As a recent transplant from New York, I am quickly realizing that moving across the country to Los Angeles is like moving to another planet. I've really had a hard time acclimating to my new home. People just don't operate with the same fast-paced, "go-get-em" attitude as they do back on the east coast, and it was a bit troubling at first. Thankfully, I have found the Holy Grail of tips on how to make it in Los Angeles, and I am going to share them with you today. So if your friend, family member or even you personally find yourself moving to the left coast, follow these simple tips and find yourself fitting in -- in no time!
1. Talk About Coachella.
Fucking endlessly. Everything in your life now revolves around a musical festival that lasts a mere two weekends out of the year. Talk about who you're going with, who you saw there, what drugs you plan on doing or did there and how the entire experience changed your life because you had a come-to-Jesus-moment during a performance by Drake. If you move to Los Angeles, you are officially Coachella's bitch. I'm still foggy on what exactly happens there, but I talk about it as if I'm an expert on the subject as to not raise any eyebrows. (I actually have no idea what a "Coachella" is or why I should care about it, but that's another story.)
2. Blatantly Disregard Any and All Traffic Laws.
People in Los Angeles all have multiple personalities. In public, they're pleasant, fun and entertaining. But, get those same people behind the wheel of a car and all bets are off -- they turn into monsters. Driving in L.A. is a bloodsport. It's pretty much like going into the Thunderdome every morning -- not everyone going in is going to make it out alive. If you dare choose to drive in L.A. like a civilized human being (and good luck to ya, brotha), you will get cut-off, honked at, rubbernecked and possibly come close to death because the bottle blond in front of you was too busy texting her friend about Coachella plans to actually pay attention to the road in front of her.
3. Lie About Your Job.
Los Angeles is a one-industry town and there are many people vying for seasonal work that truly is tough to come by. If you are one of the lucky ones actually employed, be sure to exaggerate about the position -- it's OK -- everybody does it. Because only in Los Angeles can: "I have a recurring role on Scandal" actually translate to meaning: "I got Kerry Washington's assistant coffee once when my uncle's ex-wife's sister got me an unpaid internship at ABC Studios two years ago." As long as we all make it to Coachella -- everything will be OK.
4. Use Buzzy Health Words.
Incorporate words like "paleo" and "gluten" into your everyday conversations. Last week a woman at the grocery store gave me the unsolicited advice of not eating a certain yogurt because it was filled with GMOs. When I asked her if she knew what a GMO was, she said nothing then turned and ran in the other direction. As long as someone (and it doesn't matter who) has told you something is bad for you, avoid it at all costs and tell everyone you know to do the same. Besides, a diet filled with GMOs and trans-fat does not a Coachella ready-body make!
5. Act Busy.
Never in my thirty-two years on earth have I been to a city where there are more busy people doing absolutely nothing. In New York, busy means one thing: work. In Los Angeles the word 'busy' has a menagerie of meanings. Everything from having a four-hour lunch with the girls to shopping for an outfit for Coachella to doing the new hot yoga fad that apparently takes up an entire day constitutes as busy. Once moving to Los Angeles, remember this: you are always busy doing something -- all of the time. If your best friend is coming to town, make sure they book their trip a good six months in advance. You've got a ton of shit on your plate right now and most of it revolves around working out and not eating anything that has GMOs in it. You clearly cannot be bothered.
6. Bite the bullet and prepare to say the words you would never dare utter under any circumstances on the east coast: "Do you want to go to an improv show tonight?" I've been asked this question three times in the past two weeks by my only three friends who weren't 'too busy' planning for Coachella. My response is always: "Is improv an actual thing that people pay to see? Also, I'm really busy. Sorry I can't make it."
7. Act Rich.
Act filthy, stinking, disgustingly rich and don't apologize for it. Appearance is everything in this world of make believe that we call Los Angeles, so in order to keep up with the Joneses: buy an overpriced car, shop for pricey clothes, purchase the most expensive tickets you can find to Coachella and flaunt it. It's my understanding that everyone in Los Angeles is either independently wealthy or everyone is going through a form of bankruptcy the likes of which the world hasn't seen since Toni Braxton and just isn't saying anything about it. Money is everywhere and everyone has it -- (many times, inexplicably) so either get some, find someone who has some or start pretending you have some right away.
8. Never Apologize For Tardiness.
It's commonplace here. If you plan on meeting a friend for brunch, you need to give that friend a thirty-minute to four-hour grace period for his or her lateness. Traffic is shockingly always a nightmare here (for example: at midnight a few nights ago, I was gridlocked. Why is there bumper-to-bumper traffic at midnight on a Tuesday? Where is everyone going this late? Coachella isn't until this weekend. It was as confusing and unexplainable as when they suddenly replaced the actor who played Darrin without warning on Bewitched and acted like everything was the same. Like. WTF?) Everyone is generally late for things and it's usually never questioned. I have found that leaving for work at five in the morning then taking a nap in your car once you get there is usually a good way of being on time (if you want to be un-L.A. about it.) Either that or you can learn to utilize your time stuck in traffic wisely. Another example: I legit filed my full-on tax return while stuck on the 405 last Wednesday.
9. Complain About The Weather.
The one day of rain that occurs every three months is not only going to ruin your hair, it's also going to impair your driving abilities and force the entire city to shut down until the liquid falling from the sky ceases. Sure, this happens infrequently, but it's important to complain about it as much as humanly possible on social media when it does. As far as that whole "running-out-of-water" situation is concerned -- well, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it because a light drizzle in Los Angeles is the equivalent to a six-foot blizzard in Detroit. All bets are off, lives are in danger and complaints abound.
10. Above all else: Be Nice to Everyone You Meet.
Not because you're a particularly nice person or because you want to make new friends but because there is a one-in-eight-million chance that the person sitting next to you at The Coffee Bean is an exec at Warner Brothers and can get you a really good job. Either that or he or she may be able to score you some tickets to Coachella.
There you have it -- everything you need to know about fitting in on the left coast. Now, I am a New Yorker through and through but I have to say, Los Angeles is starting to rub off on me. And while I've only been here for two months, I feel much like Annie must have felt after stepping foot into Daddy Warbuck's palatial mansion for the first time: I think I'm gonna like it here!
Although, I'd like it much more if I could get some fucking tickets to Coachella this weekend. (Coachella is a bird sanctuary in Nevada, right?)