Sunday, May 29, 2011

What Is A True Angeleno?

I ran across this piece in the L.A. Times by Hector Tobar, about what makes and what represents a "true Angeleno," and I have to say, after reading it, I am in complete and total agreement.

1. Don't fawn over celebrities. You're walking down the grocery aisle and you spot someone from the world of television and film. Eye contact is OK. A rush for an autograph is not. We're blasé about the famous among us. We merely smile in acknowledgment. And if we must say anything, we limit ourselves to four words: "I love your work."

So fucking true! I can't tell you how many times I've witnessed the "Lucy Ricardo" reaction to stars in this town. Real Angelenos slightly acknowledge the person, and generally let them go about his or her business. If I added up the number of times I've run into "stars," or sat next to one at a diner, or had one sit next to me while our kids were having hockey practice, I could drop names like a mofo! But, such is life living in Los Angeles, and you can clearly tell those from here by their nonchalance around stars.

2. Use your turn signals. This is a city designed for fast, powerful vehicles. Many Angelenos seem to think that the rules of driving in the rest of the world don't apply here. They're wrong. To me, a real Angeleno is someone who may drive aggressively but who always takes the one minimal precaution that helps avoid a pileup. Unfortunately, there aren't enough real Angelenos on the roads these days. And while we're at it, real Angelenos stop for pedestrians in crosswalks too.

Spot on in my book. If you're going to cross into my lane quickly and cut me off, at least have the courtesy to signal, and maybe even a small hand wave that says "sorry, but I have to do this."

5. Know your shortcuts. We avoid turning on the GPS because we know more about our traffic patterns than any computer. We know that the usual rules of geography and geometry don't always apply in L.A., and the quickest route between two points is not necessarily a straight line. We know that at certain times of the day, a sinewy canyon road moves faster than the freeway next to it.

This is very true! Congestion is the hallmark of this city, especially if you tend to rely mostly on conventional methods of getting from point A to point B. Knowing all the little alleys, and side streets that cross large streets, but have a stoplight for traffic, is MAJOR knowledge of how to get around town without actually moving in parking lot style! Just on the insane side, I once drove from Los Angeles to North County San Diego (Cardiff/Encinitas/Leucadia) by just taking surface streets, and while it took only one hour more than just driving on the freeway, it was one hell of a way to drive south! (The only part that you cannot access is San Onofre, where you are forced onto the freeway for a few miles).

6. Appreciate Vin Scully. I'm sorry, but if you don't know who Vin Scully is, you can't pass your L.A. citizenship test. The legendary L.A. Dodgers announcer, still going at age 83, was born in the Bronx, but he's as Angeleno as they come. Drop Scully's name into a conversation, and it will instantly identify you as a real Angeleno.

No doubt about that one. Anyone and everyone who has listened to Dodger baseball on the radio as a kid (and on tv as an adult) knows the voice of Scully. If you have to even ask who he is, you are not from these parts!

Go read the rest of the article and the remainder of the top ten. You're also invited to add your own to the list, but I think he did a great job of describing us Angelenos!


Arno said...

Big fan of Vin, and all the other great baseball voices... for driving in LA, I hope I could somehow possibly do it. Doubt it, though.

Carrie said...

Anti-gridlock laws were put on the city books back in the late 1980's after cars would end up in the intersection when the light would turn red, and the side that had the green light could not even enter the intersection, the honking and the violence would start. Now, if you see that traffic is backed up, you cannot enter the intersection, even if your light is green. I still see it happen, but not like it used to, and if a cop happens to be in the area, it is a ticket ripe for issuing. Whenever I have a car that is trying to beat the light and ends up in the cross-walk blocking MY ability to walk across the street, I generally say something, shake my head, and from time to time, greet them with the middle finger!