Certainly I miss the comforts, familiarities, and of course the friendships and family of home. I also miss the Starbucks that was down the street from us in Arlington, where the baristas actually, I dunno, MADE your drinks when you ordered them. Here, they tend to unpack some muffins and clean out the frappaccino blenders after taking your order, seeming to be mulling it over until you're never quite sure they're actually going to bestow your grande skim chai upon you or what. Maybe they're giving me time to reconsider and go with the bottle of water instead, because, you know, this is LA.
Anyway, I've noticed several quirky things about Los Angeles (beyond the apparent obsession with donut shops & high colonics) and I'm not quite sure yet whether they amuse or annoy me.
1.) Traffic Lights--My father has a special talent for turning traffic lights red. I clearly recall from my childhood, driving in cars with my father and being amazed at his propensity for finding the red lights. A trip to my friend Laurel's house, when navigated by him, was at least a full ten minutes longer than if my mother were behind the wheel. I don't know why this was the case, but if Dad was driving and we were approaching a traffic light--it turned red. With staggering consistency. Any time we found ourselves sans Dad and still hitting the red lights, we would joke that Dad was hiding in the trunk of the car and that's why we couldn't get down the road any faster than one light at a time.
Apparently my father is in the trunk of my car, and all other cars on the road, at ALL times in Los Angeles because this city seems to have a strict "You get through one light at a time, Missy. Don't even THINK of speeding up to get through that yellow. It ain't gonna happen" rule. I'm fairly certain the brilliant civil engineers who planned the timing of the city's traffic lights are to blame for the hulking brown-grey clouds of smog that hang over the city. It's not the glut of cars on the freeways; it's the millions of cars idling at every. single. traffic. light in the city and then revving their engines in a futile attempt to sneak through the next light in the row before it shuts them down again. Driving to Target today, a mere five miles from my home, I was stopped at no fewer than ten traffic lights. Seriously, Dad, get OUT of my trunk.
2.) Weather reports--okay, what the hell is with three forecasts in one viewing area? How crazy is this? Apparently you've got your "Downtown" forecast, your "Valley" forecast and your "Beaches" forecast. Granted, the job is still a cake walk for a trained monkey, as each forecast is the same as it was the day before, but the vast difference in temperature is astounding to a girl from the East Coast, where the temperatures don't start to vary with any significance until you've gone from New Hampshire to Virginia. Here, ten miles is the difference between 75 and overcast and 95 and sunny.
3.) Cancer warnings--most of us are used to the warning labels on cigarettes. Sure. No one who's lighting up these days is remotely in the dark about the perils of puffing away. So sure, we have those warnings here. But we also have cancer warning labels on cars, restaurants, grocery stores. Apparently there is something call "Acrylamide" that is present in almost all foods that are cooked a certain way and apparently said "acrylamide" will kill ya or make you have babies with three heads. So any establishment that produces things like french fries is supposed to have a warning label at its entrane letting you know that consuming their food could be hazardous to your health. Yes, here in the state of California, thanks to Proposition 65, we are bombarded on a daily (perhaps hourly) basis with the reminder that EVERYTHING causes cancer and we're all going to die. Wicked cheerful.
4.) Priuses--or would that be Prii? Whatever the plural of Toyota's hybrid? Yeah. I think Husband & I moved here a little late because clearly we missed the great Prius give-away. Every other car on the road is one of these fuel efficient, innovative, Leonardo DiCaprio-approved automobiles. They are the rabbits of the automotive world here (and I don't mean Volkswagons; I mean horny little bunnies), as they seem to multiply in numbers by the day. There's a house down the street that I swear has spit out a new Prius every time I walk by. There is one parked in almost every driveway (no doubt while it's owner drives their
5.) Radio Stations--So, correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought, for better or for worse, Los Angeles was the entertainment capitol of our nation. Why is it then, that I cannot find a radio station here that plays music produced after, oh, let's say 1985? Holy armful of black rubber bracelets, Batman. If you want to hear Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me", Devo's "Whip It" or A-ha's "Take on Me", this is the place for you. Los Angeles' radio selections seem to be the product of some 80's throwback spending hours in his basement, pouring over vinyl LPs on a quest to create the perfect mixed tape. If you're interested in hearing Cold Play's "Viva LaVida", you're going to need to tune in someplace else, because unless you can time-warp them in, I think LA's got another 15 years before they start playing Cold Play.
It's so bizarre--clearly the influence of bands like Fall Out Boy are felt here; young men walk around with their dark hair awkwardly swept across their foreheads and eyes in a gravity-defying mess that is reminiscent of my teenage love affair with Aquanet and my to-the-sky bangs. But you can't hear Fall Out Boy on the radio. Those boys probably hadn't fallen out (of their mother's wombs) when most of the stuff that's on the radio here was being made.
Perhaps I'm going to have to bite the bullet and get XM.
I'm sure these things will become commonplace to me, and the weird warnings on our way into Cheesecake Factory and the eleventy billion lights I sit through to get five miles down the road will become just part of the fabric of my daily life. I mean, really, I hardly even giggle anymore when I drive by the "colon hydrotherapy" place down the street, so I must be adapting, right?