I am forever in love with Los Angeles when I’m not actively hating it with the undying fury of a honey badger. Traffic’s a pain but thank God it’s 75 degrees in March and there are palm trees on my drive to work.
I was headed to an open casting call for a server position (yes, they’re called casting calls here and every customer service job seriously requires a headshot with an application) when I wanted to call it quits. I ran into three-hour traffic because President O-freaking-bama decided to take a trip to the same mall. I had to stop into the nearest Best Buy to calm myself down and wait for traffic to subside. The whir of flat screen TVs puts me at ease.
At Davis, my favorite professor held meetings where she prepped my peers for their move to New York. The L.A. bashing during these meetings worked my nerves. “Driving’s a pain, people are superficial there and New Yorkers care more about their art.” Yeah, it’s true. But it was important to hear those things. You need to make sure you’ll enjoy where you move regardless of the setbacks. Sidebar: The cost of living is cheaper in L.A., apartment availability is cake and there are no snowstorms. Suck it, New Yorkers!
My friends and I had our own L.A. Hunan meetings where we mostly shit-talked, but also thought of the factors behind our decision to move. We had to know exactly what we were getting into. I became obsessed with researching the area. Wikipedia, Yelp and Rent.com are your besties. Take advantage of them. What are the crime rates? Where can I find affordable housing? How often do celebs hit pedestrians in this city because they were strung out on cocaine and self-entitlement? I haven’t been hit yet, but Lindsay did just get off probation so it honestly could happen to any of us at any minute.
I ventured to the land of broken dreams on many occasions not just to eat Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, but to scout the place out for safe neighborhoods and where feasible jobs were. It’s impossible to know where you belong without experiencing it firsthand. Every city has its own unique vibe. Make sure you find the one that suits your needs best, whether it be proximity to clubs or burgers featured on The Food Network.
I stuck with my D-Day of February 1, when I would infiltrate the land of hotness monsters and plastics, to keep my peace of mind and ease my transition. Everything I did during the months following graduation (buying a car, foregoing a social life, working 70-hour weeks) centered around my move. I felt so prepared! Silly rabbit, naivety is for kids.
It costs THAT much for a mattress that wasn’t used in a crackhouse? I can’t make a protected left turn ever? Really? L.A. in general feels like its own planet, where normal Earthly rules don’t apply. Five streets south of me is Miley’s Starbucks. Five streets north, food-stamp dispensaries are as common as those for medical MJ. I was lost all the time. And by “all the time,” I mean every single goddamn time I left my apartment. Which isn’t bad at all. That’s the only way I learned where anything was. Just make sure you have a phone charger in your car. You don’t want your phone to die while lost in Compton.
In regards to my Obama-hates-me meltdown, I realized I could either let all the annoying things about L.A. piss me off every day, or I could learn to deal and adjust to my new world. There’s no point in being frustrated with traffic and parking if I actively chose to have it in my life. Instead of pouting, I allow a five-second freakout where I use every cuss word I know, then I put it behind me. If you spend your whole day being pissed off and stressed out, you won’t get anything done.
Hilda from Ugly Betty put it wisely. “Mama, you want to fit in with these people? They’re not gonna change. YOU have to.”
There are no freshmen orientations or welcome rallies to get us acclimated to our new home. We have to prioritize how much adapting we’re prepared to do. If you have to be near the beach everyday, moving to Kentucky for a job might not be ideal. Don’t make it too hard on yourself. Did I make the right decision in my move? I don’t know yet. But nothing beats getting to watch the sunset from my balcony everyday.
Hit up JAZZ TRICE at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/Jazz_Trice and he’ll respond with something to make you smile. Or scream. Luck of the draw.