That’s been my attitude; the one that’s helped me continue to dream the impossible and literally kept me alive. As my friends and fans know, for six months of last year, I was really struggling. Just to survive. I’d been power-couch-surfing, staying on friend’s couches and, with a little luck, eking out a living as a writer. Always good to have a roomie who can cook and clean and shop, so it’s like having a live-in butler and chef. I never take anyone’s generosity for granted.
Last November, just before Thanksgiving, I was living comfortably in a nice Hollywood apartment, paying $20 cash a night. $600 a month for a room up at the Hollywood foothills, just below the famed Hollywood sign. I had been driving for Uber and Lfyft for 18 months, doing long hours and making just enough to pay rent, feed myself and pay business expenses, including $20 a day in gas and an exorbitant $150/week to lease the car from Uber, plus special commercial insurance.
Two weeks not driving and I fell behind in payments. Uber repossessed the vehicle (to be fair to them I was behind two months because I wasn’t driving as much as I should have). Then, my roommate kicked me to the curb. Told me he could get more money for the room, “sorry”. In one 24 hour period, I went from employed and housed and fed to unemployed, homeless and car-less. And, hungry. In LA, where you need a car just to drive to the bathroom.
Perhaps the greatest thing about driving Uber and Lyft in Hollywood is all the unexpected interesting people and connections you meet on a daily basis. One of those rides was a recently widowed doctor who told me how she always wanted to write a book on the behavioral differences between male and female patients. It was gonna be a humor book. Well, literally being in the driver’s seat, I made a left turn and began my elevator pitch, selling her on the idea of hiring me to write her book. We exchanged cards, and later, emails. In those emails, we agreed on terms of the contract and were all set to go, then she ghosts me. Stopped hearing from her. My luck had run out.
Drew knew someone who got me a beater car. A 2004 Mitsubishi Elance. Too old to Uber in because ride-sharing companies require you to have a newer car, ten years old or less, but a car nonetheless. So, while I was able to get around, I had no home or money coming in. And job hunting when you spend most of your day trying to find a place to sleep is hard, if not impossible.
A good friend, fellow comedian, in Hollywood offered me a bed in his apartment for free until May 1, when I’d have to start paying rent. That’s one problem down. Still no income. I applied to Trader Joes, but they didn’t hire me. In the mean time, I signed up with a telemarketing company and still waiting to hear back. Really what wanted my old job back. As a driver. Or, with a little luck, as a writer again.
So, this morning, I go to my local Starbucks to work online. To write screenplays and search for work and build The Laughter Foundation. What happens? My car goes dead. Battery. I had jumper cables, but the problem was that my car was wedged in between a cement island in the parking lot and a van. A van with “The Magic of Dorian” and a phone number on the outside. I called the number. A nice man who was in Starbucks, a magician named Dorian, came out and gave me a jump. He’s a really great guy and from what I can see, a really well-respected magician. Check him out!
I went back into Starbucks to look for writing work. BINGO! An email came through. That widow I met in my Uber months ago. I closed a multi-thousand dollar deal to ghostwrite a book for her. So, there ya go, Ladies and Germs. There’s always hope and there’s always magic in Hollywood!
You just gotta hang in and soon enough, luck will come your way.
For The Hollywood Dog, this has been Steven Alan Green 3/30/17