2 Years in LA: HATE
This Monday I will have been in Los Angeles for two years. Last year on the eve of my anniversary here in the City of Angels, I did a two part blog entry entailing everything I hated and loved about LA.
Los Angeles is a big city. It is gigantic and sprawling and like something out of Gibson, except only Tokyo has all the giant buildings and neon signs.
Make no mistake, Los Angeles is vast, with LA county being something like 500 square miles which makes running it hard, because no one actually knows what’s LA. Is West Hollywood it’s own city (yes)? Is Beverly Hills (no idea)? What about Westwood (again, too far)?
If the people who are supposed to be running things have no idea what’s going on, you, my friend are boned.
I think that’s one of the biggest things I hate about LA, is that in that vastness there are 11 million people (give or take 2 million) and it’s so easy to fall through the cracks. Hollywood is filled with people who just couldn’t catch a break or had to take more than their share of bad news, and that you can leave you bitter and jaded or broken and homeless.
Thoughts like that keep me up at night.
It’s a big city that would not exist without the movie industry. Los Angeles would be a sleepy little stop over town where you got gas or supplies before heading to one of the beautiful beachfront communities in Santa Monica, San Diego, Malibu, or Santa Barbara. It could be, at best, a little college town for USC or the place with all the townie bars for UCLA.
Instead it grew and grew, absorbing smaller towns and larger neighborhoods all to support the entertainment industry. Which, if you make it, can earn you more money than God, but those positions are few and far between, and even the jobs in the industry that don’t command salaries that let you go airplane shopping are rare.
We can’t all make it.
I’ve seen what happens when you don’t. If you’re not talented enough, or quick enough, or mean enough, or discipline enough, it will crush you. For a city that through it’s media outlets and actual products purports to love a comeback or a second chance story, it is brutally unforgiving.
Do not fall in LA.
This sort of environment fosters two different kinds of mentalities, either A.) I don’t have to work hard. It’s either luck or knowing the right people that’ll make me a success, or B.) an absolute cutthroat outlook on life that is really nothing more than making a more marketable sociopath.
Sometimes it’s hard to just wake up when you know that all of that is outside your door, waiting to get you. Except it’s not waiting for you. It doesn’t care. It’s indifferent. Live or die, the machine chugs along.
My message this year is the same as last year: You Are Not Alone.
More people know how you feel than they may let on, and if you have a solid core of friends, hang on to them. Be loyal to people who are loyal to you. Those people are out there. In city this big, the asshole quotient is through the roof, but it also increases your odds of finding people who are actually fully realized human beings.
And now that I’ve brought the room down, here come jokes about traffic.
Bullshit Human Beings – This is the town that not only invented the agent, but made them utterly vital to even just getting coffee. LA loves layering any and all interactions with superfluous dickheads. If anything, it’s the industry’s way of hiring all the people who came out here, but can’t actually do anything. I guess I should feel bad about coming down on a work service program but most of these people are douchebags.
Agents who run your work life, managers that run your actual life, valets who park your car, doormen hold a clipboard next to the entrance of a building, are all just there. Yet, the city has worked itself into a position where these people are invaluable and, honestly, I’m not sure LA could run without them in it’s current form.
The only person who can actually live his life without them?
The Sprawl – I know I already talked about this at length at the top, but once again, this city is huge, and none of the cool shit is close to me.
That’s not true, and this is a totally ‘the grass is always greener’ thing, but despite having both a Chinatown and a Little Tokyo none of the best Chinese or Japanese food is actually in Los Angeles. I have to go north for Chinese and south for Japanese. I was introduced to Vietnamese food in Koreatown, where I ate endless bowls of pho and the god of all sandwiches, the banh mi, via Vietnamese food trucks and fell in love with the cuisine only to find out that what I liked is not even close to how good it can really be.
Unfortunately, all the best Vietnamese food is far north where they have a little inlet amongst all the Chinese towns, or is in the south where it’s supposedly gang-controlled. Normally, I’d have no problem with that (note: my love of food will get me killed), just tell me what colors to wear and how many guns to bring and I’m good.
Except all this is way south. Like three hour bus ride south, which isn’t that much here in terms of actual distance, but the public transportation system here is a joke.
Look, all I want is to eat soup dumplings, beef rolls, banh mi, entire fish steamed in banana leaves, and pho until explode. Why is that so goddamn hard?
Furthermore, a lot of LA and it’s surroundings are uncharted by everyone I know. I know all the best Mexican food is in East LA, but what’s East LA actually like? Reports vary. To some it’s a gang controlled wasteland, like the beginning of Demolition Man. To others it’s a gang controlled wasteland like in the Road Warrior.
There are rumors that it’s a nice suburb, filled with hard working Hispanic families, and amazing practically homemade food.
Let it be known, I will kill an untold amount of rampaging mutant tribesmen for a good carnitas taco.
It Costs Ten Dollars to Leave Your Fucking House – If you have spent any time in LA as a resident, then whenever someone says to you that they found a great deal or a cheap place to eat or drink you will automatically factor in how much it’s going to cost you to park. You will compute this on two different scales: first, is the cost of going there worth paying, and tipping, a valet or spending your valuable laundry quarters to do meters, or, second, is it worth the time and effort to maybe (but probably not) find neighborhood parking?
