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1. I am a lifelong east coaster but I have been on the west side of LA for the last month and a half. My experiences here have confirmed pretty much every stereotype about the area. I have compiled these experiences for you in this THREAD.
170 replies and sub-replies as of Jul 27 2018

2. I fly out of LAX often to visit my wife. Every time the traffic is horrendous. There are "emotional support animals" in my row every time. At least 10% of them so far have been chihuahuas.
3. A [very fit, 20-something] woman at LAX in yoga pants opted out of the scanner "because of the chemicals." A fit bro-type guy (who had already gone through the scanner the regular way without complaint) told her he agreed with her, IMO as a pretext to start conversation.
4. There are multiple brick-and-mortar shops on expensive real estate where people buy "healing crystals," which presumably they believe help them in some way. I note that this is close to literally reenacting Homer's part in the "tiger rock" bit from The Simpsons.
5. I also would say these healing crystal stores are easier to find than actually-useful chains like Target or whatever. If you want to find CVS, you have to go on a journey. If you want to find magic rocks, there's a competitive market for it all within walking distance.
6. I have found an entire building filled entirely with beauty salons. Some of them were pet beauty salons. All of them were, like, $50 for a men's haircut and some even higher number for the pets and the women.
7. There's a substantial population of women who appear to spend their entire days going to the gym and/or spa. Like, you can see that gyms are crowded even at 11 am on a Tuesday or whatever, and it is full of this mysterious population.
8. I recognized an actor I'd seen from a half dozen television shows. He was getting organic tacos. (I have been to the same place. It is good.)
9. About half of my Uber drivers are aspiring comedians. Those tend to be more chill. The serious professional drivers careen around at top speeds of 70 mph+ and then slam on the brakes when they run into traffic, which is pretty much inevitable.
10. I see dozens of super-fancy cars per day. Not just Ferraris, but also more exotic ones like McLaren and Bugatti too. I get why these cars are cool but I would also be terrified of putting such a valuable possession within reach of LA drivers, who are terrible.
11. I was in a comedy club and Ali Wong just came in unannounced and did a surprise set. It was super-cool! You'd never ever get that where I am from. (I am from DC, not NY.)
12. I got complaints from a NIMBY about scooter parking, presumably near his residence. - I was not on a scooter, I guess he just wanted his complaint heard, however irrelevantly. - The parking spot was totally reasonable. - I know for a fact the spot belongs to someone else.
13. I have overheard someone talking about "flow" as a metaphysical concept that somehow governs the course of his life in some way.
14. People totally freaked out when there was maybe a 15-minute thunderstorm. Some of them were *calling their friends* and telling them about it, and recalling the last time there was a thunderstorm, which was apparently months/years ago.
15. There is lots of incredibly-excellent Asian food. The cultural blending of people from all over the world has some amusing results: at the last Chinese restaurant I went to, our server was Thai. At the last Thai restaurant I went to, our server was Chinese.
16. My wife's apartment (in Chicago) is 50% bigger than mine and almost brand new. Mine, decades old and in need of renovation, costs 40% more.
17. Someone made a blind U-Turn on the Pacific Coast Highway across heavy lanes of traffic, and nobody seemed to even think it was weird. Also there are jaywalkers with surfboards and people backing straight out of their houses onto this "highway."
18. People were upset about a "bad weather" day here in Santa Monica. It was like 70 degrees and not raining and not that humid. But it was unusually foggy or something so they decided it was a bad weather day and hoped for better weather the next day.
19. I'm making fun of LA's foibles, but it's a lot better than my hometown in other ways: e.g. in DC you'll frequently meet That Guy Who is a Deputy Chief-of-Staff on the Senate Side of the Hill and Wants You to Know That. Here people are chill about their professional lives.
20/20. I mostly like it here. Food is good, people are nice, weather is excellent. We might end up out here for good. If we stayed I'd lean into the culture in plenty of ways: beach time, avocados, boxing gyms. But just don't expect me to buy the healing crystals.
sounds like someone doesn't want their chakras in harmony.
come to the convention center this week to see me and @jbhenchman ! (i know that's a simply irresistible offer.....)
If I weren't panicking about a looming journal article deadline, I would have suggested a field trip to Santa Monica for dinner
hopefully we will still catch up
Don't panic. You're a goddamn expert and a great writer. You'll get it done.
I'm reminded of this by P.J. O'Rourke: "Why do some places prosper and thrive while others just suck? It's not a matter of brains. No part of the earth (with the possible exception of Brentwood) is dumber than Beverly Hills, and the residents are wading in gravy."
