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In early August 2023, I started placing up what would become a series of different signs on the side of my car in support of the Hollywood strikers, those walking the picket lines for the WGA and SAG-AFTRA. 

Strange things happened after I did. Who would have thought a little sign could be responsible? Was it really or was it my imagination?  Could it have all been my imagination? Anything’s possible.

 

 

Cue the suspenseful music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, people have asked me what does “catnip” have to do with signs supporting workers in Hollywood on strike? Read on (if ya want to).

 

 

It all began on one of the worst days of my life. In late Spring, 2022, in South Florida I worked extra shifts at my job, and happily told my sister, Christine,  we had a little extra money and would take a trip to Los Angeles. Neither of us had been on a summer vacation in more than 18 years, as we were quite poor. Our mother had died abruptly a few years earlier, and it was very difficult emotionally on both of us, but especially my sister, who had a serious chronic illness since age 13 and was disabled, poor and unable to work. She had always wanted to visit California, to see Redwood Trees and the Pacific Ocean. We planned to visit LA and then San Fran. She had a big smile on her face, and I was looking forward to the trip as well.



In June 2022, the day before we were scheduled to go on the road, my sister in her late 50’s collapsed in front of me. I didn’t have a defibrillator and could only wait for the paramedics as she stopped breathing. They couldn’t bring her back. The autopsy indicated it was her heart, she had sudden cardiac arrest. She was my best friend, and a super sweet person, always taking care of stray animals and was kind to everyone, plus an amazing sense of humor. She laughed hundreds of times in a day, loved anything strawberry flavored and when I called her doctors’ offices to inform them she had passed, I wasn’t surprised when each of the 4 different offices’ receptionists told me how sad they were as she was one of their favorite patients. Some receptionists cried. Of course, the trip to Cali was cancelled.



I worked in education in Florida, so the following summer, 2023, I was off from work. I was very sad on the anniversary of my sister’s passing. So, I decided to plan a late July trip to California to spread her ashes in the state she always dreamed of seeing. But then I visited the cemetery where they were interred in a vault, and it was a nice, peaceful Catholic cemetery, my sister used to say the rosary ten times a day, and so I decided I would leave the ashes in the vault.



My sister so wanted me to see California, so I decided I was off work for many weeks in the summer, I had saved up a little extra money, why not take a road trip and get away on my own for a few months? I needed some time alone and to get away from familiar sights that reminded me of my sister and made me sad.



My car, after 20 years and 188,000 miles, gave up weeks earlier, so I had just financed a new car, which I love because it is the first time in 9 years I had working ac in the Miami area, which is very humid and hot 9 months a year. Oh, that cool breeze on a hot summer day! Whoa! Really Rad to have a new car to go on the road with, no break-down worries. And I knew I would be traveling across some lonesome desert roads, where breaking down would not be a joy.



So, I set off on Interstate 10 through the deep South, and headed west. I had never been west of the Houston area, so this was a big deal. I’d never been in a desert climate, but being late July, I knew I was about to feel the West Texas and Arizona heat very soon. South Florida, where I was from, was a humid climate with a lot of rain and lightning and thunder. And I love lightning and thunder!  I hate sunny days. I like hurricanes (if they stay out to sea), lightning, thunder and hail, and dark clouds looming in the sky.   



Interstate 10 west of Austin was very, very barren, it was many, many hours of passing nothing besides a few gas stations at interchanges and mountains and deserts. Very few cars, and not many trucks either. El Paso, a huge city, was many miles away, many hours away. Talk about a lonesome highway. Wow. Barren.

I stopped at a rest area, which was very well kept. Nice, clean, modern building, and it even had a little walking nature trail to stretch the legs. So, I set upon a short walk and saw a sign warning of rattlesnakes. Whoa! And, sure enough, as I stepped forward, I heard a small snake in the brush rattling. You never forget the sound of a rattlesnake! I won’t! I did not veer off the gravel path after hearing that guy! I knew that snake had its eyes on me!  



And in the bright sunlight of a broiling hot July day, there I stood listening to this rattlesnake warning me to stay away when from behind this woman cries out.  “Hey, I know you!” a woman’s voice hollered.  

Shocked, I spun around. This woman just was standing there. I never heard her walk up on the gravel pathway. She startled me. Never heard her car pull up either.


“Huh?” I said.


“I know you,” she said.


And I laughed. “This is the first time in my life I have been west of Houston,” I said, “I think you are mistaken. I’m from the South Florida area.”


“Yeah, so am I. I’m from the South, too. Oh, trust me. I know who you are.” 


“Oh.”


“Yeah, you write books.”


