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Winona Ryder Suffers For Your Sins
By Rodger Jacobs
from Glendale,CA

8/8/2004
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Only three days until Christmas and I hadnít accomplished a spot of shopping yet, not one spot other than the $40 coupon I bought my mom for one hour of Thai Massage Foot Reflexology therapy at this little clinic on Hollywood Boulevard in Thai Town. If youíve never tried it, foot reflexology is a very beneficial holistic treatment. There are pressure points on your feet that correspond to your heart, lungs, liver, eyes, you name it. My mom has been a waitress her entire life and no one deserves a good foot massage more than a waitress.

Christmas in L.A. isnít as strange or anachronistic as you may have heard. Sure, we donít get snow but if youíve never experienced a snow-bound Yuletide season you arenít missing anything, are you? If you must have the snow, if Christmas just isnít the same for you without the ground below you feet covered in inches and feet of hard frozen powder, then we usually have plenty of it in our surrounding mountains. Go ahead, knock yourself out. Iíll be down here cruising the best boutiques of Beverly Hills for holiday bargains.

I left work early and stopped at Raffles LíErmitage in Beverly Hills and made my way to Jann, the hotelís fine dining room, for a late lunch. I always feel self-conscious eating alone, particularly at a bistro as trendy and upscale as Jaan, but I had a good feeling about this day.

I was feeling decadent so I ordered Chef Bruno Lopezís world-famous Forty-Five Dollar Salad, an exquisite presentation of whole poached Maine lobster, black truffles, green pea shoots, Hudson Valley foie gras torchon with a confit of Bosc pears, white asparagus, English peas, teardrop tomatoes, artichoke chips, and Ö are you ready for this? Beluga caviar! Itís all drizzled in truffle oil vinaigrette. I didnít know whether to eat the thing or take it home and frame it.

I enjoyed my innovative dish with a couple of Ketel One martinis Ė straight up, thank you very much Ė and skipped out on the check while feigning a visit to the powder room.

Rodeo Drive isnít what is used to be. Thereís a Koo Koo Roo chicken place and a Starbucks, among other unwelcome eyesores on this once-exclusive shopping district of Beverly Hills. When did they decide to start catering to the tourists and the lower classes?

Now, Iím not going to tell you what boutique I selected for my Christmas shopping other than to say that one quick spree through the store would probably total out to the amount you pay annually for your mortgage.

I handed my car keys to the valet and gave him a wink with a lot of insinuation in it. I have such a weak spot for those tall, dark, Latin types so I couldnít help myself, though it was a pretty dumb move because the first rule of five-finger discount shopping is to keep a low profile. Donít let anyone remember your face.

You shouldnít start thinking that Iím some low-life from somewhere like Anaheim who canít afford to pay for the wonderful trinkets and treasures that she boosts. Yes, my mom is a waitress but she put me through UCLA practically on her tips alone and Iím now in private practice with a Century City office that would take your breath away. But, alas, youíll probably never set foot in my office because only a select few can afford my services. What exactly do I do for a living? What sort of practice? If you have to ask then youíre the last on the need-to-know list, darling.

My Louis Vuitton bag was slung over my shoulder and I strolled the aisles in my gorgeous pumps as casual as can be. I was as cool as Sharon Stone on Xanax but that didnít stop the store security man from keeping his eye on me. The security personnel like to think they blend in with their Armani ties and silk suits but they never fail to set my radar off. This one was a small, squat man with an annoying wisp of a mustache riding the thick lip beneath a hooked nose. He was most unpleasant and not at all appealing to the eye.

What was appealing to my eyes, however, was a silk scarf designed by none other than David Hockney. As I hovered over the scarf the security man, pretending not very convincingly to be an average shopper, loomed closer to me. It was looking like my brother Wilhelm Ė who is a sucker for anything by Hockney Ė wasnít going to find that scarf under the tree this Christmas.

And then it happened.

The front door of the boutique chimed and I can tell you that I have never seen a security manís head snap around that fast. Breezing through the door like she hadnít a care in the world was the loveliest little doe-eyed pixie you would ever want to lay your peepers on. Even when sheís dressed in an oversized sweat shirt and a pair of black leggings Ė as she was that day -- Winona Ryder is simply a knockout. For e brief moment I entertained the thought of hitting on her just to see if her inner mechanisms were wired that way but seasonal obligations overruled my libido.

The thick-lipped security man was on her like white on rice. Oh, sure, he was being subtle, pretending to browse through a selection of hideous ties, but his eyes were glued to the girl from ďHeathersĒ. No matter where she went, his beady eyes followed.

The floor clerks were all busy with holiday shoppers and the check-out girl was swamped with customers. I kept one eye on Winona and the security man and both hands busy stuffing my Vuitton bag with everything and anything I could grasp. I was completely indiscriminate. If it fit in the bag, it was someoneís Christmas gift.

After about ten minutes of this I began to perspire and my breath was caught in my throat. I was clearly on the verge of hyperventilating so I had to make as hasty an exit as possible before I started choking for air and gave myself away.

All I could wonder was what did I do to please the gods of good fortune this year because as soon as I started for the door, so too did little Miss Ryder. Imagine the scene: me and Winona Ryder pushing through the door at the same time and then thereís that annoying high-pitched beep of the security alarm going off. I kept moving out the door with my bag full of Christmas goodies like a linebacker on crack. Looking back as I handed my ticket to the delicious valet I saw Winona posed in the doorway, looking totally perplexed as the alarm continued shrieking and the security man approached her with his ID badge in hand.

Thatís my favorite L.A. Christmas story. Letís hear yours sometime over lunch.

© 2204-05, Rodger Jacobs
All Rights Reserved


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