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Architect-US

Stuck on the 101

 

“Stuart! At this time of day it’s gonna be jammed” said Kristen Wiig in this parody of a fake opera on Saturday Night Live. And so did every single Californian that ever lived.

We all do small talks from time to time with colleagues, clients or people we do not know very well. In France and I am sure in lany other places in the world, the preferred subject is the weather. The temperature dropping, the rain, the famous “Seasons no longer exist”… nothing really interesting, but it is small talk after all, so no harm done.

The thing is, there is even less to say about the Californian weather. The furthest it can go is:
“_ The weather is nice today!
_ Yeah just like for the past 100 years.”
Seriously, I have lived in LA for more than three months now, and had 3 minutes of rain, sun the rest of the time and temperatures between 68°F and 78°F every single day and every single night. I have not looked at a weather forecast since I arrived, because I do not have to.

So Californians had to come up with something else for small talks. And they chose traffic. I guess it is because everybody uses his car on a daily basis in LA, because the train system is terrible and because it is one of the few cities in the world where you have to take a freeway to go from on point to another. Angelenos (yes, inhabitants of Los Angeles are called Angelenos) deal with traffic on a daily basis, and have gotten pretty good at it. You have to listen, to a debate between two Californians about how to beat traffic, they do think about that a lot. Which freeway to take, when, what shortcuts to use… You also have to learn the geography of LA with freeways and important streets: the 405, the 5, Figueroa St, the 10, the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway, the south-Californian name for the 1) and my favourite one, the 101 (pronounced “the one oh one” in southern California as said in Wikipedia and in real life).

Learning how to small talk is a more important part od integration in a foreign country, and <california is full of surprises about that.

Deslandes

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