Coming back to LA was quite a culture shock. In fact, it’s been exactly 1 week and I’m still adjusting to life and now I leave for Nashville tomorrow to visit Jimmy and his familia. I’m really looking forward to seeing his hometown and meeting his parents: Nancy & Wendall (the o.g. James Wendall Hunter) and his sisters: Melanie & Suzanne; and their family units: nephews Braden & Spenser and nieces Callie & Sophie; and respective hubbies. I’m also looking forward to putting faces on all the names I’ve heard about from old girlfriends to good guy friends he’s known forever.
Anyway…so back to the culture shock. I landed in LA and the ordeal I had to go through at LAX left me so overwhelmed that when I was waiting curbside for Jimmy to pull up, my eyes started welling up and I began to cry. I felt like I had stepped into a pool of sharks. It was quite traumatic going from the generous spirit of the Balinese to the selfish & pushy passengers of LA.
For example, I had a woman steal my luggage cart from me! I looked her straight in the eye and said,”This is my luggage cart!” and she looks straight back at me and says,”No! I had it first!” She looked determined to somehow convince me of this even though we both knew she was lying. I don’t know what it was inside of me, but I just let her have it. In the past I would have fought and called her a fucking bitch. But I didn’t want to fight and I didn’t want to engage myself on such a low level of humanity. All I really wanted to say was, “Your karma’s going to catch up with you.” But I didn’t even say that. What good would it have done?
How can it be that I feel a need to be more on guard in my own city? How do I feel less safe here in my own hometown? It’s as if, if you don’t play the game you’ll get eaten alive. They’ll bully you and laugh in your face to brag about how they’ve “won”. There’s no regard for anyone else but themselves. It’s all about what they get, how they want to get ahead–“me, me, me, mine mine, mine”–equivalent to a child’s emotional level…not taking responsibility for their actions, nor thinking about the consequences of their actions. Where is humanity?
Bali has so much to teach the rest of the world. Sure they may not be as technologically advanced or things may not be as efficient but things still work and they haven’t lost what’s important to them. They have they’re priorities straight: family, community,and spiritual practices. They’re a great example of what humanity should be like.