Every city has its own caricature — the tough-talking New Yorker, the uber-preppy Bostonian, the Houston debutante, the Portland granola guy. LA owns a very specific caricature too — namely, the “necessarily narcissist.”
Cases in point (and believe me, if I hadn’t seen or heard these personally, I’d have to make them up):
Number One: Young woman on line at the Target customer service desk with two shopping carts holding at least 25 bags of merchandise to be returned. (It’s not uncommon, particularly in LA, for fashion stylists to purchase large amounts of clothing and accessories for a photo shoot, leave the tags on, and then have their assistants, like this woman, return all the items afterward.) There were at least five customers waiting behind her and only one Target employee. When told that she would have to make an appointment for the next day in order to handle the returns, she rolled her eyes, swung back her hair, got off her phone (gasp!), and whined, “But I’m too busy tomorrow!” Oh. Excuse us. Because we have nothing better to do for the next 45 minutes while you have your return taken care of. Please, go ahead. You’re too important to wait.
Number Two: Thirty-somehing, attractive guy spending his workday lunch hour in a supermarket parking lot, suit jacket and shirt off, six-pack on display, reclining against his Beamer as he catches some rays and eats his sandwich. Good thinking to go shirtless in the sun every spare second you have. Because we get so little of it in LA.
Number Three: You know the kind of job title that makes a job sound a bit more sexy than it actually is — household engineer (homemaker); associate associate producer (coffee runner); color consultant (paint department employee). At dinner recently at our neighborhood Italian place, the couple next to us was obviously on their first date. When she asked him what he did for a living he responded, “I’m a denim specialist.” Just as I was trying to figure that one out (was he a designer? a model?), he explained. “I sell jeans.” Oh. “At the mall.” Of course.
Doesn’t get more LA than that.
© 2012 Claudia Grossman