Why Los Angeles Is The Weirdest City In The World

I used to love Los Angeles, but now it mostly just freaks me out. When I was in college, I even wrote an op-ed for the newspaper called, “Why I’m Moving Back To California After I Graduate” in which I professed my undying love for L.A. and told New York to piss off. Then graduation came and went, and I still found myself living in New York, thinking that next month will be the month I finally move back to the west coast.

I don’t know what really happened. I could tell you that New York is a city that has you by the balls and won’t let you leave. You spend every waking moment in the city wanting to escape and when you finally do, you can’t wait to go back. You get addicted to the energy. I can’t imagine what it’s like to actually grow up here. I’d be screwed. I wouldn’t be able to live anywhere else.

But New York’s gravitational pull isn’t the whole reason why I never made it back to Los Angeles. I think the other part is because I didn’t know how to lead a real life there. Even though most of my family lives there now, I grew up an hour north of L.A. and when I actually lived in the city proper, it was only for a few months at a time. I only stayed in sublet apartments and thought of the city as a temporary stop on the way over to a more permanent destination. And even though I’ve lived there for a combined amount of time of a year and a half, I never made any new friends. Every person I hung out with were friends I knew from someplace else. With the way the city is spread out, it felt impossible to meet someone knew. Where would you do it? In traffic?

Here is a list of things I never had while living in L.A.: A job, school, a boyfriend, a driver’s license, work ethic or any new friends.

Did you notice the no license thing? Yeah, I’m scared to drive, especially after I was hit by a car, so I’m not gonna. Living in L.A. with no car is sort of like living in hell. You can’t get anywhere. The buses take forever, cabs are actually a million dollars, and your friends will hate to give you rides because nothing is close. When I would go visit L.A. after having lived in New York, I resented the fact that it would take me up to an hour to run a simple errand.

Regarding my work ethic, I have none when I’m in L.A.. I don’t think a lot of people do. Go into any restaurant at two p.m. and you’ll find it packed with people having a four-hour lunch date. You look around and just think to yourself, who are YOU fucking to be here in the middle of the afternoon instead of at work? I remember having to write over the holidays when I was visiting my family and it would take me three hours of being in quarantine to actually write one article. My creative mojo is lost in L.A.. Maybe my gluten-free burger from M Cafe ate it?

But honestly, I shouldn’t talk too much shit because deep down, I think I’m just jealous. It’s always been my not-so-secret dream to live and work in L.A. and to have it figured out like so many other people do. I’m envious of those who have seemingly built a full life for themselves there. I want to know how they did it. I want to go up to a house in Los Feliz and ask the people who live there how they managed to do it.

L.A. is just so alienating in a way that often leaves me stunned. I’m just a confused little boy who wanders from lunch to dinner with no real idea of what to do or how to be. Maybe someday a light bulb will go off in my head and I’lll run back to the west, but until that happens, I’m staying in the East. Because I know how to live here, I figured it out, I don’t need to drive, and it has better pizza. I do miss good iced tea though. And airy spacious restaurants in a mall. Fuck. I can’t wait to go back. I mean, what? TC mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

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Why Los Angeles Is The Weirdest City In The World is cataloged in , , , , , , ,
  • Asdf

    Having read the article twice, I’m unclear what makes it the weirdest city in the world. From what I can determine it’s because you lived there, but don’t anymore, and so you’ve changed but the city hasn’t. Oh, and because you have no work ethic there. …but how does that make L.A. the weirdest city in the world? Maybe this article just shot over my head.The world is a pretty big place, you know. Weird, too.  If this is what passes for weird…

  • Mchdjfj

    NY is the weirdest city in the world because I got hit by a bus and now I don’t want to walk anywhere anymore.

    That’s my valid argument of why I hate NY and think it’s weird.

  • http://brianmcelmurry.blogspot.com/ Brian McElmurry

    Without driving in LA area or any So Cal area, you’re fucked.

  • http://brianmcelmurry.blogspot.com/ Brian McElmurry

    Without driving in LA area or any So Cal area, you’re fucked.

