I’ve been out there on the front lines of Los Angeles, driving the streets and meeting the freaks, the flotsam and jetsam of this sprawling metropolis, and I’ve been on a kind of twisted social experiment. I’ve been slinging compliments like a madman, seeing what sticks, what stirs the pot, what shakes up the souls of the disheveled denizens of this broken paradise.
“Ah, what a conversation we’ve had,” I’d say, leaning over to the bewildered passenger in the back seat. “You’ve got a brain in there, I can tell. You’re not like the rest of these deranged misfits. No, you’ve got ideas, ideas that could change the world. I enjoyed every second of it.”
“You’re an interesting specimen,” I’d remark to another, my eyes peering through the rearview mirror, examining their every twitch and blink. “You’ve got that spark, that flash of genius that keeps this whole mad circus spinning. You’re one of the good ones.”
“You’re the sanest 2 a.m. pickup I’ve had,” I’d exclaim, voice dripping with sarcasm, as we careened through the darkened streets of downtown LA, the neon lights creating a kaleidoscope of colors on the pavement. “Most of the poor souls I scoop up at this hour are lost, confused, babbling incoherently about the end times. But you, you’ve got it together. You’re the picture of sanity in this sea of madness.”
“Never have I laid eyes on a more radiant passenger than you,” I’d announce with a grin, the voice of a lounge lizard crooning through the car’s speakers. “I’ve been shuttling drunks and degenerates from this dive all night, but you, my dear, are a sight for sore eyes. A shimmering jewel in this sea of mud.”
“What a life you lead,” I’d muse aloud, the hum of the tires on the road creating a soothing white noise. “You’ve seen things, done things that most people could only dream of. It’s a shame our time together is so brief. I could listen to your tales for hours.”
“Oh, what a riot you lot are,” I’d laugh, my foot heavy on the gas pedal, the roar of the engine echoing through the night. “You’re the kind of wild bunch that could tear this town apart, that could bring it all crashing down. I wish I could join you in your debauchery, in your glorious anarchy.”
“You’re a college kid, aren’t you?” I’d question, my tone tinged with skepticism, eyeing the young soul in the back seat, still wet behind the ears. “You’ve got that look of hope, that glint of optimism that hasn’t been ground down by the meat grinder of life just yet.”
I’ve been doing this, my friends, and I’ve been observing, and I’ve come to one conclusion: there is no rhyme or reason to this game. These strange birds that flock to Los Angeles are a varied bunch, and there’s no predicting how they’ll react to a little bit of flattery, a sprinkle of praise. Some lap it up like honey, others recoil like they’ve been slapped. The people here, they’re wild, they’re unpredictable, they’re a breed apart. La gente este muy loca, indeed.
I’ve been experiment with saying different compliments with different pax.
“I really enjoyed our conversation.”
“You are such an interesting person”.
“You are the most sane 2 am pick up I’ve had before!”
“You are the prettiest passenger I’ve ever picked up from this bar before”
“You live such an interesting life. Wish I had time to hear more.”
“Man, you guys are so much fun. Wish I could hang out with you for the night.”
“You must be in college?”
I’ve been finding some pax are really receptive to some compliments, and not as much for others. What compliments have you found to have the be reception with your pax?