Judge Alex Ferrer.
He keeps me awake at night.
Seriously, I think I am in love. I know he wears a wedding ring, but I figure that with all the TV commercials asking people to pack up their gold in brown envelopes and send it to places like “We at the mail office steal your gold marked GOLD ENCLOSED”, he might be tempted to ditch it.
Then he would be free. For me. For all I know, he is married to a stunner, but then so was Tiger Woods, and that didn’t stop him trying to land a few more holes.
I confess to being addicted to the US celebrity judge programmes. In the UK, it started with Judge Judy, who hasn’t changed her hairstyle in a decade, and is terrifying in a head teacher kind of way.
I don’t want to sleep with her, which helps me concentrate on the legal aspects of the programmes, and I now feel that I could sit as a High Court judge in the US courts and act just as efficiently as she does.
I can’t help noticing, though, that the people in her courtroom are fatter than the ones on any other, and that if Judge Judy just sent them all off to Weight Watchers for a couple of weeks, they might drop a few pounds and resolve their differences more calmly.
I like People’s Court, with Judge Milian, who is, like Judge Judy, seemingly right about everything, but I just want to know who her dentist is. She really does have the best teeth of any of the judges, and she also has Harvey Levin, who stands outside the courtroom, chatting to locals about what they think should happen inside.
Poor Harvey. I specially feel for him on days when it is raining and no one gives him an umbrella. The general opinion of the hapless bunch that surrounds him is “String ‘em up”, irrespective of the crime, and when Harvey says “Goin’ back inside the courtroom,” there is more than a hint of “Thank the Lord for that, get me away from these lunatics asap” about him. He is the Ryan Seacrest of the legal world: central to the action, but always a Cowell away from true glory.
But back to my beautiful Alex, ex-Florida Court circuit judge (the only time I have ever been tempted by the idea of enrolling for "circuit training", to be honest), who I would happily disrobe in less time than it would take you to say “Guilty m’lud.” He is clever, funny, he loves the narrative of the absurd stories that unfold before him, and he always manages to get to the sexual nitty-gritty in which the other judges show relatively little interest.
So, let’s say you stole a vase from your ex-boyfriend’s mother’s house. Within seconds, Judge Alex would have managed to extract from you exactly how many times mom and pop had had sex before they bought the vase (and in which positions), where said vase was on the dresser the last time they had sex before it was stolen, and even whether the vase was used for any improper purposes before it took up residence in the new (illegal) home.
If I were to choose anyone to sit down and watch a porn movie with, it would be Judge Alex. Fully robed. Briefly. Then I would want him to handcuff me, put me behind bars and make me beg on all fours . . . Well, you get the picture. And if you don't, apparently it's illegal for me to text it to you.
A man is never more sexy than when he is at work; and a clever, witty man, who holds power, and who is articulate, who stands on the moral high ground, yet with just a hint of smut on his shoe, is always going to top my list.
Forget Judge Judy, I am saving up my Air Miles just to steal a vase in Miami, purely so that I can be on the receiving end of one of Judge Alex's admonishments. I’m not looking for life imprisonment, just a slap on the . . . Well, you get my drift.
We don’t have cameras in courts in the UK, and it is yet another reason I love being in the US. Judge Alex is my lunch hour, and as I can barely eat with excitement when watching him at work, he is proving very good for my weight loss, too.
I’m keeping an eye on that third finger, left hand, just in case he becomes available. But while that gold stays in place, lock up your valuables; I am a woman on a mission.
The only flaw to my reasoning will be when I end up in Judge Judy’s courtroom, after Judge Alex takes out a restraining order on me.
This week, however, I have been facing a dilemma as to what I do about my future: Judge Alex Ferrer every lunchtime, all-day marathons of Law and Order, and, at night, the hilarious and sassy Chelsea Handler on the telly.
Sunrise and sunset over LA, beside the pool of my Beverly Hills apartment’s huge rooftop terrace. The staff at my favourite local restaurant, Il Pastaio, and most-loved hotel, the Beverly Wilshire.
The almost endless sunshine. Martinique tea at the American Tea Room. The Container Store at Century City. The endless floor to floor joy of Bed, Bath and Beyond – best store and service of any in the world.
And Judge Alex. Every day. Yes, I know. I mentioned him. But oh, Judge Alex. Tall. Dark. Handsome. Smart. Hilarious. Way and above the best and most compelling of all the TV judges - and happily married with kids, alas, but hey ho, a girl can dream.
And will. Ex-cop, attorney, and now in robes. Uniform, authority, handcuffs. Call me old-fashioned, but 6,000 miles away from home, a daily dose of the awe-inspiring judge on TV more than makes up for several decades’ worth of British guys offering you half a Stella before throwing up their previous 18 over your new dress.
Every time I come back to the UK, I add to the list of what I miss about LA. Unfortunately, each time I return, it is usually for a funeral or memorial service, and although I haven’t been left anything in anyone’s will, some of my dear departed friends are doubtless laughing in their graves at the number of Air Miles I am acquiring on their behalf, even if those miles might land me in jail (bad) or handcuffs (less bad).
It’s been a strange week. I missed so much about LA, I put my UK house on the market and thought I would make LA my main base. Then I thought about my wonderful mum and brother, the friends I have spent decades making, and took it off again.
As I was brought back in a wheelchair, after the back problem I wrote about last week, it’s been a time of reflection. In the UK, I was told that the drugs I had been given in the US were drugs given to kidney transplant patients (at the last count, I still had two – of my own). My doctor substituted the five lots of medication for a stint of something else, but I am reluctant to be on medication for that long.
Apologies for sounding melodramatic (you can take the girl out of LA . . . ), but is it a metaphorical weight I am carrying, as well as the very real one? One night, I found myself on the driveway of my Cardiff home, crying as I tried to sort the bin bags, because they hadn’t been taken the previous week (wrong colour, wrong plastic, wrong handle position – you know what a bloody nightmare putting out your bins in the UK is these days) and wondering: Where do I really want to be?
I went to Los Angeles to change my working life, and the man who became my friend and mentor, Blake Snyder, died. I love more and more about the city and, back in Cardiff, I have no real social life.
As an older single woman, never married, never co-habited, no kids, not a lesbian, I don’t get asked anywhere. In LA, I meet gay, straight, couples, singles, all the time, all from different professions, every day.
Age never feels an issue; moving on in my professional life feels like a real possibility and very unlike what seems to be the position in the UK, where everyone appears to be running very hard – just to stand still.
Is this a woman thing? An everyday thing? A worldwide recession thing? I just know that having been in America rather than Europe for the first time in my life, I am re-assessing everything, in ways I never believed possible.
The US is an amazing country, with a variety of people, cultures and, in LA, which is pretty much all I know, a heady, inspiring experience. I also know that it can be short-lived. But then so has everywhere I have ever lived.
I want it all - at the time. I love it all - at the time. Then I want something different. Maybe, what I have discovered, in LA, is that I was right all along: I was born a writer who thrives on change.
I just may need a little more time in Judge Alex’s handcuffs to reflect on the matter.