And I was shocked because even though I had an author’s website with my photo and in some of my books my photo visible, only once before in my entire life had I been recognized in public from my author endeavors. Years before I walked into a grocery store and a stranger, man about 27 with brown hair, called out “Hey, Brice.
”  And I had never seen this guy before, but the way he said it reminded me of two friends greeting. Baffled, I waved, smiled, and walked to an aisle. Later I passed him near frozen foods. “Hey, Brice.” Then I passed him near the bread area. “Hey, Brice.” And I was like, Who is this guy? I’d never seen him before. Was I senile? I had no recollection of him. So, when I ran into him again near the celery area in produce, then I spoke up.


“How do you know my name? Have we met?”



“I read your books.”


It turns out that he recognized me from the photo in one of my books. I was shocked, that was the first time I was ever recognized in public. We talked for a few minutes, and he was a nice guy.


And now, how bizarre, only for the second time in my life I was recognized in public, and it occurs thousands of miles away from my home, on a blistering hot day near a bush with a rattlesnake wiggling its rattle. I mean, I was in the middle of nowhere hours from the nearest large city. All around me was a hot desert.    


“Where’s your car?” the woman said, “oh, I have to get my family. They love seeing your car.”


“So you know my car?”



“Yeah, I used to see it once a month. So funny. My family gets a laugh, too. We like the catnip sign.”


Approximately a decade earlier, I published a few humorous vampire novels for kids and teens, although an adult might enjoy them as well. My books were somewhat satirical, I made fun of vampires and traditions. In my book, catnip has a negative effect on vampires. So, after publishing my books, as a joke, I placed letters on the side of my car MY VAMPIRES DO NOT LIKE CATNIP. It was a joke, and I intended to keep the lettering on there for a few weeks, no longer. When the time came to remove the phrase after a month, several neighbors and friends in South Florida were sad, telling me they thought it was so funny and encouraged me to keep the phrase on the car.  So, I figured whatever, and for about a decade I drove around my car with the words MY VAMPIRES DO NOT LIKE CATNIP in Florida. But then in 2023, my car with about 188,000 miles and almost 20 years old, finally too many major repairs so I junked it and financed a new car, which I love. But I didn’t want to mark up my very nice new car with lettering, so I did not place up the phrase on the sides and I had no intention to do so. 

I told the lady at the rest area I now had a new car and did not put-up letters on the side, and she was super bummed.


“Ohhh, darn,” she said. “I think you should. It was so funny. I always laughed.”


 

“Well, I’m going to vacation in LA –”


“So are we, moving there.”


“Well, I looked like a goofball for a decade driving around South Florida with a sign saying my vampires do not like catnip. I don’t want to drive around LA with 19 million people looking like a goofball.”


The woman seemed bummed.


“Oh, okay,” she said, “but I think you should put that back on your car. I really do. I really do.”


Wow, she was surprisingly insistent.

 

 

She told me she would keep a lookout for my car, waved goodbye and she was gone a minute later. She departed as quietly and quickly as she arrived. Kinda weird.

 

I traveled across the West, thru El Paso and then Southern New Mexico (saw more deserts and rattlesnake rest stop area signs) and then through super-hot 115 F Arizona, thankfully not hearing anymore rattlesnakes, before arriving at the terminus of I-10 in Santa Monica on a nice, cool July Sunday morning. And so began my vacation. But, wow, was I sad my passenger seat was empty. I missed my sister so much, I got sad and lonely every day. Oh, I still laugh and smile 1,000 times a day, but before my mom and sister passed away, I used to laugh 2,000 times a day.

 

My plan to was to arrive in LA, spend a week, and move on to San Fran, then maybe see Vegas and head home. But I liked LA, it reminded me of South Florida, except a lot more hills and a lot less cloud cover and rain. I had heard for years from the conservative media about Los Angeles being a far-left haven, crime out of control, homelessness a big issue. But instead, I found many people who were very conservative, I haven’t seen any crimes, and I saw a lot of homeless in Phoenix, Tucson and Austin in Texas. And I’ve seen many in Florida, too. California isn’t the only place with a homeless issue. LA traffic isn’t bad at all. Just normal big city tie-ups at rush hour. Very friendly people. A lot of creatives. The conservative media keeps talking about people rushing out of LA, can’t wait to leave, moving to other states, but most people I meet are very happy in California. And if people are rushing out in droves, then why does a nice house cost 3 million dollars in Los Angeles? And I see very few for sale signs. So, I extended my vacation.         



