I LOVE LA TRAFFIC.
Yeah, that’s right, I do. This idiotic statement could be attributed to the fact that I have barely even lived in Los Angeles for three months and the negative aspects of the city- the traffic, the smog, the vapid nature of humanity- haven’t quite gotten to me yet, at least not past the palm trees, beaches, and sunny skies. I am still in the honeymoon phase of geographic relocation. You probably think I’m crazy. But sitting in traffic in LA is one of the only times in my life I ever slow down. Ever. When you are stopped on Highway 101 at midnight on Friday night or stuck on I-5 during the evening rush hour, you just have to accept it, exhale, and wait. Stop. Do nothing. And for me, that is a rarity, and a welcome moment in my life.
I am a very busy person- call it Type A personality or ADHD or what you will, but there is rarely a minute in this life when I am not doing anything. I can’t remember the last time I was bored. I just checked my three email accounts, Myspace and Facebook since I’ve been writing this post. I am an epic multitasker, a characteristic that fits my life and this crazy post-post-modern world very well. I am always on the go and I rarely slow down- except in LA traffic, when I am forced to. When your car is stopped dead on a freeway, all you can do is enjoy the warm sunshine on your arms, play with the thoughts in your head, and crank that car stereo up to the moon with the glitchiest, bassiest, heaviest music you can find and rock out. At least that’s what I do, and it is one of my favorite things on earth.
I am writing this post in part so I can re-read it in a year, when I am a little less pie-eyed and a bit more jaded, when the traffic has gotten to me and I have caught myself screaming at people in BMWs and cussing the motorcycles which race up between the lanes. I know it will happen, and when it does, I will remember the day I wrote an ode to LA traffic. I will breathe out, turn the music up, and remember to slow down and smell the exhaust every once in a while.
Photo by Alforque @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/alforque/1036407920/
Some stereotypes about LA are true:
- There are swimming pools all over! In clubs, in the neighbor’s backyard, in your friends’ apartment complex. They are bright blue and when you fly into Los Angeles, you see these shining blue jello cubes from the sky and they look like misfit beings in a land of gray-brown-green.
- How do you get there? You take the interstate. Take a few. Almost always. However, it does NOT take an hour to get everywhere; I rarely drive more than fifteen minutes to a show, or store, or friend’s house. The interstate system is glorious, progressive, fast and I love it! Please note: I work from home.
- What time is it? Name-drop o’clock. People seriously namedrop at the table next to you at happy hour all super loud-like: “My roommate’s friend knows Leonardo di Caprio blah blah blah…” or “Oh she dated Linsday Lohan’s cousin…” Who cares? A lot of people, apparently.
- People really up and go to Vegas for the weekend. It’s 5AM on Saturday morning in the back room of a sticky warehouse; everyone has been dancing all night long and faces wear the pallor of sweat-induced near-delirium. New friend #219 next to you gets a call: “Go outside right now. We’re driving by the party and will pick you up in 5 minutes. We’re going to Vegas.” New friend books it out the door. Who needs a shower?
- Southern California is the land of plenty, of milk and honey, of fresh fruits and organic vegetables, of piles of drugs and boobs and vegan restaurants. It is a fertile valley of desires where all your wildest dreams (and anything you might possibly want to eat) could be right around the corner. You can feel the pop of potential energy bouncing off the asphalt. There is no floating through life in LA; it’s sink or swim.
- The percentage of beautiful people in Los Angeles, from Silver Lake to Santa Monica, is ridiculously high. I thought every woman here was really tall until I realized that they just wear super-high heels all the time. I still get made fun of for wearing Converse, and I still don’t care.
- When it rains, LA stays home. Promoters can lose their ass on a show if it happens to rain that Saturday night. Rain does not phase this Seattle girl, heat does not phase this Texas girl, and cold does not phase this Maine girl. Moving around a lot has its benefits; I never whine when the weather is less-than perfect (although that rarely happens in LA!)
- There is giant amount of stupid, fake, social-ladder climbing phonies in Los Angeles- but if you dig around the clueless heaps of artifice, you will find the largest pool of talented artistic minds in the world, working together to push forward the limits of creative expression. I call them my friends.
- LA makes the world go ’round. According to Angelenos, anyway. This is the entertainment capital of the world, and often when I check the news on my phone, the local, headline and celebrity news are all the same- and taking place ten minutes from my house. I have heard San Diego (the 9th largest city in America) referred to as BFE, and people have asked me, “Oh yeah? They listen to electronic music up in Seattle? Really?”
- LA: Most hated city in the world? People seem to physically recoil when I tell them I am from LA, particularly those from San Francisco or New York. “How could you live there?” they ask, with a look on their face like they just sucked a sewer worm up their nose. How about the music, the weather, the huge amount of cultural activities, the art, the beaches, the freedom to be whoever or whatever you want, the endless opportunities for work and play and education, the nightlife, the museums, the energy and passion….
