OPINION/TRAVEL

Little Fish, Big Pond

I am a 23 year-old black man originally from Colorado. But, for the last 14 years, I’ve been chillin’ in the Sunshine State of Florida. I’m currently enrolled at Troy University in Sweet Home Alabama (yea, home of the real TROJANS). Why Alabama? Don’t ask, long story. I have always had a strong interest in public relations and marketing. I think it fits my skills perfectly. One of my friends from school told me about his sister who owns a PR firm. I decided to seize the opportunity and apply for an internship that would take me to the big city, Los Angeles.

This country momma’s boy flew over 2200 miles to a state that I hoped would welcome me with that real SOUTHERN California HOSPITALITY. But…I need help! Can someone answer this question for me? What is a small-time country boy from Florida supposed to expect when he relocates to a big-time city like Los Angeles? The City of Angels. I guess my summer theme would be “Expect the Unexpected.”

From the moment I stepped onto the LA turf from the 5-hour Delta Airlines flight, I knew I was in for a surprise. I mean, I am from the South, down at the bottom. The South is known for Southern Hospitality, according to my boy Ludacris’ song. I was pumped about coming to LA. I wanted to see if my West Coast experience would soon have me singing that Tupac cut, “to live in a die in L.A., it’s the place to be…” I walked into the airport from the terminal, and my first impression was “wow, so this is where all the stars fly into and out of. I’m in the same airport and city that my [soon to be] wives Raven-Symone and Keyshia Cole probably fly into.”

I had mixed emotions. I couldn’t stop smiling, because it was everything I dreamed it would be. However, I had a confused look on my face, because I didn’t know where to go. Of course, I had my J. Holiday hat and stunna shades on, so I tried to blend in, as if I was a celebrity or something, ya know? (You can’t blame a brotha for trying).

Truth is, I realized pretty quickly that I was in a whole new world. I figured that since I was in one of the busiest airports in the nation, no one would have the time to help me find my way around. To my dismay, a PYT (that’s a pretty young thing for the uninitiated) walked up and asked if she could show me to the baggage claim. I couldn’t believe it! I didn’t know if it was her job to ask, or if she was hitting on me because I looked like a celeb. Let’s just say she was hitting on me (still can’t blame a brotha for the imagination, right?) and showing me a very warm welcome into this great state.

I must admit, just like anyone going to any new place, I was a little timid. I heard about the rush hour traffic on the freeways in Los Angeles all the way on the East Coast, and let’s not even mention all the gangs that I heard of. I almost cried when they told me I couldn’t wear blue in certain areas, since it is one of my favorite colors. You mean to tell me, I have to buy all neutral colors just to be safe while spending the summer in Cali?

On a better note, it seems that just about every single movie and TV show is taped in Hollywood or somewhere very close by. I heard that the celebs are down to earth people and that you might spot one or two just walking down the street. Now of course, I was afraid of the gangs, traffic, and color warnings, but smiles came to my face about the celebs. I mean, what person wouldn’t like to see the stars that you have been watching on the big screen for years, right? You might actually get the chance to see and meet the stars that you have been spending all of your allowance money on every since you were a kid. For a country boy like me, that’s an opportunity, or should I say privilege, you don’t want to miss.

I’ve never seen so many different cultures of people getting along in the same place, at the same time like I do in Southern California. It feels like I belong here. I mean, the cultural experiences here are cool. Recently, I was at the bus stop, headed to the mall when I saw Caucasian man, a woman from the Philippines, and a man of Mexican descent. I didn’t expect much conversation from any of them, but I asked the woman, “Do you know what time the bus comes?” She began a long conversation about where she was from and why she moved to LA. She talked about how her son lives here, that she visits his house often and cooks for his family. Then, the Mexican man asked me why I all was dressed up. He wanted to know if I was a preacher from local church or something. Wow. You just don’t get that kind of openness in Florida.

It’s as if Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had a meeting before I arrived and said “Hey Angelenos, we have a young man coming to LA for the summer, lets make him feel welcome!”

Although I’m currently working at the agency, I still consider myself a tourist on vacation in one of the best and most famous cities in the world. I’ve got two straight months to play, and I feel like a kid again. My camera and autograph notebook are ready, so bring on the celebrities! Ahh, life