I thought about what the lady at the Texas rest area said to me and I decided to visit a shop in the LA area that placed-up advertising on automobiles. They put up the lettering and again my car (my nice new car, sigh) had the phrase MY VAMPIRES DO NOT LIKE CATNIP in big letters on the side. Yeah, I look like an idiot driving around my goofy car, but since when did I care what people thought of me? And, besides, sometimes I look like an idiot sitting on my sofa at home. Big deal. But this time I asked for something new, as a last-minute decision, it wasn’t planned.


I work in education, and my students liked a very popular diary style kid’s book series about a wimpy boy with a lot of drawings, and I think they are great also. I like the books a lot. So, summer 2023 I had written a few diary style books for kids on my own with a lot of drawings, my diary-style books are about a goofy kid. And I was planning to soon publish the first few books in this new series of mine, and so I thought, Why not ask the advertising place to put up a large blank sign on the sides of my car and then I can place up my book covers as advertising to get publicity for this new series? So, they placed up a blank sign, and in early August I started driving around my car in LA with two blank signs on the sides. I was preparing to place up some book covers, when I thought about something that had happened days earlier.


Lost (as usual since I was new in town) somewhere in North Hollywood or Burbank or maybe it was LA, I had passed by what looked like hundreds of people walking a picket line. I had heard of the actors’ and writers’ strike in Florida, but until one sees the impact close-up, it’s hard to understand. So here I was lost, searching for the Pacific Ocean, but couldn’t find the pond, and now I am driving past those on strike. Inside my car, I was hot, and the sun was eating me up, even though my skin was used to a powerful sun, as Miami’s summer sun is intense. I felt so bad seeing these people walking up and down a sidewalk for hours on end, and then I realized – whoa! – these were the writers and actors that had given me so many laughs and happiness over the years. I love movies! Some great tv shows also.

 
And what really horrified me was so called “fans” standing nearby gawking and staring, celebrity searching while taking photos, drinking coffee and pointing and laughing. Geesh, if they were really “fans” they would ask the studios to return to the negotiation tables and help get these creative people off the hot sidewalk. If the sun was eating me up inside an air-conditioned car, imagine how hot it was for those marching up a sidewalk? There weren’t many clouds and LA in the summer can get into the high 90’s F.   


 

But what could I do to help? I’m just one dude, I don’t have any important connections, I don’t even work in the California entertainment industry. I was not a member of the union. So, I decided the book covers could wait, and so in early August 2023 I placed up a short and funny sign on my car’s sides just to let those walking the picket line know that there were many in the general-public rooting for them. Now let me say this, I write books (but I’m just a little-known writer) so my day job, ahhh my “pay the bills job” is in education in FLA. But I have written a few screenplays (none sold so far), so I knew it was possible if I placed up a sign in support of those on strike, it might irritate a few important people in the industry (or then again, maybe not). But I chanced it, because sometimes one has to stand up for a cause even if some negative might flow in one’s direction, and besides I read what those on strike were asking for and I thought the demands were quite fair.

Besides, I laughed after I put up the signs, who can see them? The writing was small, and I figured few, if anybody, would see the signs or bother to read them. I would look like a goofball in a city with 19 million people, but I figured nobody would care what I wrote or know what the words were. Just tiny signs showing support for a good cause, who would care? Who would read them?


To my shock, just 5 minutes after I finished putting up the first sign, early August 2023,  the “cinnamon roll sign” seen below


 

I am not a member of SAG-AFTRA or WGA, however I admire the union

 members with the integrity to stand up for what they believe in and walk a

 picket line in the searing California sun and heat. 
 

I wish you all success. 
 

Perhaps the winding negotiation road before you
is lined with tumbleweed
, an ugly cactus shaped like a T-Rex’s tooth and
is not brick-paved an inviting golden-yellow. 

 

But when you finally reach a contract settlement it will be sweet as honey on

 a cinnamon roll. Figuratively speaking, of course. 

 
     Stay positive.
     Keep smiling.       Stay hydrated. 

 

 

I was parked in a shopping center in affluent Rolling Hills Estates when a stylishly dressed, very pretty lady walked by my car, stopped, stared, removed her sunglasses, read the sign and smiled. I estimate the sign had only been up 5 minutes. And oh my gosh, I’m 90% positive this gorgeous lady was a world famous movie star, because I recognized her. Wow, was she gorgeous! No, I am not naming names, because I am only 90% sure it was her, there’s a 10% chance I recognized her because she served me pancakes at a diner a week earlier. It could have been the waitress. But I think it was the movie star.    
 

“We need more signs like that,” this beautiful woman said. “I love it.”


To be honest she was so gorgeous, I barely heard what she said. 


And I was like, wow! People actually notice that sign? Oh my gosh!


