I love L.A. I always have and always will.
I was born in Burbank, grew up in “the Valley” and have lived on the west side for the last 20 years. L.A. is in my DNA. I have many friends who came here from elsewhere but I’ve never felt the desire to leave. My friend John who has lived in many major cities worldwide said rather emphatically to me, “L.A. is the best city, no question.”
Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss once said that if it wasn’t for the earthquakes and smog all the flakes would live in this town. And someone else said, “L.A. – where we shake, but we also bake.”
What got me to reflect on this was a column written by Hector Tobar for the L.A. Times. The story offered tips on how to be a true Angeleno. It was spot-on.
Among them: “Don’t fawn over celebrities.” True, but at the office we love talking about “star sightings.” As a young kid I saw Steve McQueen driving a Porsche. I’ve been in an elevator with Dick Van Dyke and gave a high-five to Jack Nicholson, to name a few. Neat.
Another tip offered was “Barbecue, garden, enjoy the outdoors – at all times.”
True. I even barbecued in the rain once.
Tobar also said, “Don’t wear your civic pride on your sleeve.”
He added, “Your typical Boston or Seattle resident can get pretty snippety about how great his city is. A real Angeleno, however, is too world-wise to claim his city is perfect. We know ours is a flawed paradise. We recognize and complain about its faults, but we still wouldn’t live anywhere else.”
It can take a newcomer a year or more to get adjusted here. L.A. can feel like a giant, unfriendly asphalt jungle. My advice is always this: “L.A. won’t find you. You have to find L.A.” When I mentioned this on my Facebook page my friend, Thom, replied, “This is so true…it took my moving here for the 3rd time in 2005 to truly appreciate L.A. for what it is, and love the life here.”
L.A. has hundreds of unique pockets. Find the one that fits you best. If you don’t then you won’t like L.A. Otherwise, this is the best place in the world overall for a long-term lifestyle. It has everything, and I mean everything, one could need. I knew someone who once surfed L.A. beach waves in the morning and was snow skiing in the afternoon. Where else can you do that, in total comfort.
The one thing I have never adjusted to is the traffic. Getting by requires you to know all the shortcuts and side streets.
Most of the reader responses to Tobar’s article affirm my feelings, but there were some stinkbugs in the mix. One person said, “Los Angeles is a stinking hole.” Another said, “I can’t wait to leave this cesspool of a city.”
Angelenos responded with comments like “I’m so sorry,” and “Peace be with you,” and “Later to you, then.”
Exactly. Take San Francisco for example. They may say unfriendly things about us but the fact is (and this annoys them) “We don’t care what you think.”
If we wanted to be somewhere else we would leave. But we don’t. As evidence that a lot of foreigners choose to live here, go to a Dodger game. When a team from New York or Chicago is in town, half the crowd is rooting for the away team. But that’s OK. Those people apparently didn’t love their city enough to stay put.
We welcome you. Just be cool, please.
Nick helped compose the photo at the top of this article, a photo I love so much. “Don’t Stop Believing.” That photo is what this town is all about. L.A. has everything under the Sun, good and bad. Just choose the good and don’t stop believing that each day is going to be a good one.
Strength & honor,