— hey. nice to meet you guys. what’re your names?
— this is Balls.
— (hand extended and frozen mid-way) what?
— yeah, we call him Balls. just call him Balls, he doesn’t mind.
sped off on wednesday night to Los Angeles with Fung Wei in his boyish Acura RSX and three little bags for thanksgiving weekend and just got back to San Diego in the early morning on Monday. i half wish i never came back. the boys showed me a really good time, and for once in a long time, perhaps ever since i got to the States, i felt at home.
— dude the LOTR trilogy is on blue ray for just 8 bucks!
— seriously? hey help me get a set.
— oh myy god. really? help me order one too.
— this is so awesomely retarded, man.
it took getting back and checking google calendar for the first time in weeks before i realised that there remains only a week of classes till the quarter is over. has it really been three months? it feels that i must have surely been here for a much shorter period of time — i’ve only met so few people and done so little — yet some days crawl by so slowly i wonder if time is operating in a loop, with a bored Krystle stuck in the eternal reccurence of university life until the days cannot be told apart.
— i’m hungry.
— duuude i’m not driving man, i’m so lazy. it’s 3 am!
— come on, i’ll get you fries.
— okay man. let’s go, let’s go.
— anybody wants something from mcd’s?
— dude but after that we smoke, ok? this is my last weekend here i wanna get high outta my mind.
— yeah sure, somebody get the bong. whose weed are we using?
— mine, man, i just picked up yesterday.
— the guy works on thanksgiving?
— yah man, people need weed over the long weekend. it’s retarded.
thanksgiving was a much needed getaway from UCSD and the I-House community. it wasn’t so much the traveling this time around that did the trick, but the company. i doubt this was always true for me, but spending time with guys can be so much more relaxing and enjoyable than with a group of girls. there is no politicking in friendship, no expectations, no underlying tensions. with a group of guys, what you see is what you get: politeness and subtlety go right out the window, and anything is possible anytime as long as one of them has a car (and several of them did) with GPS and a credit card, because these boys live as though without a care in the world. most nights, i spent the hours lingering drowsily in the mist of their pothead conversations, laughing riotously along with their numerous inside jokes, crude jibes, and name-calling. nobody got up before noon and food was the essential priority in the household pyramid of daily to-dos. on black friday, the group stayed up till three in the morning ordering tech online and yelling out various deals and ways to make more money to each other.
— hey, if you get these earphones now for 100 bucks, you can sell it for 300 bucks at retail price.
— wooow that is retarded. can i get a set and you sell it for me?
— sure, but get it now or everyone on slickdeals will grab it.
— all those fucking nerds out there, man! this game i wanted was sold out in 10 minutes. 10 MINUTES! hey guess what, Balls, i’m investing in Bada. i’m gonna make a coupla’ hundred bucks off these earphones!
— really? hey i wanna invest too.
— black friday is retarded man! i should come back every year just for this.
i had an incredibly comfortable time in LA. Fung Wei sweetly relinquished his bed and relocated himself to the couch for the entire time that i was there. the boys, though not the best housekeepers, had impeccable taste in their tech. the floor carpet was disgusting beyond hope and the front door smelt like old socks, but the flatscreen TV was one of the largest i had ever seen and was outfitted with a surround sound-system that made cinemas seem unnecessary. random MacBook Pros lounged on the couch and tabletops like spoilt cats, while the X-Box huddled with the Wii like puppies under the monster mother of all TV’s. having lived a student life with politics and econ majors for so long, i suddenly realised how good it felt to be somewhere where people appreciated a good splurge on a tech-savvy life again. how Asian? yes, and how comfortable.
— someone with internet look up an independently owned diner along the 15, please.
— why independently owned, man? let’s just go to In-and-Out.
— i’m driving. i want it independently owned. Yelp it and get something well-rated.
— dude, i’m so baked. can’t we just go to In-and-Out?
– okay, i found some Nancy’s Diner. it’s 3.5 stars.
— i said well-rated!
— it was the first on Yelp’s hits!
— you’re such a retard.
LA was not much more than i expected. Hollywood conjures up such images of grandeur but in reality is just fugly as hell, with homeless people running around in costumes for a random photo opp. Vegas was similar in nature, if not more brightly-lit, decadent and located in the middle of a desert. at the drop of a hat, the guys were pretty much willing to go most anywhere. at my half-joking suggestion that we should all go to Vegas, the guys circled around in earnest indecision and longing, and before i knew it, everything spontaneously fell into place. 10 in the morning on Saturday, we rolled out of bed and they lounged around smoking and borrowing each others’ formal attire to wear into the clubs of Las Vegas. at Verun’s insistence, Fung’s crate of water was dragged unceremoniously downstairs into the back of the car with all the other carelessly packed lumps of baggage.
— (myself in semi-disbelief) so we’re going to Vegas?
— i guess so. and the guys are going too. hey, Bada, you taking the Saab right?
— yeah sure.
— can you get us a room on the Strip? the Strip is retarded!
— (random interjection) oh my god, yeah, Vegas is soo much fun man…
— i’ll call a friend. is 100 bucks a night okay?
— (myself balking) um. can it be less?
— (after a short conversation on the phone in Korean) ok we’re staying at the Hilton. 16 bucks each.
— (all in semi-disbelief) that is retardly cheap.
— good stuff, Mr. Kang.
— hey so can i borrow a dress-shirt?
it felt like i had been there for much longer than a week, and yet somehow it was only four nights and a number of long interstate drives. the guys gambled their hearts and pockets inside-out at Vegas and we ended the night in a swirling blend of lights and cocktails in XS until one of us decided 5.30am was late enough and time to head back. a couple of hasty snapshots to commemorate our light-headed fun and we headed back to our double-queen at the Hilton.