|"Its a small world of stereo-types."|
The other day I was driving through downtown Los Angeles… Well, I guess more specifically it was somewhere in the middle of MacArthur Park, Westlake, and Westlake South….. I think. I’ll just give you the cross streets. I was driving through the intersection of Alvarado and 7th. There were so many people outside on this day, they were practically flooding into the streets. There was no particular event happening. It was just people moving through their day to day, shopping, reading in the park, working, asking for change, playing basketball, etc. It was a sea of diversity; a microcosm of Los Angeles. There were so many different colors, shapes, sizes, and walks of life, it was like the “It’s a small world” ride at Disneyland if the dolls were people, they aged, and had to fend for themselves. This diversity might be my favorite thing about LA. When I first moved here, it was so fun to ask people where they were from. It was always a fascinating answer because the answer was almost never the same. “I was born in Peru, but grew up in Germany and then Seattle.” “I’m a cowboy from Alberta.” “I was born in Iran and came here to escape political persecution.” “I moved here from South Africa last year.” “I’m from the panhandle.” (I had NO idea that’s what they called the part of Florida that, you guessed it or knew it already, looks like a panhandle.) It was all fascinating. All of it. Even if you were from the mid-west.
What was not so fun was when people would ask me the same
question. I would say, “Eh, Arizona. It’s hot. No big. Tell me more about
Australia!” In my defense, I’m 3rd generation Arizonian, had lived
there for 26 years of my life, and was possibly suffering from a long-term bout
of heat stroke that started in the womb. Seriously, I’m probably slightly
over-cooked. (Its over 100 degrees there for like, 7 months out of the year for
goodness sake!) I was so happy to be in California and OUT of Arizona; it just didn’t
seem worth talking about. It’s just one state over. Why would anyone be
interested in what happens there? I humbly and (to my fellow Phoenicians,
apologetically) admit there were SEVERAL times I rolled my eyes and in an Eeyore-esque
voice said, “I’m from Phoenix, I guess.” “I went to Arizona State University.
Yes, I went to parties. Yes, there are actual classes there.” One time, I was with
a group of actors that I admired. We were discussing a character in a scene and
someone said, “He was a smart guy. He went to Northwestern. It’s not like he
went to Arizona State! HAHAHAHAHA!” (The guy who said this was wearing one of 9 Yale shirts he
owned and in retrospect, was a douche. But it still stung.) I remember laughing
along with everyone else and while a small tear ran down my cheek, I joked, “yeah,
in Arizona, your degree from ASU doubles as a handicap placard. HAHAHAHA!!” I
felt just sick about it. I would fantasize about being from somewhere else like
Spain or New Zealand or Portland or even Canada! Maybe I could be Armenian
because I am seriously great at pronouncing the last names. Or a Jewish girl! I
don’t want to convert, I want to have
been born Jewish and from Brooklyn
because I could do an amazing impression of my Mutha! Alas, that was not to be.
I was forever a sad Phoenician. Then, something started to happen.
|Eh. Its OK, I guess.|
|Come on, ASU. Come ON!|
After a few years here, in cooler weather, and many trips back to all parts of Arizona, this change began. People started coming to me with questions like, “I’m going on a trip to Phoenix. What should I do there?” and “Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon?!” I found myself saying things like, “You have to go ghost hunting in Jerome!” “Did you know Maynard from Tool has a vineyard in AZ?” “You gotta float down the Salt River!” “You haven’t LIVED until you’ve driven out to the desert and set something on fire!” “There’s no good Mexican food in Los Angeles! You think this is a taco, bitch?!?” “Havasupai! Cowboys! Whisky row! Monsoons! FOUR PEAKS BREWERY!” And, "Fuck yes, I have been to the Grand Canyon!" I am the resident expert on Arizona and a self-proclaimed desert rat. I have become an almost disgustingly proud Arizona-born LA girl. I damn near bought an
ASU quilt the other day. A QUILT. I’m
still working through my jealously over the fact AZ finally named the wall of
dust that happens right before a monsoon, WITHOUT ME! It’s a haboob! I want to
be able say, “haboob” all the time too! Also, central air conditioning is in
every single building in Phoenix! (Can you please take note, LA?!? It’s 100
degrees today and I’ve got an ice cube and a fan.) You can ski and swim in the
same day in friggin’ Arizona. Good ol’ AZ. I am sorry I doubted thee.
|An AZ sunset is the best kind of sunset.|
I had a great epiphany driving through MacArthur West Park Lake South. I realized that I too am an important part of the diversity. All that I have to offer is part of what makes LA and, if I may, the world a better place. I am thankful for all the resident experts here! Tell me what the frig there is to do in Wichita, KS! It’ll probably sound great and I’ll totally believe you. You wanna know anything about AZ? Pull up a chair, partner! I’ll friggin’ tell you. “First, you drive out to the desert. Then, you tie a mattress to the back of your truck…….”
|Wait... What? OH, COME ON, ASU! COME ON!!!|
GO SUN DEVILS!