I had the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles this past weekend to visit some of my family. Going into the trip, I was excited to escape to some warm weather and be in a big city. I was also interested to see some of the differences that may exist between LA and KC, the west coast and the midwest. Upon my return, I was able to reflect upon the differences between the two cities and many of my expectations were disproven.
To start, the drivers of Los Angeles are very hostile. There could not have been more than a two second gap between a car honking their horn. I was constantly looking over my shoulder to make sure our bus driver was not going to ram the motorcyclist who was going 85 on the 405. It may not seem like this is a huge deal, but I found the reckless driving to be an accurate reflection of some of the Los Angeles people’s personalities.
The other main difference I noticed between Kansas Citians and Los Angelenos was the ability to hold a conversation. I first picked this up when talking to my 18 year old cousin and his smaller group of friends. I like to consider myself moderately personable, but I could not find a way to strike up a remotely decent conversation. They would refuse to take their eyes off their phones. It’s probably because someone would send a new Tweet, but to me, I found this incredibly rude and selfish, kind of like some of those drivers.
Being sympathetic, I brushed it off assuming it was because I was a stranger to them and they felt awkward talking to me. I went to talk to my uncle and his friends, hoping for a more entertaining conversation. Instead, I learned how impatient some of the people were. I am one of the most impatient people who has ever lived, but I can at least cover it up. When I was talking to the adults, it was as if they did not have the time to talk to me. Again, kind of like those drivers. Plus, my cousin and his friends were still checking Twitter.
Now my intent is not meant in any way to rip the state of California or the city of Los Angeles. For all I know, this could have just been the group of people I was around this weekend. There are plenty of traits to love about California. The one thing I hope this piece reveals is the true Midwest hospitality Kansas City is known for.
The way people treat one another here, whether one is a local or a visitor, is simply unbeatable. Anyone will give anyone the time of day and have a nice conversation. I can just meet someone for the first time in line at QT and be able to joke around with them. On top of this, I am never fearful for my life when going a cool 40 on Ward Parkway.