Autumn is a funny time in Los Angeles: the leaves stubbornly affixed to their trees, the hoi polloi going about in all manner of t-shirts and flip-flops. As the 92-degree days bleed into 85-degree days bleed into 79-degree days, you could be forgiven for not quite realizing that summer is over until it's pouring rain and Vons starts offering specials on heart-shaped boxes of chocolates.
Here, then, are eight helpful ways you can tell when fall has arrived in God's one true city, Los Angeles:
8) American Apparel Billboards Start To Look Almost PG-Rated
That billboard with four girls in swimsuits giving off looks of unimaginable lust that nearly makes you crash your car every time you drive by on the way to work? Sometime in September or October, it's replaced with one of a girl in a sweater. Without pants. But still with a look of unimaginable lust. Or is that melancholy? The changing of the American Apparel ads is our very own changing of the leaves — beautiful, bittersweet, drenched in nostalgia...
7) Jews Are Always On Vacation
It's unclear why the Chosen People decided to cram all their holidays into one month, but it confuses the hell out of the gentiles every year.
"Another holiday? Weren't you just off last week?"
"That was the Jewish New Year."
"And what's today?"
"Day of atonement."
"And next week?"
"That's the one where we build a little house outside and sleep in it."
"You just made that last one up didn't you?"
"Are you oppressing me?"
6) Everyone Becomes Obsessed With Baseball
Once-unfamiliar words like "Doyers," "pennant" and "back-door slider" become part of the daily lexicon around here, at least when the Dodgers are doing well - which they are, thanks to the arrival of Yasel Puig and that guy with the beard. That means Echo Park becomes inundated with bros, skulking about the streets in search of cheap beer and bacon-wrapped hot dogs.
5) The Drive to Malibu is Downright Reasonable
Pro: It only takes like 45 minutes to drive to Malibu.
Con: The water is freezing - and everyone at the beach is dressed like they're in Scotland.
4) But Traffic During the Week is Horrible
During July and August, just enough people are on vacation, and just enough school buses are resting safely in their parking lots for traffic on many streets and freeways to flow like mighty rivers, or at least relatively healthy tributaries.
Then all of sudden, everything reverts to one massive parking lot, miserably lurching forward.
See also: The 6 Types of Transplants Ruining L.A.
3) Hipsters Start to Plan Their Halloween Costumes
Over in the tri-hipster area of Los Feliz, Silver Lake and Echo Park, you can't talk to anyone for five minutes without them saying, "You start your Halloween costume yet?"
And you're like, "Dude, it's only... what month is it?"
And they're like, "Yeah bro, it's September. You better get on it!"
2) New Yorkers Are Completely Insufferable
You're walking down the street on a gorgeous day: bright blue sky, cool breeze, sun glistening off the car windshields like some magical disco space fantasy... and then some fucking New Yorker (actually they're probably from Jersey or upstate New York, whatever that means) longingly says, "I do miss the seasons..." Unless you change the conversation immediately to either Woody Allen or cronuts, they'll continue with their wistful reverie - the leaves changing colors, the scarves, the seasonable Pumpkin Spice lattes at Starbucks. Shut up already!
1) The Santa Ana Winds
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In the immortal words of Raymond Chandler, in the fall we get "those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen."
There's nothing quite like the feeling you get during the first Santa Ana winds of autumn - your eyes tear up, your nose starts to run, your hands and feet get cold, and everything is dry. It's a subtle kind of misery, brought about by those snarling winds that writers can't help but wax poetic about. If you're feeling especially mean, for no reason at all, blame it on the Santa Anas, and know that fall is upon us.