This week, I'll have been living in Los Angeles for 10 years. Ever the purveyor of knowledge, I thought I should share with you, gentle readers, the lessons I've gleaned from my decade as an Angelino:
1) I really should've learned Spanish at some point.
I never took Spanish in school, although in retrospect, I probably should have. No, as I explained a few weeks ago, I took Latin and then German, both of which are now just going to waste since the only way that combo could've proved useful was while Benedict was still Pope.
I've actually tried on numerous occasions to teach myself. I'm the proud owner of a used Spanish textbook which I "borrowed" from my high school's Spanish teacher. I've also gotten my hands on Spanish For Dummies and downloaded some conversational language lab sessions. I even tried watching one of my favorite movies, The Empire Strikes Back, with the Spanish track on and English subtitles, but they talked too fast for me to single out any words--all I recognized was gracias, si, and um...Luke. (In case you were wondering, "tauntaun" is still "tauntaun" in any language, and they subtitled the snow monster roaring as "Rrraaah!" in case you weren't able to pick up on the nuances of the puppeteer's performance.)
Nothing has worked for me so far. I think my only other option is Rosetta Stone. Or, you know, all those immigrants could learn our language if they're going to come here and take all our low-paying jobs that we don't want to do.
2) An hour drive isn't that far.
My college was about an 80 min. drive from my parent's house, and that seemed too far away and too devoid of co-eds to come home every weekend. On a bad day in L.A., I could spend that long just driving to work or, on a really bad day, watching the latest Adam Sandler movie. Seriously, what happened to that guy after The Wedding Singer?
Thankfully, in average traffic, you can usually get where you're going in L.A. in an hour or less, although the show 24 would have had you believe it's much quicker. I guess they couldn't really have Jack Bauer say, "I'm taking the 405--see you in two episodes." So, in the past 10 years, the "hour drive" has become my new benchmark for a reasonable amount of time on the road. But any more than that? Good luck ever getting me to come visit you in Anaheim.
3) People here are the same as people everywhere else.
I was warned moving to the "land of fruits and nuts" that people here would be flaky, weird, unscrupulous, cutthroat, self-absorbed, or some combination thereof. My response was, "As opposed to...where, exactly?" Yes, you meet those kinds of people here--with the same frequency you would meet them anywhere. You also meet people who are trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, and many other adjectives befitting a Boy Scout. (See what I did there?)
The only real difference is a slightly above-average preoccupation with the entertainment industry...but I live for that shit--that's why I moved here!
Okay, okay: There are also a lot of people here into kooky things like raw food and hot Pilates. (Fun fact: Pilates was named after Pontius Pilate, the Roman Prefect who sentenced Jesus to crucifixion. If you've ever done Pilates, you'll understand why.)
In summary, if you want to to know what I've really learned in 10 years here, the answer is: not very much.