Later that day, I was eating at a fast food restaurant down close to Long Beach. The sun had set, and in the darkness, I saw about 7 people crowding around my parked car. Strange, I thought. They were staring at my car, and pointing. Oh my gosh, no they were reading the sign on the side. What the heck? That’s what I was thinking. What the heck? And then more people showed up, and I am sitting by the window of this fast food restaurant eating a roast beef sandwich watching as people left their meal in the restaurant, walked outside and stared at my car. I’m not joking, I would estimate about 12 people. And they all gathered around, reading all the signs and lettering, taking photos and discussing things. I was laughing. They stood around my car for a good 8 minutes, and finally dispersed. That was strange, I thought.


Later that night, I arrived at a cheap motel down near Long Beach, and the manager of the motel walked outside to stare at my car and read the signage. He loved my message of support for those on strike. Bizarre enough, but upon talking to this manager I discovered about 25 years earlier this man, who I had never met before today, used to live down the street from me in Fort Lauderdale. Here I am thousands of miles from home, and a former neighbor is standing next to me.



Soon after a friend contacted me and asked Did I see your car on a website in China? I laughed. I told him it must have been some other car, and he said he could swear it was a photo of my car on a website in mainland China. And again, I laughed. Impossible. Then again, I remembered days earlier when that group of people gathered around my car and took photos, and I thought back. It did occur outside a Chinese restaurant, and people in the group were talking Chinese. Oh my gosh! My small sign of support for the Hollywood strike was being seen in China??? Oh my gosh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   


Days later, more strange things happened. But was it my imagination? Was it a coincidence? Was it something else?

I got lost in a winding neighborhood somewhere north of Sunset Blvd, lost in an area of old, affluent, large homes, the type of homes silent movie stars in the 1920’s would have owned. Really nice 3-million-dollar homes on some STEEP STREETS. There I am stopped on a cul-de-sac looking at my phone’s map, trying to figure out where the heck I was, and this pretty woman with long black hair in a ponytail walked out of her mansion, took a photo of me and my car,
then walked back in. Two minutes later a woman with blonde hair walked out, and took a photo without saying a word, and walked back into the same mansion. And I was sitting there thinking What the heck? Both were beautiful ladies, mid-twenties. Actresses? Who knows? One did look familiar.



Days later some blonde woman with superhuman abs! This beautiful blonde woman, very attractive, was crossing the road in an outfit that bared her stomach, which had an 8 pack. I estimated those abs were the result of 100,000 sits ups and a lot of performance enhancing drugs! She walks by my car on crosswalk while I am stopped at a red light, takes a quick glance, continues walking, abruptly stops, spins around, walks back, and stands near my side window while reading my car. These 8 pack abs in my face 3 feet away while she is reading my car in the middle of the intersection. Bizarre!


Days later I walk out to my car in a parking lot, and a woman with superhuman legs was standing next to my car, reading the signs. I laughed. This woman was gorgeous and face very feminine, but her physique was 100% muscle and her legs were more muscular than most male bodybuilders. I estimated those muscular legs were the result of 100,000 heavy squats and a lot of performance enhancing drugs! I laughed. Woman was staring at my car.


One man got angry at me. He said, “Gosh, these people are striking for better wages, they earn 20 million dollars a movie! You shouldn’t put up signs supporting the labor dispute. They earn enough.” So, I explained to him only a very small percentage of people in the industry are “famous” and “wealthy” What percentage? Who knows? I would guess between 3% and 5%. Most are workers with bills to pay. After I told the man this, he was shocked. He had no idea, he thought everybody who worked in the film industry was a millionaire in a mansion.      

 

Then things got really strange, so weird I started calling family and friends, all of whom were across the nation in Florida or the New York area. I was alone in LA I didn’t know a single person in the entire state of California. I told them something weird was going on in LA, but I couldn’t pinpoint what it was. Nobody in the state knew me, and I didn’t know anyone. Yet . . . .


Several times a week when I walked into a store or public place, a person would give me a slight stare, or glance at me in the corner of their eyes. Occasionally someone would pass me in the grocery store, glance at me, and then after I passed they would turn and give a second look. Strange. That never happened before. Didn’t happen often, maybe between 3 and 8 times a week. But it occurred.

 

 

Many drivers in other cars suddenly seemed to be overly polite to me now, always waving me into a free lane in front of them when I exited a shopping center. Occasionally a driver waved hello. One day a car slowed down from the opposite direction, and he started honking his horn over and over and over when stopped next to my car! I wasn’t blocking his way, why was he doing this? Then he smiled and yelled he liked my sign. Occasionally drivers in traffic gave me a thumbs up. Waiting to turn left in the middle of the day on a busy residential road, in Sherman Oaks area, a beautiful woman in an expensive German import actually stopped and held up a line of 9 cars to wave me to make my left turn. I was shocked. Why would somebody show such extreme politeness and respect? Nobody ever held up a line of traffic for me. Never happened before.  
 

