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READ 10 Things to Learn When You Move to LA  

analise.dubner
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So, you're moving to Los Angeles. Welcome. You're going to love it here despite what your terrified family and friends are saying. We've got weather to die for and some of the best restaurants in the world. Plus, where else can you see Jesus chatting with Darth Vader in line at Starbucks? But there are some things about living in our city that will need to learn about. Tips, if you will. Behold:
1

You will need to learn how to drive


This is number one. And perhaps I'm speaking for myself here, but seriously. Los Angeles is a car culture and yes, we all know how irresponsible we're being,Seattle, but we don't have your fabulous mass transit. If it takes 6 times longer to get across town by taking the labyrinthine bus system + metro + more buses... then I'm not going to do it. So, we are all driving. At the same time, all the time, so lets work together here, people. Six things to think about...

1. No one wants to have to guess what you're going to do. We're all driving 80+mph on the freeway, so, unlike where you came from, you're going to have to use your signals here to keep from becoming flattened.

2. Speaking as someone who came from a state where they drove like sleepy sheep meandering down a trail, we don't have time for you in the left lane. If you're not willing to keep up, get the hell over to the right lane where you belong.

3. The entry ramp to the freeway is where you are supposed to get to merging speed. Please do not toddle down to the end of the ramp and then stop when you discover that people are driving fast out there.

4. Alternate. Yes, many ramps here have meters, so you might be in two lanes that merge to one in order to get onto the freeway. Alternate! It's not a contest for your manhood, just .... ALTERNATE.

5. Merge already. For godssakes, merge already. I'm not going to wait forever, you #$@%@#$^, you're lucky I slowed down in the first place. I'm not going to hang back here forever while you check windspeed and weather patterns.

6. LA has a surprising lack of turn arrows. That means its pretty much every man for themselves. That also means that you need to keep on your toes when you want to make a left turn across traffic. Everyone wants to beat the red, sure, but two cars are allowed across on yellow here. So, if you are that first car? PAY ATTENTION so you can BOTH get through. The guy behind you might be me, and I don't like people who make me miss the yellow.
2

You will need to learn to fear rain


At first, you will be like the rest of us transplants. When it starts to rain, you won't bat an eye. Most of us came from places with "weather" and a cloud deciding to precipitate a little isn't enough to start an international incident. But you will learn fast. People lose their effing MINDS out here when it rains. There are three kinds of rain drivers here, and it's always a recipe for adding an extra hour to wherever you are hoping to go if those roads are wet.

1. The Wheel-Clencher -- This person is the one who, when it is raining, has slowed down to roughly the same speed as an elderly woman on a walker. This person will find a lane and stay in it, no matter how angry the drivers around them get.

2. The Spiteful Asshole -- This person is so angry about all the Wheel-Clenchers that they will deliberately drive as fast and as recklessly as they can, as if they can personally counteract how slow the WCs are going. They want to make sure that everyone on the freeway knows they do not fear the rain to the point where they will, and they will, collide with a Wheel-Clencher.

3. The Rest of Us -- We have to drive carefully in the rain... not just because we have to keep an eye out for a blur of color and steel that is the Spiteful Asshole... but because we also have to navigate successfully around the Wheel-Clencher. These two kinds of drivers in concert make a rainy freeway extremely dangerous. And only a fool would not fear this dreadful combo.

(A little sidebar of fact: because LA does get so little rain, the roads DO get slippery as hell during that first rain of the season. )
3

You will not need to throw away your sweaters


Ha ha ha! You laugh. The coldest it gets here in the dead of winter is, maybe 50 degrees. (God, I feel cold just typing that). You're from a place where the wind chill dropped to 60 below! You laugh at 50 degrees! That's shorts weather!

Laugh now, go on, get it out of your system. I give you two weeks.

And then, when it hits 69 degrees and you pull out your sweaters and pile an extra blanket on the bed... we'll see who's laughing.
4

You will need to start putting "the" in front of Freeway numbers


You're just going to have to. Sorry.