35 Things Only Real Angelenos Know About L.A.

There are observations any outsider can make about Los Angeles, such as: every waiter or waitress you meet is secretly an actor or actress waiting for their big break. True. And there are the things New Yorkers like to say to spit in the eye of Los Angeles. They tease us for our conversations about what route we took to avoid traffic. Well, you won’t hear us say anything about how New Yorkers love to talk, text and tweet about their crappy weather. We just feel bad for them. When and if we ever think about New York. And honestly, we can’t help it that our weather is always awesome. Unlike New Yorkers, all we really have to complain about is our traffic.

You could say Los Angeles is a lot like our aging celebrities with their Botoxed faces and bad plastic surgery smiles. You know who I mean: those stars best known for things they did back in the ‘80s or ‘90s. Just like those stars of a bygone era, Los Angeles earned its reputation in the past. That’s what most folks know — the reputation.

When you’re here, you see how the city is always changing, always chasing the Next Big Thing. No matter what, the tourists keep coming. They usually miss the cool stuff the city offers because they’re too busy paying to chase ghosts of Old Hollywood. Of course, we don’t care if the tourists miss out. Take Boston, those folks want you to know how great Boston is. (Which tells you something right away about Boston. Apparently, like a laxative or a floor polish, Boston needs a little advertising.)

We don’t care if you like Los Angeles. We don’t care if you hate L.A. We don’t care that strongly about anything. Like I said, the weather’s too nice. We have stuff to do.

Here are 35 things you learn when you call Los Angeles your home:

1. Anyone with an USC sticker on the back of their car is a shitty driver. Anyone with an UCLA sticker on the back of their car is probably driving a Honda.

2. The best way to get to LAX never involves the 405. If someone tells you a route that does, don’t listen to them. That person is an idiot and not to be trusted.

image - Flickr / monkeytime | brachiator
image – Flickr / monkeytime | brachiator

3. Sometimes it feels like Los Angeles, and specifically Venice Beach, is the lowest point of the United States. That’s why all the loose freaks eventually roll downhill and end up here. Los Angeles is a city comprised of people who were too freaky for their hometowns or too ambitious for their home country. That’s why we wave our freak flag so high.

4. For most people, a dog is a pet. We treat our dogs like little furry children, our loving life partners and the world’s perfect accessory.

5. We measure our romantic partners by traffic: “Yeah, she’s super cool. She’s smart, funny and she’s great in bed, but I’ll never see her again. She lives on the Westside.”

Everything else, we measure by parking:

Our friendships are measured by parking: “I would come to your screening, bro, but I got a really good parking space … and tomorrow is the street cleaner so … y’know.”

Nightlife is measured by parking: “Ohmygod! I love the food there more than I love my husband. Oh, but we can’t go there. We’ll never find parking.”

Even sex is measured by parking: “He’s not the best in bed, his bedroom smells like an aquarium but he’s the perfect midnight shag because he lives two blocks away, so I never have to look for parking.”

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0
Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

6. Oh! And we also measure distances by time not by miles like most other Americans. You see, none of us knows how many miles it is to anywhere. But we can tell you the time it’ll take you get there within three minutes.

7.  There is never a good reason to go the Valley. …Unless you live in the Valley, or you need to go to Fry’s or the Burbank airport.

8. We popularized eating gourmet food off of a truck. If you come to L.A. we will prove it to you by talking about food trucks incessantly. Some of us follow our favorites on Twitter. Like, a first date might take you to a food truck festival. True story.

9. You don’t go to Runyon Canyon for the hiking. You go for the flirting. Same for just about every dog park in the city.

10. Don’t date an actor or an actress. They spend their lives working out, getting rejected and pretending to be other people. No one has time for that nonsense. If you like that Hollywood life, date a make-up artist or a stuntman. They’re cool and they have way better stories.

Hollywood Boulevard from the top of the Kodak Theatre looking in the direction of downtown in the background.
Hollywood Boulevard from the top of the Kodak Theatre looking in the direction of downtown in the background.

11. We call it “unrequited hate.” We all love San Francisco. And we find it hilarious that everyone in San Francisco hates L.A. We get to enjoy both cities, while they’re stuck in the fog.

12. Your favorite taco spot probably has a blue “B” in the window. If you really love it, the restaurant may have a “C.” But you don’t care about grades from L.A. County Dept. of Public Health because every time you have the carnitas an angel gets its wings.

13. We don’t read. We work-out. We see movies. We hike. We bike. We surf. We binge-watch tv. We spin. We do yoga. We paint. We brunch. We rap. We act. We get tan. But we don’t read. If you ask an Angeleno for a book recommendation you will likely hear something along the lines of, “Um, hmm … Have you seen the Hunger Games? I didn’t read the books but the movies were good.”    