 

My friends laughed and I said I was imagining things. Or some joked I should lay off the rum, or vodka. But I told them I wasn’t drunk.


I sat down at a casual restaurant and started to eat a bowl of soup. I’m a middle-aged man with a receding hairline, nothing special about me eating soup. Yet a woman at a table nearby pulled out her cell phone, held it in my direction and I swear it looked like she was making a video. A relative asked if I was near a window and maybe the woman was filming the street out front, and I said, yes, a plate glass window was close, but she aimed the phone at me. She was only 8 feet away. The minute I got up to leave, she turned off her cell phone and put it away. Who would make a video of an average looking dude eating soup?


And who would want to watch a man eat a sandwich? I'm talking a midd
le-aged man who is decades past his prime. Days later at another deli, I sit down to eat a sandwich. Nothing to see here folks just a middle-aged man eating turkey on white. And this attractive woman just turns around and stares at me. And I look up, still chewing, and this lady is only 6 feet away at the next table and she is just staring at me. I was thinking what the heck? And her stare just stayed on me, as I continued eating. After a few minutes, I got up to get a refill of water and when I sat back down, I deliberately sat in a different chair so my back was to her.  So why didn’t I say hello or flirt with this beautiful woman? Because she looked about age 27 and I am middle-aged and single, looking to date or get married, but I’m interested in dating women over 40. My ego isn’t needy enough that I need a "trophy woman" in her late 20’s at my side. I don’t have anything to prove. Over 40 is fine for me.

 

 

As I got up to leave, yep she was still staring at me. Bizarre! She didn’t even blink! Whoa!

 

Daylight in Beverly Hills, I was waiting on a sidewalk to cross a residential street lined with a lot of tall palm trees. There was no light or crosswalk, so I waited for traffic to clear. I’m standing on the sidewalk waiting. A pretty woman in an expensive import stopped and waved me across, so I start crossing and this woman pulls out her cell phone, holds it outside her side window and snaps a photo of me. What the freckin’ heck?
 

Days later on Santa Monica Blvd during slow traffic, a woman in an SUV stopped in traffic going the opposite direction, rolled down her window and took a photo of me sitting behind the wheel stuck in traffic. Who is that? I thought!

 

Days later entering a coffee shop, I’m walking towards the door at the same time a pretty woman (about 24 I’d estimate) is walking towards the door, and being a gentleman, I opened the door and invited her to enter first. She glanced at me to say thank you, and then her expression changed really fast, like she was surprised, and then she said “ooo ohhh ooo wow ooo wow ooo.” And then the woman just froze in place, she didn’t move at all just stared at me. And her reaction caused me to freeze, I was totally baffled. We both just stared at each other without moving for about 5 seconds. In the store, she gave me several sly side eye glances before leaving. Strange!

 

Now I drive a car with a goofy, off-the-wall phrase mentioning catnip, so I can understand strange looks and stares when I am in my car. But what was happening when I wasn’t near my car? Baffling.


I told friends and family strange things were happening in LA for a third time. Now I started getting calls and letters telling me to return home, family and friends were worried for my mental health. Some thought I was having a nervous breakdown, telling me witnessing my sister pass away suddenly in front of me gave me PTSD. They insisted it was all my imagination. Yeah, I was sad, lonely and missing my sister every day, but mentally I was okay. I tried to tell myself it was my imagination, and a sign on a car could not be responsible. Yet, never before had I encountered an attractive stranger who exclaims “ooo ohhh ooo wow ooo wow ooo” when they see me and then freeze in place. Bizarre.
That just doesn't happen with me! I'm decades past my prime!


And then days later I am gassing up my car at a station near Sunset Blvd, and some professional photographer
with a professional quality camera starts taking photos of me at a gas station. He just snapped a few photos and walked away, quickly as if he wanted to exit fast. So, I yelled “Dude, why are you taking my photo I’m just a school teacher in Florida!” And seconds later he disappeared behind a building, wow did he exit fast.

Blocks away I am pulling into a deli to get a sandwich for lunch, and here I am in a cramped, difficult parking lot, trying to back into a very tight space, and this guy -- another professional photographer? – starts snapping photos of me and my car, and I’m trying to pull into a space and this guy is walking around my car taking photos from every angle and taking photos of me, and I was like “Dude, I’m a school teacher nobody cares about my photo!” And then he just walked away really fast. Bizarre. Who was that un-masked man?


