"I hate LA," LeatherCub says.
I don't take offense. I've been in LA long enough to know it's not for everyone. I have my own theories about it. It usually comes from guys that haven't been here too many years. And they're usually complaining about the superficial nature of "the industry" and how people are just fake nice. It's not quite the midwestern nice, but a bit of an arrogant, judgey nice. And I see it. But then, I see it in the niches I don't quite frequent. I've also gotten the disdain from east coasters about the socio-economic and racial segregation in a city of suburban sprawl. But then, in my travels, I've seen a lot worse. I kinda wonder which track he's going to go in his contempt for the city.
"So why you hatin'?" I ask.
"I dunno. The guys here are so damn shallow."
Ah. The superficial track.
"You can't just leave it at that. Elaborate," I command as I take a fry and pop it into my mouth and gnosh. We're at the Del Taco. One of the few places open after I spent a couple of hours drilling his ass so hard that he constantly feels like he has to pee or poop or something but nothing comes out. He's not walkin' funny or anything like that. It's all internal.
"So far, I've only met maybe three guys that I can actually have a decent conversation with. Something that extends beyond the pleasantries. It's as if this whole town has gone dumb. And you know who those three guys are? One is my boss. The other is this one guy I dated for awhile. And the third is you."
"That IS really sad if I'm setting the bar on the high end," I say. Yeah, I'm not good at accepting a compliment. Especially when it comes at the cost of the whole city's intelligence level. "But seriously, we didn't really talk about anything really deep. Let's see. We went through a few pop psych terminology and you might be able to say we talked about economic theory if you wanna stretch the truth a bit 'cause I only remember saying how the rental market in Playa Vista is insane right now..."
And really. I didn't know where he was going with it. Partially it's because I also know a couple of folks that have quasi-intellectual conversations but they seem so abstract that I wonder where the person behind it is. It's like they're using big words to deflect people from seeing their authentic selves. Or better yet, those guys that hold witticism in such high regard but their version of of a witty retort is like a freshly cut bouquet, a beautifully fragile slice of life that's just going to decay. It's the opposite of a bitchy remark, one that's ripe with aggressively fertile, budding beauty, that I think of as the authentic and yeah. That's rare indeed. But I don't think defaulting to conversation and remarks that are easy as shallow. Lazy maybe, but not shallow.
"Besides," I continue, "you can't expect everyone to have the same life experiences that would make conversations as elevated as you'd like."
"But there's a difference. You're confident enough to ask and challenge me if you don't understand or don't agree."
"While others just smile and nod?"
"Exactly! You know what I mean, right?"
I just smile at him blankly. And slowly nod.
He laughs. "Fuck you," he says.
"Sure! Now?" I ask. Yup. Just me being lazy, stupid and shallow as I turned the conversation back to sex. I think I'm okay with being shallow.