Thursday, January 20, 2011

The City Of Angels Is Significantly More Pleasant Than Hell

There's nothing better than a contest to kick off the year! Here at Killer Fiction, we'd like to thank all of our readers for a fabulous 2010 and for helping us kick off 2011 in fine fashion. And what better way to kick off the New Year than with a contest. All the rules for the contest are on the sidebar, so read the rules and make sure you're entered to win. One grand prize winner will win a Kindle. IMPORTANT NOTE: All contest winners will be drawn at the end of the contest. So, if you didn't hear about the contest right away, don't despair - you can still go back to previous blog posts and enter. I’m giving away a $25 gift card to BarnesandNoble.com or Amazon.com - winner's choice AND an autographed copy of the first book in the Sophie Katz mystery series, Sex, Murder And A Double Latte! Winners will be notified at the end of the contest period.

Three years ago when I told people in and around my Bay Area home that I was moving to LA the most popular response was, "oh."

Sure, they told me they'd miss me and made me promise to come back to visit as much as possible but what really threw them was the fact that I was moving to a city that they considered to be akin to Dante's Inferno....or at least a version of Dante's Inferno in which the "dark woods" is replaced by a smog laden wasteland and the three beasts were not a lion, a leopard and a she-wolf but an unscrupulous agent, a coked-up-famous-for-being-famous reality star and a she-wolf....a she-wolf with plastic boobs, bright pink yoga pants and a botoxed forehead.


See Northern Californians are trained to hate LA.  In elementary school we're taught reading, writing, and disdain for our Southern neighbors.  In first grade when California was going through a drought my teacher told the class that our water supply was short because we had to share our natural rainfall with Southern Californians.  In middle school we learned about the causes of air pollution and Los Angeles was used as a cautionary tale.  In high school and college where we all draped ourselves in denim and various shades of black and earth-tones the Southern Californian tourists would blind us with their bright pink Juicy Couture t-shirts and horrify us with their spandex-lycra-blend-mini-skirts.

In contrast Southern Californians seem to have a soft spot for Northern California and always seem a little surprised when they learn that there's a one-way rivalry going on.

Anyway, when I threw my life in a U-Haul and headed down the 101 most of my friends pitied me.  I pitied myself a bit too.  How could I not be a tad apprehensive about moving to Malibu-Barbie-hell?

But then I discovered something truly shocking. I discovered that LA isn't that bad. In fact it's actually (dare I say it?) a fun place to live.  There are street fairs aplenty. There's some really inspiring museums, awesome hiking trails, fun restaurants, cool lounges, a plethora of kid-friendly activities for my son and the weather is to die for.  And when you have a city that attracts people from all over the world who want to make a living within the entertainment industry you end up with a city of extroverts.  It is insanely easy to meet people in LA.  My first week here I ended up going to a country club with a woman I met earlier that day at a bakery and then later my son and I went out to dinner with her and her husband.  A few weeks after that I met a woman while checking out the Halloween decorations in her neighborhood.  We chatted for less than five minutes before she suggested we meet up for coffee and scones.  A month after my neighbor moved in she sent me an invitation to her housewarming/passion party.  While it's not uncommon for people to go to bars and clubs in hopes of meeting someone you can also meet guys in places like Starbucks and Trader Joe's.  They'll just start chatting with you while in line or when they happen to sit at the next table, just as if starting up a conversation with a total stranger is the most natural thing in the world.

And...okay, I know my San Francisco friends will never forgive me for this, but I also really like Disneyland.  Maybe it doesn't hold quite the same level of charm for me that it did when I first moved here but still there's no denying that they have one of the most spectacular fireworks displays on earth and they set them off every flippin' weekend! Once in the land of the Mouse you are so thoroughly removed from reality that I can't help but think the experience is comparable to having a really good acid trip.  Seriously, you have cheery music, singing princesses and giant, happy dancing rodents all around you and just when you think things couldn't get any more surreal someone puts a light saber in your son's hand and invites him to defeat Darth Vader.  Tell me that doesn't have a Lucy-In-the-Sky-With-Diamonds-meets-Age-Of-Aquarius quality to it?

