Cosmic Bitch-Slap

Catalyzing the Confidence that Redefines and Optimizes All your Relationships

Cosmic Bitch-Slap

Catalyzing the Confidence that Redefines and Optimizes All your Relationships

Cosmic Bitch-Slap

Catalyzing the Confidence that Redefines and Optimizes All your Relationships

The Idiot and The Waif

My diverse group of English training clients all had one thing in common, which was incredulity that I would leave my successful career in the Hollywood film industry and come to Warsaw to teach them English. My stories of burnout, excess, and stress made no impression on them. Some were more relentless than others seeking a satisfactory answer, but they all asked. Many times. Who would do something like that? Why had I left an industry I’d once loved? Was I really done with the film business? What was I thinking when I dropped out and moved to Poland? Why leave sunny southern California to live in this cold dreary place?

So it didn’t take long for the questions to get into my head too. I soon recognized this as the circular questioning I’d done in the past that was a road to nowhere except endlessly wondering about what I would do if I didn’t work in the film industry. Remembering my frustration with that exercise in futility made me exit the feedback loop, stop questioning myself, and focus on helping my clients express themselves more fluently in English.

Before long, my client who was a production assistant begged me to meet with the producer he worked for, vowing that she was one of Warsaw’s movers and shakers in the Polish film industry. I didn’t care if she was Poland’s answer to Tom Cruise – I was done with that world. As I patiently explained my total lack of desire to work in the film business ever again, he looked panicked and I wondered why. This conversation happened almost every time we met for his lesson and the repetition was bugging the bejesus out of me. I would ask Why is it so important that I meet this woman?’ and his evasive reply would be something like ‘Because it would be a great connection to make’  I finally lost patience with this game and told him that I didn’t give a fuck about making connections with film people in Warsaw, but seeing his big brown puppy eyes almost fill with tears, I realized he meant a great connection for him. He eventually wore me down and to get him off my back, I agreed to meet this renown mover and shaker he worked for.

I should have known trouble was brewing when he showed up wearing a suit and driving a luxury sportscar that wasn’t his, but my Hollywood radar must have been malfunctioning. Driving across town, he babbled about the talented producer he worked for, how excited and honored she was to meet me, and how grateful he was that I’d finally agreed to the meeting. His chatter flipped a switch and suddenly my radar was functional and scanning.

Arriving a few minutes early for our three o’clock meeting, a bored receptionist greeted us and saying that the producer was on a call, returned to her work without another word. When she next spoke, my client leapt to his feet and leading the way to a set of double doors, threw them open to ceremoniously announce me to what appeared to be an empty office. The walls were dripping with the usual signed movie posters, and piles of scripts littered the surfaces, but there was no producer sitting behind a desk in front of windows with a view. A petite person with exceedingly long hair and wearing tights, UGGS, and an oversize sweater was languidly reclining at one end of a large sectional sofa smoking a Sobranie Black Russian. She waved us in without bothering to get up or offer any refreshment, and my radar was already beeping as I took a seat in one of the chairs near the sofa.

My client the assistant launched into a monologue about how famous and successful the company was and when I interrupted him to say that he could have told me this in one of our lessons, the waif on the sofa perked up and offered me a Sobranie. Accepting it, I asked her why I was here. I heard all about her famous actor parents, (beep, beep, beep) her career as a child actor, (beep, beep, beep, beep) and how it all prepared her for her role as an exceptional producer running this hugely successful production company. (beep, beep, beep, beep, beep)

When she paused to draw breath, I again asked her why I was here today and got a lengthy description of the numerous films she’d produced and the famous celebrities she’d worked with. (beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep) I complimented her on a stellar career, adding that being based in LA, I’d never actually heard of any of the films or the celebrities she’d mentioned. Noting the stunned look on her face, I supposed her brain was trying to wrap itself around the idea that the Polish film industry doesn’t mean shit in Hollywood.

Not sure what to expect, I’d allotted ninety minutes for this meeting and an hour into it, I still had no idea why I was there. Since neither of them would answer my question about why I was, I got more direct and asked her ‘So what do you want?’ She replied, ‘I want my life to embody the freedom of artistic creativity.’ Jesus, really? I wished her the best of luck and thanking her for the Russian cigarette, nodded to the assistant that it was time to go. The waif pouted and asked me why I was leaving without telling her about my career in film. I answered that I no longer worked in the film business and that her refusal to tell me why I was there meant our meeting was over.

