One day my friend Nick calls and says, "I'm out in LA visiting Jay and Kyle, I'm going to stay. Should I get a 2 bedroom apartment?" I didn't want to say yes. But, eventually, I did. It was about 2 weeks after that when I left. Just packed my shit and left. No job and even less prospects for one. It didn't matter, I'm a survivor so I just left.
How did you end up in Los Angeles? That was the question. Until today my answer seemed sort of brave or at least I felt brave in my leaving, sight unseen, for a city I had heard mixed reactions about. Los Angeles is a love/hate city, every ass hole out there has an immediate reaction when asked about it. "Ugh...I fucking hate LA," is the usual response but I gave it a shot because I don't generally give a shit what other people think, mostly because they are always wrong.
Today I learned I'm not brave at all.
Vib (pronounced like bib with a v, just like it looks) met up with my boss and me today to interview for an internship. He's Indian. Holy fuck is he Indian. He's been in the country for 9 months. A country nobody from his family has ever visited. We won't hire him because it's a sales job and he doesn't drive, in fact he arrived via taxi, from USC to Beverly Hills. I don't want to posit a guess as to how much money he wasted on that - but being curious I offered him a ride back home. Mostly I wanted to pick his brain.
Cricket is the national sport of India, when asked if he played; "of course, everyone in India plays cricket." We love football, baseball, basketball, and NASCAR here and not everyone plays, fuck...as for NASCAR we all turn right all the fucking time. Delhi, the capital, is where he is from. Random bull shit chit chat like that happened for a while but I pressed on, stealth style into the good stuff.
He appears to be a virgin and totally unconcerned about it, even though he's about to get his masters in some stupid shit from USC. How does this happen? Some people like sex more than others, I understand that, but why would you want to wait to figure that out? If you hate the color blue, you look at it, you say, "I don't like that," and then you know. If you hate spicy chicken wings it's probably because you've tried them and decided they weren't for you. I don't know if India is uptight about sex or not but I know that Christians are...and I figured I would ask; "yes, I went to a Catholic school." Weird right? India seems to have a lot of cool religions and he picks the shittiest of all.
The most interesting thing I gained from Vib on our little drive was his journey here. Firstly, he is here because his family's business has struggled with the world's flailing economy and they need a jump start, they need new ideas. He, being apparently a family first type of guy, said to his family that he would come study in an American university.
Secondly, the coolest thing was for me to think about the other roads Vib could have turned down. He applied to several schools, accepted to all, and selected USC because of the engineering graduate school. He turned down, among others, North Carolina State, some school in Chicago, another in Texas, and something in the Northeast. I don't remember but it really doesn't matter.
Vib knows what Southern California looks like, he knows a little about Los Angeles, a frowned upon city, and to him this is The States. He could have such a different opinion on our country depending upon where he landed. Now, where USC is in this city I love is...fucking horrifically unlivable, at best. I love LA like no other city and yet I almost wish, for him, he ended up somewhere else. USC does drive me fucking insane because of it's nepotistic nature and the arrogance of people who go there. Listen, I grew up in the north-east, we are unimpressed with your cute little education.
What would he think if he went home with the bitter cold memories of Chicago? Or if his take away impression was the kindly urban south and the crazy moronic rednecks who come into those cities on Friday night? Will he forever think that shitty south-downtown LA is America? Most importantly will I soon forget about him and give the balls back to my own migration story...I seriously hope so.