If you couldn’t decipher my not-so pent-up aggression toward L.A., you might be too caught up in loving it so much.
Ugh, I sound like such a prick.
I’m sorry I hate L.A. so much. I don’t have to live there, I don’t know why I can’t just get over it. As much as I’m allowed to dislike the city, you’re also welcome to love it–and for some reason that bothers me. I’m not like this with any other place or thing. But maybe it’s because I wasn’t always like this with L.A., either…
Over three years ago, I used to crave the West. I was desperate to explore L.A. and all of its sunny magic. After months or years of talk, I booked my ticket during my birthday month as a ‘treat yo self’ gift. And it was such a great gift to myself!
In my one week spent at Mely’s house in L.A., I fell in love. We took the metro system everywhere we needed, and it was cheap in comparison with NYC’s subway fares. I got to see and meet Joel McHale in the taping of The Soup. We saw Conan live. The view from the Gryffith Observatory amazed me. I loved that you could hike around there. Kodak Theater. How chill Kat Von D’s tattoo and boutique shops were. Overall how chill the whole vibe was. People were generally friendly. The shopping. There was so much to see and none of it was too touristy, even when it was a tourist attraction.
The weather that week was actually chilly, so I didn’t get to fall in love with the warm weather, but I visited my first Disney park then and there and had a blast. This was the first time I had ever been to an amusement park outside of summer. Options seemed endless.
Not to mention I had saved up money to specifically spend in L.A.
A few days after my return, my sister Jodi called me to wish me a Happy Birthday and asked me how I liked L.A. I told her I loved it. I thought everything was accessible and exciting and that L.A. offered so much.
“Oh! Well I’m glad to hear it..,” Jodi started. She sounded like she was lying. Here’s why. “You know, Tob,” she continued, “I actually waited to tell you this because I didn’t want to ruin your expectations or your trip or anything, but I hated L.A.” My jaw probably dropped. “No, it’s actually really good that you liked it,” she said, this time sounding more sincere. “I just thought the city was too spread out.” Mom had said the same thing before my trip, but so what? I’m used to driving most places in New Jersey. “The transportation system sucked, but maybe it’s improved since I was there.” Maybe. Or she just didn’t know it well like native LA-er, Mely. “It was just frustrating.”
3 years later, we’ve switched roles….
I find myself saying how the city is far too spread out, some neighborhoods completely inaccessible by Metro. EVERYTHING appeared to be some sort of chain or franchise. I thought back to when Mely first came to Belmar, pointing out all the “mom & pop shops.” I thought nothing of it at the time because Belmar is very local-oriented, but I found none of that LA. People ended up being more snooty–but in a passive-aggressive way.
When comparing LA to NYC in attitude, honestly, I do view L.A. to be very fake about approaching matters, while NYC just honks at you if you fucked up and you get over it. I don’t know quite how to describe it. But that Hollywood Cinema lifestyle they exaggerate in shows actually seemed to be reality!
And it’s not like LA is the only perpetrator of thinking they’re hot shit. You’ll find that ANYWHERE. But in LA too many seemed to take on this role of environmentally-conscious, vegan hipster, while wasting hundreds of gallons of water on washing their driveways and not really knowing what they’re talking about.
Again, this can be found anywhere. But I don’t know, in LA I couldn’t escape it. I couldn’t escape the weather when every day felt like the same, sunny day, yet so much of my life felt like a waste of time. One day to feel different would have been a blessing.
Let me explain.
I had only expected to be in L.A. for a max of 7 days. I was in L.A. a whole month. I was waiting for mine and Mely’s road trip to begin and it kept getting pushed back due to our transportation issues. I tried secluding myself to Mely’s house in order to avoid spending any kind of money so I could save it for the road trip.
I felt so completely stuck and because L.A. was so spread out, I couldn’t even escape this feeling for a minute. Friends kept suggesting I take a walk around the block, but the hot sun only pissed me off more. There was nothing but houses to see in Mely’s walking radius.
I went to Santa Monica for a weekend with Ali for her Frisbee tournament and got thrown some SERIOUS Santa Monica shade. Very rude people. I couldn’t believe it.
Ali, who was working at a coffee shop at the time, constantly felt like shit because she didn’t have a “real” job. I understand that frustration, but in L.A. I noticed with more than just her, that if you’re not in some sort of impressive industry, then you’re worthless. I can’t even give you an example of when or how I saw this, but I saw this attitude a lot in L.A. People were hardly friendly anymore.
Everything seemed fake.
So clearly in just two years*, my situations and reasons were completely reversed. And it might not all be L.A.’s fault. But ever since my second time there, I have a new rule: Visit a city at least twice before you move there, because once you get the exciting tourist stuff out of the way, it might not be what you think it is.
Three years after our LA conversation on my birthday, Jodi now lives in Venice. After living in Maine and New Hampshire for over a decade, I can understand her exhaustion and frustration with snow and winter. Her endless texts and snaps of LA weather does not make me jealous, no matter how hard she tries. And she’s had to adjust to driving everywhere. I’m almost waiting for her to grow tired of L.A.–especially since her dog has a lot of thick fur and loves the snow. But maybe I’ll change my mind again…or maybe she will. Either way, I just think it’s funny how a city is not always what you think it is, even after visiting.
Meanwhile, I’m still completely enamored with New York City. I love its seasons. I love how accessible and compact everything is. I love the hustle. I love the diversity. Its lights. Its size. Its sights. It doesn’t have everything I love–like mountains–but I’m still searching for my perfect city. And you know what, even after potentially years of searching I have ahead of me, I might just find that NYC is just the place for me after all.
*If there’s any confusion: it’s been 3 years since I first visited L.A., but it WAS only 2 years when I visited the second time. I have not been back since. And my aggression has not lightened in the year I’ve spent away from LA. Sorry.
+All pictures were from my first visit in L.A. and I still like them! So not all my emotions toward LA is hatred.