L.A. is different from Philly. No shit, you say? Well, son, you are correct. No shit, indeed. But it’s different in odd ways. I still don’t really get L.A. and I doubt I ever really will. For instance, I hear tell that Central L.A. is like a ghost town. Like, there’s a whole city there with restaurants and theaters and bright lights, but nobody cares. People just don’t go there.
One major difference is listening to the radio. They actually play good music out here. They don't just recycle the same ten songs that they've been playing for the last two hours. And every other song I hear on the radio is an L.A. song. I think it's a law around here that if a D.J.'s playlist is not %50 +1 L.A. music they get fined by the FCC. I actually heard a station play E.L.O.'s Fire On High which was then promptly followed by a Bad Company marathon. Now, I only know that the radio out here is decent because my car doesn't have a CD player and driving twenty minutes takes a fucking hour.
Traffic out here is absolutely ridiculous. When I get back to Philly(hopefully in ten years and not in two months) I will not complain about traffic. I will not get angry. I will not yell. I will not flip people off and then proceed to cut them off because I've lost all goddamn patience. I think that with all the driving around I've doing I've been able to hit the speed limit a total of maybe five minutes, spread out over the course of four days. The roads are ginormous, but that doesn't seem to help. You can have a four lane road going one way and it will still have four cars side by side going 30 mph.
And they're apparently craaazy about giving out tickets to pedestrians. If you're standing at a red light and there are no cars on the road for miles you still have to wait. It's like L.A. is specifically designed so that you can never get to where you need to be on time. And you can take either the freeway or the regular roads, but it doesn't matter, because you can either crawl on the freeway or deal with the traffic lights. Neither are faster. To be fair, I haven't tried the public transportation, but I'm pretty sure that both of the buses in this gigantic city have the same issues.
You can't just walk down the street and hit a bar. Also, bars don't open until five. And they close at 1:30. What the hell? I thought L.A. was supposed to be fun. I went out for lunch and drinks with a friend of mine the other afternoon and we ended up driving around for a half hour looking for a bar that was open. We finally settled on a place down the road from Pink's(apparently the best hot dog joint in the world, though I'm still not sure whether my friend was lying or not). It was a restaurant, not a bar, and the beer list was as follows:
Mexican light beer
New Castle Brown Ale (the darkest beer they had)
More light beer (but this one's fancy, 'cause it's from Italy!)
The wildlife here has some real balls. The other day, I'm walking home from a bar with a buddy of mine and this raccoon is just sitting on a fountain. It starts staring us down, so naturally I instigate. I hop up and down and wave my arms. It ducks behind the fountain and I think "Showed you. Fucking raccoon." Nope. Wrong. Mistake. The thing runs through the foliage, growling, stalking us down like we're in Jurassic Park, it's a t-rex and we're some poor stupid sheep. I still don't know how we got out of there alive. Plus, the bugs here are enormous.
There are two banks. Literally. Wells Fargo and Bank of America. Now, other than the larger free market issues that this presents, it creates a mild inconvenience for me: I have a Wachovia account in Pennsylvania. I was recently running low on funds, so I decided to consolidate my accounts. I wanted to cancel my savings account and move everything onto my checking account so that I didn't overdraft. In case none of you are up to snuff on your megacorporations, Wells Fargo just bought out Wachovia.
I walk into the bank down the road and the very nice agent tells me that if I want to transfer funds I have to talk to the teller. The very nice teller tells me that she can only transfer funds, but that she can't close any accounts. If I want to close them I have to call the bank that I opened the account in. So I go ahead and have her transfer all of my savings into my checking account, then call the bank and the very nice lady on the phone tells me that if I want to close the account I have to come in and do it in person. I calmly explain to her that that would be physically impossible, so she gives me a customer service phone number to call. I call and the very nice customer service rep closes my savings account. In which I still somehow have $3.50.
And I lied. I will always get angry, yell, swear and flip people off. Behind the wheel or not.