Sidling up to the parking meter seemed a miracle by any Santa Monica standard. To have found a parking place so easily, when we were squeaking so close to call time was nothing short of a miracle. I shooed my son, the actor, on ahead, while I wrapped up the three point park and managed the baby and the change.
The short walk was made brisk by the falling sun. Oncoming vehicles had their night lights on, and dusk wrapped itself around us like a thin veil. We entered the building, only to be very surprised at the sight of a new friend sitting in the waiting area.
"What are you doing here? Didn't you go home last week?" I queried. I had just met the woman with the short cropped black hair that framed her face so well, making her brilliant smile all the moreso almost one week ago to the day. Our sons were acting classmates, and both of our families from Mississippi. I'd heard of her son, and his presence in Hollywood, but had yet to meet him. The wait was over. The only disappointment was that this Mom/Son pair were homeward bound. Finding her sitting in front of us at the tail end of an arduous drive was amazing.
"Callbacks." she stated plaintively. "We hardly had a moment to relax!" She detailed her weekend and new travel plans, as my mind wandered to her predicament last week with a tow truck and a police officer. New queries graced my lips, this time as to time and space.
As I reminded her of her brush with the law, she determined she was going to go check her meter. They had come to the audition straight from the airport, and had been here long enough to expire time.
We both stood, and I made plans to enter the building further. She, however, began to express concern. "Where are my keys??!" The question sent practical action into play, as we checked couch cushions, the floor, her bag, my bag.
None were found.
"Let's check with the boys." she said, and we rounded the corner to ask. The boys - her son - had not the keys on him. It was decided that she had probably locked them into the car, although memory served that she had placed them on the couch beside her.
Soon, the hustle and bustle of the audition room overtook all of us. She, to hunt and discover, and ask management personnel; I and Keller to chat happily with a friend, another Mom, whose daughter had starred in a commercial with my son a year ago.
Management made a sweep through the crowd: "Everyone knows about the tow-away zone, right?" to which fresh questions were posed from among the parents.
Keller was entertaining his fair share of folk with his two year old antics, when the raven-haired beauty appeared again in my line of sight.
"I'm going to call AAA." she said. "They can unlock the car for me at a reasonable rate, so I can search it before having to report a lost key to the tune of $250."
All present agreed with her plan, and she moved to a quite spot to make her call.
Meanwhile, Keller continued wowing the crowd. One antic, a blanket toss, net my keys flying in the air, the skittering across the floor. "Let's not loose two sets of keys tonight!" I proclaimed loudly, as I moved across the space to retrieve mine. Several heads nodded in agreement.
I scooped up the black key fob attached to the white plastic shell which housed the call numbers of the rental I was using. Gingerly, I moved to placed them in my front pocket, only to be met with an obstacle. Curious, I reached in to the space, and pulled out . . . .
A flash of mortified realization crossed my face. "I must've picked up her keys from the couch - they look so much alike!!"
The crowd mirrored my horror and urged me to catch her before she had help on the way. I was happy to oblige.
Running down the hallway, between cameramen filming a reality show, and new auditioners walking the ramp, I practically skid into the couch on my knees, holding the prized posssession of keys out in obeisance and fawning.
"I am SO sorry!" I exclaimed. Her relief was as wide as her wonderment - saved by the skin of her teeth, twice in a row, at the same facility. Gratefulness was soon on her lips.
Me? The mortification soon gave way to a sense that I should become a locksmith for such times as this . . .!