Friday, August 05, 2005
I read once that Bette Davis was a notorious recluse who refused to give interviews for most of her career until she finally agreed to give one in her later years. At this interview, she was asked by the reporter if she had any advice to give to rising starlets new to Hollywood and she replied cryptically with the following two words: "Take Fountain".
Fountain, for those unfamiliar with LA, is a street just south of Sunset boulevard that runs parallel to it for miles. Sunset, both then and now, is always congested with traffic while Fountain is practically empty most of the time. It's a quiet residential road with nothing on it, a fact that's especially surprising considering the human activity taking place just one street above. This is the 'road less traveled' and a good metaphor for life that manages to give me a little tickle everytime I remember to take it. But 'taking Fountain' is easier said then done. There is the call of the flashy billboards, hot nightlife, neon signs and scantily clad booty that give you a sense that you're missing out on something. There is also the eerie loneliness of Fountain that makes you think you've made a wrong turn somewhere. That you'll be beaten, robbed, or hijacked. But Fountain will always be my road of choice. It's about listening to your heart, trusting your instincts, about carving out an identity in this overpopulated world of poseurs and followers. Growing up in a Korean community, I've seen a lot of lives laid to waste by the pressures of social conformity, status and prestige. Kids who trudge through life as doctors and lawyers who have no idea of why they were put on this earth other than to make money and to fulfill some superficial idea of success. Koreans are the worst about this. Lately as a teacher, I've really started to view this as a form of social oppression and wonder how long this pattern will continue to perpetuate itself. How long before Korean-Americans are free from these externally imposed determinants of self-worth? How long before they are completely free to marry people outside their class and race? And is this as inherently bad as I think it is? At least most of them are so busy building their portfolios that they don't have time to smoke crack, hire hookers, or sodomize young children in sleepy mid-Western towns. Or maybe they're just better at hiding it? If anyone knows any crack-smoking, hooker-hiring, child sodomizing Korean-Americans please send them my way so I can discuss with them how it is that they've bravely gone where (most) Koreans have not gone before.
(Photo of the southwest corner of Fountain and Las Palmas, Hollywood.)
Posted by babibi at 2:09 PM