"In Russia, meanwhile, where chess is a spectator sport, they're boiling stones for soup." ... such prosperous people can believe such preposterous things like healing crystals and chemicals in scanners ... it's a weird phenomenom
California: You Get What You Pay (A Lot) For
Beware the taxes. Oh, and if you think your rent in DC is high...
What if I could sell you a rock that helped keep people from trying to sell you crystals?
Some people read this and think “bleh!” I read this with a warm and fuzzy feeling and think “ah, home.” *I grew up in Palm Springs.
Just get a bracelet of empath crystal beads that wards off the evil spirits haunting the healing crystal shops. By the way someone in Indiana on Etsy can make custom stuff cheaper than the store in Santa Monica! Also go eat at Satdha in Santa Monica, my favorite Thai food place!
You think they'd make me one to ward off #MAGA on Twitter?
You should write articles. This was good.
what's funny is the people you're talking about are likely not even from los angeles.
California would be great if it wasn’t in California.
The thing about LA is so many people are originally from another state or country so you have an incredible variety of cultures, cuisines, entertainment, etc. But year round great weather is probably why many come. We native Californians like to believe we are the normal ones. 😎
Stay there any longer and you’ll be putting those rocks in your anus and drinking your own pee. Get out, while you still can.
When someone describes LA as “sprawling,” please believe it. It’s huge, and any complaints about it (except for traffic, of which you should believe every negative word you hear) usually refer to a very specific region. Explore! It only gets better.
Don't do it. The traffic and the taxes eventually will make you pray for the sweet release of death. You start taking the weather for granted and so it doesn't make up for anything. I can hardly wait to get the hell out of here.
Move to #Irvine it is as perfect as you will get
you just yesterday showed me the zillow price map why would you do this to anyone
If you can afford it, #Irvine is the best city in America, bar none! No crime, great schools, wonderful weather, good food, job growth is amazing here, we have a few cranes too, beach is 10 minutes away and we have an airport that doesn't have the LAX drama. Best of the Best
how many Hy-ling crystals can I expect your household to purchase in FY 2019?
Haha ... I finally had to get away from it all and moved to sweet Burbank. Enjoy the craziness of it all.
Don't forget to get some tacos al pastor at your nearest taco stand. Oh, and find a good tamales and champurrado place, also a pupusa place.
I pretty much never run into that but then again I don't work in politics and rarely cross the river
coming to LA tomorrow. how difficult will it be to get an uber from lax
Sometimes they take a while to show up but they're plentiful; they might just be stuck in traffic for a bit coming in. Also you catch them from the departures level(!) because the bottom level is filled with buses and whatnot.
Everything in this thread is very accurate 😂 This is why I live north of the city away from the craziness and always fly out of Burbank 😉
During the two summers I lived in LA, I was shocked that if you put on your turn signal on the highway, people actually slowed down (not sped up) and let you in the lane. Like you are going nowhere anyways so why worry about being one spot closer. Try that in Chicago.
^ @AtariLives Did you not learn your lesson yet?
Psh I wasn’t at fault for that accident.
Blind U-turn happened by Santa Monica, right? Drivers lost their mind around the Ocean Ave onramp and the turn before the Santa Monica offramp.
All roads are highways. Youre probably mistaking it for a freeway
Normally, this can get explained by wages (For example, SF makes $50K/year more than Dallas, so they pay $20K in extra taxes and $30K in extra rent). Unfortunately, LA is just weird. There's no wage gains to be had.
I was out in LA in December and it was 75 and sunny. Meanwhile it was 35 and rainy in DC. Otherwise I pretty much agree with your assessment.
compare with DC though - cost per sq ft per month plz
Santa Monica more expensive than DC. Other parts of LA less expensive. The markets seem different: DC has more upper-middle-income people with grad degrees, but LA has this bonkers far right tail of the income distribution, well beyond anything you'd ever see outside NY and SF.
right: if I want ostentatious wealth in DC I can drive around Potomac or Chevy Chase or the Palisades and the most expensive houses are the equivalent of McMansions in Houston
Which is different from what the most expensive houses in LA look like
That’s your own fault for living there.
That's normal in every city. Asian restaurants want asian servers, whether they're from the right country is irrelevant cause most won't notice the difference.
maybe that's an la deal but the servers at our local Honduran restaurant are colombian. and the local coke dealer is Guatemalan.
If you can, try out New Zealand. Weirdest cultural mix I've ever seen. I was in a Mexican restaurant telling my Canadian waitress what I wanted while the reggae band was setting up on the stage for their weekly gig... surreal.
