My first trip

When I hit age ten, my father was transferred out to California to work in the movie industry.

Movie Industry (def): The business in which every single California resident plays a part

As used in a sentence...

I am an actor = I am a waiter

I have a job = No one wants to buy my screenplay

I am doing auditions = Would you like a tennis lesson?

I sell cars = My pilot did not get picked up

I am a producer = You have to sleep with me if you want to learn that my production credits consist of a 3:00 a.m. Chia Pet infomercial and I'm currently unemployed.

If I knew what an omen was, I would not have gotten off the plane when we hit the coast.  The ride out reminded me of the first time I fell in the bathtub.  There was a whole lot of screaming and banging around and in the end, more than one person was wet, and no one was clean.  Since this was my first airplane ride, I learned a few things.  It's a bad idea to put a pressurized can of Silly String in your backpack, especially if its facing outwards toward other people in the seats next to you.  Telling someone that they don't smell very good at the beginning of a five-hour plane ride is not a good conversation opener.  Aiming your pee in an airplane bathroom is like learning to juggle - things are flying in all directions and ultimately everything will end up on the floor.  If you are going to attempt to crawl under the seats of an airplane, you should not have any clothing parts sticking out because they might get stuck and it will take you an hour to get unstuck and even if you do you will be bruised and battered to the point where you just want to cry for the rest of the flight and your parents will have to endure dirty looks from stewardesses for several hours.  Eventually, we landed.

The day we arrived on West Coast soil, I experienced my first traffic jam.  To me, the cars were cool.  I'd smile or wave at the faces in the windows as we'd drive by, building a special relationship with the man in the business suit who drove next to us at a snail’s pace for six miles.  A tongue stuck out, moose antlers, a Picasso-like expression.  These first moments of self-expression and reaction signaled my entre into the Hollywood lifestyle.  California was cool.  Of course, at some point, I turned forward to see my father slamming his fists into the steering wheel like Kubrick’s chimps discovering weapons.  Arms flailing here and there, he kept screeching something about “sonuva... idiot...MOVE!” and shaking his head in a way that reminded me of my dog after the time he fell into the river.  Finally, we entered the driveway to our new home.  It was a small three-bedroom house at the top of a hill in a residential neighborhood. The description is intentionally vague because in a land of eleven million people, very few houses stand out.  We did not own one of them.  Unimpressed with our new abode, I wandered over to the neighbors yard to check things out.  There, leaning back against a beat up Ford Mustang, were Kevin and JD Ruckert.  Decked out in baseball uniforms, and apparently waiting for their parents to drive them to their game, these two giants met me with the grace of angry Rottweilers.  They sneered and I think one of them growled as I approached.  The guttural sound of adolescents protecting their turf is similar to an idling motorcycle.  At some point, it will either rev and run over you, or it will sit there and rumble until the gas runs out.  Either way, the motorcycle is not going to reach out its hand to shake yours, or invite you onto its seat for a ride.  That's how I felt with these boys, an unwelcome passenger.

“Hey guys.”

“Hmmph.”

“I'm your new neighbor.”

“You wanna come watch our game?”

“Um...yea, lemme go ask my Mom, I'll be right back.”

I returned from my mother's immediate “Oh, that’s wonderful to see you making friends already, of course you can go,” to see the Ruckert family car pulling out of the driveway and heading down the street in the opposite direction.  In the dust on their rear windshield were the words “Welcome to California.”  Three thousand miles did nothing to obscure my shining moments of adolescent insignificance. 

The End

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