14. Depending on how you count them, some say we have three seasons: Winter/Spring, Summer/Fall and Awards season. Others say we have: Fire season, Mudslide season and Summer.

15. Secretly, a lot of us dream about getting married, having kids and moving to San Diego. But we would rather sell our future children on the black market than move to Orange County.

16. New York City considers itself the center of the world. And they like to make fun of L.A. as a shallow sprawling horizontal wasteland of tans and bad plastic surgery. Well, we don’t give a fuck what New York thinks about us, about culture, politics, plastic surgery, pretty much anything. To us, New York, specifically Manhattan and Brooklyn are just backdrops for Scorsese movies and tv shows like Girls. They’re not real places.

17. Our freeways are more important than yours. You take Interstate 80. You give directions to I-95. Our freeways require the definite article. We take The 5 to The 10 to The 405 to The 101.

18. Some people will tell you Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has the best coffee drinks. Other people will tell you Peet’s makes the best drinks. But everyone agrees: Starbucks is the best place to meet an unemployed screenwriter.

The Starbucks Coffee at Universal CityWalk Hollywood.
The Starbucks Coffee at Universal CityWalk Hollywood.

19. Someone you know has a Westside Rentals password you can use. Just ask around.

20. You don’t move to L.A. for the pizza. We all kid ourselves and like to think we know at least one good place but every real Angeleno knows there’s no great pizza in L.A. But we have Korean food, Thai, Mexican, Ethiopian, even Kosher places that’ll bring a tear to your eye. It’s just that our pizza sucks.

21. We steal all of our sports teams from other cities. So we only root for them when they’re winning. The rest of the time we’re working on our screenplays.

22. A cemetery named Hollywood Forever is a really romantic place to watch a movie under the stars on a summer night. If you get extra lucky, you might snap a picture that’s perfect for Instagram of a wine-drunk bro pissing on a gravestone (#drunkpisscemetery).

23. Our roads are plagued with two great dangers: potholes and Prius drivers. No! Three great dangers! A minivan, a pothole, or a Prius, are three great way to ruin an afternoon commute. If you drive enough, Prius becomes a new cussword. You might say things like, ‘Oh, what the Prius are you doing now?” Same goes for minivans.

24. Although some drivers are frustrating, no one really yells or says anything, because in L.A. there’s no such thing as a bad driver. It’s understood that everyone is a bad driver. And thus, no one is. The whole city is just a cluster-fuck of people from different driving cultures, sprinkled liberally with young assholes in BMWs. Despite this recipe for fistfights at every red light, surprisingly, road rage is rare.

25. When cars are lined-up, waiting to turn left at a stoplight, as it changes from yellow to red, if two cars don’t make the left turn this is one of the few times drivers will honk. We follow two-to-a-red like it’s the law.

26. We all have celebrity-sighting stories. Ones we‘ll never tell you. (I ran into one at the bank this morning. No bullshit). Unless, we totally love that particular celebrity we don’t bother them. We don’t care if Jay Leno is at the same gas station. We just assume Jay needs gas, too.

27. However, most of us have a fondness for the Voice of the Dodgers, Vin Scully. Like a golden-throated god among men, he’s more popular than our star athletes. We would get excited if we saw Vin Scully at the gas station.

28. Being an Angeleno is like a religion.

a) Real Angelenos move here and convert.

b) True Angelenos were born here and don’t accept the converts.

c) Most Angelenos would never be caught dead calling themselves an Angeleno.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xzA-Op1soo&w=584&h=390%5D

29. The city doesn’t stay open late. Good luck finding a restaurant that’s open after eleven o’clock that sells something other than burgers, burritos or pizza.

30. Pink’s hot dogs are wildly overrated and rarely eaten by Angelenos. But, Astroburger is another story. I’d fight a radioactive bear for one of their buffalo burgers.

31. Everyone says they love Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. But the real reason to go there is not the food but the Sunday fashion show that takes place as everyone arrives after church.

32. You would rather drink a glass of hot sand than be caught on the PCH during a holiday weekend.

33. For most of us, earthquakes aren’t scary. Some of us even look forward to them. Of course, like anywhere, some of us are idiots.

34. In-N-Out Burger.

In-N-Out Burgers
In-N-Out Burgers

35. You know, without hesitation, there is no other city in the world that’s a better place to call your home. Despite its flaws, our city of Los Angeles is a smog-covered, traffic-obstructed, pay-to-play, sun-baked, sprawling little piece of heaven on Earth. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Like this? Read more about real life in LA here.

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