You should try Houston
This is very close to being problematic.
And the cook in both was mexican proving we don't need any of them because we can cook our own fucking food.
I have a friend whose toddler was has grown up in LA. The one time it rained, when he got out the umbrella, his son thought they were going to the beach.
when I first moved to east coast I called my parents every thunderstorm
I remember that-😆
I grew up in CA. I only remember about 3 'thunderstorms' with lightning in the 2 decades I lived there. Very unusual! I love thunderstorms to this day b/c to me they are exciting!
I grew up in SoCal and the coastal areas don't get thunderstorms but once every couple of years. I don't know why.
I won’t even drive in the rain 😅#AllPlansAreCancelled
Yoga governs his life
Good point! Data is data, but also the Flow of data is important. Thus the Data Flow work of the systems engineers of the 70's & 80's!
thank you for posting the Csikszentmihalyi link so that I didn't have to.
I love Ali Wong more than anyone else on this planet
So I LOVE Ali Wong but I also went to a DC basement free standup show a month ago and Patton Oswalt showed up out of nowhere! (Also support local comedy y’all)
Patton Oswalt just did a surprise set at the Big Hunt a few weeks ago
I’m enjoying this list but this happens at the Big Hunt often. Not Ali Wong perse, but big names come over from the DC Improv and do random sets.
Does DC have comedy clubs (and, if so, ones that don't feature exclusively satire :) ??
I once saw Paul Rodriguez do a surprise set in DC. Granted that was about 35 years ago.
Yeah, if you drive in California, get a $250,000 limit at minimum on your insurance. If you crash your $10,000 7-year-old Camry into someone's brand-new $250,000 Ferrari...
STAHHPPP .. you're making me feel California-sick
This overabundance of nice cars is probably why I had an Uber pool from Santa Monica to downtown in a Range Rover for $5.
Also, the Beverly Wilshire really must have a huge amount of umbrella insurance given the cars parked out front.
Because you think like a poor person. If you're not rich enough to be nonchalant about your expensive possessions, you're not rich enough.
I have this very thought since moving here. I would be paranoid as hell driving something like that in LA.
shame on you for buying organic food
I read this as "organic tattoo". Now there's a million dollar idea for yuppies , free of charge
For some reason I misread that as "organic tattoos," which is ridiculous. Upon reflection, it may be a genius business idea for your neightborhood
You should do Newport Beach next
They work the late shift in the crystal stores.
Most of your thread is fair but you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a CVS in most of SoCal. You must have been in Santa Monica. Their crystal shops are overpriced and the people there don't know the first thing about crystal healing.
Weird that Ralphs don't set up shop in a store the size of a bedroom and no parking lot...oh those crazy Californians.
That crystal selling shop is also a weed dispensary, sooooo kind of makes sense
(No comment)
Amazing. Just about every substance in the world is made of "chemicals," and they picked out the one thing that shoots electromagnetic radiation.
I don’t even hear this anymore, but you forgot newly-minted East Coast transplants (like I used to be) complaining about the impossibility of getting a decent bagel out here.
You fly into SFO (San Francisco), they have yoga rooms scattered throughout the terminals. More yoga rooms than restrooms.
he’s very supportive Alan...also I’m not sure how him being the size of a golden retriever would be an improvement =P
also you know there’s a yoga room at LAX right
< and 90% of those emotional support animals are fake as hell 🙄
Traffic in many east coast cities is FAR worse than LA. Patric to the airport. Starting With JFK
this should be good
This should be good.
I’m a little bit ashamed (but not really) to say that, so far, this thread just affirms to me that I belong in LA.
same, except for the crystals stuff
Our next dog will be a chi-like dog so I can travel with it, I detox after going through security, my crystals are sitting by my window to charge in the full moon, I’m about to walk into a cycle class at 10a 🤷🏻‍♀️
yeah you definitely belong there.
Dallas is def a close (and much cheaper) second. Will do for now.
I would think Austin would be more LA-ish than Dallas?
It probably is as far as the metaphysical stuff goes but this gyms/spas being packed in the middle of the day and nice cars/terrible drivers stuff is a Dallas thing for sure.
Don’t you work?
I had to go to LA frequently for work and never felt like I belonged. Like I was far too ugly and dour to be there.
I was too big (5'10" but not 125 lbs)
I have lived outside LA all my life and haven’t felt like I belong for years.
I have read your thread and anxiously await the total slippage of the San Andreas fault and resultant jettisoning of the land mass despite the loss of terribly needed electoral college votes.
