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May 01, 2009

My new crush, and thanks to the mechanics on Cotner Avenue

May 1. Day 305.

Somewhere on the I-405 between Culver City and Sepulveda Blvd, something amazing happened to me.

I became a Ryan Seacrest Fan!!!

Ry-an! Ry-an!

Before today, I'd see his air-brushed face on billboards advertising his talk show and think "Belch." I mean, Ryan Seacrest? He represents everything I loathe: mass produced, lowest common denominator, manufactured to please products with no meaning but the meaning they lack.

Then I heard him talk.

It was a segment on his show called "the rose." (Or something like that. Come on, admit it -- you know exactly what I'm talking about. And you love it, too.) Basically, a listener who thinks his or her significant other is being unfaithful calls the show. Ryan's co-host pretends to be a flower shop employee, calls the suspected cheater and offers a bouquet of roses. Who will the suspected cheater send them to?

So a woman called, saying her boyfriend had cheated on her seven times. They have a toddler, and now he promises fidelity and financial support. She wanted to take him back -- still loves him -- but she wanted to give him one last test, "to see if he's changed."

I wanted a call-in number so bad. "Who cares if he's changed! YOU haven't changed! Dating the same dipshit when you're a mama now. Get with the program, girl! You owe it to your baby!" I would have said. But I had no such number. And I was driving a manual car in LA traffic. Better stay off the phone.

The show called her baby-daddy.

"Hello? This is Fabulous Flowers, and we'd like to give you a free dozen roses, which you can send to whoever you want. Just give us the name and a message, and we'll take care of the rest. No payment, no billing info necessary. Congratulations!"

"Come on guys," I thought. "Unrealistic. You didn't even ask for the recipient's address. No one would fall for that--"

"Really?" He already sounded like a punk. "Free?"

"Yes! You won our drawing!"

"Ok. Then, make it out to Lisa."

"And the note?"

"Say, 'Love you, Chula.' "

"Is that C-h-u-l-a?"


The other woman, the caller, erupted onto the line.

"Lisa!??? CHULA!!??? I can't believe you!!!!"

"What? Who is this?"

"You're calling her Chula!" (Chula means hotstuff in Spanish.)

"Baby. What are you doing on the phone? She's just a friend. You're my love."

Ryan stepped in.

"A friend, huh? I don't tell my friends that."

"Whatever, man."

"This is Ryan Seacrest, and you're on the radio, man."

"I'm on the-- what? You don't get it. We're getting married."

Then Ryan started reaming him.

"Married my BLEEP. You're irresponsible. You're not fit to be a father. Cheating seven times--"

"That didn't mean anything," the guy replied. "I love her."

"My BLEEP!" Ryan started yelling. "How dare you! You're just not cool, man. From bro to bro, you need to change your ways."

"Don't tell me what to do."

"You're a disgusting cheater. I get it. You're a womanizer. You want to have fun. But don't go saying you want to be a father to this child. Don't pretend you want to be a husband. Stay away from this woman. You're a failure as a father and a partner. I wouldn't let you anywhere near my kid."


"You BLEEPing man whore!! MAN WHORE!"


Ryan!!! And here I had thought you were the man whore! I was so wrong!

Which has nothing to do with asking.

But this does:

While I was parked in LA, where I'd driven to turn in my dissertation chapter to my advisor and meet with her (she flew in from the East Cost for a conference), someone left a message on the car: "ADD COOLANT. Your radiator is leaking a lot of water."

Great. (This wasn't my car, but Mr. A's -- which I took up for the long drive. Two radiators kaput in a week? Just great.)

I drove around looking for an auto supply store, to pick up some coolant. On the way, I spotted an open mechanic garage. Maybe they would sell me coolant, and even check out the car before the long drive?

I pulled into the driveway.

"Hi, someone left this note on my car, and I'm wondering if it's safe to drive back to San Diego."

Two guys came up.

"San Diego? Well, you need to be safe for the drive back. Let's take a look."

They both checked it out, and one came back with some coolant. Filled it up.

"You're good to go."

"The radiator is fine?"

"Yeah, I can't see anything. I'm not sure why they left that note. No leaks or anything."

"Oh, that's great news, thank you! How much do I owe you?" I had a $5 ready and a $10 ready, and my credit card, depending on how much he'd ask. I wasn't about to bargain, since they were already doing me a favor by checking it out on the spot.


"No, come on. Your time is valuable."

"Please. I am happy to know you'll drive back safely." He looked like he meant it.

"Well, thank you very much then. You're very kind."

Gained: Technically, $25 or so (skipped the gallon of coolant I was about to buy), even though I didn't ask for it. Thank you, gentlemen.
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