I understand that space is at a premium in this city, and maybe leaving a small group in charge of putting cars into whatever layout works is preferable to having just anyone fit their car anywhere, but it’s not necessary everywhere, and, in many cases, it’s used by owners, either of the business or the property, to scare up a few more bucks.
Even places that have parking garages use some archaic math to figure out how much to charge you. If it’s a movie theater, it’s never enough time to actually watch a movie. If it’s by a restaurant, you won’t be able to actually enjoy a meal. Then if it’s a quick in and out, or there’s the ability to not be there for over an hour it’s, “fuck you” give me two bucks anyway.”
If you don’t charge people to park, Nonstop Karate salutes you.
Everyone’s in Really Good Shape Unbelievably Skinny – This is the home of the motion picture business and that doing well means that you’re on the cover of magazines, preserved forever in high-definition video, or you know, blown up three stories high and projected onto a screen.
It makes sense that actors out here want to be in shape. And, since 90% of the population out here wants to be an actor, they’re all skinny little bitches. This leads to trickle down effect where everyone, including those of us who don’t want to be projected onto a giant screen with all of our many imperfections must also try to be skinny bitches.
After 21 your metabolism slows down to the point where there is exactly one way to lose a dramatic amount of weight: everyday in the gym must be the worst day of your life.
USC Fans – Don’t ask people what you think of the Reggie Bush thing if you can’t deal with some people (those of us who didn’t go to USC) telling you the truth. He cheated. He’s a supremely gifted athlete, and I’m sure he worked hard, but he was a professional playing with amateurs, and is therefore ineligible under the rules. Deal with it.
Also, fuck the Trojans, go Hoosiers.
I’m Paying Money. I Can Do Whatever I Want – There is a sense of entitlement out here that permeates everything. It’s the idea that, “because I’m giving you money, I own you.” If you have to work 8 days a week, stay for 16 hours a day, or do things that are nowhere near your actual job description, you just have to do it.
Guess what, motherfuckers, time is valuable, too. The ability to have a life, to be able to see friends, shop for groceries, clean your domicile, or just not be at work is also worth something, but fuck it, you’re receiving money, so you have to do whatever the fuck they say.
This comes from what I said earlier, we can’t all make it. In an environment this cutthroat people will do whatever they have to do to get ahead. If you can’t or won’t do something, they don’t have to work very hard to find someone who will. Dozens of people who’ll do the work just got dropped off at the Greyhound station this morning. It’s self-perpetuating.
Then there’s the other side of that coin, where if they’re a customer they’re always right. Someone at the gym took my lunch because they saw it, threw a fit, and tossed money at the my co-workers while I worked out. They took my lunch and I couldn’t do shit, because hey, they’re a customer. This place sucks.
“Mexican Food” – Last year, I just discovered Mexican food, real Mexican food, and railed against all the bullshit sushi where everything was cooked. Now, I hate all the fake ass Tex-Mex stuff I had to grow up on in Indiana. Wet sauce? Get fucked. Ground beef? Get fucked. Cold, pre-made flour tortillas? Get fucked.
The first time I had that black fungus or the blossoms pressed into the quesadilla was an amazing experience. I’m going to repeat that, I had an entire meal with no meat, me, Matt, and it was one of the best eating experiences I’ve had out here.
There’s much good, regional, Mexican food out here, I actually get angry when people go to the touristy places. Which makes life somewhat difficult, as my best friend eats at those places almost exclusively.
What a dick.
Traffic – I thought selling my car would actually make putting up with traffic those rare times I’m actually in a car again bearable, but it’s become even worse. Now when I say “I could walk faster than this” I actually mean it.
Ignorance is bliss, and this is very true when I have three devices on my person which are all connected to the internet and I can actually see that there are no accidents, police chases, or gridlock, but we’re driving slow because. Just because. Maybe there’s something going on on the side of the road and everyone’s slowing down to take a gander because it might be Brad Pitt and Lindsay Lohan sword fighting.
Except it never is and it takes me forty-shit fisting- five minutes to get to the Valley, which is only nice because they actually have parking lots and streets not laid out by drunk dog.
The Weather is Turning Me into a Total Pussy – As I write this, it is currently 64 degrees and I’m wearing a hoodie, zipped all the way up, indoors.
Even when it’s hot it’s a dry heat, not the wet, boiling hot, blanket that is humidity filled Indiana. At it’s worst, the weather out here is like the best day in February. Overcast, with a breeze, but holding solid at 55 degrees.
And it is turning me into a soft-ass bitch. I don’t know which part of me can never be happy with comfort, the ever-working Chinese, the guilty Catholic, or the Midwesterner but being comfortable makes me nervous, and this weather is not helping.
Last winter…I…I wore gloves…it was 50 degrees out.
I’d rock shorts if it was 50 in Indiana because if it was 50 that means it wasn’t 23 in December and that was always awesome.
Now, I have to bundle up to go out in what is charitably described at ‘brisk.’
Having said that, I will never shiver at home. I will snap my own spine trying to cover it before I will shiver in front of anyone in Indiana. Especially my dad.
The Chargers –
You still suck and your quarterback still sucks, but hey, at least when he sits out the play-offs he always gives some good LAZERFACE.
I will see you on Monday for part two of 2 Years in LA: LOVE
Posted on September 9, 2010, in Lists, Matt Loman, Uncategorized and tagged 2 years in LA, 2 years in LA: HATE, anniversary, hate, Matt Loman, Matt's got anger management problems. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.