You Know You're in LA When...

Los Angeles Student Work
by Lauren Steffen May 18, 2015

1. Your neighbor’s dog has bright pink hair and nicer shoes and necklaces than you do.

2. You order your 3×3 burger Animal Style.

3. Pizza basically sucks, except at Garage Pizza, where it’s pretty great.

4. Scientologists aggressively try to recruit you for screening at their testing centers on Hollywood Boulevard.

5. You get all your daily news, culture, and entertainment from KCRW.

6. Mexican is best enjoyed for under five dollars at the little street-side taco stands east of Western, and often it’s the best you’ve ever had even inside of Mexico.

7. You go the Getty and don’t even bother to go inside to look at the art.

8. If Korean writing is translated on signs in Koreantown, it’s often into Spanish, not English.

9. You hike to Batman’s old 1960s cave then gaze out over the whole city to watch the sunset over the ocean from Griffith Park.

10. A hoard of zombies storms past the Starbucks on Hollywood Boulevard so seemingly real it makes your shiver.

11. Any conversation at all can be interrupted with, “Did you feel that?” or “Was that an earthquake?”

12. You overhear a guy at the beach, in a flaming white rage, tell his friend he’s “gonna beat the mother fucker with a flip flop.” And no one skips a beat.

13. You head to Wurstküche, cool with the fact you’ll be standing outside in line for 55 minutes, after trying to park for 30, before getting to order your rattlesnake sausage and craft beer.

14. The Green Doctor is ever ready to write a prescription with a wink and a smile to cure that headache, stomach ache, or insomnia that’s been killing you.

15. Someone you know is “about to go into production,” “wrapping a shoot,” “waiting to hear back about an option,” or at least “doing a ten day juice cleanse.”

16. After lingering in the grass over brunch and live jazz at the Sunday Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, you walk to the beach and play on the swings, rings, ropes and bungees to warm up for Ultimate Dodgeball.

17. You dress up in a tank top, hat, and scarf to go ice-skating outside at Christmas time, and take a photo in front of the giant tree in the middle of the rink so you can send it to everyone you know somewhere cold.

18. Nobody walks anywhere for any reason ever, except in the mountains on the weekends for fun.

19. Bacon wrapped hot dogs, bell peppers, and onions sizzle and cry out like sirens and offer true bliss to the ravenous outside all the clubs.

20. One of your favorite summertime things is going to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery with your low slung beach chair, a bottle of wine, and some cheese to see a great movie with your BFFs.

21. You squeeze your hybrid in between a Ferrari and a Porsche, and across from an Aston Martin, on any given day, and hardly notice.

22. You ask a waiter for the gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, paleo options and he happily lists them in order of his preferences.

23. You draw considerable attention when you get on a city bus if you are white and over 17.

24. Cold weather alerts are issued, and staying safe in this merciless weather is the big news story on every channel, when daytime temperatures top out in the 50s.

25. Rain causes chaos, madness, panic, and occasional bursts of ecstatic frolicking. No one knows how to drive in the rain.

26. The world’s largest costume carnival in West Hollywood aside, Halloween parties are EPIC. From the street fairs, to the masquerade balls, to the house parties in the hills designed by resident Hollywood production designers, the freaks strut out in living technicolor on this night.

27. The river so named for the city is a cleft in the concrete that sometimes boasts water and is a favorite attraction of green and blue algae.

28. Sunday brunch feels incomplete if someone doesn’t talk about running the stairs or hiking Runyon Canyon. Sunday brunch is an amazing event if you go to the Griddle. Every waiter is an awesome-looking guy and the pancakes are bigger than God.

29. Rough neighborhoods are dotted with colorful bungalows, carpeted with lawns, and lined with swaying palm trees.

30. Just thinking about a big, cheap, delicious Diddy Reese Ice Cream sandwich, with cookies warm from the oven that melt your ice cream ever so slightly, gets you really excited.

31. About an hour before sunset, the dolphins come out to play on the north side of the Santa Monica pier.

32. Space heaters blessedly run year round on all outdoor dining patios.

33. It’s sunny and flowers bloom all year, but in spring, jacarandas and cherry trees burst with lavender and pink blossoms to create tunnels over sidewalks that are perfumed by jasmine and honeysuckle.

34. Highways are so imposing, they are prefaced with articles, as in the 405, the 10, the PCH.

35. You can choose from Fat Burger, In-N-Out Burger, Astro Burger and Thomas’ Famous Burgers within a two block radius.

36. Different amazing films are showing in at least 7 historic palaces across town, and at least several of them have A-list cast and crew in attendance for post screening talkbacks.

37. There’s a skate park, a graffiti park, a gym, a drum circle, squash courts, paddle tennis courts, basketball courts, a guy playing grand piano, a 1930s style freak show, artists of every sort, fried ice cream, fried Oreos, organic smoothies, artisanal bakeries, an entrance to the Venice Canals…all on the beach!

38. Olvera Street is a bit campy, but it bursts with amazing, happy, fun colors and it IS the historical center of the city, so you go and don’t care.

39. You bump and grind your way to the deep bass through the “The Alley” at the heart of the Fashion District, yelling back at the hawkers to get your 2 dollar t-shirts, 2 for 20 jeans, ultra-trendy, super ostentatious sunglasses, earrings, shoes, bags for less, and stop for “mango, sandias, piña y pepinos” to refresh.

40. It takes you fifty minutes to drive 4 ½ miles up Wilshire from Ocean, past the entrance to the 405 in Westwood, but you don’t care because the sun is shining and you have your favorite podcasts. It’s a beautiful day in every neighborhood.

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