As my second chunk of world-traveling friends have recently departed for exciting countries for the second half of the summer: places I’ve sung about a hundred times in that country’s language but have never actually been to before, it makes me think back on my Arkansas days, when we were all together. Before coming out to LA, I was pretty much ready to be done with Arkansas. Three years was enough, four would be more than plenty. But after spending the last two months of life in the GoldenState, I’ve come to miss a few things about the Natural. In my infinite amount of free time as an intern at Job #2 (Universal Music Group), I’ve decided to write an acronymic ode to Arkansas and the things I miss about it (might be a little difficult considering all the A’s and S’s).
Any relationship that doesn’t involve schmoozing. People survive and make their living by networking and name-dropping out here. I just want to spend time with someone because I enjoy being with them!
Rain. It has “rained” count it: ONCE since I got out here 59 days ago. And by “rained” I mean the sky spit a little bit (not even worth using windshield wipers) and people freaked out. It was the same response people in Fayetteville have to snow. Everyone forgets how to drive, how to think, how to breathe… I love rain so much, I just wish I could have one thunderstorm.
Kampish clothes. I accidentally wore Nike shorts on Rodeo Drive one afternoon and have never felt like more of an outcast in my life. (I wouldn't normally refer to Nike shorts as "Kamp clothes" but K was hard, so we're making that term work.)
Average prices for parking. Honestly, $3 per 15 minutes? I need to get a Segway and/or stop complaining about the parking situation in Fayetteville.
Normal driving speeds. Office #1 is 7 miles away, and I’m on the highway for about 6.8 of those. And it takes me 35 minutes to get to work.
Sonic and Chick-fil-a that are closer than 20 and 30 miles away. Chances are good that if you’re reading my blog, you know of my love for a good Route 44 Diet Dr. Pepper easy ice from Sonic. You might also know that after camping out for 52 free Chick-fil-a meals, I’ve come to really really love their sandwiches (which I’d never even had before I camped out. In January.) Of these two heavily-frequented places in my life in Arkansas, I have had ONE Chick-fil-a sandwich in the last two months and ZERO anything from Sonic. Perfect corner of Sixth Street, I’ll be back soon.
Activity/Walking: It took a while to realize this one, but I hardly even walk in LA. Here’s my day: Leave my apartment by taking the elevator down to my car (the stairs don’t take you out to the level I park on), drive to the parking deck at one of my offices, take the elevator from the 5th floor down to the street, walk to the office, take the elevator to the 4th or 5th floor (depending on where I’m working that day), and then do it all in reverse to get home. The only time I walked all day was from the parking deck to the building and around the office! PTL for the little tiny workout room in my apartment that I have shockingly come to love.
Smiling. Really, people don’t smile out here. Here’s a story that gives proof to that point: One night I was sitting outside of a Panera next to the window, just reading and listening to my iPod. At one point I happened to look up from my book and accidentally made eye contact with a guy in there and just as a natural reaction, smiled. I thought literally nothing of it, and looked back down at my book. A few seconds later I was startled by a tap on my shoulder. It was him, with a HUGE smile on his face. He stuck his hand in my face, wanting me to shake it and when I did he said, “Hi! I’m Ray! You smiled at me in there and I just wanted to come out and say thanks. If I ever see you again out here, we cool, aight?” What? I just smiled! I’ve also been pinned as a Southerner three times because I “never stop smiling”. All right…
It’s not that there’s not a ton of great things about LA, but there’s some aspects of it that make Arkansas look pretty good. Fayetteville, see you in exactly one month.