Hollywood Explained Part II
In which I discuss the importance of liquid refreshment in the Hollywood kabuki theater known as "The General Meeting."
When you arrive at your meeting, the first thing that happens is you tell the receptionist that you have arrived. The receptionist places a call to the assistant who tells you the person you are there to meet is either “tied up on a call,” “stuck in a meeting,” or “running behind.” It does not matter when you arrive – nobody is ever ready to meet you when you show up. This is understood.
Then the receptionist asks if they can get you “something to drink.” They always ask it in exactly the same way. “Can I get you something to drink?” Always. No matter where you go in Hollywood, the first thing somebody does is offer you something to drink. Even if you get a haircut, as I did while I was in town, the stylist asked me if I wanted something to drink before she asked me what I wanted done with my hair.
Whether or not you accept their offer of a drink is up to you. But if you decline, the receptionist responds by saying, “Are you sure? No water… soda… coffee?”
“No thank you,” you might say. “I’m fine.”
Then the receptionist says, “Okay, take a seat. They’ll be ready for you shortly.” Then the receptionist goes back to their computer monitor, where they are looking at either Perez Hilton or the website of an obscure LA jewelry designer. These are the only two websites they are allowed to look at. So you sit down and look at the same old copy of Architectural Digest. It’s possible Architectural Digest only published one issue because that same issue is on the coffee table in every office in Los Angeles. Once in a while, they have Us Weekly, which is of course always the current issue.
About five minutes later, the assistant comes to fetch you. I don’t know why the person you are meeting cannot come to meet you, but they can’t. It is not permitted, just as you couldn’t expect the Pope to meet you at the Vatican gift shop. The assistant comes down and says, “Hi, I’m Ryan. Sorry to keep you waiting.” The assistant’s name is always Ryan. I don’t know why, but it seems to be true.
Then Ryan asks if he can get you something to drink.
At that point, even if you are thirsty you cannot accept something to drink because you’ve already refused liquid twice before and it would seem weird to suddenly say yes. So you say, for a third time, “No thank you.” and they respond with, “No water, no soda, coffee?” And you say, “No thank you. I’m fine.”
Then Ryan leads you through a maze of hallways and cubicles to see whoever it is you are there to see. You and Ryan will probably exchange small talk about how much he loves you. You don’t have to tell Ryan you love him because he is just an assistant and nobody loves assistants. But you have to be nice to Ryan because in three weeks he will be running a movie studio.
In Part III, I will reveral the most important thing in Hollywood.