The "Extras in the Movie of Your Life"

It's a concept I was introduced to a while ago through a podcast called "How Much Do We Love".  They talked about the people you we run into on a semi-regular or sporadic basis, who inform and entertain our lives in some relatively small way, and I think it's a pretty lovely way to look at them.  You couldn't call them friends, or even acquaintences, they are just...extras in the movie of our life. Here are a couple of my more notable ones.

The Lady in White-  When you live in LA you are always about two blocks from a crappy neighborhood.  I was no exception.  There's a strip of PicoBlvd  that is populated by faded business that are barely hanging on, but somehow manage to stick around:  a nail salon, a palm reading shop, a perpetually empty Jack in The Box.   It was in this neighborhood that I would see the Lady in White.  She was in her mid-thirties, beauty faded, white robes, white leggings, white high heels, frizzy bleached hair (Think Elayne Boozler, circa 1983) Even her lipstick was white.  She was so thin and angular, you'd expect her to walk sharp, or even to stumble as if in a daze, but no...she glided effortlessly down the street like Glinda the Good Witch gone to seed.  Her white robes always seemed to flow behind her as if accompanied by a perpetual breeze.  I imagined a life for her, like you do, and imagined that she'd fallen into drugs and prostitution from a life as kept woman, from a life in the corporate world, and she was holding onto her lost virginity by cothing herself in the colors of purity that were yellowing, though she pretended not to see it happen.

Dreamy Starbucks Barrista-  I have a favorite Starbucks where I go to organize my thoughts, to read, and ocassionally write when I'm able to power through the doubt, and it is graced by the Dreamy Starbucks man-child.  He's in his mid to late twenties, and I think he's only there when they need a little help so he strays from the Starbucks he manages to pick up the slack at this one.  He's slender, with an effortless beauty.  He doesn't seem to work at it one iota and I picture him tumbling out of bed and his thick black hair tumbling right along with him.  I've always had a weak spot for incongruous pale skin and dark hair, and the black button down he wears accentuates the contrast.  Add to that his extremely helpful demeanor (also effortless) and a deeper voice than you would expect to come out of his pillow lips, and you can color me happily uncomfortable any time I see him.  Uncomfortable because I don't want him to think I'm looking and noticing him, so I just take tiny little glances in his direction when he's not looking, in a way that is hopefully not creepier than if I openly stared.  After all there's no pressure.  I don't expect to date him, don't think about him outside of the Starbucks, but he is pretty...even more so for the fact that he doesn't seem to know it.

Joe Hartman