To celebrate last week’s LAIY cover girl Jen Bilik and the birthday of her company Knock Knock, we decided to hold a little contest to celebrate surviving in LA. We asked to hear your stories of survival in Los Angeles and how you deal with any curveballs the city throws at you. What did we get? Quite a mixed bag that represents lots of various troubles people have faced and overcome in Los Angeles. Check them out!
Our first is a commonality that slightly fits into LA stereotype: driving drama. We’ve all been there, right? Here’s something relatable from reader Cassie King…
I was working with an artist that was in Silver Lake when I moved to LA. It had been a few months (maybe one or two?) since my move and I had just moved from Philly so I wasn’t really used to driving. I definitely knew nothing about getting around LA, too. So this one day I had to meet my boss in Eagle Rock which to me sounded like some fake place out in the dessert. It wasn’t, to my disbelief, it was a real place behind Echo Park. Unfortunately for me living in North Hollywood with a Blackberry, I took a crazy route from the 101 to the 2 which is totally normal but totally insane when you have no idea why you are exiting a highway to go onto surface streets to get to this road that turns into a highway. It was so flustering that I ended up in La Cañada before I realized I had gone too far. It’s miraculous to me that I didn’t get fired from that job!
Being a new Angeleno is a bit daunting. The city can be a slight turn off because it’s very, very hard to understand–especially at night. Reader Aaron Gerardo has a Hollywood story that fits right into this idea.
A lot of times I find myself somewhere in Los Angeles and spook myself into thinking its scary when it is absolutely not. I was living in Franklin Village and I was seeing this girl. She was having a birthday party at that bar on Bronson and Sunset. It was a Thursday night and she and her friends picked me up on their way. We partied there for a while but I had to be at work early in the following morning so I ended up leaving around 12:30AM or 1AM. I said bye to everyone and I had never thought to be worried about walking home but I was scared shitless on the four or five blocks up Bronson to Franklin. Maybe it was all the cop cars that were in the area but I ended up calling my brother who lives in Florida and spoke to his voicemail for twenty minutes so it looked like I was talking to someone on the phone. I failed so hard.
Every Los Angeles dog owner who has gone for a hike has had this nightmare where their dog runs away in the hills and doesn’t return. It’s frightening! We ought to know. Diana Lucio can speak from experience, too.
You shouldn’t ever let your dog off leash ever if you are at a park. It’s one of those things that you see people doing and you think you can do it but you can’t. Unless you are like super super buddy buddy with your dog, you shouldn’t do it. I took my Maltipoo Yo-Yo for a walk in Griffith Park and I thought it would be nice to let him off leash. He’s four or five and very obedient and loyal but that day it must have been too hot because he ran away. I was crying and running up and down this path and around the Observatory looking for him. I was a mess. It was horrible. When I was getting ready to call the police, I saw a woman and her son holding Yo-Yo on their way up to the higher part of the hill. Losing your dog is so frightening. Especially up in the hills!!
After reading a bunch of stories and lots of great responses, one was particularly great and from a point of view of someone who has been here and survives LA in a very unique way: he survives many of the new Angelenos as he is a native. Nathan Dusaban is our winner and he has a great story to share…
LA. Where else can you be in Mexico, Korea, and Caucasia in the span of 5 minutes by driving down Beverly Boulevard? Nowhere, I say. I’ve been a nomad of the various geographical entities of this city. I was born in Culver City, lived in Highland Park, went to elementary school in Westwood, high school in Pico Union, and worked in the following areas: Woodland Hills, Torrance, West Hollywood, and Venice. Yes, driving sucks, but the only way someone can call himself or herself an Angeleno is by experiencing different parts of the city, in my opinion. I’ve had to overcome being in a bubble in a city that is already such a bubble.
The other day I was sitting at California Chicken Café in Santa Monica, when in true Cher from Clueless fashion, some Tiffany Amber sorority girl and her Buffy friend at the next table were discussing a party they were planning to attend in Echo Park.
“Echo Park?!” one of them scoffed, “Is that in the valley?” while the other responded, “Eww I think so, are we going to get shot?!”
I’ve observed most people here, especially transplants, are content being restricted to a five block square where they live, work, and play. Now, I understand people haven’t had the time or opportunity to explore other areas, but it seems that they rarely want to do so. Only by reaching out of their geographical comfort zone here can people truly appreciate how great and rich this city is. To bring my short anecdote full circle, I was sitting at the California Chicken Café on Melrose, when my friend who recently moved from New York commented on going “over the hill.” She said,
“Remember that scene in the Sound of Music where the von Trapps escaped the Nazis over the Alps to get to safety? Why would we ever want to leave West Hollywood to venture into enemy territory?”
“Geez, it’s not enemy territory,” I told her, “Just the valley.”
Great, right? We love it. Congratulations, Nathan! And thank you everyone for your entries: lots of good stuff. You can grab stuff from Knock Knock here, too.