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Only in Los Angeles

I made a quick visit to Los Angeles last week, in an attempt to jump start my languishing acting career. (I’ll let you figure out whether I’m joking. If you aren’t sure, ask someone who knows me.) Here’s how I always know I am in L.A., and not at the University of Chicago:

1. Everyone is constantly telling everyone else how great they look. (No one actually told me I looked great, but they told each other how great they looked without fail.)

2. I’m not the only one trying to write email messages on my BlackBerry while driving.

3. Hotels don’t deliver newspapers to your room in the morning.

4. Everyone pretends to have read Freakonomics. (At U. of C., nobody bothers to pretend.)

5. The receptionist asks you whether you want your bottled water cold or at room temperature.

6. I wear a new shirt for the first time and don’t realize until the plane ride home that I have forgotten to remove the piece of cardboard that the manufacturer inserts around the collar to keep it stiff during shipping. All day long I have had the cardboard poking out from underneath my collar, and nobody said a thing. (At U. of C., people inform me when I do things like this.)