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How to Piss Off an Angeleno

Los Angeles
by Colin Heinrich Sep 17, 2013
Bitch about traffic.

Look, we get it. We live with it every day. Somehow a city of three million people has four million cars on the highway at any given moment.

But you know what? That biker splattered across four lanes of the 10 isn’t going to pull himself back together and hobble to the shoulder because you’ve got “Book of Mormon” tickets. LA is an automobile town, and that comes with certain costs. Like taking an hour to drive ten miles. Like planning ahead.

If you’re caught on the 405 during Carmageddon, put on some music, roll the windows down, and relax. Or better yet, do what we do and find your way around it…

Get lost and ignore our advice.

…Because yeah, we’re really good at going around it. We all laughed when SNL put out “The Californians,” but the next conversation was about the validity of the directions they listed. When we get in a car, we know where the hell we’re going. On any given day, there’s a Dodgers game, a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, and a movie premiere at LA Live. Maybe all three. And on those days, we still make it from Downtown to North Hollywood in time to catch the tail end of the car chase on channel 4.

So when we’re riding shotgun with our Waze app open, and we make a suggestion, it’s a good idea to listen to it. It may sound unorthodox. It may sound downright wrong. But trust us. We’ve been around the block once or twice. Actually, you know what? We never go around the block more than once.

Say we’re not a real city.

Los Angeles is big. Bigger than the next few biggest cities in America combined, actually. And yeah, it takes an hour on a good day to go from Santa Monica to Long Beach. Yeah, those are both technically cities in their own right. But that doesn’t mean your hometown is somehow a more valid metropolis than mine (lookin’ at you, Chicagoans and San Franciscans).

Los Angeles has its fair share of urban sprawl, but you don’t call a tall guy a collection of limbs just because the blood’s gotta flow a bit longer to the feet. And don’t bother telling us you like San Francisco better. We wish you’d stayed there.

Say we have no culture of our own.

So what if we’ve got everything from a Koreatown to a Little Ethiopia? So what if the city itself is only 200 years old? We’re the entertainment capital of the world. We’ve got over 300 professional theatres, many of which you’ve probably heard of before.

We’ve got LACMA, we’ve got the Getty, we’ve got the Disney Concert Hall and the Philharmonic. Tourists stand in line for half an hour just to try a Pink’s Hot Dog. We have one of the most important bases of hip-hop in America — only New York bothers to compete, and if Kendrick Lamar is any authority on the matter, we’re kinda winning right now.

But yeah dude, tell me again that Los Angeles has no culture. Just do me a favor and take off that fucking Lakers hat when you do it.

Ask if we know any celebrities.

Did you not just hear me? You really missed the whole part about how there’s so much more to Los Angeles than Hollywood? Typical. Half the time, when people talk about hating LA, they couldn’t name much more than the Hollywood sign and the Chinese Theatre.

Fun fact: We hate those places too. There’s a reason “Take Fountain” is practically a meme in LA. We avoid that tourist trap at all costs, because as difficult as it is to imagine, we’re people, and we dislike piss-smelling people dressed as Spider-Man getting all up in our face. What you consider a novelty is just a day in the life for us.

Celebrities too. So even if we have seen Randy Jackson picking out a new jacket at the Beverly Center, we don’t want to have a conversation about it. Who cares?

Get away with jaywalking.

I had a minor panic attack the first time I went to Southeast Asia. Cars were zipping past, and these people just walked, just walked, into traffic. The cars slowed for them and everybody went on their merry way as if they hadn’t just nearly killed an entire intersection. And the cop did nothing!

In LA, cops seem to have nothing better to do than write tickets for jaywalking. So after a certain conditioning point, you just stop doing it. It’s not worth it. The crosswalk is seriously right there, and you don’t have to nervously glance over your shoulder when you take it.

But every so often, somebody forgets they’re not in Southeast Asia (metaphorically folks, not trying to bring race into it) and runs into the street, forcing you to slow down and miss the next light. And there’s not even a cop around to write them a ticket. One of these days, I’m not going to slow down.

Bring up our history of racism and crime.

We hate the LAPD sometimes. Especially when they write us jaywalking tickets. They can be arbitrary, trigger-happy, occasionally racist assholes. But you know what? They’re our arbitrary, trigger-happy, occasionally racist assholes. We know they fuck up sometimes, but Christopher Dorner going on a rampage and citing alleged corruption doesn’t make you an authority on their rare-but-spectacular failings.

We know Rodney King happened. We know OJ happened. When you bring it up, we don’t start trashing our own city’s overworked law enforcement with you. We wonder what bullshit your city’s hiding in its campaign for collective sainthood.

No, Los Angeles isn’t perfect. There’s still plenty of leftover racial tension in Koreatown and Watts, but it’s the best it’s been in a long time. Telling the fat kid he’s fat doesn’t help him lose weight, and telling a recovering racist asshole that he’s a racist asshole has never worked out well for anybody.

Cheer for the wrong team / be a bandwagon fan.

In LA, we like sports. But it’s important to know which sports when you’re talking to us, because we’re the kind of people who start riots if our team loses. Hell, we start riots if our team wins. If history teaches us anything, it’s that Angelenos are pretty damn good at rioting.

Depending on which side of town you’re on, you could be rooting for the Bruins or the Trojans, and it’s even harder to spot the difference between a Lakers fan and a Clippers fan. If you can’t, well, just avoid the Staples Center altogether.

Rooting for the Dodgers and the Kings is a pretty safe bet…but don’t be a bandwagon fan. Just don’t. We’ve all been to Hollywood and we can spot fake a mile away. That Kings jersey you’re wearing is clearly less than a year old. Just get out.

Say hella.

Unlike most other cities (lookin’ your way again, Chicago), Angelenos are pretty good about singing the praises of their neighbors. We’ve got nothing to prove, so we don’t mind saying that San Francisco is an absolutely beautiful place. If Southern California is all about the flash and sexy substance, then Northern California is the warmth and reassuring comfort. Whatever San Francisco feels about LA, we are okay with them.

So why do you need to ruin it by saying “hella” in every sentence? What kind of a word is that? People from NorCal use it to replace the word “very.” What did “very” ever do to you? For an area that holds two of the best universities in the world, NorCalers sure don’t shy away from sounding stupid. To any self-respecting Angeleno, “hella” is like nails on a chalkboard. And even the chillest bros on the beach can only listen to that for so long.

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