As for the materialism and the smog, it's there but it's not anywhere near as pervasive as I was lead to believe it would be. The air in parts of LA (Santa Monica, Long Beach and what-have-you) isn't bad at all and there are actually a lot of people who feel little too no need to acquire the excessive trappings of wealth (although most people here will skimp on groceries in order to budget in appointments with their esthetician and/or waxer).  

So now there are lots of days when I find myself wondering what exactly it is about this city that my Northern Californian friends take such offense to.

And then the other day I was in spin class and my instructor walked in with her black spandex pants, hot pink sports bra/half-top and bleach blonde hair.  Half way through the class she called out "hover!" We all immediately lifted ourselves off our seats and proceeded to "hover" as it is defined in Spin.  My instructor made a failed attempt to crease her botoxed forehead and snapped, "Ok you guys, when I say hover you're supposed to say whoo! Let's try it again." And at that moment I remembered exactly why Northern Californians continue to harbor their disdain for the City of Angels.   But of course fluorescent  pink sports bras are only part of LA's story.  Did I mention that we have hiking trails with real live coyotes roaming around? And art and theater and friendly people too??  And when you're in the mood to drive down to the OC we even have happy, dancing rodents. There are no hidden Mickeys in Dante's Inferno. So while my new home might not be utopian it's significantly better than Hell.

See ya at Disneyland.

--Kyra "Fashionista Fatale" Davis

77 comments:

rrshep said...

LA sounds like a really fun and friendly place.

JoanneR said...

LA actually sounds fun! I come from the east coast, so I have no prejudices against anything California.
joannereynolds@sbcglobal.net

Danielle said...

Your blog makes me want to make LA my next vacation spot.

Christie Craig said...

Kyra,

Great post. I really love L.A. I'll be there in April for RT.

CC

mariska said...

What a great place to visit. I need to plan the vacation soon ;)

Leslie Langtry said...

Great post! We were in Anaheim in November and spent all our weekend at Disneyland. I'm a huge fan of Disney World and had never been to DL. LOVED it!

TerriOsburn said...

This blog called out to my little extroverted heart. As a single person who never meets anyone (seriously, been here six years and have TWO friends), it's clear L.A. is the place for me.

Throw in that I'm VERY cold natured and long for warmth year round, and it's clear. Yes, someday I will be heading west.

Anne said...

I found this a really amusing post. I had no idea there was this rivalry in CA.

It reminds me of where I live. All the suburbs in northeast IL are part of "Chicagoland", like we don't have our own identity.

Nicole said...

I'm originally from upstate New York and I'm afraid that I feel the same way about New York City that your friends feel about Los Angeles.

I've been to New York City and, while they do have a lot of cultural activities, great restaurants, and lots of places to shop, I still dislike the city. It's too anonymous.

I moved to Texas 13 years ago and I live in a suburb of Fort Worth. Now I feel about Dallas the same way I felt about New York City. I guess I'm just a country girl at heart and the city is too big for me.

I am glad that you enjoy Los Angeles, though. It would be horrible if you had moved there and found that you hate it.

traveler said...

You are fortunate to live there, meet new friends and enjoy your life. Best of luck.

Jean P said...

LA sounds like a fun place, especially like the idea of street fairs. Sounds like you have settled in and are enjoying your life there.

petite said...

Great move for you. It sounds wonderful and a lovely place to be.

Rebekah E. said...

LA sounds like a fun place. I will have to visit someday.

Kima said...

What a great post! I know exactly what you are talking about. I am a native Illinoisan who lives right on the Mississippi River next door to Missouri. We complain non-stop about Missourians - how they drive, how they hog all the best parking spots at Walmart, their impossible to decipher road signs. And don't even get us started on Iowans!

CrystalGB said...

LA sounds like a fun place. I enjoyed reading your post.

krisgils33 said...

I love LA.....to visit!!!

Cricket said...

