I have a jacket that I bought, possibly in high school, that at the time was stylish, but in retrospect when I look at it, I’m not sure it ever was on trend. It’s just a long, warm coat with one too many pockets and I refuse to stop wearing it. I like the pockets because I can fill them with items, but that is exactly what makes the coat creepy and suspicious. In dire moments of chilly weather or necessity, I will still wear this coat. And one of these times was a few months ago when that cold front hit Malibu.
“Jenn, can you run to Nobu and get some soy sauce, we are out,” Andy asked me. It was around 10:30 at night and I was deep in the middle of planning a guest’s engagement at the Ryokan. “I’m thinking doves and harps. Is there any way we can do it on the roof? I feel like all professions of eternal love should take place somewhere high up, like a mountain peak.” Curt, our security detail, looked at me from across the table. “Well, who’s releasing the doves? And playing the harp?” I thought for a second. “I mean, if you’re available, it would be nice if we could keep it in the family. You could strum the harp and Manu could release the doves.” I looked at Manu, who was sitting next to me. Manu is another member of our security detail. He is tall and handsome and always dressed in nice suits. He appears everywhere to open doors for you, his large stature is coupled with a quiet, gentle spirit that makes you feel calm and safe. He frequently shows up in paparazzi pictures. You’ll see Kris Jenner in a see through lacy black top, her face all blotchy and annoyed, and there’s Manu in front of her, blocking her from view. Or David Beckham disappearing into a black SUV and the top of Manu’s face will be peering out from behind a bush in the background. Cindy Crawford waiting for her car next to Manu near the valet stand. “I guess I could play the harp. Would I need to wear a diaper?” Curt said, stone cold, like he was in court interrogating a witness. My eyes lit up. “Like one of those diapers baby cherubs are wearing when they are about to shoot a love arrow through someone’s heart? Or…” I paused, “an adult diaper?” “The first one, but it needs to be just a little oversized.” “I’m releasing doves?” Manu asked enthusiastically. I pointed my pen at him. “Actually, if it’s going to happen on the deck, I’d love it if you could rise up from the sea standing on two dolphins, you know, one foot on each dolphin, and then release the doves,” I replied. Andy who had been silently witnessing this entire conversation spoke. “Why are you the one always in charge of the marriage/engagement things?” All three of us turned to him. “Would you not want to have me in a diaper playing the harp when you propose to your fiance?” Curt asked flatly. “Excuse me gentlemen, but I have to go get some soy sauce,” I said, getting up and putting my jacket on.
My jacket covers almost my entire body and if it’s buttoned, and in the dark, it looks like I’m wearing a giant lab coat. If my pockets are full, it resembles more of a lumpy potato sack with sleeves. The inside is a bright pink silk fabric so if it happens to catch a breeze and fall open in the wind, flashes of bright pink silk are revealed. My hair was gathered up in a top knot that day, which is fine sans the coat, but with the coat, my hair piled on top of my head just adds height to me, making me look bulky, a large and in charge lady who plays Rugby and is a feared elementary school principal. You may be wondering why I wear this coat. Why doesn’t she get a nice stylish trench? Perhaps one that’s also slimming? Once, I accidentally took the hotel’s wireless phone home with me. No one could find it in the morning until Andy got there and said, “Oh, onehundredpercent the phone is in one of those pockets in that huge coat.” It was.
So when heading to Nobu prime time on a Saturday night, when the sidewalk is lined with paparazzi, I make sure I’m cloaked in that damn coat. The paparazzi crowd is similar to those lifeless gray lost souls trapped at the bottom of Ursula’s cave in TheLittleMermaid. You pass them and they gawk and reach out at you, their huge expensive cameras hanging around their necks, their eyes bugging out in desperation. All of them trying to get a good close up shot of someone walking to their car. Once I witnessed one pap run into the middle of PCH, chasing a black, tinted windowed, SUV that had Mariah Carey in it. To me, the real historical photograph is of that. This frail, lost soul, chasing after a celebrity with his camera, thirsty for the easy five grand he could make if he got a clear photo for a gossip magazine. Once I found out how much paparazzi make per photo, I toyed with the idea of joining the lost souls. Position me in the middle of all of them holding my iPhone up among all their zoom lenses. “They would never let you into their inner circle,” Andy said. “You would spend the whole time interrogating them and then you’d probably smash their cameras, cause a scene and end up in jail.” “Andy, you know nothing. There is no innercircle. Those paps have no comradery, they fend for themselves out there in the parking lots of celebrity hot spots. I could unite them, lead them. I could be the paparazzi queen bee, I just have to re-route my passion,” I said all firey and delusional.
