I’m back in LA and, as if we were still living in China, I get a case of severe culture shock when we get back. Oh yes, you might not think so but LA has a very distinct culture. And it’s hands-down more noticeable when you get back than when you’re in the moment.
It got me thinking, how do you define LA. Here are five things that make LA … LA.
1. The Faces
Oh My God, the faces. These dermatologists and plastic surgeons are having the last laugh–aging men and women are lining up, chucking all their cash at them and they’re laughing all the way to the Bank. Just for a minute I wonder if they truly looked at themselves in the mirror could they face the fact that they look like clowns. Unattractive clowns with mouths that look like Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker, plump lips that are disproportional with their face and foreheads–shiny smooth foreheads–that cover half their face. Big cheeks plumped up with so much filler it’s not helping–in fact it’s making things all the worse.
The day after I arrived, I was walking into a shop minding my own business when I looked up and came eye to eye with a 60-plus year old lady, not a wrinkle in sight, forehead from here to eternity and big, big eyes that were so wrong on so many levels. I actually physically jumped with fright. No, in LA botox is simply not enough. Give me aging gracefully anyday.
2. Gym gear
Sure I see people in Australia in gym gear, I may have spotted the odd person in London, I can’t say I saw anyone in Paris but back in LA every second person is in their gym (or yoga?–said with a Valley-girl accent) gear. And, like me if I decide to fit in with the LA look, they haven’t been to the gym. Their fully made up looking perfect and the gym gear could actually be a way for them to tell the world their favourite meal is kale salad. They take the active wear phenomenon to a whole new level. Lululemon has a lot to answer for.
It’s not hard peoples, buy some nice shoes, a skirt, a dress, even a pair of pants or shorts with a nice top–these outfits aren’t reserved for going out. You can actually wear them out during the day and feel good about yourselves.
3. It’s all about me
You may think with the number of celebrities in LA I’m talking about them. Oh no. LA seems to have bred itself a culture of self-absorbed, very important, all-about-me people. And that’s hard to take when you like a bit of the spotlight and glory yourself.
4. LA Drivers aka the driving culture
You need to go somewhere/anywhere, you need to get in your car and drive. And if you don’t have your car you hop in an Uber or Lyft. That might even be a short trip down the road: walking is not the thing to do. Let’s face it with Valet parking top notch here you don’t even walk to/from your car. Nope, LA is not the place to be carless.
And that means there are millions of cars on the road. And, with the said entitlement culture, there are a lot of people on the road who are in a hurry to get somewhere and you need to get out of their way, or read their mind when they cut you off or turn without indicating. LA drivers are anything but polite or patient.
Even as I was writing this I had an incident in the Westfield carpark at Century City. They have a smart parking system which reads and detects your numberplate on entry. Then if you download the app and register your numberplate/registration, as you exit it charges the parking to your credit card–at a discounted fee. Who wouldn’t be all about that?
So, I went in not bothering about being close to the ticket machine. The system glitched (misread my numberplate–doh) and I had to essentially get out of my car to get my ticket. Just before I could do this a young very unlady-like chick pulled up and immediately started beeping at me. Obviously in a hurry you can bet she judged me for being so far from the booth. I gave her lip and got my ticket. She beeped again before I could even shut my door. And proceeded to beep until I drove through the boomgates.
Now seriously, do you think I enjoy spending my time getting a ticket out of the machine at a carpark entrance? Hell I don’t even like paying for parking. So now I’m pissed off and I am giving her lip and–of course–taking my sweet time. Because chick, who thinks she’s more important than anyone else in a hurry at Westfield Century City, here’s a tip, just because you’re tooting me does not mean I’m going to be all like “oh-my-god-I-better-hurry”; in fact you can bet I’m going to take my sweet time and piss you off even more. And I hope you were late to whatever important thing you had to do.
5. The Sushi is so so good
The first place we go to eat when we get back–and the last place we go before we leave–is one of our favourite sushi joints. LA has bloody good sushi. Not only is it fresh but it’s innovative and different. You can get any number of different roll combinations and the spicy tuna is to die for. Did someone say crispy rice? YES PLEASE. Yes, if it’s one thing LA does well, hands down it’s sushi.
Don’t get me wrong, I love LA for more than just the sushi. Five years on I’m happy to have good friends and call LA home. But sometimes LA can be hard to bear–once you’re in it’s fine but when you drop back in it takes a little while to get your LA groove back on. When I lived in China we used to need “get out of China breaks”. For the record is a bit the same.
But LA is a bit like being on drugs or having a really good “one-night stand”: you know you should wean yourself off but at the time it’s so good you just want to go back. One more time.
Welcome back to LA!
xx It Started in LA xx