We all know . . . you hate Los Angeles.
Seriously. I get it. You saw a comedian make jokes about LA or walked Hollywood Blvd once when you were 8 and made up your mind. You probably saw Down and Out in Beverly Hills and could never get that sour taste out of your mouth. You suspected it was Nick Nolte but decided to blame the whole city of LA instead. I get it.
When it comes to LA, everyone has an opinion and it’s almost always bad. I get a lot of unsolicited opinions from people about their distaste for Los Angeles. . . and the majority are from people who’ve either never been here or only visited. This city is so hated on a national scale it astounds me. “LA is gross.” “LA is full of snobs and fakery.” “LA ate my baby.” It’s like some kind of national conscious that permeates every level of society — LA is awful.
I like LA. I think its a fine city. Sure, there’s some shitty parts of this city and more than enough culture shock aspects that give it a steep learning curve — but, hey, try moving to New York. Still, I can never betray my love of Chicago. I think it’s the greatest American city. And having been a Chicagoan for so long, my adjustment to LA has been weird. However, weird in a way only transplants can understand — not people who think they know LA as they bask in the shadow of the Hancock Building.
Listen, I’m here to say that LA is not all bad. The real change for me was the necessity of a car. And, quite frankly, that’s a symptom that is pretty exclusive to people form Chicago and New York (and a few select public transportation meccas). Sure, you NEED a car here. That’s just a necessary evil. The public transportation system isn’t as accessible as you’d like and the city is so spread out that a bus ride could take an hour and forty-five minutes.
For me, the whole thing about having a car isn’t that I hate to drive . . . it’s that cars are expensive. Megan and I already have one car, costing us a hefty monthly payment + insurance. Now we need another one and it’s proving to be a financial hurdle. A really high hurdle . . . with spikes and lava. It’s like Bowser’s Castle. With Megan the only bread winner at the moment and my future completely booked with unpaid internships, money is becoming a mythical creature in our family.
And listen, yes, there’s traffic. God forbid. A city with over 2,499,764 registered vehicles is bound to be fraught with bumper kissing.
I’m relatively fine with it. You have to be. I look at it two ways.
ONE – my commute, door to door, when I lived in Chicago, was about 50 minutes to and hour. My commute door to door in Los Angeles is roughly the same. The difference is that in Chicago I could read or sleep on the train while in LA I can listen to NPR. No big whoop.
TWO – when you don’t live in Los Angeles, you are flooded with nightmarish visions about LA traffic. It’s in the news, movies, magazines — if you were from another planet, you’d think cars were the actual inhabitants of LA. And traffic is bad here — worse than most other cities.
The thing is, once your psyche has been inundated with visions of cars stuck ass to front, you arrive in LA with a calm reserve. You expect the worse and just settle with it. So, traffic becomes an afterthought. It’s there, it will always be there, so just deal with it. And when you do get in a jam, you’re less likely to be a raving lunatic with anger management problems and more likely to just sit back and say to yourself, “Oh, there it is. Traffic . . . So, NPR, what’s on your agenda today?”
And NPR answers with traffic.