In a recent tabloid news cycle, the question arises of whether teen stars Alia Shawkat and Michael Cera slept together while filming on location for Arrested Development. I happen to know they did — because one of my earlist jobs was as their adult minder on set. Obviously this makes me reticent to confirm it to anyone, but I’m excited to know something relevant.
In fact, I’m inspired to try to find the beautiful valley where we filmed, just inland from the Bay Area in California. It had a unique self-contained ecology. I have intense memories of clambering through dense acacia-like trees not far from the dusty road. Their branches and trunks were covered in short leaves. Everything had an impossibly sunny cast, like the ideal of a summer day.
There’s a cafe in Portland I frequent, a place with tall glass windows and wood banisters seperating the booths. After getting the attention of one of the baristas (who know me) I suggest that I might set up a little mini-golf installation. This would be mutually beneficial, as the cafe needs regular changes of its decor to keep things fresh, and I would get a bit of income from renting equipment. I think they’re going to agree to the deal — I don’t tell them I don’t have any of the materials yet.
Leaving the cafe I cross the street outside, noticing halfway across there’s a throng of people and unusual hubbub ahead. Unknown to me, Queen Elizabeth is making a visit in town and just passed this way. I cross a sidewalk (and a little hedgerow maze entrance) that was quite recently occupied by royalty.
Another sidewalk cafe, this one a touristy cafe in downtown San Francisco. Normally it has computers for travelers to use but it’s been under renovation. One day I start pretending I work there — I just keep showing up and no one questions it. I’m fond of the place, but I also want to keep an eye out and surreptitiously learn anything I can.
After working (for free) one day, I get tired and decide to take off for the evening. I ask my new work friend if they fancy a bit of the Irish Castle, a 102 year old entertainment venue across the street. They’re game, but instead of crossing directly they lead me the longer way around the block. We arrive through the entrance of a quaint 80s mall (still much postdating the Irish Castle, though) and I notice our flat fancy shoes are slidey on the tile floor. We can use them almost like roller skates. My friend and I race and they’re in first the whole time. I couldn’t tell if I’m letting them win or they’re simply very talented at this.