Archive for June 7th, 2010

Santa Fe

It’s late Sunday night and I know I’m supposed to be writing something to post Monday morning.  But for the last few days I really didn’t do any Layla stuff because I spent them in Santa Fe for my niece’s high school graduation.  Yes, I memorized some Arabic vocabulary during the long drive down and back, but that doesn’t count for much.

Of course this means I’ll have to spend the coming week making up for lost time.  It was good to have a mini-break, but the weather was so hot in Santa Fe that I only did a couple of stretching routines.  Getting back now to my (only recently renewed) thorough workout will feel great, and settling down for some language learning sure beats those long hours of driving while zoning out along the highway.

Anyway, while in Santa Fe I sat in on a tech rehearsal for a play my sister is directing and met a few of the actors who’ll be in it.  As a species, actors are pretty much Layla’s opposite:  they’re flamboyant, outgoing, fizzing with fun (and sometimes neuroses), and in love with the limelight.  They could never be part of Layla’s shadowy world or skulk about doing very discreet work. 

dos equis

But the actor who really got me thinking about how Layla is different from them was R. Eric Gustafson.

You know that silly commercial for Dos Equis beer — the one with the fictional “most interesting man in the world”?  Make the man elderly and gay, and you’ve got Eric.  Swear to God, Eric himself isn’t famous, yet he has known everyone and gone everywhere.  He had drinks with Harry Truman, met Pope John XXIII in the Vatican, can tell you which famous actress always sat around buck naked in her dressing room, was pals with Andy Warhol, danced with Rita Hayworth, and on and on.  When he developed a drinking problem, it was Elizabeth Taylor who sent him to the Betty Ford clinic, where of course he hugged Mrs. Ford herself.

Get the picture?


Layla is so not like him.  And obviously I’m nothing like him.  But this got me thinking…

Maybe instead of isolating Layla as much as I do, I should expand her social life and introduce her to a boatload of famous or remarkable friends.  After all, she has a well-known reputation among museums and wealthy individuals for finding and delivering rare ancient manuscripts and writings.  In The Compass Master I already show a couple of her shadier but intriguing underground friends.  Maybe I should also have her hang out with more respectable, well-heeled, colorful individuals.  This makes sense, because I don’t want them to treat her as hired help; instead, they themselves are fascinated with her, and Layla has enough sense to professionally network.  She should also know her way around a variety of social settings.

Trouble is, if I expand Layla’s circle of friends then I’ve got to do the same for myself, and that ain’t so easy.  I live in Denver, not in New York City or any other place suitable for hobnobbing.  And I’m an editor/production manager at a consulting firm, not a hunter of rare manuscripts.  But at the very least I can put out some social feelers and see what I come up with.  Maybe I’ll even have some fun.