10 Rites of Passage You Experience in Los Angeles
1. Almost getting run off the road by a StarLine Tours van
You won’t see it coming. You’ll just be driving down Laurel Canyon, minding your own business, when all of a sudden you will see a white van with people sitting contentedly, cameras poised. They’re everywhere. The drivers will be screaming into a megaphone, and you won’t know what’s happening. The van will stop in front of random, nondescript places and make sudden, terrifying turns, blocking traffic. If you’re lucky, tourists will stare at you and perhaps take a photo of you in hopes of seeing a celeb.
2. A fitness fusion class
Whether it’s a hot spin class, Yogalates (yoga and pilates), Cyclelates (spin and pilates), Pilates Mat, or Dance Barre / Pure Barre / True Barre / Cardio Barre / Barre Method (Barre is a ballet-inspired workout), you have many options when it comes to fitness in Los Angeles. It seems the next best thing is always some sort of fusion class. At first, you might be intimidated by all of the options, but pretty soon you’ll have your very own little niche boutique fitness regimen. Or you hike Runyon Canyon. Simply jogging on a treadmill is dead. And if you’re not wearing Lululemon workout gear, get out.
3. Getting two parking tickets in one day
The Los Angeles Parking Enforcement Officers have a seriously sick sense of humor when it comes to parking tickets. The parking signs here are humorously baffling (2 Hour Parking Mon-Fri ONLY, except nights between 7-9 pm and every third Sunday between 10-11 am, not including holidays, and NO PARKING EVER EXCEPT WITH PERMIT). They watch your cars like they’re stalking prey. They have parking enforcement officers in cars, scooters, motorcycles, bikes, horses (no joke!), and Segways (also not a joke). Beware.
4. A run-in with a scientology recruiter
It will be unexpected. It will be weird. It will be a little terrifying. These recruiters are pretty much everywhere here (at the movie theater, at your local grocery store, etc.), so educate yourself. They will talk about Dianetics, which you probably won’t know anything about. But you will come out unscathed. Just don’t panic when you start getting Dianetics pamphlets in the mail. They have ways of acquiring full names and addresses even though you probably won’t remember giving out your information.
5. Standing in line at the store with an A-list celebrity
“Is that… no… is it? Is that her? Oh! It must be her. She’s just like us. She shops at Walgreens. How humble. Should I bow? I love her movies. She’s so pretty. WOW her skin is glowing! She’s SO much prettier in person.”
This will be your internal dialogue the first time you encounter a celebrity. Yes, they’re just like us. No, do not talk to them…unless they ask you to go ahead of them because they forgot something in aisle two. You’ll squeak out a barely audible, “OK, thanks!” before glancing back and smiling, creepily. Just walk away.
6. A special diet attempt
In La La Land, everyone has special allergies and / or are on a special kind of diet. There are dedicated restaurants, grocery stores, and farmer’s market stands devoted to gluten-free pies, vegan chicken, Whole30 approved salads, Alkaline diet foods, Metabolic diet foods, Macrobiotic diet foods, and the list goes on. You’ll inevitably meet someone who is on ONE of these diets and they’ll convince you they feel “SO MUCH BETTER!” So, you head to Whole Foods and pick up random ingredients you’d never in a million years eat otherwise.
7. Your first failed special diet attempt
Because boiled white fish and kimchi with brown rice just isn’t that tasty. Also, if you have to drink another sip of kombucha or apple cider vinegar, you might hurl. You will be starving and inevitably find yourself in line at In-N-Out burger, ordering a double-double with animal-style fries and a milkshake.
8. The first time someone you meet name drops someone famous
You meet a lot of people in Los Angeles. So it makes sense that someone must know, or work for, or have met, or have dated, a celebrity. It will never become any less annoying, I promise. You will be at a Starbucks and someone will yell, “Hurry. This is for Gwyneth. Gwyneth Paltrow.” And there’s that friend’s friend who dated a C-list celebrity before he married that B-list celebrity and never misses an opportunity to discuss it.
9. Almost missing your flight out of LAX because of traffic on the 405 freeway
Why? One, god-awful, heart-stopping word: traffic. Whether your flight is at 6 am or 10 pm, there will inevitably come a time where you make it to LAX Airport with only twenty minutes to spare, due to an accident, rush hour traffic (that lasts twelve hours a day), or random nightly construction. You will cry as it takes you an hour to crawl one mile. In these instances, you will wish you had gotten that motorcycle.
10. Spending Christmas on the beach
Sometimes in December, it’s 85 degrees out. And sometimes, that means you have yourself a glorious, sunny, and warm Christmas day. You won’t even be able to fathom celebrating a holiday that is traditionally spent in the snow. So you will head to the beach. Others will have the same idea, which at first puts you off, but then you’ll realize you’re all smug, common allies because, hey! You get to spend Christmas at the beach! Take that, Connecticut!