Thought Catalog

Los Angeles

You should kiss someone if you like them. You’ll learn so much about them when you taste their spit. And it will also make you feel young again. No matter how experienced you are, your first kiss with someone always takes you back to that first time with that first person.

The internet likes to make you laugh. “OMG, funny cat video. OMG, funny cat with dog video. Look, it’s a baby who’s purring like a cat.” It has a juvenile yet somehow smart sense of humor. It caters to the lowest common denominator while still amusing the smarty pants of the blogosphere.

People eat healthy in Los Angeles. They’re all about the mixed greens, the fresh pressed juices and embracing any fad diet that promises immediate weight loss. Because of this, you end up going to a lot of restaurants that have things like “elixir edamame” and “buddha burger” on the menu. Forty dollars later, you’re still starving and may need to have a fourth meal at Taco Bell just to deal.

A week ago, I bought a one-way ticket to California to try to once again leave the South and this time really never go back. Although I’ve talked about doing this for months, an embarrassing lack of preparation was involved prior to boarding the plane. There was no budget or exit strategy, only fantasies about tacos, palm trees, and my bikini…

When you’ve never dealt with death before, you’re not actively seeking out the truths about grief, not trying to retain the stories of other people’s experiences. All of this changes, however, when you have had someone close to you die (or in my case, almost die).

I was annoyed that, no matter how close I positioned myself to the wall, he took up so much space his legs and arms still touched mine. But after seeing his face exude an ‘I hate myself’ expression, I considered how awful it must feel to be so large, invading people’s personal spaces all the time…

Of course, I came here 20 years ago, when I was 21 and it was amazing — cheap and filled with freaks. Now it’s freakishly expensive and all those young ‘uns? They work for Google (or Apple or Yahoo or Genetech; there is an endless parade of corporate buses barreling up and down Guerrero headed to or from the Peninsula on a daily basis).

San Francisco is a city where the beautiful and ugly coexist. The projects are situated next to a multi-million dollar Full House home. You’ll pay $1300 a month in rent in the Mission for a view of two crackheads shooting up in an alleyway. This unlikely marriage of destitute poverty and bourgie princess creates a tension in the city that is alternately terrifying and exhilarating.

Perhaps the most popular argument against Black Graduation is that white students could never have a “White Graduation.” Some find this comparison inappropriate, contending that many blacks are first-generation college students, which makes their accomplishment more meaningful to them and their loved ones.