I am in love with this place. The City of Angels? More like the City of Freaks. AKA:
Sweet photo from MyArtSpace.com
Read Parts 1-3 of bitchsLApped: Shilo Gets Schooled by LA
What I have learned or not thus far about life in my new home, gritty and gorgeous LOS ANGELES:
- In LA you can wear an-y-thing you want, as long as you fuggin’ ROCK IT.
- There is a disproportionate amount of screaming going on in this city, from the clubs to the streets to the grocery store. The people of LA love to get their scream on, along with their honk.
- You really do run into celebrities and stumble into movies and music videos.
- It’s 4AM. You leave the party to drive home, which is just a short jump on the interstate. TOO BAD THE INTERSTATE IS FUCKING CLOSED! WTF is up with this? All I can say is, I love my iPhone and THANK GOD for GPS.
- People think LA is terribly spread out and that it takes two hours of driving in heavy traffic to get anywhere. This is not true. I live closer than I did in Seattle to a grocery store, pharmacy, mall, bank and STARBUCKS for cryin’ out loud. Starbucks!
- Whenever something horrible happens in the world like a cop shooting or school massacre or killing spree, the idiot they interview on the news always says, “Well, you would expect this type of thing to happen somewhere like LA, but never here in our little podunk town where we don’t even recycle or read books [sic].” What, is LA like hell on earth or something? I am glad to live in a place where some illusion of innocence doesn’t give me a false sense of security. I like my freaks with the flags flying high; give me the city weirdos over the nuts in BFE ANY day.
- SUSHI. Holy fish face. I have always liked sushi, but would usually opt for Mexican or Indian or Thai food on a night out. Ever since moving to California however, sushi is all I want to eat! Anytime I go out to dinner I suggest it! I demand it! Hello my name is Shilo and I am a sushi addict.
- The people of Los Angeles LOVE their city. NO really- they LOVE it. I grew up in Texas where they use state pride to sell pickup trucks (Texas! Texas! Texas! Buy a Ford Pickup!), but I have never experienced the passionate love of a locality like I have here in LA. The city has a gang sign and everything!
- What is up with all the hovering helicopters? In line for a club or walking to a party, I’ll occasionally notice a helicopter hovering overhead, just making tight circles in the sky. I immediately think: FUGITIVE! Should I run? Should I even be concerned? Should I keep an eye out for a pantyless starlet coming my direction? What the hell are they doing up there?
- The talented minds in LA get together and are greater than the sum of their parts. Just by population alone, LA has an immense number of forward-thinkers and creators and movers and shakers- but then these artists get together and MAGIC happens. LA is on the cutting edge, not just of the continent but of the arts as well and there is an indescribable element of popping energy that steams off the city streets. This is my home, I love it, and I just may never leave.
And I have never said that about any of my homes before.
View from the Observatory in Griffith Park, close to my house.
Photo by Lucas Janin.
- They do not call that shit HollyWEIRD for nothin’. Wow. That place puts new meaning to the word “freak,” as in “freak-that-should-be-hospitalized-and-restrained.”
- Always read the parking signs. ALWAYS. Then read them again. And maybe one more time for good measure.
- Lost ticket at the parking garage? A fat bud will go a long way in buttering up the parking attendant and getting you out of the mighty lost-ticket fee.
- Speaking of green, it is practically legal here. They sell it out of jars at clubs, I shit you not.
- You know you are getting acclimated to life in LA when you pull into a parking lot, see the price is $10, and think: “Not bad!”
- If you meet someone who claims to be a celebrity or in a famous band, don’t immediately assume they are fucking with you and call them out. It could be Pendulum.
- Santa Monica and Santa Monica Boulevard are two very different places. Clarify BEFORE you leave the house.
- Two words: ANIMAL STYLE. Oh sweet Jesus.
- “Security Dogs for Rent.” Are you SERIOUS LA? Really? Dogs for rent?
- Hearing: “Yeah you LOOK like you just came from Hollywood.” = not such a good thing, I’m pretty sure. Please refer to #1.
I am in love with this city!
What I have learned so far:
1. NO DAYDREAMING ON THE INTERSTATE.
2. Getting so excited about seeing motorcycle cops that you scream “CHIPS!!!” out your window at them at them is really not the best idea.
3. Knowing that you parked by the palm trees near the street that started with “San” or “Los” is NOT going to help you.
4. You WILL have to pay for parking, and water, and possibly air.
5. People shout out area codes at clubs. Some are met with great applause, others have the crowd turning their faces away in disgust. I need to learn mine.
6. It’s “C! A!…..ALL DAY!” NOT “To-Day!” Thank you Nocando for correcting me, over and over, in public. Do it again next week just in case I forget.
7. Telling people “I’ll be the blond chick dancing like a maniac at the front of the dance floor all night” no longer carries any meaning. There are lots of us. We probably bite.
8. Del Taco: IXNAY on the ANCETRAY. As in, NO no no.
9. I Love My GPS.
10. NO DAYDREAMING ON THE INTERSTATE (This one is fairly important).