"Hey, I’m in that!
I'm the princess!"
F or me, the worst part of this better-than-best time period was when I was being photographed. I hate having my picture taken—maybe because it was already happening at the age of six hours, well before I was old enough to articulate my objections with words. I was forced to protest with infant expressions and baby poison eye darts. I hated it all through my childhood—when it shouldn’t have been that big of a trial because I was young and cute (even really cute, depending on who you talk to)—and I loathe it now. Especially in this smartphone era, when anyone at any moment can take a candid shot somewhere when you're far from "camera ready" (i.e., most of the time), and you know it's not just a bad picture but a scornful reminder of just how old you’re getting and how fat you've gotten— not only a reminder of what you once were but also of what you no longer are and never will be again. And, as if that wasn't enough, some stranger owns this horrific image and is free to do whatever with it in private or with his friends.
The movie had been out for a few weeks and the lines were twisting around the blocks. (The term "blockbuster," in fact, was born because ticket lines would come to the edge of the street, pause for that asphalt interruption, and then begin again enthusiastically on the next block.) I would drive by with my friends in disbelief, wondering how anything that popular could include me.
One day we were driving down Wilshire Boulevard in Westwood, where the Avco Cinema had what looked to me like the longest line I had seen so far. As you can imagine, I was really excited—"chuffed" is the British word for it. I love how they made themselves this little word that means "giddy with an excitement that you're trying to suppress because you'd rather be thought of as looking kind of cool." So I stood up on the car seat, and not just stuck out my head but squeezed half my body through the sunroof, then shouted, "Hey, I’m in that! I'm the princess!"
This certainly caused some interest, ranging from the scornful "What an asshole" variety to the breathless "Do you think it’s really her?"
"I'm in that!" I repeated for those who hadn't heard me the first time. Then, suddenly realizing what I had done and quickly fearing that some of these moviegoers might identify me, I slid back down into my seat and said to my friend, "Quick! Drive!" So she stepped on the gas and sped away.
Excerpt from The Princess Diarist