The concept of shelter in Los Angeles is illusory. With its year-round temperate weather and ‘hotel pool parties’ being the sole association with four seasons, the only shelter from the elements one direly needs is SPF 40 and a decent umbrella. Sure, at times it can seem unbearably cold to an Angeleno, but this spurious impression would be easily remedied if they’d only understand shorts and flip-flops aren’t a uniform but an option. To an outsider, many elder Angelenos can look near frozen to death, but don’t be fooled. This is merely a local beauty custom known as ‘botox’ and clears up within a few weeks.
Now, although four walls and a roof aren’t essential to one’s survival in LA – a healthy heroin addiction and blanket seem to suffice many – the average Angeleno still maintains at least two homes. Their fixed one, referred as a House, contains many of life’s luxuries – bed, kitchen, storage, television, computer – but you’d be hard pressed to find an Angeleno in one. Rather it’s their second home, the mobile one, referred to as a Car, where they spend the bulk of their time. It is in this cocoon like vessel where Angelenos forage for work (read: auditions), food (read: supplements) and community (read: gridlock on the 101). Thus here you will find their basest life essentials: GPS, loose change and head shots.
Angelenos are fickle creatures when it comes to their diet. To them, the actual eating of food isn’t nearly half as important as talking about it, photographing it and being seen at an establishment du jour providing it; so rarely do they have time to actually eat. Naturally one would get painfully hungry with a diet of this nature, so the astute Angeleno replaces this urge with supplements, or, more explicitly, cocaine. This powdery supplement not only suppresses one’s appetite but also inspires one to talk ad nauseum; and not to forget drains bank accounts so that even if one had the urge to cheat, they’re no longer able to afford food anyways.
Adding to their fickle dietary habits, the food Angelenos will eat is strictly prepared. Nothing they consume can contain carbs, gluten, sugar, fat, calories, sodium, dairy, meat or animal derivatives of any kind – unless, that is, the food item contains marijuana. Due to such extreme fasting, area grocers, capitalizing on medicinal marijuana, laced many past snack time favorites with pot so as to get Angelenos to eat again. The only catch is, just like Costco or Sam’s Club, one requires a membership card for these select grocers, which, of course, is easy to obtain. One merely needs to demonstrate symptoms of the aforementioned diet: ADHD, insomnia, irritability and delusions that your life’s worthy of a book.
In Los Angeles the only reason you work is because, really, there’s little else to do between lunch and happy hour. Therefore work is also an illusory concept. No one seems to actually be employed in the fields of their professions making unemployment rampant. Los Angeles, though, has found a clever way so as to disguise this fact by retitling the unemployable as ‘actors’. Being an ‘actor’ one can blithely go about their day without any effort of looking for actual work; allowing them ample time to boast about themselves as being someone they are not – productive members of society.
If one has still yet to find employment after the two year grace period of unemployment, Angelenos utilize the simple trick of a hyphened title. It’s through this one can gauge how long one’s been unemployed. An actor-model has been unemployed for three to four years. An actor-writer-director: five to six. And the zenith of titles, actor-model-singer-dancer: terminally unemployable.
To help the growing number of artistic youth in the surrounding Silverlake, Echo Park and Downtown areas, Los Angeles has opened this trick to all focuses in the creative arts. Thanks to this, it is not uncommon to meet a blogger-actor-writer-illustrator-singer-tattoo artist or a webdesigner-activist-improv teacher-editor-retoucher. But since these titles are a bit of a mouthful, simple acronyms have been created so we can easily identify them as BARISTAs and WAITERs.
The Los Angeles community is something of an enigma. Although its population rivals that of New York, very little human interaction actually occurs. Angelenos rather prefer the company of their phone or computer than conversation with those in proximity. But regardless of this, LA maintains a vastly interconnected social network. Everyone seems to have a friend whose coworker’s stepdad’s cousin who once saw Paul Rudd in the LAX bathroom – and they’re quick to tell you too. The reason being is the LA network functions as a six level list based pyramid scheme, with the end goal of being on the A-list, or, rather, a complete recluse (celebrity) who doesn’t have to speak to anyone.
Based on the ancient LA proverb, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” the scheme works with one encountering a celebrity whereby they are mandated to tell ten people. Those ten people turn to tell ten more people, and those ten people tell ten more, and so on until the sixth, and lowest degree has been informed.
The upheld benefit in doing this is one is granted immunity from having to associate themselves with those further down the chain. The more you’re talked about, the less people you’re obliged to talk to; and because no Angeleno in their right mind wants to suffer another Angeleno, everyone’s eager to jump in the scheme. Why it stops at the sixth degree is because it’s at this point the story reaches New York where nobody gives a shit.