I am such an introvert I would probably develop a complex in LA, lol... "Ack!! They're all TALKING to me!" The idea of a rivalry between northern and southern CA cracks me up...especially that southern CA is clueless as to its existence... :)

Ingeborg said...

My husband and I recently moved to Northern California to be closer to family. We both miss the southern California weather. I hate this fog.

Virginia said...

I have never been to LA but it sounds like a fun place. Years ago we did got to Disneyland in Flordia and it was a fun trip. Loved it but have never made it back. Hope you enjoy LA

Judy T. said...

I have never been to LA and enjoyed reading your post about it. It sounds like it would be a great place to visit.

Judy said...

Great post!! I am from the South and have never been to California. I would love to visit!!

I am glad you are enjoying living there. Good luck !!

Diane Kelly said...

Having lived in both San Diego and San Jose, I can so relate to this blog, Kyra! You are right - northern and southern California have unique cultures and different things to offer, some good and some bad in both places. But one thing they both had in common was traffic!!!! : ) What I miss most is not getting the "you've got to be kidding me" look when I order a hamburger without the meat (yep, I'm a hippie vegetarian). In San Jose, there were so many Hindus and Buddhists living in our neighborhood that the counter clerks didn't bat an eye when I ordered my meatless burger. In Texas, they look at me as if I'm nuts! We always loved taking our visitors to the Chinese Theater to see the handprints and to Venice Beach and on the tour of the stars homes. Lots of fun!

catslady said...

I would be afraid of the highways but would love the weather lol. I live in Pittsburgh and although it doesn't have some of the advantages of LA, we are known for one of the friendlest cities in the country - to me that makes it a winner and if you found a spot that is friendly too, I think that's wonderful!

hofken said...

LA is a great place to visit, but I'm not sure about living there.

Cynthia.Richardson@azbar.org

Kerensa Brougham said...

Ha! Lived in the Bay Area for many years, and yep, the anti-LA-snobbery continues to be rife. I like both places, but then, I now live in the Northwest, so any place sunny and warm sounds good to me. ;)

ethoris said...

This is awsome can't wait to get my hands on this one

Busy Little Cara said...

I think life is what you make of it no matter where you are. You could have easily gone there and focused only on the stereotypical LA stuff but you didn't. You looked beyond and found something pretty amazing. This is true in all aspects of life, we can all learn alot if we look beyond the surface!

joder said...

You make it sound wonderful there. And how lucky you are to be able to visit the Land of Disney whenever you want. That alone makes me want to live there.

Here in the Midwest we don't really have exciting things like that to do so I'd be willing to move anywhere else.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

kyradavis said...

@TerriOsburn--well to be fair, La has it's fair share of dating problems. One being that there are SO many gorgeous women who move here trying to make it in Hollywood that guys here frequently like to keep your options open...on the flip side there are also an enormous number of gorgeous men here which makes the view from the gym's treadmill very, very nice. ; )

kyradavis said...

Yes, it was a good move for me in lots of ways. I still love the Bay Area although Ingeborg is right about the fog-issue. You rarely get to see the sun in SF during the summer Still SF is a gorgeous city and it has an awesome vibe. But LA has a lot to offer and no matter what our neighbors in the North might tell you, we're not all vapid, materialistic, rollerblading groupies. Honest!

kyradavis said...

@joder--although I have no desire to intensify your envy, the cool thing about living in Southern California for Disney fans is that you can buy a Southern California annual pass and you can pay as little as $14.95 a month for it! It's like Disney's version of a layaway plan.

ParaJunkee said...

I've never really wanted to visit LA, ever. DisneyWorld is so much closer ;) But I might have to rethink my prior misgivings.

chey said...

LA sounds like a nice place to live!

Liz said...

While growing up in the Antelope Valley was not ideal, knowing that LA/Santa Monica/Burbank/Long Beach was only an hour drive away made everything a lot more interesting. I loved going to all the different malls as a teenager, Pantages theater with my Mother to see plays and taking youth group trips to the beaches. I'm glad you've seen the light in LA!

Susan Mo said...

