Your Own 15 Minutes
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Your Own 15 Minutes<BR> By Marc Porter Zasada <P> EVERY DAY IN THE METROPOLIS, we confront mighty images of perfection. They glow in full-page ads. They dance on three-story screens. They sit on white sofas and sip apple martinis. <P> Today I-m walking down Pico Boulevard when I see one of those tremendous billboards soaring high above a row of shops. It features ideal and seductive women modeling evening clothes. You know, the ones who lean toward the camera, exquisite smiles looming, proud with youth and bright earrings. <P> And I say to myself, -Each of us may never get our 15 minutes of fame, but surely each citizen of Los Angeles does merit, like these models, at least one brief moment of-.perfection.- <P> Inspired, I enter a tiny Persian market tucked beneath the billboard. <P> It-s hot, there-s no air conditioning, and the aisles are packed with dusty goods and impatient shoppers. I grab some carrots and head for the checkout line captained by a woman in her mid-forties. Although she hails from an olive-skinned nation, and maybe even owns the joint, she has grown sallow and grim among crates of pistachio and mangoes. She has great circles under her eyes, and although she wears rhinestone earrings and dresses with care, you would not find her seductive. <P> I choose this line because once I saw this woman flash an Audrey Hepburn smile. <P> As I wait my turn, I decide on impulse to picture the checkout lady not as she appears today, but at her own perfect moment. Surely, in a city which lives on imagination, I have this right. <P> A clarinet strikes a wild tune. Champagne glasses appear. And I see her dancing at her own wedding, two decades ago. Again she-s 24, lithe and raven-haired, awash in fine clothes and laughing beneath ropes of glittering light on the roof of the Bel Age hotel. Her neck is long and handsome and she cries out in joy as the guests lift her to a blast from the horns. I know she was, for her fifteen L.A. minutes, as proud and exquisite as any woman on any billboard anywhere. <P> Peter O-Toole will be rememberd as Lawrence. Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra. Doesn-t some kind of local justice demand that we all be remembered at our own finest moment? <P> Yours may come young at your wedding, or later, on a white sofa with a martini. But on behalf of the city of dreams, the Urban Man assures you it will come. <P> At last, I hand the checkout lady my carrots. She does not catch my eye, and I wonder if she would appreciate my brief gift of imagination, or if she would think me presumptuous. Probably she counts other blessings: children, health. Maybe she doesn-t even glance up at that billboard each morning, when she arrives for work. <P> In any case, today she offers me no Audrey Hepburn smile. <P> Copyright - 2004 Marc Porter Zasada, all rights reserved. <P>
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