Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Living In LA - First Impressions

Part of a series on moving west

Moving is hard. Moving across the country is extra hard, because change is scary. Adapting one's eastern mentality to fit in on the gold coast is more difficult than it sounds and it is certainly not a speedy process. Here are some first impressions of a few LA cultural norms that have left a New England transplant scratching her head.

1. Sushi is the new coffee
Sushi is delicious, nutritious, and fun for the whole family (but not for pregnant ladies because raw fish), and it is everywhere in Los Angeles. What the city lacks in coffee shops it more than makes up for with sushi joints. Now as fresh and tantalizing as this all is, a true New Englander will miss being able to see a Starbucks across the street from the window of the Dunkin' Donuts she's standing in.

2. Jaywalking is actually illegal
The true New Englander knows that jaywalking is a national (or apparently, regional) pastime. Students jaywalk, businessmen jaywalk, green-grocers jaywalk; one could reasonably assume that the Queen of England jaywalks. But in California, one does not jaywalk, because playing real-life Frogger in this state will get you a fine of up to $191. New Englanders in LA feel encumbered and tardy as they wait to cross the street.

3. Weather is confusing
New Englanders know how to read the sky, and they understand that weather tends to be more or less steady over a pretty large area. In Los Angeles, the sky fills with grey clouds, but it does not rain. Drive 10 miles inland and the temperature will raise by 20 degrees. The West Coast boasts its dry heat, but the iPhone says that humidity is at 75%. Nothing makes sense.

4. Strangers smile a lot
Maybe it's the sunshine, or easy access to frozen yogurt, or even the fumes from the gridlock traffic, but the average Angeleno carries a smile on his face and a welcome in his heart. Or something like that. New Englanders know that all pedestrians exist in separate universes to one's own. They go along their ways and interact if and when it seems socially necessary. Angelenos, on the other hand, greet one another while walking down on the street, shopping for produce in the grocery store, and entering and exiting the elevator. In Los Angeles, pleasant greetings are always necessary.

5. Dressing for success
On the east coast, you've "made it" when you're wearing a suit and tie on 5 days out of every week. The sharper the cut, the higher the Wall Street salary. LA executives, on the other hand, sport designer blue jeans and T-shirts. To the untrained eye, it can be difficult to tell who is a company executive and who is on vacation with his family. New England transplants don't know what to do with all of their pantsuits.

Now look how Spidey's NYC senses are tingling all wrong here

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