Chapter 1 Southern California
I grew up just like anyone else from the south, I learned to sing in church. I had never been to Southern California before. There is something fantastic about places you have never been to. I had this certain idea about Southern California, maybe its just what I’ve seen on TV or whatever that its all blonde and beachy and happy and warm. For sure Southern California can be some of those things, this being said in retrospect after flying back to Birmingham early January 2009. I guess its important to really check out a place before you start believing shit you hear about it. So far life is long and I’ve been to a few places that I have ideas about, Southern California not being the first. I’m sure there have got to be some things worth mentioning.
I met Dave Chappell in the Cincinnati airport. It was mid-December and I was flying around the same time the international kids in college flew back to their countries. I’ve seen this blonde New Zealand kid Daniel around campus before and probably said a few words back and forth at a house party or something. He played tennis for the University, but thought it would be funny to try and pass off an Australian accent in front of him. I’m not Australian and he isn’t either and its real funny how things happen that way. (I had gotten a tattoo of the Australian flag on my ankle the month before) Life has a way of moving in conjunction with randomness. Daniel and I became airport friends and he played along with my fake Australian accent. We talked about surfboards, American visas, and the weird shops in the Cincinnati Tri County Airport. I explained that I was from Melbourne. I didn’t really know anything at all about Australia. I figured I should wash my hands after touching something moist and weird under the chair I was sitting in while looking for my phone that I dropped probably the 4th time that week. Its a fucking miracle it works still. Was walking alone to the bathroom when I saw Dave Chappelle wearing a black jacket and heading with jangly legs towards a Starbucks. Just kidding his legs were walking normal but I was wishing they were jangly.
There was no doubt it was him. I asked and sure enough it was him. There is something about seeing a famous person, its like you’ve know them for twenty years and you wouldn’t mistake recognizing them like you wouldn’t mistake seeing your mother. His head was real shiny and he had a big mouth. Even though I had already had our conversation thought through in my head by the time I walked up I still told him how much I loved his stuff and asked him what he was doing in the airport. Something dumb and typical like that. He told me he was traveling. I felt like an asshole. He just wanted to go get a coffee. It must be terrible being famous and having weird conversations like that. He spoke in a real soft voice on purpose, I know because on The Chappell Show he talks louder than that. When youre famous you have to give up your rights to have a normal airport walking around life and a normal talking voice. At any rate my encounter with Dave Chappell went about like everyone elses’ encounters with any sort of famous person I guess. I had my thoughts and words planned out but it didn’t go like that, it probably never does.
I walked back to tell Daniel who was sitting eating some chicken from one of the weird Tri County Airport food shops and just said “Sweet az, Bru.” or something like that probably. He’s a good guy really, we still talk and I use my American accent. His flight to Germany was leaving five hours after mine to Los Angeles. Poor guy, layovers like that are pretty bad, especially in tri-county airports. I don’t know why he was flying to Germany for winter holidays, but it didn’t matter. I was headed to LA.
I had never been to Southern California before. I had met Dave Chappell though, and that was a start. I had some red sunglasses, a backpack full of t-shirts, and two hundred dollars in my bank account. The two hundred dollars are only there because Delta hadn’t yet processed the transaction from the one way ticked from BHM to LAX. I think they call that the ledger balance. 200$ being in ledger, hell I dont know I’m no accountant. I have a habit of doing things impulsively. Whatever, this is my Christmas present to myself. I’ve noticed that things generally work out if you just let them. Control is an illusion. At any rate, I have no plan that extends farther than stepping out of the arrival doors at LAX. Idealy I’d be sitting by a pretty California girl who would be so impressed with my southern charm she would have to offer me a place to stay or even a ride downtown from the airport. I actually sat by the lead singer from the punk rock band Rise Against which turned out to be cooler than a pretty California girl probably. They are cool dudes anyways. I’ve noticed that things generally work out if you just let them.