I planned to keep up the signs until the strike ended, but there was one incident where I actually thought of taking down the signs. On a busy street in West Hollywood, I was stopped at a traffic light and some VIP arrived, and must have been a big VIP because it was two SUV traveling together, I assume celebrity in one car and security other car. And they stopped next to my car at the first traffic red light, but further down the road at three more traffic lights I noticed the two cars with blacked out windows would not and did not stop next to my car again, they stayed way back and the lane next to me remained free of traffic for three more lights. And, yeah, I felt bad. There could have been a reason those two vehicles would not stop next to mine, but I kind of wondered if I freaked out some VIP and she / he told security team stay away from that car. So, I felt bad, and if it happened again, I think I would have taken the signs down. But nothing like that happened again. I’m a nice guy, I go to Sunday mass, I’ve never started a fight, I've never been in jail, so I was really sad if I caused someone to totally and utterly freak out. Gosh, it’s just some goofy lettering on a car, just to give people a laugh and raise awareness. I never thought it would cause someone stress or panic.


And then one day a beautiful, yes beautiful, woman flirted with me at a library. Now I am a middle-aged man, I am 25 lbs over ideal weight, I have a receding hair line, and I am poor (and sometimes dress like a slob), so guess how often a beautiful woman about age 30 to 35 flirts with me in public, especially a library. Yeah, exactly. It's as rare as the ice age. There I am at the Beverly Hills Library, which is a nice library, just looking up something at the computer. And all of the sudden this beautiful woman comes over to me, passes by 4 other seated men, greets me and tells me she needs help locating something. I’m a gentleman with a long-standing policy to not say no when beauty arrives with questions. Wow, she was pretty. And her voice was so nervous, I just sensed it. She was very nervous, beyond shyness. So, this beautiful lady starts asking me weird questions about where to find this and that, and the questions didn’t make sense and her voice was so nervous. But silly me, I didn’t catch on so I was explaining to her how to locate this and that, and she was doing all she could to keep the conversation going, but I’d never had a beautiful woman flirt out of the blue, so I was clueless.
Finally, she gave up on the questions, and I sat back down. Then minutes later she stopped by when I was back on the computer, and she went out of her way to thank me. And then she deliberately stood close by for a few minutes pretending to read a few books, glancing at me a few times. She was only standing 6 feet away. And then she gave up and left. After, I thought oh my gosh, I think she was waiting for me to ask her out. Her questions just didn’t make sense. And the nervous tone in her voice! I’m just convinced it all had something to do with the signs on my car, but I’m not sure what. I have my own theory, but I won’t bore anyone with that. Oh, well. If the woman from the library ever reads this, I want to say one thing. The reason I didn’t ask you out or flirt back was because you were sooooo pretty and I viewed you as out of my league. I would be intimidated to ask out such a beautiful woman, I wouldn’t consider myself fit enough or successful enough to date a woman so attractive. Elle était d'une beauté impeccable. Roughly translated from French, I wrote she was a flawless beauty. Goodness!!!!         
 

I was where I shouldn’t have been. A candy shop. I need to lose 25 lbs, fast, so I was not supposed to be there eyeing the strawberry crèmes and milk chocolate with walnuts, yet there I was. Shame on me. I admit it, I am a sugar addict. I just love sweets. I crave sweets day and night. But I only bought 3 small pieces, and after the cashier gave me the chocolates and I paid, she gave me
a strange look, like she recognized me, and then she tossed in 3 extra chocolates for free. Very odd.
 


Strolling down a residential road one sunny day, a stranger (man about 30) walked by me and complimented the signs. And I stopped walking and I said “What signs?” And he was confused. “The signs on your car,” he said. And I was baffled. “But my car’s parked down the road,” I said, “I’m not near it. How do you know it’s me?” And the man said, “I recognize you. You often park on this street when you do a coffee run.” And I was speechless. “Yeah, but I’m not standing by my car, how can you match me to my car down the road?”  And the man laughed and he said, “I recognize you.” And I gasped. “You’ve seen my photo on my author website and can recognize me in person?”  And the guy said, “I seen your photo online but not on your website.” And I was like freaking. “But, are you saying,” I said, “that somebody posted a photo of me online? You mean there are people on this street who would recognize me or even know my first name when I am not in my car or near my car?” And the guy was like, “People in my building know who you are, and all my roommates know you, because you park on the street a lot.” So I asked, “You mean there are people on this street who might be able to put my face with my name when I am not near my car?” And the guy was like, “Well, don’t know about people up and down the road, but me and my roommates and some people in my building know who you are by sight. Trust me, I know who you are." I was shocked, this guy used the same words as that woman at the rest stop in Texas. Exactly the same words. Weird! So I raced to a store to buy some new shirts so I could dress better and ran to the gym to look better. To lose weight. I figured I better start taking more pride in my appearance. All my life I’ve been anonymous, and now thousands of miles from my home some people in LA can place me? I was speechless. To be honest, I found it kind of creepy that people I’ve never met could know my name.