  • Jamesblake

    lol M cafe… that place…

  • Anonymous

    I went to school in Los Angeles, and hated almost everything about it. I could go on for years about everything wrong with the city, from its denizens to its layout to the fact that the falafel there is green (WHAT?!). But I can’t go a day without missing it. There really is just something about LA that makes you fall in love with it against all reason and logic. I was enthralled to be back on the east coast, and still am, but I’m itching to go back to LA. And maybe just forget to come back.

    • guest

      what? felafel contains a lot of parsley. which is green.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t know what the falafel you eat looks like, but it’s usually golden brown on the outside and a yellowish greenish on the inside. What I had in LA at two different spots were golden green (is that a color) on the outside, and light green on the inside.

      • Guest

        Arab falafel is usually slightly green. Israeli falafel is more golden. They’re different. Get over it.

  • leslienico

    This rang so true to me as I was exactly the same as you were when you were there. I just wanted to bask in the sunshine all day long.

    But oh man do I miss amazing Mexican food.

  • Kala

    I’m moving back, come visit me baybay.

    • MONSTER

      hell yeah, girl.

  • Brian Pyne

    I have lived in NY without a license for 6 years and its only come up once, and not even in a situation where I or anyone else had to drive somewhere.  It came up because people were looking at each other’s license pictures and mine was just an ID card.

  • chase the stoke

    I’m an LA transplant and “made it” in 1.5 years (currently in year 5).  You need to live within 5 miles of your job, live within walking distance to coffee shops/grocery store/watering hole(s)/recreation area, be consistent in where you hang out, be genuinely friendly & follow up with the random folks you meet, be realistic about your abilities, and work VERY hard at whatever you do (both full time job and side projects).   RE 4 hour lunches/laziness:  Many professionals in the entertainment industry work odd hours (including working lunches, evening hours, 4 months on/1 month off).  There are plenty of people who live with/off their parents/friends success.  Don’t waste time with bitterness.

    Bottom line, commitment in LA speaks volumes.

    PS – Your title was misleading

    • Austin

      Former 7 year L.A. resident here who will returning w/in the next year and says – YOU NAILED IT!

  • reader

    I think the weirdness he’s referring to has to do with the fact that when you’re not in LA it makes you feel like your missing out on something.  Heck, even when you are in LA you feel like your missing out on something.  But even so, he says says the same about NY–that when you’re in the city you spend every moment trying to escape but once you do you want to go back–so why is LA the weirdest? Hmpth.

  • ProofReader

    new not knew: With the way the city is spread out, it felt impossible to meet someone knew.

  • Annene

    1.  From the sloppy condition of this article it’s obvious that you have no work ethic.
    2.  Those people you saw indulging in 4 hour lunches probably work at night or freelance.  Or they’re doing deals.  Or they’re “talent”.  Or they own their own business, which means they don’t even get weekends off (see comment by Chase The Stoke.)
    3.  I’ve lived in both N.Y.C. and L.A., among other places.  I lasted 15 years in L.A.  People work harder in L.A. than anywhere I’ve ever lived.  A 10-12 hour day is considered normal.  You eat lunch at your desk.  You do whatever they tell you and you make your deadlines, because there’s always someone lusting after your job. I had a house in Los Feliz.  All I had to do to get it was give up any concept of a private life or leisure time.  I don’t live there any more.
    4.  L.A. is weird all right, but you haven’t actually made that point (see 1.)
    5.  Everyone who is physically capable of driving has to learn to drive when they move to L.A.  Those who do not don’t deserve friends.  The last thing I needed after commuting 2-3 hours a day 6 days a week was to drive 2 additional hours for “fun” with no hope of reciprocation.  No one is that fun and there’s nothing weird about that.

  • Annene

    1.  From the sloppy condition of this article it’s obvious that you have no work ethic.
    2.  Those people you saw indulging in 4 hour lunches probably work at night or freelance.  Or they’re doing deals.  Or they’re “talent”.  Or they own their own business, which means they don’t even get weekends off (see comment by Chase The Stoke.)
    3.  I’ve lived in both N.Y.C. and L.A., among other places.  I lasted 15 years in L.A.  People work harder in L.A. than anywhere I’ve ever lived.  A 10-12 hour day is considered normal.  You eat lunch at your desk.  You do whatever they tell you and you make your deadlines, because there’s always someone lusting after your job. I had a house in Los Feliz.  All I had to do to get it was give up any concept of a private life or leisure time.  I don’t live there any more.
    4.  L.A. is weird all right, but you haven’t actually made that point (see 1.)
    5.  Everyone who is physically capable of driving has to learn to drive when they move to L.A.  Those who do not don’t deserve friends.  The last thing I needed after commuting 2-3 hours a day 6 days a week was to drive 2 additional hours for “fun” with no hope of reciprocation.  No one is that fun and there’s nothing weird about that.

