03 October 2012

Los Angeles: Year One

It's no secret the City of Angels has a dubious reputation throughout the country. After a year out here I would say that many of those rumors hold truth and yet... overall... it's not that bad. People emphasize the "Love/Hate" relationship most have with LA, but mine is more of a "Kind of Like/ Mostly Dislike" relationship. I try to see the silver lining whenever I'm in a less than pleasant situation ("try" being the keyword). To be honest, I don't think anyone LOVES Los Angeles-- they love LA when life is good and hate LA when something shitty happens and that's not really love, is it? I'm going for a less fleetingly emotional approach with the perspective of one who observes.

Just so you know, neither Michael nor I saw this city as a long-term settlement when we moved out here: LA is a stepping stone onto bigger and better opportunities. Michael has a career he can basically do anywhere, and as a writer (yes, I've graduated myself from screenwriter to writer) so do I. However, we knew we had to start in Los Angeles. So here is what I've learned so far:


If you know someone living in California, you know they LOVE to brag talk about the weather. I can't speak for Northern California, but in LA the amazing weather and ocean breezes are only to be found BY THE OCEAN. Move away from the coast and it is HOT in the summertime (and apparently the early autumn as well-- ugh), pushing the 100's.  And don't let anyone ever tell you there's no humidity because that's just delusional.

Apparently it wasn't always like this. I've talked to many people who have lived in LA for more than 10 years (in one case over 30) and they admit the climate was never this ridiculous. I can even attest to the fact that when we moved here at the end of Sept last year, it was in the mid 70's until wintertime. If you want that gorgeous, cooler weather stick with Santa Monica. There's also oodles and oodles of sunshine. I love my Vitamin D as much as the next person, but I really miss overcast, rainy days which are prominent during the winter.


Once the topic of weather has been exhausted, Los Angelites love recommending restaurants, especially out-of-the-way, hole-in-the-wall places that no one has ever heard of but them. The food is usually an infusion of some kind, a strange ethnicity, or a lifestyle such as vegan. And food trucks are big out here too. Honestly, the food selection, variety, availability in LA and the surrounding cities is incredible. One of the best parts of living here, in my opinion.


Just like restaurants, there is a bar in LA to satisfy every taste and and style of person: modern, dive, hipster, etc. Celebrities, tourists, and those that love to party in style are attracted to West Hollywood. I have yet to go but I hear The Abbey is fantastic. Cocktails in LA, on average, run $10 and up, but are delicious as LA has some of the best mixologists behind the counter. However, I've enjoyed the food and drinks in Glendale (the city right next door to our neighborhood) and haven't felt the need to venture west.


For such a dirty city-- and LA is SUPER DIRTY-- there are tons of places to go, things to do, and plenty of hiking. Citizens love their cars and they love their hiking trails... it's ironic. Plus to the north, south, and east are even more things to do: Disneyland, surfing, skiing, national parks, music festivals, wineries, etc. If you have a little money and transportation, you can have quite an active life out here.


I've met great people in Los Angeles. While there is an assumption that LA is riddled with shallow, snobby people, I think that's true of any community in the world. Oh, and it's true that celebrities are everywhere-- it's the norm around here. I must say, it's odd because you see people that look familiar but you've never met and you can't place them...

Crazy is also an issue out here: there is an over OVER abundance of crazy people, homeless and otherwise, in LA. Sometimes it's unsettling because these people can be unpredictable. I've never lived anywhere I was uncomfortable walking alone at night-- including Chicago's South Loop-- LA is the first.

And finally--


I could write an entire blog (probably 2) on the idiocy of the roadways and drivers in Los Angeles. Oh, and the parking. Traffic-- LA's most notorious "troublemaker"-- is abundant but not that bad because one knows to expect it. It's the most frustrating when caught in event jams, say... like... stand still traffic for the Oscars.

However, it's the drivers themselves that cause the most frustration/ paranoia/ high blood pressure. A recent All State survey stated that every time you drive on the roads in LA, you risk a 76% chance of having an accident. At that rate I'd rather deal with snow! Jenna Marbles described LA drivers as 16 year old girls that just got their licenses-- totally true! Add cell phones, iPods, GPS and you've got roughly 11 million idiots driving huge weapons on a daily basis. It's incredible.

Am I being dramatic? Could I possibly be exaggerating?! Let's see... the first week our van was sideswiped while PARKED ALL THE WAY IN THE BACK of the mall garage. And no, they didn't leave a note.  It happened AGAIN a couple months later. Turn signals are nonexistent on the highways (okay, everywhere), drivers turning right on red treat their red light as a green light. I've actually had drivers use right turn lanes as left merge lanes.

Yet, strangely, these are the same drivers that sit and sit and SIT waiting for pedestrians to cross a 5 or 6 lane intersection when they have plenty of time to turn before the person(s) reach their part of the crosswalk. Sheesh.

Then there's the cluster fuck of highways and merges into each poorly labeled highway and roads that seem like they're going in one direction then take you in a completely different one. I was intimidated to drive for months because of the confusion. You know how each exit has a number? Directions will give you a number but the highway signs will only label the street-- you'll see the exit number on a small sign at the split of the highway and exit. Yeah... it's BRILLIANT.

Honestly, I'm excited for the day we leave LA, even if it's just moving an hour or so outside the city. I have no interest in clubs, the "scene," celebrities, or crazy. Yet LA is an interesting place for human study and growth, but you have to be careful. If you lack confidence in who you are, you're in danger of being corrupted by the desperation all over this city, as well as the fear and arrogance. I think that's why many people have nervous breakdowns and head to rehab.  Visit by all means but there are far more beautiful places to live in California... as long as you're not trying to make it in Hollywood.


  1. I think LA is different for everybody, but I couldn't disagree with you. very well written and true ;)

    LA By Diana Live Magazine

    1. Thank you! I'm looking forward to exploring more areas of and around Los Angeles to widen my perspective. It has only been a year, after all. And you always find the BEST restaurants!