10 Things Native Angelenos Can Learn From Transplants
Native Angelenos, for all their surfboards and their Hollywood and their elaborate freeway system, don't know everything. In fact, they could learn a thing or two from those of us who've grown up elsewhere.
Here are the things transplants could teach the locals, things that have the potential to turn L.A. into an even better city. Bring on the hate mail.
10. Your friend's cousin's boyfriend being best friends with Michael Cera is actually pretty neat.
Rumor has it, everyone is best friends with Michael Cera, so maybe this is a bad example. Who doesn't feel like they know the guy? But our point is that you shouldn't dismiss the fact that you're three degrees of separation from a really good actor - or intimate that your brother being the chubby kid in Hot Tub Time Machine is "no big deal."
Gee dangit, it is a big deal!
The most famous person most transplants know before moving to L.A. is our local news anchor (we're looking at you, Jeff Gianola). This is much less fun than having occasional Sunday brunch with Grandma, Aunt Susie and Blink-182's former tour manager.
Trust us on this: We really want to meet that one particular celebrity you kind of know, and the fact that your girlfriend's sister has a couple lines in the new Transformers movie is probably the only chance we'll get to stand within 12 feet of Marky Mark and his funky bunch. THIS IS A BIG DEAL. Own it!
9. The fine art of the zipper merge.
All you natives grew up fighting traffic, risking life and limb to make it the 20 miles from Echo Park to El Segundo in under 45 minutes, and without killing more than one motorcyclist. But there's something Angelenos apparently never learned during all those high-anxiety drives, and it's called the zipper merge.
It's pretty simple, really - in fact, it's standard driving practice in the rest of the country. Basically, when merging onto the freeway, or when alongside someone attempting to merge onto it, you allow for one car to merge in front of you and then provide space for a car behind you.
What the zipper method is NOT is mad-dogging the driver next to you as you pull alongside him while he attempts to merge, effectively forcing him to either merge behind you or drive into those big water barrel things that people love to crash into in the Fast and Furious franchise. This could seriously hurt someone, or worse, create a traffic jam. Which might explain the traffic around here.
8. An appreciation for all the totally cheap and incredibly accessible valet parking.
Back in the neck of the woods that is not Los Angeles, valet parking is something you only do on special occasions. And by "on special occasions," we mean if you're rich.
But the valet is, like, six bucks here. Which is about 10 bucks less than in most other big cities. The valet is even free at the L.A. university attended by this writer, which is almost as bizarre as the fact that at least one L.A. university has a valet. There's even valet at the IHOP in Miracle Mile. An IHOP! Which is wonderful, because valets shouldn't just be for the one percent; they should be for all. Way to lead the revolution, guys.
7. The fact that even L.A.'s bad beaches are nice beaches.
If you're going to complain about how terrible Dockweiler is, we suggest you take a trip to Coney Island sometime. Last time we visited Coney, we were almost impaled by glass, like, six times. And one of those times wasn't even from broken glass buried in the sand. It was from some crazy-ass Russian guy in a Speedo who tried to bottle us for kicking sand near his trophy wife's towel.
El Segundo, Dockweiler, Manhattan, Hermosa, Santa Monica, Redondo and even Venice are some of the best beaches in the continental U.S. No guidos, no excessive kite flying, no fat guys in speedos, no Florida - - L.A. beaches are a dream. Maybe you natives don't appreciate them because you have no idea how bad the rest of the country has it, but take it from people who've been there: You are lucky.
6. That's not a marine layer; it's smog.
We hate to break it to you, but the reason you can't see the Hollywood sign (or the car in front of you) isn't a marine layer like you natives keep insisting. OK, it might be a marine layer, those aren't totally unheard of here, but marine layers aren't brown. Smog is brown.
This city has come a long way in controlling its smog problem, so why not just own it when it happens? So many Angelenos act like that kid in elementary school with the bladder problem claiming his pants are wet because the sink sprayed all over him or something. WE KNOW THAT'S PISS, BRANDON.
5. Flour tortillas and light beer have their moments.
(Mostly) authentic Mexican food is something Los Angeles prides itself on. Which means corn tortillas on corn tortillas on corn tortillas on molé. And the craft beer movement has created a city-wide aversion to anything with a recognizable label.
Which is bullshit. Cheap, light beer is totally acceptable outside of a red Solo cup and nothing is wrong with a little Tex-Mex. Flour tortilla'd tacos and an ice-cold light brew are sometimes what you want. It's OK to admit it.
When it's 85 degrees out, in fact, heavy beer makes no sense. We want a Pabst or a Coors Light, maybe a Dos Equis. We want something watery that isn't gonna fill us up or leave a butt-coffee aftertaste. And flour tortillas for our tacos? Hell yeah! We actually like those better.
4. What "cold" really means.
"Cold" is not 55 degrees, that's for certain. We're actually lucky in the sense that it's almost never actually cold here. Sometimes it's chilly, sometimes it's brisk, maybe even nippy - - but it's rarely cold. What is considered cold in L.A. is actually still flip-flop weather in Philly. Embrace the warm, hate the cold - - we won't judge, but know that us transplants put up with unbearable traffic, skyrocketing rent and constant drought for a reason; it's never cold! And that's super neat!
3. Dressing up is fun, guys.
What's more: It's generally ill-advised to wear a spandex dress you got on sale at Forever 21 when you go out to the opera.
L.A. is weird in the sense that it seems so materialistic, yet dressing up for a night out on the town is almost unheard of. Maybe it's because of L.A.'s laidback culture. Maybe it's because wearing fur is just not an option on most nights (unless you're Rick Ross ... but you aren't Rick Ross, are you?). Either way, it's a bummer.
2. Tap water will not contribute to your death in any way (unless you plan on drowning in a bath tub).
Maybe the bottled water phenomena isn't exclusive to L.A. any more, but it's still a huge problem (and an inexplicable one). Tap water is not gross or dangerous. In many cases, it's more safe to drink than that plastic-encased bottled water. And that makes bottled water a huge waste of plastic and money, not to mention an addiction that destroying the planet.
Carrying a bottle around of name-brand water doesn't make you cool. It makes you part of the problem. Fun bonus fact: Evian is "naive" spelled backwards. Let that sink in.
And the No. 1 thing Angelenos could learn from non-natives?
1. Los Angeles is actually the dopest.
No, this is not a plea to try and minimize the hate mail; it's true. Everyone we know who lives here but wasn't raised here loves this place. The weather, the beaches, the bars, the food, the porn stars, the movie stars, the traffic, the smog, the tap water, the plastic surgery, the lady in the pink Corvette, the water treatment plants, the guy who flips you off as you bike to work - - all faves.
There's a reason we transplants pay way too much for a living space that's way too small, and obviously it isn't to be near our families or because it's all we know. It because the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles is worth it.
So fill up your water bottle with some delicious tap water, hand your car over to the nearest valet, invite your good friend Michael Cera and meet us at the beach. We'll be the ones eating flour tortilla tacos and dressed to the nines for no good reason.
Follow Devin Feldman on Twitter at @D_fman.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.