    • Laurel

      You are taking this article way to seriously..relax

      • Annene

        It’s called “Thought Catalog.”  I’m allowed to have an expectation that some thought actually goes into the pieces featured here.

      • authenthich

        …and others are allowed to express their preference for a more laid-back approach. just because the thought that goes into an article isn’t motivated by greatness or stimulated by caffeine doesn’t mean it can’t roll peoples’ socks up and down. 

    • Sippycup

      Cars suck, sorry.

      • Annene

        Yes they do. 

        Until you live in a place with no rational underground public transport and completely insufficient bicycle lanes and buses full of foul-smelling people who want to kill you.  Plus almost no sidewalks and places you can’t even walk to no matter how hard you try. 

        Helicopters would be a good option.

    • Guest

      lol @ people work harder in LA than NY
      people leave california for new york because they want to get things done and would rather work with others who also want to get things done

  • http://www.noahtourjee.com Noah Tourjee

    New York is just the best. That makes everything else weird, and only good for vacation.

  • No work ethic and, like, stuff

    I’ve lived in Los Angeles my whole life, and this is probably the billionth article I’ve read where some dumb author who isn’t from here has tried to sum up what it is that makes this city so “strange” and “hard to sum up in words.” Maybe before you write an article about something as vast and diverse as a city, you should live there fore longer than a few months at a time?

    Also, every city has rich kids living off of their daddy’s money. Since when has New York been completely absent of the elite?

  • No work ethic and, like, stuff

    I’ve lived in Los Angeles my whole life, and this is probably the billionth article I’ve read where some dumb author who isn’t from here has tried to sum up what it is that makes this city so “strange” and “hard to sum up in words.” Maybe before you write an article about something as vast and diverse as a city, you should live there for longer than a few months at a time?Also, every city has rich kids living off of their daddy’s money. Since when has New York been completely absent of the elite?

    • MONSTER

      Ryan is from LA. So…..

      • Guest

        He’s not from Los Angeles. When he says he grew up “one hour north of the city,” I assume that that means he isn’t from LA.

      • MONSTER

        ok grumpy pants!

    • MONSTER

      Ryan is from LA. So…..

    • Erika Moya

      ITA. Born & raised in LA- no car & I got along fine. I worked near my home. Mass transit isn’t as user friendly in LA, not to mention the sprawling geography. But it exists & it works surprisingly well. The author mentions seeing people dine at 2pm on a weekday – I see a lot of that in NYC where I currently live. But I always thought of all those daytime lunchers as the ones working odd jobs (often bartending) to pursue their craft (often acting). Nothing wrong with that.
      I personally felt more driven in LA. I’m enjoying NYC for what is for me personally – a temporary spot before I move back West or Europe?
      PS – it’s “new” not “knew” (paragraph 3 2nd line from the bottom)

  • damo

    god thought catalog, way to make my decision to move to LA or NY next year that little bit harder. honestly.

  • jack

    i wanna live in los angeles – frank black

  • Anonymous

    ta.gg/4vh

  • Guest

    If you don’t have a work ethic when you’re at home it means you’re lazy as shit. So what, you’re feeling a bit blue every time you’re back in LA and you love being away from your parents in NYC. Maybe you should grow some balls and figure out how to make it on your own with $$$ you earn. 

    • A$H

      I hate comments like this that imply the person knows the individual/their situation, ugh.

  • Guest

    Not to mention the word “weird” possibly the most vague and un-descriptive word in the english language. 

  • Lena

    Ahhh, LA/Socal and NYC conflicted! Sympathize so much. Were you the one that wrote the piece a few months back about how to live in New York? Losing $20 every time you step out, NYU students crying in Think, general love/hate relationship with the city etc etc?

  • Guest

    Crap article is crap. Some manic depressive whackjob lazyman completely getting it wrong.

  • Greg

    The title is SO misleading

    D:

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