Terribly needed? Hardly.
Don’t drink the water. Or breathe the spores. Or whatever causes Californians to become Californians.
Ha! I was about to retweet Jeff with a ‘hey check this out’, but it was you who dropped this in my timeline, well played
The great thing about LA is that it's multiple cities thrown into a blender. Less than half of your description of the west side applies to the east side or the valley, Let alone South LA.
Yep. Then you get to Orange County or Inland and it’s like Mars compared to parts of LA.
I agree. You are in rarefied air living at the beach in Santa Monica, which most Angelenos can’t afford. Stores like Target and CVS can’t afford that real estate, and many/most of the crystals in those gift shops are sold to visitors. It has issues, but I love L.A.
I echo this. Alan doesn’t know much about “LA” yet. What he clearly knows is the square of land from Zuma Beach, down to Venice, over to La Brea Blvd, up to the Hollywood Bowl. (Ie, this is an updated tweet version of Steve Martin’s equally narrow movie, “LA Story.”)
I've lived in LA for 9 years and I grew up in New England. I think you are probably wealthier than me (God Bless you for that) and therefore your experiences are completely different from mine. But I have not experienced half of the things you claim in this thread @RonColeman
I lived there for 7 years (grew up in Florida) and this seems pretty accurate for the Westside to me. I would just add that I also enjoyed the widespread availability of Persian food.
Tried persian once or twice. It is not cost friendly. I cannot afford the Westside. The Westside does not define LA, the Westside defines a class or a coterie.
Totally agree. I just happened to live all those years on the Westside so this made me laugh cause it rings true.
Could not agree with you more. I only find it frustrating because elites think their coterie and their lives are the norms and their doings the mean. Alan is one of such people.
When a 'person' turns up with a supercool pod thing for you to 'relax' in, run away as fast as you can.
ccing my personal California correspondent @conor64
All those mid-day gym goers? I'm 80% sure most of them are social media influencers.
Bay Area, specifically The City, beats SoCal hands down. You seem more attuned to SF than LA. Better Asian food, more culture, more sophisticated. Come on up next time
Actually, no. LA has better Chinese and Korean food than Sf
No it doesn’t, unless you like heroin users, public fecal matter and tent cities.
I could go on about how almost every Uber driver I've had has been a hard working immigrant, not one actor, there has been a CVS within hailing distance of every place I've lived in LA, and no healing crystal emporiums, but it just ain't worth it. However...1/2
... I will say East Coasters will see what they want to see in LA. Like the guy I met at a convention in OC who insisted he saw a nude bowling alley next to LAX. It was a shopping center whose sign was promoting a strip cub and a bowling alley separately. 2/2
The last time I was in LA I went to see Upright Citizens Brigade. The guy they pulled from the audience was a part time magician, part time hot yoga instructor. And the person in front of me in line was a finalist on The Voice.
L.A. is awesome. But it *definitely* takes some getting accustomed to. I would go back in an instant.
After coming from the EC and living on the West Side for two years, most of this is accurate. I don't see as much of the metaphysical stuff as you do. T-storm was interesting, first one since we moved. Your first earthquake will be much more interesting.
I was in Santa Monica, CA recently and overheard the exact same conversation topics as @AlamMCole did, such as the Amazing Inexplicable Thunderstorm, the 70 degree Bad Weather Day, and the Aspiring Comedian Who Is An Uber Driver.
All of this is why I live in Sacramento. It’s California but more normal. I moved here from DC too.
Great thread, thx. @sarthakgh @EricMRoseman do you have any hot takes here?
1/ no use in driving expensive sports cars in this city, traffic hinders all movement + uneven terrain will ruin your fender with every hill. In fact most don’t have license plates - hence rentals for the most part
2/ Car becomes portable storage. Everyone carries sunscreen, towel, beach games, change of clothes. Spontaneous beach moves don’t actually happen but people act like it does
3/ undoubtedly people are happier here. Undoubtedly you will hear about someone’s side hustle before you hear their true profession (title on LinkedIn)
4/ let’s grab drinks as the customary catch up method in SF/NYC is way less frequent here. That’s a good thing IMO. Both a function of sprawl and not wanting to meet up & other options beside drinking - I’m taking a paddle boarding meeting next week
5/ surfing is a massive hassle and schlep
I'm in/from Seattle and we laugh at LA and Angelenos, native and adopted. But we're also a tad jealous. The food is great and so diverse and people are genuinely nice. Too bad California's politics are so...effed.
I am so glad that I don’t live in LA or SF. Overpriced and overcrowded shitholes.