Los Angeleno Seniority
The following is a quick guide to what to expect of a Los Angeleno in regards to Carmageddon and/or any other disaster that can come down on Los Angeles based on how long a given Los Angeleno has actually been living here.
I figured this list will set things straight, or at least be mildly entertaining.
Los Angeleno Seniority
Under 6 months – Vagabundo Los Angeleno – you are just passing through, you don’t count. You probably haven’t even eaten a proper burrito yet.
You have no idea that you can actually tell a Hollywooder from a Santa Monican just by looking at their swagger. The only accent you recognize is the Valley one. You don’t know a single word in Russian. You think Bel Aire is a destination. You actually want to go to Beverly Hills.
You have no idea why Orange County is really just a myth perpetuated by the people living in places like “Buena Park”. You have yet to go to Griffith park and be done with that. You have not experienced any natural disaster in LA. You don’t know that the Oscars are in fact one of those natural disasters.
You keep on looking at the stars on Hollywood Boulevard. You think West –La is a city. You don’t know why Watts matters and you have no idea that what I am talking about when I say “Verdugo.” Finally, you don’t know who Angelyne is.
Under 12 months – Pimpollo Los Angeleno – extended stay tourist, you just discovered that it does actually get cold in LA. You have just eaten at a proper Mexican restaurant and are wondering why it is owned by a Korean. You have just gone to the Grove and met everyone you have met over the past year there (you are wondering if it is a coincidence – it isn’t). You have seen your first movie star and you couldn’t believe why no one seemed to get excited over it (no one had the heart to tell you it was a Hollywood Boulevard impersonator). You might have experienced a disaster – say a mild earthquake, you are mildly disturbed that the frantic phone calls you made to the Police were unanswered. You have just realized that everyone is a Chiropractor or goes to one. You have heard the name Angelyne, but have no idea what it is all about.
Under 5 years (got to LA c. 2005-6)– El Niño Los Angeleno – you just threw your I heart LA t-shirt away. You just dislocated your shoulder while opening a door (three lawyers and a massage therapist were waiting on the other side just to help you). You have experienced what happens when it rains in LA – and you can’t understand it. You just realized that the place you used to go to ALL the time in LA has been demolished and is now a parking-lot. You have found a short cut to avoid traffic that everyone knows is a speed trap where the LAPD waits for clever El Niño’s like you. You saw a pink corvette driving by and couldn’t understand why long time residents who normally don’t lift their heads when world-wide celebrities walk by were snapping photos. One of them pinched you and said “my lucky day,” you don’t know why.
Around 15 years (c. 1997) – El Nuevo Los Angeleno – you don’t remember a time when there was no Grove or Getty Center or Metro, but you do recall a time when people were freaking out that all the Bus Drivers went on strike. You have lived through at least one natural disaster in Los Angeles and you feel like a vested citizen, you even helped out and bought six bottled waters and handed them to the cops. You know a parking lot attendant and he seems wise beyond his years. Your next door neighbor is an ex Judge turned Auto-Detailer who moonlights as an Actor. You have just found out that no one cares what car you drive only whether you own a home.
By this time you have been stood up on a date because your zip-code sucks, or you live on the wrong side of the 10 Freeway or Fairfax Boulevard. You have seen your boss on TV and you don’t care. You have begun to practice Yoga or you converted to Mormonism or your girlfriend/boyfriend is either Korean or Armenian or both. You have dated a Pilipino. You can tell Korean, from Chinese, from Japanese just by looking at it and if spoken to you know which one it is as well. You remember when World Book and News actually sold books. Angels flight has some meaning for you. Finally, you saw Angelyne drive by but you still don’t get what all the fuss is about.
Around 30 years – Viejo Los Angeleno – you recall the LA Riots, the OJ trial, Mayor Tom Bradley and the 1984 Olympics, not to mention all the earthquakes and floods in between. You know the names of all the ex LA Mayors and why you didn’t vote for them. You remember Darryl Gates and his feud with Tom Bradley and Sherman Block, and you have an opinion based on personal information as to which one of them was right! You voted on the West Hollywood session plan and realizing your mistake you voted the other way on the San Fernando plan. You remember a time when there was no metro or the 210 freeway.
