06 Dec LA LA Land
My whirlwind trip to LA last week was more a parental reconnaissance mission than a holiday. The destination wasn’t the draw card, which is lucky because I’m Largely Ambivolent when it comes to LA. In fact the thing I like most about LA is how many acronyms I can construct that aptly describe it. Lotsa Attitude … Lacking Architecture … Large Augmentations … and so on. So, while LA won’t be making the cut on my Golden Gap Year itinerary, we did have a good time and in the process, I made a few observations about Americans and travel in general.
Americans (on the whole) are a very different breed to us Aussies. They are excessively polite … bordering on gushy, which to a cynical and slightly dry Aussie can sound disingenuous and evoke a degree of suspicion. Their perkiness can be perceived as superficial … and as bizarre as it sounds I was silently hoping for a sales assistant who’d just grunt at me and avoid all eye contact as is the norm here in Oz instead of trying to engage me in inane conversation. Bah humbug. And while on the subject of Americans, it seems as though very few (white) American women sport short hair dos. I found that my pixie cut attracted considerable attention and was scrutinised with a mixture of curiosity, admiration and gratitude. It’s like I ‘took one for the team’ … “that’s one less pixie cut floating around the universe that needs to find a head to attach itself to!”
When shopping in a foreign country, it’s easy to get swept up in the moment and purchase items, which somehow get lost in translation when transported back to home soil. I have fallen into this trap more than once … like the Inca style alpaca poncho I bought in Peru, which totally worked in Machu Pichu … not so much in Mosman. Or, the 10 pairs of drop crutch fisherman pants that I rocked throughout Cambodia but made me look like a homeless person (with a big, droopy ass) back home. My LA fashion faux pas was slightly more costly. While shopping on Melrose Place (which sadly bears no resemblance to the cult TV show from back in the day), I was convinced by the sales assistant/super model/aspiring actress that I looked the total business in a pair of black jeans that flared out from just below the knee and ended mid calf with substantial ‘fraying’ … What was I thinking? … I put them on today and realised that I actually I look like a cross between huckleberry fin and the incredible hulk.
Flying long haul in cattle class is purgatory. I wish I was one of those people who could sit upright and sleep like a baby, but I’m totally not. I wriggle around like a kid who’s missed their dose of Ritalin in an attempt to get comfy and often resort to contortionist poses that see my knees up under my chin and my feet balanced precariously on the armrest of the seat in front. Another drawback of being awake all night is that you become acutely aware of the ‘smells’ that emanate from the cabin once the lights are dimmed. It’s like the veil of darkness offers passengers the anonymity to ‘drop their guts’ with gay abandon. Not ok people! Also, as an aside … has anyone in the history of air travel ever ticked “yes” to the box on the customs form that asks if you’ve visited a farm or waded in a fresh water stream? I think not.
It took a few days, but I am now fully reacquainted with my personality and I hope my sense of humor will find its way home soon. I have also realised that I may require therapy before I attempt to pack for my Golden Gap Year. I think I suffer from FOMO … (fear of missing outfits), which sadly goes hand in hand with EBS (excess bag syndrome) and VBB (very bad back). Enough said.