"Angels Flight?" I ask. "You've never heard of Angels Flight?" Yet this person is living here in the city of the angels.
"No," they repeat. "Never heard of it."
There are times when I get frustrated that people around me know nothing about Los Angeles and I wonder why they have never heard of the landmark called Angels Flight nor made any attempt to know or understand the fascinating history of Los Angeles. This is such an amazing city and everyone comes here to try to make a success of themselves but few take responsibility for knowing anything about it or doing anything about it, so here are some suggestions:
-- Take pride in your adopted city -- Get involved, join Heal the Bay or The Sierra Club or Save the Kiwi or whichever groups hold appeal for you and address concerns you care about. Don't be apathetic. I'll bet you cared in the city you came from! Dig your heels in and make a difference. This city has lots of ills that need healing! Volunteer! It will help you make new friends, too! (I started a charity called Power for Kids which is making a difference in schools and manages to keep me hopping in my free time which I no longer have and wouldn't change for the world!)
-- Learn to drive -- Yes, you know where your local coffee/tea hangout is, but have you learned to drive properly in order to get there? Californians pride themselves on being excellent drivers who consider it rude to honk. Los Angelinos really do brake for pedestrians who have the right of way. So, after you get here, go to a great driving school, and obey the laws and don't honk. It's against the law and it's rude. Let people in. Smile. Be courteous. It will change the whole traffic karma. You will see. We used to be such happy drivers and could be again if people who come here would just admit that they can't drive here, learn, then be courteous on the road and ditch the road rage!
-- Learn about us: Okay, so you don't know where Ships, Wil Wrights, or Bullocks Wilshire were; we forgive you that. You have no idea where we housed drive-in movies or where waitresses on roller skates took our orders for hamburgers and fries. We give you every job and apartment lead we know. We are Californians and super nice and pride ourselves on helping you out. But do endeavor to learn a little about us just as we've traveled to your cities and learned about you! Look at Century City and remark, "Was that really all grass only a few years ago? Isn't that an oil drill I see on it?" Trust me, this is a fascinating city! Why the water rights issue alone became the movie Chinatown! The families, the crime, the architecture -- it is utterly astounding!
The benefits of all this?
-- Social programs will be stimulated. The Bay will stayed healed. Trees will be hugged. The kiwi will live on...
-- Starbucks or wherever you go for coffee/tea, The Coffee Bean/Seattle's Best, Peet's will be frequented but no fights will break out over parking spaces. Accidents will be prevented and neighbors will be neighborly.
-- Now that you've slowed down and vowed not to run over anyone or honk at them, you will realize that Californians are car crazy. There was a time that we rolled down our windows and asked each other how we liked each other's cars. That was before road rage. If you are taking my advice and being nice, this could happen again and you could have your car shopping done while in traffic.
-- And, after you take some historical tours, and explore downtown, you will be a more interesting person. Read some Raymond Chandler. Take another city tour. Explore parts of the city you haven't seen. Go to Long Beach if you live in the Valley. Go to the Valley if you live in Long Beach. There is so much to see and do. Ride a bus. Go to a botanical garden. Visit a museum. There is so much to see and take in besides Disneyland (forgive me, Mickey) but it is technically in Orange County. Honk honk!
-- So, all in all, by becoming an informed Los Angelino, you will become a better person by appreciating the city's richness, culture, heritage, and architecture.
Oh, and if you are trying to find the old and charming Beverly Hills Post Office -- it's being transformed into a performing arts center named after Wallis Annenberg. Count that among our upcoming cultural assets of this talent-driven city. Oh, and by the way, welcome. And if you could call Los Angeles just that, it would be appreciated!