Her eyes narrowed in annoyance as she asked me why I was in a rush when we had the whole evening to talk about collaborating over the special dinner she’d arranged at an exclusive restaurant. (beep, beep, beep, beep) I explained that I had a client meeting in an hour and would not be joining her for dinner, but if she could outline her plan in the half an hour I had remaining, I would be happy to listen.

Clearly unused to having an offer of collaboration over a special dinner in an exclusive venue turned down, the waif suddenly shifted into producer mode, turning to her assistant and kicking his ass to the curb for her own mistake. (beep, beep, beep, beep) I didn’t need to speak Polish to recognize a classic producer move and sitting back down to watch the show, I helped myself to another Sobranie and waited until she stopped to ask if I could possibly get a bottle of water. My request brought another onslaught of high-volume Polish that had the assistant darting for the door. Quickly regaining her waif pose, she apologized for her idiot assistant and and then apologized again for any possible offense given for referring to one of my clients as an idiot. I just nodded and smiled, waiting for the performance to begin.

Her opening line was ‘I have a great gift for you’ Wow, I thought, interesting approach. When I didn’t react, she launched into a description of her groundbreaking film about the effects of modern western culture on Polish conservatism and how the new generation of Poles would no longer be bound by dated traditions in a world run by Google and MTV. It was time for Poland to take its place on the world stage as a major contributor of brains, talent, and innovation, and her film would reveal this for all of the world to see. MTV? Wasn’t that from the nineties? Trying to think of anyone I knew who actually watched MTV, when I refocused on her pitch it had turned into a bit of a rant about how the Polish government censors went over every film submission with a magnifying glass, dragging their heels over granting approval and funding for her brilliant project. (beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep)

The doors burst open as the assistant came in struggling with a tray laden with bottled beverages that he almost dropped on the cluttered glass coffee table. As I grabbed a bottled water, she asked why not have a beer to celebrate our collaboration. I felt compelled to point out that I’d not agreed to any collaboration before twisting the top from my water bottle. The waif shook her head and replied that I’d not yet heard what her gift was. In the seconds before she told me, I flashed through all the ‘gifts’ I’d been offered by producers and wondered which of these she would put on the table. None, as it turned out.

Explaining that she knew an extremely famous and wealthy actor who was willing to finance her film, production could get underway immediately without the bother of waiting for the Polish government to greenlight it and I would co-produce it with her. I didn’t get it. Where did the gift come in? When I threw a blank look, she was clearly shocked by having to explain that the gift was me getting to work with her on this groundbreaking film project. (beep, beep, beep, beep) When that elicited no response from me, she amped up the enthusiasm. I learned that the special dinner was where I would meet this famous Polish actor because she knew that he would immediately sign the deal when he saw that I was already onboard the project. (BEEEEEEEEEP)

There it was – her true agenda. Get someone from Hollywood to sign on to a project that wasn’t real yet, then use them to attach the money and talent needed to make the whole thing happen. No way, Jose. No more making movies for me. Especially ones on location in Poland with an entitled millennial child actor raised in the film business, and no money or talent attached. I politely declined, repeating that I didn’t do that anymore and thanked her for the meeting and the refreshments.

Rather than thanking me for my time, the waif reiterated her pedigree in a louder tone of voice and insisted I reconsider the bennies of her offer. When that didn’t work, she shifted gears to whine about having a Hollywood film pro involved being a once in a lifetime opportunity that she would miss and how could I turn her down. Refusing to engage, I explained that I had a job I enjoyed that left no time for collaboration on a film project and wished her the very best of luck.

It was definitely time to split when she switched tactics and got salacious on me. Squirming around on the sofa, the waif stretched out her legs to rub them against each other and and tossed her hair around in a disturbing way that probably worked with older wealthy Polish guys, but certainly didn’t do anything for me. Offering her a final thanks, I walked out of the office and waited out on the street for the idiot assistant.