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November 7, 2005

Los Angeles needs a really good therapist.

You don't so much live in Los Angeles as cohabitate. And you fight sometimes, and then you make up, and sometimes you really REALLY want to leave each other. Or cheat on each other. Then you cry in your vodka martini and say, Baby, I'll never leave you. It's very codependant.

I realize of course that I may have one or seven idiosyncrasies, but this city has some really weird idiosyncrasies of its own. And so now I list them for you because that is what I do, I make lists.

1) Rain

The first year that you live in Los Angeles, you will be shocked and amazed at how little it rains. Then when the rainy season arrives you will be equally shocked and amazed that the nation's second largest city ceases to function when tiny drops of water fall from the sky.

We lose the ability to drive. Everyone is late. People are alternately awed and terribly upset... by RAIN. Just RAIN. It is the lead story on every news channel, with live team coverage and snazzy graphics, STORM WATCH 2005!!! The power goes out. From 1/4 inch of RAIN.

During that first year in LA, you think maybe this city is retarded.

By the time the next year rolls around, you have gotten used to 362 days of sunshine, and you are secretly shocked and awed by the rain when it comes. Yet you're still not "from" here, so you act like everyone else is crazy but you're still normal. By year three, fugeddaboutit. You're totally complaining about the rain and calling in sick. Because of RAIN.

2) Nobody mows their own lawn.
Seriously. Nobody here mows their own lawn. Like.. four people maybe do their own yardwork. Everyone else has a gardener. I am po' and yet the house I lease comes with a gardener. His name is Francisco and he shows up occassionally and chops up a shrub and loudly blows the leaves around.

3) Everyone talks on their cellphones all the time.

I know that people have cellphones all over the U.S. and they're all addicted to them, but I need someone who is not from here to come to Los Angeles and tell me if you agree that we are sort of crazy with the cellphone. In the grocery store. At Target. At Blockbuster. At the hair salon. In traffic, of course. Which brings me to...

4) Traffic. We are incredibly superstitious about traffic.
So, as you know, Los Angeles has the nation's worst traffic. (Oh, this is an actual fact, not one of the usual made-up facts I like to use. See this and this.) But enough science, already! Back to superstitions!

You see, if you are stuck in very bad traffic it's perfectly acceptable to complain about it ad nauseum. However, if traffic is surprisingly good you are not allowed UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES to comment on this good fortune. You can't say, "Wow, traffic isn't bad at all!" or "Hey, traffic is really moving!" because YOU WILL JINX THE TRAFFIC. And traffic will get mad at you and immediately red brake lights will be all around you and everything will slow to a crawl. AND IT IS YOUR FAULT.

If you happen to make this awful mistake of JINXING THE TRAFIC when you're in the car with other Los Angelenos, they will hate you and blame you and maybe hit you.

Consider yourself warned.

5) Cold is a relative term.
Everyone puts on gloves and hats and scarves when it gets down to 68 degrees. I love you Los Angeles! This city is awesome!

6) Distance is calculated in time, not miles.
"How far are you from Monrovia?"
"Oh... geez. Like an hour? Maybe more if traffic is bad."
"Yes... but how FAR are you?"
"Twenty minutes with no traffic... but only if you take the 210."

Folks here are crazy about their sushi. Me? Not so much. I might like it if you breaded it and deep-fried it. And removed the seaweed. And covered it in Tabasco. But no, I don't like sushi.

Try telling a Los Angeleno that you don't like sushi. Seriously. Try it, as a little experiment.

At first, they take pity on you. They quiz you about where you've eaten sushi and what you ordered. They assure you it was just the place that was bad. They know a place... a great sushi place. You'll love it. And when you don't love it? They turn on you. It gets nasty. You are suddenly the redneck hick who eats only grits and Coors, because OH MY GOD YOU CANNOT APPRECIATE THE SUSHI. Last year I started telling people I was allergic to seaweed. It's easier.

8) Ugg boots are OK all year round.
Again, with the love, Los Angeles. I love you!

Well, I was going to keep writing and make this a tep ten list, but really I'm already tired of typing and me and my Ugg boots need more caffeine. Plus, it's really, really cold. It's practically down to 70 in here. I should probably complain to someone. Now where'd I put my cellphone?

Posted by laurie at November 7, 2005 7:48 AM