Back when you first got here the US Bank tower was called the Library tower and that made more sense, so you still call it that. You don’t much care for such things as the Staples center and can’t understand why they have concerts at a place where they sell stationary. Your favorite gas station is a national landmark and you have been to Hollywood High just for kicks or you attended Hollywood High. You remember a time when you had to take the bus and you are still in psychotherapy for that. You remember the first LA marathon and you still don’t understand why they have one here.
You remember a time when there was no Kodak theater but the hamburgers that they sold at that location were the best in town. You still call the Renaissance Hotel the Hilton. You know where to park at the Hollywood Bowl not to pay $40 and you ain’t telling. You used to buy overpriced used books at Book City and signed first edition comic books at Comic Castle. You remember when the El Capitan was simply the Paramount.
You have eaten a hot dog at Pinks and at Carneys and from a street a vendor and you have survived. You have waited for six hours for a hot dog at Pinks and you can’t recall why you did so. You have a photo with the Styrofoam-radio-head homeless dude. You remember when you could bump into Elvira on Hollywood Boulevard. You remember when the Damnation Alley battle-vehicle was parked at the Cahuenga Pass. You know the difference between a Trojan and Bruin and you actually care. You remember the Ambassador hotel. You remember when there was no LACMA West and the May Company building exists only because you signed that list back then when they wanted to tear it down.
When LA was on fire during the second LA riots you were not laughing, you were crying just as hard as when the Los Angeles library burned down. You know who Jerry Dunphy was, and you actually care. The phrase “From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California, a good evening,” brings tears to your eyes. You have a “No Re-Pete” button, a “No Grapes” button, and a t-shirt that says “Save the Juice.” You can’t remember the last time you were to the beach, you hear rumors that they still have beaches, but you’d rather stay home. You know the grave stone of the Chandlers and you go there often to pray at the LA Times fire memorial. You have met Angelyne, had coffee with her and have her number.
Anything over this say around 50 years or so in Los Angeles is the venerable title of – Señor Grande Los Angeleno. You begin conversations with phrases like this: “I remember the time when they built the 405;” “Back when they built Century City I was working at the…” and “Getty Center? Yeah, that’s that new place in Malibu, right????” You voted for Sherman Block, and you miss him. You remember when they built UCLA and USC. You remember when LACC was UCLA and USC. You know the way around Chinatown because you get your weed and high blood pressure pills there. You remember when Chinatown had Chinese people in it. You know the history of the Cahuenga Pass. You have been to East LA and back again, you know they have good mechanics there. You go to Church and to the local Synagogue and the Buddhist temple because it’s good for business. You voted for Jerry Brown the first time around – he actually came to your home and introduced himself to you (thanks Mom!). You were here when they shot RFK. You cried when the tore down the Ambassador hotel. You were here when they shot Malcolm X.
During the LA riots you were the old Korean man wearing the “By any means necessary t-shirt.” You remember the era before the freeways when LA had the tram-line and you know where the cars are off the coast. You remember when the built the 5 freeway and how it was supposed to revolutionize the commute. You know all about Verdugo, and you know where the buried treasure is and you ain’t telling. You met Mr. Ralphs. You remember when the El Capitan was renamed the Paramount and how it took you years to get used to it and now they changed it back again, the idiots. You remember when they built the Theme Building. You know who Charlotta Bass is and you once had an ad in the California Eagle. You can recall when there was no San Fernando Valley urban sprawl, when oranges grew on trees all the way down Pico and when Disneyland opened. You remember when the Los Angeles City Hall was the tallest building in LA. Finally, you live next to Angelyne, or conversely you are Angelyne, at any rate you know who Angelyne’s boyfriend is, and you know why the billboards stopped.