Monday, February 25, 2013

Ohio

Nobody is from Los Angeles. Everyone comes here from someplace else. Oh sure, a handful of people claim to be native-born, but I think that's just because it would be too incredible to admit they were really delivered here by unicorns from Narnia.

So, at any type of social gathering in L.A., whenever you're meeting new people, the inevitable question always comes up (hence its inevitability): "Where are you from?" I hate that question.

It's not because I'm not ashamed of whence I hail or anything like that. It's just that talking about my lackluster origin is tedious to me, and as soon as I tell people I'm originally from Ohio, the next thing out of their mouths is invariably, "Oh really? Where in Ohio?" Like they're fucking Rand McNally or something. Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were an expert in Midwestern geography all of a sudden.

They're probably expecting that I'm going to name a big city in Ohio that they've heard of, like Cleveland, or...um...er...I'm sure there's more, just give me a minute...

No, I'm from a small town most people wouldn't know.  I tell them as much, hoping they won't feel the need to keep pressing, but that only seems to make them more insistent. So I say, "I'm from Chillicothe," which typically elicits a blank stare and maybe one of those Scooby-Doo "Ar-huh?" sounds that's like confusion and a question all rolled into one utterance. Then they admit that they've never heard of Chillicothe, to which I reply, "No shit. I tried to tell you."

"What kind of name is Chillicothe?"they might ask. So then I explain it's Native American. (Or is it "Indian" again? I think they actually prefer Indian now, presumably just to screw with us for taking their land, killing the bison, and giving them all syphilis. They're so petty like that. What was I talking about? Oh, right.) The name Chillicothe is an Indian term. It means "capital city," but whenever people ask, I like to tell them it means, "Thanks for wasting my time. Couldn't you tell I wasn't interested in getting into this whole big thing with you?"

That's usually followed by the question I really hate: "I have an aunt in Dayton. Is that anywhere close to Dayton?" No, it's not close to Dayton, you knuckle-dragging imbecile. I mean, maybe in cosmic terms, but no. Ohio is kind of a big state. It takes 3-4 hours to drive from one side to the other.

I swear, I think people don't have any sense for distances. I was at a party not long ago and I happened to say that in all my years living in Los Angeles, I'd never made it up to San Francisco. The guy I was talking to was flabbergasted. He acted like the city of Rice-a-Roni was right in my back yard, when really it's closer to a six hour drive. You might as well chastise a person living in Tallahassee, Florida for never visiting West Virginia. "Are you kidding? It's right there, just halfway up the length of the entire coast."

When I meet people at parties and ask them where they're from, if they say any state other than Ohio, I just let it go and don't probe any deeper. You know why? Because I don't fucking care. All we're doing is making small talk. If I could skip the whole rigmarole, I would. Maybe I'll just start telling people I'm from Narnia, and I came here on a unicorn.

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