1. Celebrity sightings
We try to be jaded. We tell everybody we truly don’t care about spotting celebrities out in the wild. But let’s be real. When you see Randy Jackson shopping for shoes in the Beverly Center, you do a little fist pump in your soul.
2. The lack of judgment towards boozy brunch
It’s my Sunday, and if I want to spend it getting trashed on bottomless mimosas before noon, that’s my business. And apparently everybody else’s too, considering how packed Misfits is already.
3. Clearing the nadir of the Merge to see a traffic-less 405
I’ve never been on Wheel of Fortune, but I have to imagine it’s the same feeling you get watching your spin just barely clear the “Lose a Turn” tile. Or in this case, “lose the next two hours” tile.
4. The occasional view of the mountains behind downtown
If there’s no such thing as sadness, how can you appreciate joy? And if you don’t experience layers of constant, depressingly yellow smog almost every day as you drive north on the 110, can you ever truly appreciate a clear vista?
5. The never-ending battle against bikes
When behind the wheel, pedestrians are the enemy. And vise versa. But when a bike goes flying past a red light, and you lock eyes with that guy crossing the street, and you both shake your heads in disbelief… that’s a primal sense of camaraderie the Boy Scouts only wish they could create.
Yeah, you’ll talk to your foreign friends about them as if they’re some disaster you survive by the skin of your teeth each time one rocks your world. But really, they tend to just rock you out of your sleep. And then you get to excitedly text every single one of your friends, “did you feel that?”
7. The pressure to get fit
It’s nine o’clock. You’ve been in bed watching Netflix since 5:30pm. And then come the status updates about sunset jogs and $10 smoothies from SunLife Organics, and you realize you may have lost control of your life. When you leave LA, where do you find accountability?
8. Cougar watch
Country folk are desensitized to wildlife, and true city folk like New Yorkers are completely oblivious to anything besides pigeons and rats. But to Angelenos, the cougar living in the Hills is like Bigfoot. You either don’t believe it exists, or you claim to have seen it with your own eyes.
For some reason, Los Angeles has better sunsets than anywhere in the country. Instagram in the evening may as well be a dedicated app. Maybe it’s the smog in the atmosphere. It’s probably the smog.
10. The fact that no one cared you were from LA
Ok, fine. Maybe that’s a lie. There’s a definite beaming pride you feel when you tell somebody not from LA you’re from LA, and their eyes widen in admiration. You become instantly cooler. Yes, this makes me sound like a bit of an asshole. That’s why I was living in Los Angeles.
11. The week-long winter
By mid-December, you start to get sick of the perfect, warm weather. Everybody else gets these amazing white Christmases, and you’re stuck having a barbecue on the roof with your best friends. Then you get a week where the temperature drops to 55 and it spits rain for a day or two, and suddenly you’re over it.
12. Live music
You never realize just how much Los Angeles offers you until you’re stuck in a small town in New Zealand and find yourself getting excited that some dude who once played with CCR is jamming in a bar for a night.
13. The delightfully weird posters on light posts and bulletin boards
Let’s be honest, I was never going to go to that guy’s backyard yoga class. I never did see that couple’s missing mini-poodle shaved like a lion who answered to ‘Claude’. But the fact that they were out there? I respected that.
14. The traffic
Ha! That’ll be the fuckin’ day.