A view from the driver's seat


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B is only 18. He moved here from a tiny town in Arizona where Mormonism ruled and there were only 80 kids in his graduating class. He didn’t know anybody in LA but his boss at the farmer’s market knew an ex-employee who lived in LA and needed a roommate, so without visiting the city, without ever meeting this person, he sold his car and his beloved cello and he came here to the City of Angels. Well the roommate turned out to be a hard partying gay boy who’s been dragging sweet angelic B around to decadent Hollywood parties where he’s met big directors and big actors. But B said that’s not his scene. He wants to write music, that’s his dream. But it’s been hard trying to figure out how to get around. On Halloween, the bus just stopped so he had to get off, didn’t have any more change for another bus, AND he lost his debit card so he couldn’t get a Lyft. So he had to walk all the way from his job in Century City to his place in Koreatown. Three hours!!! I told him that was going to be one of his “When I moved to LA to make it” stories. A legend. An adventure. Something to tell the kids while you’re kicking back in your mansion.


L is also young. 20 to be exact. And she just got here 5 days ago from Atlanta. She immediately got a job at a gentleman’s club but after a double shift, she fell asleep in her rental car and crashed into something. She was the one that brought up the stripping first, she wasn’t ashamed of it. She liked the acrobatic pole stuff and told me all about how the clubs work, how she has to tip out everybody including the bartender even though clubs in LA can’t serve alcohol. She told me about the customers. Atlanta was more fun, more open, more women came and guys were just chilling, like Guuurrrl, what up, how you doing, that kind of thing.

I asked if she had gone out at all since she got here. She said she went out with one of the girls from the club but realized it was like 10 girls with 1 guy, like she was part of his harem and she was not into that. Then she exclaimed, “There was this homeless lady with mental problems and they were making fun of her to her face. I mean, who does that?” “Did you say anything?” “Hell yeah. And they tried to pretend like they didn’t know. But that lady was talking crazy talk to herself, they had to know.” Alright, you go L!!! So young, in a new town, but not afraid to stick up for what she knew to be right. That’s a rare quality.

I asked L if she was careful. She said yes, she had had stalkers before when she lived in a small town in Florida. She found cigarette butts and a golf club outside her window. Scared her so bad she slept in her car for a while.

When I dropped her off, I told the sleazy mustachioed Eastern European guy at the front, “Take care of her.” “We take care of all our girls.” “No, I mean it. She’s new in town but she’s not going to take any shit. Be really really nice to her!!”

I’m astounded at the bravery it takes to move to a city like this with no safety net. No family. No friends. I really am. Both B & L had such tough stories, yet they were both so positive and so sweet. They had such a strong sense of self that they knew when something wasn’t right for them. They weren’t seduced by the bright lights and the bullshit. I drive a lot of kids around these days and for the most part, I get the sense that they have no idea who or what they are so they’re just trying on costumes for a while. Which is all fine. Which is part of being young. But B & L were different. They had old souls. I think they’re both gonna do just fine. Better than fine. I really do.


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