I had decided to cut through the parking lot to avoid pushing my way through the lost souls on the sidewalk, and as I got closer to Nobu a gaggle of tall, skinny, model looking types were piling out of a Range Rover. The timing was perfect so that I, in my unabomber trench and top knot, somehow ended up in the middle of these stick women. The first thing I noticed was the smell. They all smelled amazing, like on top of being super clean, they were doused in Versace or Chanel or fancy smelling chemicals. They were all dressed similarly, strappy heels and tight high waisted jeans, and a lacy bra thing with an open jacket. I paused and really looked at them. When I think of really beautiful women in history, I never see them in these outfits with all this stuff. I envision them in this pure, simplistic way, as unique- their features, their stature, the way they walk into a room and command it silently. These women’s features all blended together and they were teetering on their heels, nervously looking around for one another. Their lack of confidence made me feel uneasy and self-conscious myself. They looped arms with one another and they relaxed, I could tell they felt safer as an anoyn in a group than if they had to just walk into Nobu alone.
When they realized a huge lady in a unabomber coat had somehow joined their posse, they looked beyond confused. “Hello,” I said, “So sorry, I’m just trying to get soy sauce.” And then flashes of lights surrounded us. “Scott, babe come on,” one of the girls whined. As the paparazzi went off, I found myself face to face with Scott Disik, who was the last to exit this Range Rover. His face was kind of attractive, but his eyes looked mean. He was wearing a flashy jacket, a white shirt, and jeans. My face scrunched up in disgust. “Ick!” This man to me, this reality show man, is like the king of lost souls. All the little grey paparazzi blobs were trembling with excitement at the sight of him. As I looked for an exit strategy I was at a loss. He put one of his arms around one of the girl’s shoulders and she did the same, and they walked together, like how mom’s pose their elementary aged sons with their friends in pictures. “Put your arms around each other, that’s so cute! Smile!” These two were smiling for the cameras too, and just behind them was me, in my coat, The Ryokan Troll, looking for soy sauce.
In my mind, I was imagining all the exciting things I could do at this moment to cause a scene. I had the troublemaker jacket on, I was in character. In my vision, one of the girls gets her heel stuck in the deck and she falls, causing the other girls to fall with her because all their arms are linked together. Once they are down, they expose me, The Ryokan Troll, who has been lurking behind them, and I begin to pose in my unabomber jacket for the cameras. Maybe I open it up like it was a cape and expose the pink satin on the inside. Maybe I even take the jacket off and pose with it by holding it with one finger over my shoulder. The paparazzi go wild because they are clueless and need shots of whatever is closest to Scott. Scott then notices me and is appalled by both my presence and the fact that I’m taking attention off of him. He won’t talk to me because I’m rando, so he raises his hand to his security guards like get rid of her, but it’s too late. I’d kind of like to end the vision there, with but it’s too late.
As I walked back to the Ryokan, soy sauce in hand, I was deep into my own fantasy. Ryokan troll, let loose and in public, not used to fancy gentleman or fancy smells. I imagined myself hobbling through the parking lot like a mythical creature, given my size probably more like an ogre than troll, carrying my soy sauce back to my cave. When I got back, Curt, Manu, and Andy were all at the lobby table and as I entered they all looked up. I stood there before them in my coat with my eyes all crazed, the jar of soy sauce peeking out from one of my pockets, my top knot had slightly shifted and was falling off my head. “I saw Scott Disick.” I said and then paused for dramatic effect. “I feel like a house elf.” They all said nothing. “He does not have kind eyes,” I told them all.