i am reminded why i like austin by another los angeles transplant
My friend Vivi is in Austin and we hit the town. Which really means we just walk a few blocks to Sixth Street and have some beers at a local sports bar. This guy bums a cigarette from me at the outside bar. He moved to Austin from Los Angeles. He used to date an actress. He hates Los Angeles. I say how ironic, he has parked himself next to probably the only two industry people in the bar. He says we should name people we know and see who we know in common —
See, this is how it goes at Los Angeles parties. All the non-smokers converge on the single obvious smoker and bum cigs. And in L.A. I would be expecting this and have the mandatory second pack in my bag so peeps who delude themselves into believing they are non-smokers can smoke a pack of my cigs without thinking maybe they should just give it up, say they are smokers, and go buy their own. (In L.A., the only way to actually smoke any of your own cigarettes is to bring an extra pack for others.)
He asks where I lived in L.A. Simply saying “Los Angeles” is not good enough. “No, WHERE in Los Angeles?” This is to find out if I was in the right zip code and about what I was paying for real estate to gauge my income and success level. It’s like a gold digger asking a man what car he drives to figure out whether or not he can afford her — but more Hollywood power player and less “Can you support me in the style I would like to become accustomed to?”
Then the chitchat begins. It’s not really chitchat though. It’s name dropping, gauging how powerful or important your list of contacts is stacked up against the list of contacts your opponent — I mean the person you are chatting up — has. Even though I dodged this because I really don’t like this game and don’t think I should have to play it at a sports bar in Austin Texas, Bar Guy still managed to drop the biggest name he probably had on his list on my head just to ensure I knew he ran with important people.
The next thing that happens is someone across the bar waves at Bar Guy so he totters off. Whew! Maybe I can smoke some of my own cigs after all. But moments later he is back. He is enraged. He introduced that guy to everyone in town, that guy knew no one when he got to town, now that guy’s too good for him?! Bar Guy can destroy him!
This is very L.A. too. The expectation that someone you introduced around will stay lower on the pecking order totem pole than you and will damn well acknowledge he or she is lower and beholden to you — and unfettered rage if he or she isn’t or doesn’t. Also, “He’ll never work in this town again!” Though I guess in this context it was, The bartenders in this town will never be nice to him again!
He was so enraged, he needed to smoke two more of my cigarettes to calm down.
where the art work comes from: that is from dave barstow