I’m stuck on a Detroit-bound plane on the tarmac at LAX, indefinitely attending the passing of some weather system between points “A” and “B”. Twelve hours of meetings sandwiched between twelve hours in an airplane, 5,000 miles there, and back again. I just overheard two men behind me, fawning over their teenage sons like schoolgirls for the latest boy-band craze. You know, the type of men who think that loafers and jeans is striking out. I hope I never wear loafers and jeans. But I digress.
These kids are studying to take the SAT2 (there is such a thing?) because Ivy Leagues want those scores in lieu of the ACT. They are, of course, multisport varsity athletes with a million hit-points and maximum charisma, 5.0 GPAs (and I thought a 4.0 was as high as they went?). One father lamented that Yale said something to the effect of, “We have 1,000 kids just like you.”
His 18-year old wants to go to B-school, presumably to read about B-school, or to read about Business, in a book. He wants him to go to a “Top 10” B-school, naturally. His son has no idea what facet of “Business” interests him, but “Top 10” it is. No wonder these kids grow up and kill themselves, either literally or figuratively. They have no idea what they want, or what they want to do. They’ll never know how to be happy or satisfied with anything, because no matter where they go, there will always be a thousand others, just like them.
Anyways, the sprawl that is L.A. and the vicinity; the smog that conceals the nearby mountains nine days out of ten, eight lanes of traffic standing still. Vacant bars and restaurants in various stages of disrepair along the Santa Monica coastline, adjacent to vacant beaches, the view from million-dollar condos where nobody’s home. It doesn’t take a moment of clarity (or maybe it does) to realize that none of this is the natural order of things. None of this even approximates how things would otherwise be.