 

Many of my friends were relieved, because now they realized I wasn’t in LA having a nervous breakdown. I wasn’t imagining things. They figured, and I agreed, that somebody must have shared the signs online, and they were seen by a lot of people without me knowing this. My friends found it to be very humorous. At least now the mystery was partly solved.  When I put up the signs, I really didn’t think one person -- not one person  --would read them. 


Daylight parked on a street, I was just sitting in my car eating windows down, and suddenly this muscular man with a bald head was walking by on the sidewalk and he saw my car, stared at me behind the windshield and he just approached and leaned over and thrust this huge muscular arm into my car. I flinched. I thought I was being robbed or assaulted. This big muscular arm just thrust into my car, and I was like what the heck? And then the hand opened up to shake my hand, and so – whatever – I shook the guy’s hand, and then he gave me a big smile and said “I want to be in your next movie.” And I said, “Sir, I’m a school teacher in Florida, I don’t make movies.” And the man just smiled broadly, waved goodbye and walked away. Who was that un-masked man? Bizarre. What a smile he gave me. My friends joked maybe he knows something you don’t know. And I laughed and I said, “I hope he’s a psychic.”


I was turning off Laurel Canyon in the Studio City area, and I was turning left in a traffic clearing, and suddenly this gorgeous woman – oh my gosh beautiful – hey, I am a single guy so I notice beauty -- stepped off the curb with a dog on a leash trailing her and began crossing the side street with a WALK signal. My mom had polio and was in a wheelchair, and I used to see rude drivers cut her off all the time in South Florida when she was wheeling across a road with a walk signal in a pedestrian walk, so I am very courteous to pedestrians. Always.
So, I had begun my turn, and she stepped off the sidewalk, so I stopped for her in the middle of the intersection as she walked. No problem as several lanes of oncoming traffic was far down the road, though approaching about 35 MPH or faster. Then this lady stops as she sees my car, puts on a weird look, removes her sunglasses – wow was she beautiful, a stunning beauty I would say – and she just stops and starts to read the signs on the side of my car. Very unusual. But traffic was speeding along towards me, and I’m stuck in the middle of the intersection while she reads my car blocking my path. Maybe I should have yelled lady, get the hell out of the way keep moving, but truth is I have a long-standing policy to be courteous to women. I try to be a gentleman. Eventually, she kept walking. Whew!     


 

Not everyone liked my signs. One lady gave me a middle finger from another car, but in all fairness, I got far more thumbs up from people. And parked next to a construction zone, some burly, middle-aged construction worker exiting the job site carrying a big lunch pale stopped to scream at me. “You blithering idiot,” the man screamed, almost foaming at the mouth. “Look at that, decorating your car. You look like an idiot!”  And to which I replied, “Tell me something I don’t already know!” That shut the guy up, and he huffed and puffed away. Damn, guy was so angry maybe he needed a rabies shot! Dude was almost foaming at the mouth he was so livid. I should have told him to try yoga and calm down.

 

Special shout out to the nice lady in Santa Monica turning into traffic who slowed next to my car, honked and gave me a thumbs up. What a sweetie! A few other drivers gave me a thumbs up as well. Thanks to the nice people who liked my signs and offered to buy me a few chocolate chip cookies at the bakery. Very sweet! The people not the cookies.  



The strangest thing of all happened on a beautiful sunny day in LA. I was changing the signs, ripping off the old ones and preparing to place up brand new wording not yet seen. I was doing so in a parking lot in downtown Sherman Oaks / Studio City area. But an old man was preaching religion to me, maybe he was a homeless man. It was distracting, and I expected soon he would ask for a, ahem, “tip” for his sermon. Needless to say, I attend Sunday mass, so I didn’t need a parking lot sermon. Irritated, I decided to find a desolate area to finish taping up the new signage. So, I headed to the wooded hills high above Hollywood, and along Mullholland I pulled over into a little used pull off area. I was out in the middle of nowhere, all around was wooded area. I’d driven by many times, but rarely stopped here. And I was here removing the old signage and placing up new signage, taping up everything. And nobody stopped by the entire time I was working on doing this. For about 1 hour nobody else stopped in this little turn-out area. So, I placed up the last piece of clear packing tape, and now I was finished. Whew! And I am not joking, 10 freaking seconds after I finished taping up the new sign, this very fancy SUV with blacked out windows and a fancy dressed driver pulled into the turn off. And despite ample parking, the SUV parks right next to my car, and the driver jumps out and opens the rear door, and then the driver with no hesitation just stands there and stares at me. Very odd, he parks and gets out and immediately stands there and stares at my car, and the driver / bodyguard is giving me an odd look, like, well like the old saying, like he’s seen a ghost. And even stranger the SUV is very fancy, likely a VIP inside, but the rear door was opened-up, but whoever was inside didn’t / wouldn’t exit, and the SUV was parked in an exact way / angle so that whoever was inside had a 100% clear, close view of the signage on my car. But the driver was just standing there staring, and the passenger wasn’t exiting, and I just thought wow this is strange. All around was woods, nothing here. I was out in the middle of nowhere. And there was just something about the intense stare the driver was giving me, he looked like he couldn’t believe his eyes. Gosh, is my car that bizarre? So, I figured he had a shy celeb passenger in the vehicle who didn’t want to exit while another person was around (I can only think of about 5 people in the world THAT FAMOUS), so I did the courteous thing and exited the area fast. Who was inside the SUV? Be a mystery forever, with the tinting too dark to see inside. I didn’t see any shedding hair, so I know it wasn’t Bigfoot.   

