Monday, December 31, 2018

7. What's the Difference between LA and NY?

Recently I had an interaction with a girl from Los Angeles. This brief exchange was able to effectively pin-point an answer to a question I have been asked many times.

“What’s the biggest difference between L.A. and N.Y.?”

Whenever I’m asked this question I take a long pause and try to connect with a crystal clear feeling, but something I always struggled to voice. It’s more of an intangible atmosphere, than a palpable sentiment. After this encounter, if there is time (New York minutes go by very fast) and the setting is casual I simply respond with this anecdote:

One a late NY evening as I was looking out at the city over my balcony I called my friend in Los Angeles who was having dinner with one of his associates (another L.A. socialite). Mid conversation, he passed the phone to her in hopes that we say hi and connect. This is a good time to point out, he had been drinking and she probably had a few herself. Our conversation began nice and light, reflective of a typical sunny day in California. Before he passed the phone to her, we had been discussing my recent break-up and although I didn’t remember sharing the discussion with her, she immediately began inquiring about it. I answered her questions, and in an attempt to meet her disposition started off very bright and sunny. Very "L.A.".

me-“Hi! How are you? Very nice to meet you?

her-“Hiiiii!. Good, thanks… Soooo, you recently broke up with your girlfriend huh?”

me-“Umm, Yeah, I did.”

her-“Well, you sound sad about it? 

me-“Maybe… a little, but I’m ok.

her-No. Seriously. Why?”

*Please note -This is where the conversation turned a bit New York
(direct and to the mother fuckin’ point). 

**Please also note, I have never met this girl seen this girl or been formally introduced to her.
But I knew my friend cared for her so I said,

“Please don’t take this the wrong way. I don’t mean any offense by this, but, you and I don’t know each other well enough for me to answer that question or for us to be having this particular conversation.” - (yikes)

Can you hear the voice of every L.A. girl? I know you can and I wish we could all bellow out in perfect unison together,  

her - “Oh my Gawwwwwwwwwwwwwd. Ruuwwwwwude!”
That was not her response. Instead she said,

       Sorray! I was just trying to sound interested.


And that right thurr, embedded in that little microcosm of human interaction,
was the gem I had been searching for all these years. It beautifully summed up an answer I could never succinctly voice. What’s the biggest difference between Los Angeles and New York?

Now let’s get to my favorite part, 

- “I was just trying to SOUND interested.”

I’m not even sure what that means. If I had to take a stab at it, and put on my best L.A. reading glasses on, I would venture to say that in her world, pretending to care about something you don’t care about.. at all, deserves applause. Many say New Yorkers are rude, that they don’t care about people. I don’t find this to be true. Maybe rough around the edges, maybe gruff, and maybe a bit hurried in their day to day, but if you ever find yourself in a conversation with someone asking about your relationship, I can assure you, they ARE interested, and they are concerned, and the last thing they got time for is to try and SOUND interested. Where they come from, that’s worse than not giving a shit. 

Furthermore with regards to the "apology".

Sorray! I was just trying to sound interested.

An apology that meant the opposite of what it stated. It was about the same key and frequency of our “Oh my Gawwd. Ruuude!" chorus. In New York, people say what they mean, and mean what they say. You would be so lucky to get an apology, even when deserved, but no one feels compelled to throw out an apology they don’t mean. You sure as hell aren’t hearing “sorry” from anyone who doesn’t mean it. You might here, “Go f—— yourself” but you will never have to wonder where you stand with someone. In the words of the profound woman in the news clip where the was a fire, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

By the way I did get the chance to meet this friend in person and for the record, she is quite sweet. However, she did bring up that conversation immediately and her first remark was…

“Oh my Gawwd. You were so Ruuude! I was just trying to be nice.”

 I’m exhausted.

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