace around here, and it’s often hard to pin down some quality time with your friends. But I’ve discovered over the last couple years that a concerted effort makes all the difference in the world. And you just never know what might come out of it. In my case, it has been what I would call, for lack of a more original moniker, The Supper Club. A monthly moment in time when four unlikely friends make it a point to sit together over a meal and share their lives with one another. Swapping stories, lending moral support and offering advice. We laugh, sometimes we cry, we accept and celebrate our unique personalities and our difference. And we always make it a point to tell it like it is. Because this world could use a little more honesty and a lot less attitude.
I’ve already said we are an unlikely quartet, cobbled together in a random series of meetings over the years. Jodi and I first met when I was just twenty-one, on the set of a Saturday morning TV show, where we played background high school students together for over a year. We lost touch for almost two years in my mid-twenties but then one day, out of the blue, I got a phone call and we picked back up again. From that friendship, I met Dana, a longtime friend of Jodi’s and though we at first just saw one another once or twice a year at one of Jodi’s parties, a brief, unexpected romance with Dana’s brother brought us deeper into each other’s lives. Miriam came to us during a stint at La Knitterie Parisienne, when I was channeling my angst over the loss of my sister into weaving endless spools of yarn into all manner of projects and Jodi was amassing an unending collection of scarves. We tried to get Dana to knit. That lasted about a week. And somehow, I don’t even remember when, we started to plan dinners together. Upon discovering that we made a good, if random foursome, we made it official. Once a month, most of the time. No one else allowed. Just us four women, with different lives, backgrounds, social circles and personalities.
Jodi is the inquisitor and the organizer of the group. The only mother in our club. Of twins. The only one of us married, for that matter. She is the tie that binds us together, the one with the iPhone on texting overload, who always make sure we know the date, the time, the location of our next dinner. She is also the curious one. We often spend a good deal of time answering Jodi’s questions. Detailed questions. And let me just say that no, and I mean no topic is off-limits or beyond the scope of her close scrutiny. She’ll get the story out of you, whether you want to tell it or not, though in the end, you’re usually glad that you did. She often maintains that her life isn’t as interesting as ours and usually spends more time pulling questions from our stories than telling her own, but I actually think she likes her role and it has nothing to do with how interesting her life is. We still make her spill the beans anyway, no matter how bland or spicy they may be. Because everyone has to tell their story. That’s part of the deal.
Dana is the color, the light, the energy of the group. As an actress, model and voice-over artist, she reinvents herself on a daily basis. Where Jodi can always be counted on to show up in jeans, braids and a baseball cap, Dana’s outfit is never the same and often a feat of both style and bravado. Nothing is off-limits, from hats to shoes to new haircuts. I often wish I were that brave. Or even that creative when it comes to my style. She is tiny in stature but like a brilliant chameleon you cannot take your eyes off of. Her stories are equally colorful, and she lives life with a sense of humor and adventure. She is outspoken and outgoing and yet surprisingly, almost unexpectedly sensitive, thoughtful and even a touch old-fashioned.
Miriam is our heart. I don’t know if it’s the Latin background, Miriam is Puerto Rican and speaks with a soft and lilting accent, but she radiates warmth and love whenever I’m around her. She’s nurturing and takes care of those around her, even when it taxes her own life to do so. She is emotional and caring and offers advice and thoughts in a sensitive way, designed to make you feel better even when you can’t imagine better as a possibility. She is a romantic, and her stories are often filled with hope and dreams and sometimes the troubles of unrequited love. I think she is stunning. And though I don’t think I’ve ever told her before, in some ways, she reminds me of my sister.
As for me, I suppose I’m the observer, the intellectual. I’ve seen all of these women through the lens of my camera and now I’m spelling them out in my words. Though such short descriptions do them little justice. I consider myself lucky to have been in their presence every four weeks or so for the last several years and despite my imminent move to Dallas, hope to continue the tradition during my frequent trips back to LA. These women, so different from one another and from me, not my closest or longest friends, though by no means less special as a result, have taught me to be more open, more daring and more honest. They’ve been there when times have been tough and I’ve had the chance to be there for them. Most importantly, we’ve managed to keep it real and reliable. Which is a pretty impressive feat in a town of fake and flaky. Thanks ladies for making my life richer, more interesting and full of love and laughter every month. It’s an honor.
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