       

Many other funny or strange things happened, all of which occurred after I placed up my signs showing support for those on strike in the entertainment industry. I got a few, ah, interesting e-mails, but I’m sort of in a limited (small) “public eye” for more than a decade as an author, so I received a few, ahhh, interesting e-mails even before I put up the signs. I laugh when my friends ask: How do you handle hate mail? And I find that funny because hate mail is easy, if someone sends me a message (and, yes, a person once said this to me) that I am a fat, lousy, stupid, ugly, terrible author with a cheap haircut, I just laugh. Hate comments are easy. I laugh at them. The difficult message is when you meet a person (such as at a writer’s conference or a book fair), talk to someone ( a stranger) about writing for 5 to 10 minutes, and then months (or years) later you get a nice message from the person and they seem smitten, or in love. Heck, I might have charm, but I refuse to believe I am so charming that anyone can fall in love with me in 5 minutes. I just refuse to believe it. But how do you handle an e-mail or message when it is apparent a stranger has fallen in love? I don’t know. I think hate mail is easier to deal with.

 

  
Okay. I have said enough.


I guess it is safe to say someone in LA read the signs.


 

My only regret? I regret I didn’t edit / update my website before I placed up the catnip sign and signs of support for the strike. My webpage was last updated in winter 2020. Yes, many years ago. Covid came along, closed down the economy, delayed (to this day) the release of several of my new books, and I guess I just got lazy during the covid shutdowns. My website focused mainly on my books, but I did mention and have a writing sample of a movie screenplay I wrote many years ago, I think maybe back in 2018. Before I placed up the signs of support on my car, I should have logged into the webpage and edited it and removed the mention of the screenplay. To be honest, I almost forgot parts were up for a sample read, and editing the website is very time consuming. So, few have ever asked to read it, as it is very difficult to get a screenplay read. I almost forgot the writing sample was up to view. So, I felt bad about that. I can assure anyone right here and now I did not (and would not) send and/or allow anyone to read it (if they requested) while the strike was ongoing. Technically, it was a spec script, and I wasn’t a member of the union, but still I state right here and now I would not have shown it to anyone while the strike was ongoing.    

 

       Below I posted the signs I had placed up on my car if you want to read what I wrote.
Very soon all signs referencing the labor strike will be removed. I will probably, at least temporarily, put up signs about my books, maybe post some book covers as advertisement. Hey, can’t blame a guy for a little self-promotion, right? My fav bread is up 29 cents! Inflation! I will likely keep the silly catnip phrase up for a while longer. It’s kinda fun to drive around with that goofy saying! And it’s always easy for me to locate my car in a busy, huge parking lot! I just look for lettering, my car stands out like a sore thumb!

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Scroll  down  if  you  want  to  read
some  of  the  signs  I  placed  upon  the
sides  of  my  car. It's  okay  to  laugh 
I  made  them  humorous  so  people 
would  be  more  likely  to  read  them.

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For the first few weeks, on one side of my car I posted messages of support for those walking on the picket line. On the other side of my car, I advertised my books. But after a few weeks, I felt bad advertising my own writing, so I removed the sign and put up signs with messages of support for those on strike. So then my car had messages of support for the strikers' cause on both sides. I am the car's driver, so as you can see I don't take myself too seriously, and I joked about my own ego. A lot of people told me they found it hilarious, and that made me smile. I think it's funny, too.
Scroll down if ya want to.    
 

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Big  ego  below

 

  Alert

            

         Narcissism
          below
 

              Yep!

Why are you down here?
Nothing to see down here it's the
end of the road.

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