Friday, February 13, 2009

Introspection- (1) Prelude to Los Angeles

The last fare I remember was the dude with the black beard, skinny and in his early 30’s. The cab in front of me didn’t pick him up; he only asked the dude where he was going then locked the doors. This was nonsense, so I just waved him in; we’re not supposed to do that crap. We went to Corona, Queens, and on that long ride we had a lot to talk about, no he had a lot to talk about. He interviewed me for the whole ride about what I do in my spare time, what I aim to do with my life, and so on. He had serious short term memory problems because he asked me all his questions of deep introspection several times.

“Well, I’m kind of drunk if you hadn’t noticed,” he told me; which is good, ‘cause I didn’t have to pretend anymore like I do with all my fares at that time that they aren’t gone. I told him my goal in life was more about where I live, how I live, but not about what I do. He wasn’t satisfied with it, and was determined to have me admit that I would be a photographer, an artist, no matter how much money I had or didn’t have. It was all such a fantastical line of thinking, I hate to speak of being an artist, we are who we are, and we do what we do. In my opinion these labels are only designed to impress others, and I live for myself; that’s my romantic line of thinking. For his benefit I told him that I would always shoot pictures. I find it strange that it isn’t an acceptable goal to long for the road for life. An artist can’t just aim to do art, they need to do something that inspires art to be made, and otherwise they are creating crap, trite, unsophisticated, pieces without any root or depth behind them.

He had some interesting stories. “College dude, was amazing, and even though I didn’t get through college, I don’t regret going. I learned so much from it.” He was a painter and had attended a local state college I knew of that specialized in the arts. After about 5 years, maybe even 10, he left. He told me that once he fell off the terrace of the dorm room, and when he fell to the ground he cracked his head open leaving a huge gap in his head. He was rushed to the hospital and stitched up. The dean of the school admitted him back in after he took two years off, but it just didn’t work out, he didn’t have whatever it was to pull him through graduation.

“Holy shit!” I exclaimed. Beside us was a fire engine, and in some strange emergency, the firemen were pulling a woman, all dressed in black nightclub clothes, out of whichever building they were attending. She was throwing a fit about it and didn’t want to leave. He was very absorbed in conversation, and I had to tell him about the emergency we passed.

“Yeah dude, welcome to Corona,” was his response.

We went to a bodega so he could use the ATM, and I bought myself a bottle of water, then I took him to his house.

“The one thing about living here is there just isn’t enough space,” he said.

“Yeah, I’m going to Los Angeles to visit some friends actually really soon,” I told him. I knew what he’d say about that already, so I beat him to it. “Yeah I know it’s fake, it’s fake I know.”
“Yeah, bro, it’s so fake.” All the New Yorker’s say it, and he wasn’t an exception, “It’s so… fake bro,” He continued despite me saying it already. “I’ve got friends there, and I can’t talk to them anymore, I can’t look at them anymore,” he continued, “I tell them, dudes, do you know how… fake your being.”

We as New Yorkers always talk about Los Angeles this way, but I don’t think we even know what were talking about anymore. After going to L.A. and then coming back I saw more beautiful people in N.Y.C. and all I hear from the transplants who’ve come to New York from all over the world is a lot of ignorant garbage about going to the coolest places, and other image conscious shenanigans. I feel under our very noses, N.Y.C has grown more fake than L.A. has.


Cannwin said...

LA is fake? Hmm, interesting concept. So how do New Yorker's feel about places like South Dakota?

Love the photos. My little sis is an aspiring photographer and my mom goes around telling everyone she IS a photographer (which gives everyone the impression that that's her job) it mortifies my sister. Not because she doesn't want to be that, but because she isn't quite there.

Me, I'd like to say I'm a writer but that gives the impression I'm published so I just say I like to write.

Clears things up all around.

LA's probably warm, *sigh*, enjoy that.

NYC taxi photo said...

yes, only one thing is certain, L.A. is warm. and as i tell my friends, for that and the avocado's I'll gladly visit many more times.

I don't know what we'd say about south dakota. The thing with L.A. is we've lost a lot of good people to that town, not to mention one awesome baseball team, etc. etc.

so we're bitter about it, we realize that they have it easier on the other side of the country where it's mostly sunny and warm, so we claim they're fake, they couldn't handle the harshness of new york. basically, we got a lot of baggage with L.A.

And I totally understand your lil sis' photo shyness. even with a bfa in photography, I feel like i'm giving people the wrong message when I tell them I'm a photographer, which leads me to all the feelings and beliefs I expressed in this post.

Good luck to her, the keys are to be passionate about the work, but also even more so, to talk to and befriend anybody who can help her get work in the future. kissing ass is a very good idea. I always regret not talking to every single teacher at my school, and asking them for more help.

Anonymous said...

As a recent transplant to the West, I can say that everyone who is fake in LA isn't actually from California. They've moved here with the idea of what LA is in their heads and spent untold amounts of money trying to fit in.

I've found LA a very nice place to live, even without a lot of money.

Did you get downtown while you were here? It's pretty interesting.

NYC taxi photo said...

no, this time i don't think I made it to downtown. I found myself going to south santa monica / venice, three out of those 5 days. next time i'd definitely want to find more of downtown. I'll try to post reflections of the trip real soon.

Gusgamashuq Abunoori said...

This post was deep. My favorite lines were... "An artist can’t just aim to do art, they need to do something that inspires art to be made, and otherwise they are creating crap, trite, unsophisticated, pieces without any root or depth behind them." That is exactly how I feel about my art and the tendency to be labeled or label myself an artist. and....
"I feel under our very noses, N.Y.C has grown more fake than L.A. has." I think you hit the nail on the head boss.