Our Hollywood adventures came to an exciting end. In the last week, Alice got two callbacks and food poisoning--and not necessarily in that order.
I'll spare you the gory details of the food poisoning, but I will say this. The Flintstones BBQ at Universal Studios is at the bottom of my list of recommended dining establishments.
Despite not feeling her usual elfin best, Alice was a champ during her two callbacks. In the end, she didn't get the part. But, as I explained to her and Lucy, the point of this wasn't to get parts. It was to do something new, something challenging, and something we loved. With this or with anything in life, you can't control what happens. You can only control the risks you take and the energy you spend trying.
On both of those scores, the two girls not only made me proud, they inspired me. Alice had more luck on the audition front than Lucy, but Lucy was nothing but excited for her little sister. Alice, meanwhile, had the casting assistants complimenting her independence.
"She doesn't need me!" one of them said as Alice made her own way back to the Abbott & Costello building on the NBC lot after her final callback.
This callback experience, by the way, provided me with one of my favorite Hollywood snapshots. While I waited in the lobby for Alice to do her thing, they were casting a male model for some mysterious production. I was surrounded by handsome young men in well-ironed trousers. They were talking amongst themselves about their bartending jobs and their girlfriends ("mine is a bad, bad girl") when the casting director gathered them 'round for instructions:
"Conrad, Zachary, Schuyler, you're male strippers. I want you to walk past me and give me your best condescending look--just look at me like I'm lower than low. I'm lower than you, and you're strippers, so I'm really low."
One by one, these improbably named, deadly handsome men walked past. As they turned toward her to deliver their condescending gazes, I realized I'd seen that look before in high school, in college, around town. I'd never known what it meant before, even though I knew certain people made me feel really uncomfortable.
It was so nice to know the reason for that--if I'd had dollar bills on me, I would have folded them and delivered one each to Conrad, Zachary, and Schuyler.
Meanwhile, though, it's great to be home. And three cheers to Lucy and Alice for being brave, for working hard, and for being happy just to have a chance to pursue a dream. It's so easy for us grownups to hang our prospects for happiness on the outcome. I'll forever be proud of these kids for knowing it's the experience that matters.