I’ve lived in this city for over eight years now. As much as I enjoy walking along the beach in January wearing shorts and a t-shirt, or listening to live music any night of the week, or spotting Dimitri Martin and that guy from Love Potion # 9 at Whole Foods, there’s still plenty of things that bother me. Here’s five.
I have an irrational fear of prison. If I ever make it there it will be for involuntary manslaughter after looking down at a text message and running over some asshole using the crosswalk. One thing I love about Europe is the respect they have for cars. It’s YOUR job to look both ways and make sure YOU don’t get run over – not the motorist. Everyone out here is so scared of getting some bullshit ticket or getting sued that they drive extra cautious. This has instilled a false sense of security in pedestrians. People will confidently stride into the middle of a busy street (often with small children), as if the painted white stripes offer some sort of natural force field. Treat the crosswalk as protection from getting a jaywalking ticket, not protection from the girl who’s playing Words With Friends while driving an SUV at 40 mph. And don’t stroll along like everything’s cool – you’re already assuming it’s more important for you to cross the street than it is for the ten cars piled up to get where they’re going – hurry your ass up. If you can’t at least jog across, it’s not that urgent – use the light.
If you fail to see the street cleaning sign you will have a $68 dollar ticket – even if the street sweepers already came by. When you receive the ticket in the mail you will have less than two weeks to pay it before it doubles. DOUBLES. Minimum wage in California is $10 dollars an hour. This means almost two days worth of wages are lost if you park in the wrong spot and don’t send your check in 14 days. Since handing out petty tickets is the only way to generate income, Los Angeles is constantly raising the fines along with the monthly quotas for douche-bag parking enforcers (who’s salaries we already pay for). Money takes priority over everything else. If you parked your car in front of a “No Parking” sign, then tossed a molotov cocktail into the bush next to the sign, parking enforcement would arrive before the police or the fire department.
3. Melrose Ave
This is a cool strip packed with small clothing stores carrying an eclectic mix of new and vintage attire. The problem is getting past the over zealous employees who befriend you the instant you walk in. Leaving immediately after a greeting feels rude, so I’m forced to walk around their 400 sq ft store pretending to be interested in overpriced leather jackets.
“Can I help you find anything?” they’ll ask, as if I’m supposed to say “Yes. I need a large, blue and red checkered shirt with very thin yellow stripes outlining the pattern. It needs to be 90% cotton, 10% polyester, with white buttons and white seams.” . . . It’s a fucking clothing store! I don’t know what the fuck I want. Leave me alone and let me browse. Ironically, in stores like Best Buy where you actually need help figuring out which kind of charger to buy for your camera, there’s no one to be found. After an uncomfortable two minutes of flipping through the jeans rack I’ll finally make my escape. Feeling guilty for not buying anything, I’m not sure if I should say bye, or thanks, or sorry. I think twice before entering the next store.
4. Ranchero Music
One of the side effects of having so many great authentic Mexican restaurants is the not-so-great authentic Mexican music. Ranchero music is the worst form of art ever created. It’s worse than MAD TV, Wayans Brothers movies, graffiti art, and Nicki Minaj. Combined. Like a shitty beer that only tastes good extremely cold, the’ve decided Ranchero music only sounds good absurdly loud. I don’t feel like shouting over horns and trumpets to place my order. Just put on a damn hit list station like everywhere else, keep it at a reasonable volume, and let me eat in peace.
I’d love to take a time machine back to the 60’s, walk into an ad agency, find the west coast version of Don Draper and explain to him the future – ” No one is allowed to smoke in the office, but you can bring your dog in. . . No, it’s not like a one time, bring-your-dog-to-work-day thing — you can bring him in EVERY day ALL day. Oh and fedora’s are still in fashion.”
Besides turning Runyon Canyon (L.A.’s best hiking trail) into a giant outhouse, dogs have also taken over the workplace. This has created a hyper-needy breed of canines that whimper and whine after being left alone for more than two minutes. When they are being walked around, I inevitably get a disappointed face from the owner with my unsatisfactory response to their precious Moopsy. I don’t feel like going “Awwww! and who is this!?? Aren’t you the cutest! Yes you are!” when I’m trying to work at my desk. Actually, I don’t feel like doing that ever. People think I hate animals when I don’t gush over their pet walking by, or pick him up and get his stupid dog hairs all over my clothes. Moopsy is super cute, now keep walking and leave me alone.