A tradition that I invented was that my first stop after coming home from school was going to the nearest In-N-Out and gramming it for all the world to see. Coming back from Geneva, NY every few months, I asked myself, 'What is the most obnoxiously L.A. thing I could do?' The list is long and included ideas like going to the Walk of Fame, strolling in Santa Monica, going live in Rodeo Drive, you get the idea. Stopping by this staple west coast food chain was frankly the fastest, cheapest, and easiest thing I could think of. For my first two years it was like clockwork. My dad would pick me up, I'd pass out in the car, and he would know where to go.
But in this last trip I broke my tradition, because if you know me you know I have 0 patience. And so when I saw that the drive through at my nearest In-N-Out reached out onto the street, hell it kissed the freeway exit, I said #thankunext. I was not about to wait in that whole line for a set of fries that just had Thousand Island dressing with like 3 other things in it. My dad didn't have to say anything either. I knew we he was pissed if he had to wait, and so we left. Yet, I hadn't learned my lesson.
I came home on Dec. 18, just in time to spend the holidays at home. Winter break has always been an awkward break period. It's long enough to where I get ample time to relax and get my fix of vitamin D. However, it's too short to where I don't properly get to catch up with people or go out and do what my heart desires. Because I still had my heart set on getting a great shot of me ordering my Animal style fries I tried going to In-N-Out again. This time I tried going to a spot 2o minutes away from my house. I wasn't necessarily starving, thus my patience level was at a 3 out of 5. When I finally pulled up, I saw that this line was also long. Without wasting a second, I found the exit and went to the next location I knew. The next stop was 10 minutes away from this one. I was still not that hungry, and not that annoyed since I had mentally primed.
This last stop hit my nerves. I had made a right and entered the parking lot to see that it was completely full, the line was curling out onto the street, and the line inside was cracking outside of the doors. I said, "Oh fuck this!" I hit reverse, prayed for that the car's detection system would react if something was coming, and I whipped the car back. The light was green and I was off. I wasn't breaking any laws or anything. I was going a cool 50mph, but now I was pissed. I returned home and just planned to grab dinner with a friend later. Sushi was healthier than In-N-Out and so I couldn't be mad. I was just annoyed. My dad heard my boots hitting the hallways and called me into his room. I pivoted back and he was sitting in his recliner and turned off the tv. He looked at me, straight faced, and asked, "Why are you so stupid?"
My cheeks started to flush and I quipped out, "What the hell do you mean?" He didn't flinch and with a cool tone said, "Why are you wasting your time trying to get a cheap burger when you could get something that actually taste good? I don't see how a $10 combo compares to something you can get at a nice restaurant where you can take good pictures, see you friends, or do whatever you want to do." I stood there with a red hot face, fists clenched, and I didn't know what to say. He was right. He made a legitimate point.
Since that encounter I have had time to think. While it came off rude, my dad made a point.
I was chasing a vapid and meaningless image of the L.A. lifestyle to show off to my friends. In a weird way, I wanted to legitimize where I was from to people who I had barely, or never, met. Yet, I had nothing to prove to anyone. I knew where I was from. Hell my area code says it all! I had just wanted to be one of those people with photos showing off how good my break was. Now I'm realizing that I'm from that place that people come to for their breaks, or dream of seeing in person. Thus, I'm living a dream.
In short, In-N-Out you can take someone else's money, because I'm skipping the fries and extra spread on the side for bottomless mimosas sitting on the beach side.
Author William Samayoa
Marketer by profession and storyteller by passion. L.A. raised, proud Latino, and pop culture enthusiast.