Georgians on my mind

You put an ad for your convertible on Craigslist, asking way less than what you paid for it six months ago, because the top leaks. You feel funny about even listing it at all, as whoever buys it is going to have a real headache on their hands: It’s apparently ludicrously expensive to fix a convertible top. You pledge to tell any prospective buyer about the problem, but not necessarily the repair cost you were quoted at the dealership.

You get three emails about the car. One guy wants to see it but never shows. Another guy wants to know if you’ll knock another thousand off the price, right off the bat. And a couple of women respond that they’d like to come see it.

You set a time and they show up early. When you walk outside, they’re looking the car over with interest. They’re both cute: petite women with short dark hair, each with an accent of some kind that you can’t quite identify. They move in tandem, finish each other’s sentences. They appear to be a couple.

One really wants the car; the other expresses doubt about the small trunk size. They run a photography business, and their current car, also a convertible, doesn’t have a big enough trunk either.

“Why get another car with the same problem?” asks one.

“But it’s so cute,” says the other. “And we can just put the stuff in the back seat.”

They bicker gently. You watch, bemused, thinking you really shouldn’t sell them the car at all, because the first time it rains, they’ll surely curse you. You mention that the top leaks in heavy rains. “Oh, that’s okay,” says the one eager to buy it. “We can fix that.” The other one smiles and shakes her head.

They say they want to look at a few more cars before making a decision. You all shake hands, and they drive off.

A few hours later, you get an email. They’ve decided to hold off on buying a car, but would you like to get together some time? To hang out? They thought you seemed nice. Would you be interested in that?

You feel flattered. They seemed lovely. But isn’t this odd, to make a social plan with someone you met for about five minutes over a potential car transaction? Then again, why should you care? This is L.A., which has proved to be a far friendlier town than your last place of residence. Why not meet some new people? You reply that you’d like that, thanks.

The next day, you get an email inviting you to a dinner-and-movie night that Sunday. Apparently, a group of people get together, cook food, and watch a movie every other weekend at a loft downtown. You can’t make it that Sunday, but express interest in going another time.

More weeks pass, and you seem to have plans each time the Sunday movie night rolls around. Then finally, one weekend you find yourself free. You email them and say, yes, I’d like to come have dinner and watch the movie Fargo. What is the address? And what time? You’re supposed to bring a side dish, so you stop at the grocery store and buy the following: a pound of broccoli salad, a box of Little Debbie Snack Cakes, and a good bottle of Cabernet.

You drive to downtown LA, taking the Los Angeles Street exit as directed. When you get to the right block, you realize you’re in the middle of, if not Skid Row, then something very close to it. Homeless people are bedded down all across the sidewalks, stuffed into cardboard boxes or wrapped up in sleeping bags and blankets like giant cocoons. You park your car about a block away from the building. You wonder whether this is some weird scam. You try to remember what those women looked like. And what kind of accents were those?

You get to the building and realize you didn’t write down the apartment number to get buzzed in. A guy is walking out, and he holds the door for you to come in. You head up to the third floor. When you emerge from the elevator, you can hear music and conversation wafting down the hallway. You head that way.

You get to the loft. When you enter, it is the largest living space you’ve ever seen. The ceiling is three stories above the floor. There are no walls except for those separating two small bedrooms and a bathroom from a sprawling kitchen / dining room / living room that is twice the size of your whole house. A red-haired woman is baking casseroles in the kitchen, and about a dozen hipster L.A. types are sipping wine and chatting.

Your car-buying couple hasn’t arrived yet, so you introduce yourself to the red-haired cook. She wipes her hands on her apron and gives you a warm, enveloping hug. “Welcome!” she says, and takes your plastic grocery-store bag.

The evening’s meal follows a Fargo theme: Swedish meatballs, bacon-wrapped appetizers, hot casseroles topped with tater tots. You introduce yourself to random people, eat snacks and drink red wine. A tiny Chihuahua wearing a sweater races around the floor, yapping at everyone.

Finally, your car-buying couple arrives. They’re just as you remembered them, cute, with little knit caps and cool shoes. They do a double-take when they see you — is that the woman whose car we looked at? Smiles break out all over: Hello! How are you! Glad you could come!

Everyone mingles and the car-buying couple starts preparing the food they brought: some kind of garlicky flatbread, possibly a delicacy from their home country, which you just learned is the former Soviet republic of Georgia. They speak Russian, you speak Russian; what are the chances? They met at film school in Tbilisi in the ’90s, and immigrated here shortly thereafter. They’re not a couple, though they are both lesbians. Yes, everyone thinks they’re a couple; no, it doesn’t bother them. But just to clarify.

People fill their plates with hearty Midwestern food and gulp down another glass of red wine. Then, the main event begins: one on one wall in the living room — a pure white wall that stretches three stories high — the opening credits of Fargo start to roll.

“Let’s go!” whispers one of the Georgians. “We need to get a good seat!”

