WHEN COVID AND SPRING BREAK COLLIDE IN LA DURING OSCAR WEEK...
Ok guys, so, holing up at the Beverly Hills Hotel for a week before the Oscars sounds ALL sorts of crazy glamorous, no??
Yeeeeah, but my week at the illustrious BHH has been nothing of the sort. In fact, a better caption for this long-awaited trip, SPRING BREAK 2022, would be My Family Went to LA, and All I Got was Covid, and This Lousy Tee-Shirt.
Over the past 20 years, if I’d ever dared to dream of a full week alone with no kids in this iconic grand Hollywood Hotel, in my mind it would go a little something like this: Me: emerging from my patioed-suite, either with my face freshly taut, or my body freshly nipped and tucked. Or it was me, dragging a silk train of the finest couture down the red carpet stairs, my ears dripping in shimmery baubles lent from Lorraine Schwartz that could poof back into basic studs at midnight. It was a fantasy, or a Cinderella story – it was certainly NOT a fucking Covid on Spring Break story. (It was something that, at the very least, involved me exiting the bungalows to the double take of some overworked paparazzo, who in his sleep deprived stupor, mistakes me for Sandra Bullock.)
The irony here is all my NY friends know that I’m quite obsessed with LA, having lived here for 6 glorious years in the 90s. It was here that I learned how to read a script, how to comfortably drive a car (while blasting the Fugees), and how to feign nonchalance when my boss George Clooney casually walked into the office. (For my younger readers, I promise you he earns the name drop.) Had I not felt an unrelenting pull to my native NYC, perhaps I would still live here, tanner, probably thinner, and certainly more equipped to pull onto a freeway.
But this trip has tipped the scales. I am sheet-white and check my oxygen levels, not my steps, on an hourly basis. Sure, I see some palm trees and cloudless skies, but mostly all I see is tissues, pills, vitamins and Gopuff deliveries of off-brand home-testing kits that my East Coast ilk has never heard of.
While my family has suggested that they miss me, looking bright and shiny on the sporadic face-time call in between meals by the ocean, astounding art exhibits, and selfies with TikTok stars who have their own camera crews but may not be old enough to buy their own plane tickets, my star sightings have thus far been limited to: 1) PCR lab techs, who all look like they may just be playing a nurse, part-and-parcel with the carefully cultivated, gilded image of the town’s biggest event of the year. 2) The room service guys – oh, those meticulously dressed room service guys who I see exclusively through the blurred lens of the door peephole, always smiling and looking uncannily like a blotted version of Cary Grant.
My covid meals usually tap out at half-eaten McCarthy salads, for which I never have enough dressing to bring my taste buds back to life. My fashion choices, so to speak, consist not of the 4 tiered Lhuillier bustles I see strutting into the hotel lobby (...if I crane my neck just right by my window, but, ow, again, I have covid...), but of a 4-day old Lulu hoody that I’m too afraid to ask housekeeping to wash, as if it was a radioactive isotope. When pressed, I'll tell myself it’s “vintage.” (Not that I talk to myself these days…)
With my anxiety peaked by the covid unknown, the steroids coursing through my system, the fever-induced blood rushing to my head, and oh, the isolation, at times I’ve felt more like I was on a drug bender in some crash-pad on Sunset Strip, rather than at an extended stay at the one and only Pink Palace. All around me is great grandeur, but I’m feeling myopic, and I’m actively willing myself to stop looking at posts of healthy people frolicking on vacay. I know I should be thankful to calmly ride out my covid journey at one of the finest and most well-run hotels in the world (which this is, hand down, and for that I will be forever grateful....), and I am, but I am also pissed as shit.
But that’s covid! It makes you crazy. It doesn’t care who you are, where you are or what you are wearing.
And while this week was never really about my being here for the Oscars, the Oscars did decide to coincide their big shindig with my little ones' Spring Breaks. So, yay to my kids getting to meet their version of George Cooney (whoever that guy is...), but boo that they didn’t get to see much of their mom, who, let’s face it, is always the celeb of choice in their books, name drop or not. I've said it before, and I"ll say it again: Covid sucks.