That’s what Nathan told me last night.
A New Yorker, who makes a living pedicabbing around Central Park, he’s spending part of the year in Los Angeles auditioning for TV and film acting jobs.
Right now he’s back in New York building another cash cache so he can over winter in LA where the people are vapid, and there’s nothing to do.
He also doesn’t think much of the actors out there.
After about fifteen minutes of putting his foot in his mouth he finally asked me where I was from. I skipped the 20 years of Texas and the birthing canal in New Mexico and simply said, “LA.”
It was worth it to see him shrivel like a snail tasting salt.
When I was growing up some of my friends were from New York. I heard them talk about how great New York is and how bland the people are in California. These are the same people who had never seen any part of the US except those two cities and referred to the land mass between as the ‘flyover.’
The difference between LA and New York is language.
New Yorkers use language that’s in your face. They tell you what they think. A woman on the subway yesterday told a teenager to fuck off when he bumped into her. In a traffic jam last week a cabbie sat on his horn continuously for at least ten minutes while the road was blocked by an unloading bus.
Angelinos don’t want to offend anyone so they speak in code. ‘Thank you for coming in’ means you’re wasting my time. ‘We’re going another way’ means you didn’t get the job. A tap on the car horn means get the fuck out of my way.
Nathan argued that New York was more culturally diverse. I pointed out LA is the golden door for immigration to this country, not New York, and that 52 languages were spoken by the students at my high school. The difference is that New York is concentrated in a land mass the size of Santa Monica and Culver City. LA sprawls over an area larger than Long Island.
The reason Nathan doesn’t think anything happens in LA is because everything is spread out. You gotta get in your car to see it.
Coming from New York, where they have a distaste for leaving their island to do something on the other side of a river, I can see how he thinks LA has nothing to offer because he’s not willing to live like an Angelino: in his car.
Nathan was frustrated because he wasn’t making friends on the West Coast. I asked him if it was possible that people sensed his rancor. Who wants to be friends with a guy who doesn’t like you, simply because you speak a different language?
He had to think about that.
As a foreigner who has been calling LA home for the last 16 years I have to admit it took all my curiosity and my sense of adventure to explore this city and finallye embrace it in its wonderful totality. NY is so much more immediate and in your face. LA draws you in slowly like a long lasting love affair. Initially, I had really wished I had been posted to NY – now I would never trade places.