As a kid who grew up loving road trips, the 24 hour drive from Kansas City to Los Angeles didn’t phase me.  Having spent most of my years in either Kansas or Louisiana, I didn’t understand when people talked about how ‘flat’ these areas are.  Driving through Arizona and New Mexico gave me a new appreciation for God’s architecture at work.

Los Angeles…ten years after I first stepped foot here, I’m still finding new ways to fall in love with this city.  I’d been living here barely over a month when I realized I was waking up in the morning with a smile on my face.  Constantly.  I still had a lot of work to do of course, but a lot of the tension that had built up inside me over the years was starting to fade away.   Part of that tension of course was feeling like I had no margin for error to get to California.  Well now I was here, presumably for as long as I felt like staying.  As I started to relax in a psychic way, it played itself out in other areas, most notably my love life.  I notoriously made my rep as ‘one of the guys’ in Kansas, but now I could start the process of actively building relationships with women who interested me.  The most cosmetic change of course was dropping the ‘Clark Kents’ and wearing contacts on a regular basis.  The Spike Lee image had served its purpose in Kansas, but I’ve never had a woman approach me because she thought I reminded her of Spike (no disrespect to the brother).  Even with the L.A. climate, I have a hoodie or two in my closet, but my fashion sense started to pay more tribute to the amount of time I spend in the gym.  The ‘pretty boy’ gear as my partner calls it (Although he only uses that term because he knows my fraternal heritage and knows it pisses me off.  We’ll get to him next chapter.)

It didn’t take long for me to find my way to various hotspots, some world renown, some locally iconic, sometimes just kicking it with the right people on the right night.  One night when I was out on the Sunset Strip will always stand out.  She checks in on me from time to time, so I know she won’t mind me repeating this one (it is funny I guess), but it’s true I lost my ‘California virginity’ and my ‘earthquake virginity’ on the same night.  At the same time.  As you can imagine, after I told the boys back home that story it became an ‘instant classic’…

I hadn’t strayed too far from my ‘base’, and the first mosque I found was right across the street from SC’s campus.  I was still balanced out to a point.  But the Hollywood scene is so intoxicating, the connections I was starting to make gave my eyes and ears access to things I didn’t even know existed.

Speaking of which, in the middle of sowing my oats (literally), I had to go to grad school once in a while…

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