You follow their lead, heading to one of five overstuffed couches scattered throughout the vast living room. Each couch has an assortment of cozy blankets at the ready. You plop down in the middle, one Georgian on each side of you. A Georgian sandwich. The movie starts.

You sit, watching William H. Macy plan to kidnap his wife, wondering at the fact that you’re so happily squeezed in among total strangers. It is black as night in the vast living room, except for the lights of downtown LA bleeding in through the windows and the giant figures on the wall. As you squish further down into the couch, pulling a fleecy blanket around you, the Chihuahua jumps on your lap and starts licking your ear. The Georgians whisper and giggle across you. And suddenly you think: Where else could I possibly have been at this moment? The space on this couch was created for me. Frances McDormand smiles on-screen, as if in agreement.

23 responses to “Georgians on my mind”

  1. Rachel says:

    I just knew there had to be a reason you bought that car!

  2. ks says:

    Awesome kismet, indeed. Loved the story. You’re brave.

  3. A Concerned Friend says:

    So what’s the status on the Satanvertable? Is it still the master of your underworld?

  4. Marleyfan says:

    If they invite you to see Silence of the Lambs next time, grab the dog and run Clarice, run…

  5. Jeremy says:

    A few years ago, I made a New Year’s resolution: to embrace potentially awkward situations that could also be rewarding in some way. There was a time when I would’ve avoided going to a function like yours because, well, it just seems kinda awkward… Right after my resolution I was invited, by total strangers whom I met standing in line (in downtown LA, buying furniture), to a Miss America Pageant-watching party. Our own WW was one of those strangers… So, are you planning to see these new LA friends again, Parrish?

  6. Jen says:

    And you want to leave our illustrious city…..why?

  7. I wonder how i would react to this situation. I enjoy meeting strangers in warm setting such as this, but I abhor large crowds and don’t ever seem to find a comfortable place within large parties.

    This felt like an intimate party, though. Lots of people, but not necessarily crowded (like a dance floor). I enjoy the atmosphere you portray here. I can see the house (with awe) and I can see the kitchen. Thank you for the enjoyment and that warmth

  8. Dave says:

    This sounds fun, Lisa, but I could never go to a party under such circumstances myself. While the social openness of L.A. is remarkable, so is your comfort with complete strangers.

  9. Demosthenes says:

    At the same time that situations like that can be awkward, I really like it when you meet new people you get along with well. That is a really cool story.

  10. LP says:

    Jeremy: Yes, I’m sure I’ll see them again. They already sent me a follow-up email saying “welcome to the family.” Aw.

    Dave: I was a bit cowed in the beginning. I couldn’t seem to find any conversational rhythm with anyone, and everyone else there knew at least one other person. It was a bit awkward until I had a few sips of wine and then just plunged in. I hadn’t planned to get there before the Georgians, but part of me is glad I did, as managing to get comfortable in a room of strangers gives me perverse pride.

    Concerned friend: I am still under the Satanvertible’s sway. And rain is forecast for this weekend. Eeks.

  11. Dave says:

    Are you sure the email didn’t say “welcome to the Family”? ‘Cause, you know, spooky.

  12. LP says:

    Well, yeah, there’s that. They meant it tongue in cheek. I think.

    The other funny thing is, I never know who’s actually sending the emails. They share the same email account. And the name of their business is a combination of their two first names. If I hadn’t seen them together, I wouldn’t believe they were separate people.

  13. Jeremy Zitter says:

    I often wonder if LP and LD are two different people.

  14. LP says:

    If you’ve never seen them in the same room together, chances are you’re right.

  15. LP says:

    Or would that make you wrong? Whichever.

  16. Who’s LD? Literacy Dogfight?

    This post confirmed my sense that LP is gradually infiltrating every lesbian subculture LA has to offer. It’s a plan for world domination! There’s a domino theory in there somewhere.

  17. LP says:

    Today the Georgians, tomorrow the… Eritreans!! I am all about empire-building.

  18. Trixie Honeycups says:

    parrish, is it one of those awkward situations where you know both of their names but you don’t know which name belongs to which woman?
    also, they sound adorable.
    nice work.

  19. LHD says:


    I call those situations, following the Jim O’Rourke song, “Halfway to a Threeway.”

    Go Lisa!

  20. Lisa Tremain says:

    LD might be Lisa Dawn.

    “A Georgian sandwich.” This is why I love LP.

  21. LP says:

    Trixie – that was true until about halfway through the evening, when someone else finally called one of them by name. Whew.

    L(D)T: I love you too. But you knew that.

  22. The K says:

    Dearest LP-
    While enthusiasm for the cozy fuzzy part of this cosmic clusterhug is the most obvious and appealing choice, I think you might have missed something while you were slung up on that couch.

    Consider the possibility that the Georgians were plopped down in your universe to lead you to the best place in L.A. to ditch the Satanvertible- preferably with the keys in it and the engine running.

  23. andrea says:

    I miss you Parrish! I am glad some cult has decided to adopt you…and that they sweater their chihuahua even in the mild LA weather.