The Quirky Side of Living in Los Angeles

I moved to Los Angeles in October 2009, after living most of my life in growing, but decidedly slower-paced cities in the San Joaquin Valley of California. The San Joaquin Valley is in the center of the state and where they grow a lot of food and extract oil out of the ground to make your car's engine work.

In the six years I've lived in the Los Angeles area, I have learned a few ways that living in Los Angeles is different from most other cities.

  1. In other cities, you drive from point A to point B. In Los Angeles, you navigate as if you're in a live video game. Watch out for the road construction on the right. Dodge a bicyclist riding the wrong way toward you. Slam on the brakes for the cars parked in the right lane because you forgot it's not rush hour. And so on...

  • A half-hour commute is jealousy-invoking. If your commute is 15 minutes or less, you're basically "down the street" from your office.
  • It's perfectly fine to travel 40 minutes to go to a great restaurant.
  • You can have a farm in the middle of the city. You'll know this when you unexpectedly come around a corner to see a group of horses and riders on the side of the street. Another reason the speed limit is no more than 35 mph just about anywhere on city streets.
  • It's a crime to let your dog poop on someone's lawn - even if you pick it up.
  • You're too busy to get to the beach even though it's only half-hour away. And when you do find the time, you'll drive to the beach that's an hour away because it's less crowded.
  • Unless you're driving a Prius, you hate those driving a Prius. The entitlement complex of Prius drivers in Los Angeles is unrivaled. After all, the left lane of the freeway is theirs and only theirs, right?
  • You'll wake up at an ungodly hour to work out and still beat traffic.
  • The kids park is either swarmed or empty. There is no in-between.
  • You have to worry about coyotes, raccoons, and even mountain lions and bears - in the city! I'm more afraid of the wildlife than I am of gangsters and tweakers.
  • Smog makes for some spectacular sunsets.
  • There is never a short line at In-N-Out Burger.
  • You don't have to worry about being judged based on your appearance (in most areas), but watch out for the mommy police, animal advocates and conservationists. One wrong move and you'll get a (verbal) citation.
  • You can drive five miles and feel like you're in a different city, state or even country!
  • There are rescue groups for every type of dog and cat, and other animals, such as horses, wild birds, reptiles, llamas, and even guinea pigs.
  • You'll drive 20 to 30 miles to get something listed for free on Craigslist. Who cares if you spend an hour in traffic and a quarter tank of gas - it's FREE!
  • You could furnish an entire home with furniture found dumped on curbs.
  • "Shabby chic" is the modern term for "old junk that's been refinished or re-upholstered."
  • You can earn100,000 per year and still struggle to achieve the American dream. With rent averaging upwards of2300 per month, many people are spending more than half their income on housing.
  • Trader Joe's always has the smallest parking lot. Always.
  • There is every type of public transportation available: subway, bus, light-rail. But you'll still get in your car and drive everywhere, even when it's less convenient.
  • There is a mani/pedi shop and kebab restaurant on every corner.
  • Unless you're Korean, don't order fish at a Korean restaurant.
  • Sushi has become the new "fast food."
  • We have a concrete-lined river.