Maria Victoria Bloch-Bauer Altmann is a multi-millionaire, a scion of one of the most cultured and influential families in Austria at the turn of the twentieth century—yet today she was skipping around the Goodwill store on Eighth and La Brea as if she were Cinderella in a bridal gown shop.
At one point she became enthralled with a sweater listed at a buck-fifty. She looked at the price tag, suddenly widened her eyes, and turned to me utterly astonished: “Do you think this is right?”
I nodded, and she exclaimed, “I’ve seen it all!” She flung it over her shoulder and was off to the next item, a table lamp. “Do you need a lamp, my love?”
I stood back a couple feet fielding "awww, isn't that cute" stares from customers and employees who looked at me like, “Grandma’s first time, huh?” If only they knew.
As I put back the clothes she kept pulling off the racks for me, I reminded her we were here to find a couch for my new apartment in Hollywood.
“Of course, Darling. A couch. We’re going to find you a beautiful couch.”
We snagged a surprisingly clean and comfortable one for $50. Boy, she couldn’t stop talking about what a deal we got. You’d think this $50 Goodwill couch was the biggest news to hit Southern California in years. Tom showed up in his pick-up truck to help us haul it to my apartment.
“Mein Geliebtes, get Margie on the phone, I want to tell her about this fabulous store we discovered,” she said as we met Tom in the parking lot.
I dialed her daughter in Hawaii and, always finding this quite amusing, I handed an iPhone to a 93-year-old.
After hearing about her mother’s discovery, Margie said, “Mother, I can’t verify it now, but I think you might be the first heiress to ever set foot in a Goodwill.”
As if the rain gods were waiting for us to be on our way, it began to pour five minutes into our drive. I looked anxiously in my rear view at my brand new couch getting royally soaked in the back of Tom’s pick-up truck. It was too late to do anything about it.
When we arrived at my apartment we heaved it through the door, and you’d have thought we had fished it out of a lake. I fetched my tiny ten-dollar Walgreens fan, propped it on a thick atlas on the floor and pointed it up at the couch, and the three of us sat on my bed in silence staring at the David of fans slinging its pathetic little stones of cold air at the Goliath of couches, which just sat there haughtily with its arms folded, looking up at us like, “Um, got anything else?”
Maria looked at me, I looked at Tom, and the three of us howled with laughter. When I returned home that evening, you wouldn't believe it, but the couch was as dry as Steven Wright. It seemed to defy science, and only added more character to an already memorable afternoon. It was all part of the pilot episode for my new sitcom, Two Guys, a Girl, and a Goodwill Couch.
Tonight was the world premier of my new film, Night Before the Wedding! What a treat, seeing Maria walk up the red carpet. David, who directed the film, and his fiancée, Karen, posed with her as the cameras flashed.
Last night Jesell asked Maria if she was sure she wanted to see it, since it was such a raunchy movie. Maria replied, “Well... I think I’m old enough now.” Curtis was there as well. I introduced Maria to some of my friends, who had no doubt heard plenty about her already. She was a pro, saying hello to everyone as if she had known them for years.
I was nervous enough to show the film to 200 people, let alone for Maria to see it! David got up before the film to give a pre-screening speech, and dished out a heartfelt shout-out to Maria and the entire Altmann family.
I tried to watch Maria during the film but it was too dark to see her expressions. As the credits rolled I ran up to her, eager to hear her reaction. She told me I was “fabulous,” and that I was a “natural.” I asked her if she was able to hear it okay, and her response? “I heard every fucking word!” (There are a lot of “fucks” in the movie).