Every week or two I get asked by someone if I am liking my experience thus far in Los Angeles. I’ve been here now almost 9 months. I could have given birth in this amount of time. Nine months is a big psychological marker. Yet, I usually pause for a millisecond and answer yes with a slight shrug. That answer seems to suffice for most people. They either don’t notice the shrug or they were just being polite when asking. Or maybe the conversation was more about them and this was one of those questions to make it seem like they weren’t being self-centered. Occasionally, someone will try to probe and will ask me why I like Los Angeles.
Often, my first response to “why” is that LA is way better than San Francisco which has gentrified to the point that many of those that live there don’t know there was once affordable housing, ethnic minorities and actual differences in thought and opinion. San Francisco used to once have diversity. Or so I have been told. Those things have long ceased to exist (in a horrifyingly rapid way). The San Francisco of yore is no longer on the endangered list as it just plain old doesn’t exist anymore. So, why do I like LA? It’s not San Francisco. Too simple?
I understand my liking of something/someplace should not be based on what it is not. However, after two stints, decades apart in San Francisco, I have decided there wont be a third time in San Francisco for me unless it is to be Facebook’s new CEO. I also understand that LA has its detractors. Before I moved down to Los Angeles from San Francisco, I was warned about moving to “LA LA” land. Mr hippie dippie John Lennon (you know that Beatles guy) noted that Los Angeles is “just a big parking lot where you buy a hamburger for the trip to San Francisco.” Well, that is just not true. For starters, it’s hard to find parking in LA. Second, eating hamburgers will probably soon be banned in San Francisco. Oh wait. Thats an argument for buying the burgers before heading on up to San Francisco.
Anyway, Los Angeles has a lot to offer. Are people a little too laid back? Actually, no. Based on stereotypes, popular culture and the long-simmering war between those in LA and San Fran, you would think all of LA consisted of beach bums. However, having been a manager in both places, I would argue the opposite. I have seen a fairly strong work ethic in LA. I have seen young individuals turn down scholarships to great colleges outside LA so that they could still work in and help the community. I’ve seen a driven LA workforce. Up in San Francisco, I had a slightly different experience. It might have just been the fields I’ve been in.
Besides an interesting workforce, LA has great restaurants that one can enjoy. But everyone knows that. However, because I don’t cook, restaurant choices are a huge deal for me. That is not the deal closer, however.
I’m going to admit I do not know why I like LA. I will tell you this. I loved being able to go to the beach two days in a row this weekend and soak in all the sun I could. I relaxed and just put my head on the blanket instead of pulling a blanket over my head, as I have typically done in the past. I normally shy away from the sun. Here, in Los Angeles, I have finally embraced the sun and was happy about it. I saw myself reflected onto the beach and felt at peace.