The Grove smells of the hip and the rich. It evokes a sense of security that must be exaggerated. I cover it almost daily through pictures of celebrity. It is something of a hot spot.
We went there last night to meet a friend in town from Seattle. He hit traffic and didn’t make it. The traffic of L.A. is not for the faint of heart.
We arrived at sunset and the boys were tired and hungry. They were clean though, thanks to a spur of the moment bathing just before we had left the house. Thing 1 had been clean enough, in a relative little boy sort of way, but Zane had suddenly revealed himself to smell like an old folk’s home on free refill night and thus demanded the soap and water.
For the first time since I can recall we didn’t spot any stars. I suppose they could have been there, for a guy that writes about celebrities I know very few of them. If they haven’t had a baby in the past year they don’t exist. I also would recognize the casts of House or Heroes, respectively. And Stuart Scott, but he’s in Connecticut.
The last time I was there I had to step aside for Britney Spears to run past me, oblivious to all but her car waiting at the valet. There was probably an open bag of Cheetos in there pulling her onward. The time before that we saw Simon Cowell. Before that Brendan Fraser. This time the most famous person I saw was in the mirror of the Maggiano’s bathroom. He was really quite handsome.
The thing about such a sterile environment in Beverly Hills is that it tends to bring out the nice in people. It relaxes the stress and anger that we faced finding a parking spot and replaces it with smiles and kindness. It’s kind of creepy.
There were three firetrucks along the curb and roughly 12 firemen standing beside them, each with a coffee or ice cream in their hand. We walked by them and they actually stopped us to see if the boys wanted to climb inside a truck. The answer was yes.
Afterwards I kept the boys occupied while Tricia walked through Anthropologie. There was a couch and some open space in the middle of the store and it took me only a minute to notice that I wasn’t the only dad using the area to keep kids occupied. Needless to say, we bonded.
The guy I talked to (because he laughed at a joke I made to Atticus- I’m a sucker for an appreciative audience) had a little girl younger than Zane that was already saying, well, everything. She even said ‘Atticus.’
Zane says ‘kitty-kitty.’
I found myself throwing out all the things ‘they’ say about boys taking longer to talk and the second child taking longer to do everything. I laid it out from rote.
Then the wives joined us and conversation started to repeat itself. Within seconds of the moms arriving Tricia was spouting out the exact same information that I had just shared. I looked at the other dad and told him, “That ‘they’ I was talking about is my wife.”
He laughed and gestured towards his, “I’ve got one of ‘them’ too.”
We exchanged pleasantries and went our separate ways. They went towards the shine of the firetruck and we strolled towards the fountain and decorations of the season. Beyond that was our car and with it reality.