Great post. I grew up in Southern California, but left the summer before my junior year in high school. We moved to South Carolina. Talk about disdain! I was sure we would end up with an outhouse as no one would have indoor plumbing in SC. I have now lived in the South for 24 years, and I can't living anywhere else. As for the spin instructors with the bright outfits and enthusiasm, we have them here, too. I think those folks are universally disliked.

Suzan Harden said...

I can honestly say I've never been to LA. But I've learned there's another group that view So. Cal. with disdain--native NYCers.

alli said...

LA sounds pretty cool. Id love to visit. Putting it my bucket list of places to go!

Abbey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
robynl said...

Disneyland is where I've never been. I love fireworks. No hope of living there as dh won't leave home.

yourstrulee(at)sasktel(dot)net

Crystal said...

I hope to visit LA one day. You make it sound like a great place to live or visit.

Laura said...

I live in NJ and I wish people who didn't live here didn't generalize us as all being like the cast from "The Jersey Shore" ...I don't even think one person on that show is actually from the Garden State. NJ is beautiful, but we get the stereotype that we're all hair teasing, fake baking people who might be connected to the mob ("The Sopranos") ..I'm a Jersey girl (and I don't tease my hair or go tanning) and proud of it!

rourri said...

I have to say I have been to LA 2x so far and I loved what I saw... I went to the outskirts to Pasadina to visit my sister in law at CalTech and adored it...
I went to Studio City to Universal and took the back lot tour 5x by myself...I just got lost in the "my GAWD that is Beaver Cleaver's house" and "Wow, the Psycho House is really small!". I met some great people and had a wonderful time! I think the rivalry between any big city and the country that surrounds it is almost universal... Boston loves to get outside the 495 area, but the folks outside 495 think that Boston is just nuts.Also they really don't appreciate being "from Boston" to anyone from out of the state, because its the only place in Massachusetts that out of staters know...Dennis Leary is helping folks on that one...he has put Worcester MA on the map...but I digress... Upstate New Yorkers are trained to hate and put up with NY City, but the city folks can't wait to afford to buy a "country house" if they can't afford one in the Hamptons yet. There are some quirks that go in the opposite direction... City folks have little or no clue where the outlying towns are...Bostonians in particular, think that you go out to the pike and take a left to go to Texas..and that Ohio is practically Kansas (will have to tell you a shoe store story about a clerk trying to chat up my sister in law on that one... ) because its past the state line going west. The cities have good parts and bad parts to it, but all in all its the people you meet along the way that make the difference. If your heart is open to making friends outside of your urban/country comfort zone, the city or the countryside can be a great place to be!

Tori Lennox said...

Now I want to move to L.A.! :)

Angela Streit said...

And this makes me want to go visit LA even more! Cali has always been on my travel wishlist!
Angela
angelastreit@hotmail.com

Jane said...

I'm sure I would find a way to enjoy life in LA, but I wouldn't mind living in the Bay Area either.

Refhater said...

Dont forget LA has a good sports teams. The Dodgers (baseball), Kings (hockey), and Lakers & Clippers (basketball.)

Glad you're enjoying it there!

kyradavis said...

Well if you're going to travel to LA be sure to either line up a friend who is willing to act as "tour guide" or do your research and plan a loose itinerary ahead of time. I honestly think one of the reasons so many people walk away from LA unimpressed is because if you don't know where to go you won't find anything interesting. Unlike SF and NYC you can't just step out of your hotel room and find a cute shop/cafe by the time you get halfway down the block. LA is too spread out for that so you gotta get a rental car & drive to the neighborhood, shopping areas, museums, street fairs and whatnot that are worth checking out. Otherwise you'll join the chorus of LA-hating-San-Franciscans ; )

susanann said...

I lived on the west coast of Canada and the east coast and love both, don't know about LA as I'm a small town girl but hey it would be a nice place to visit.

Jeanette J said...

I live in Toronto and it seems that a lot of people like to bash this city. I am originally from a smaller place and I was originally a bit scared to move to 'the big city' but I have found it to be not as scary as I thought it would be.

Estella said...

Cute post!
I live in Oregon and have never been to LA or Disney world.

Dana Rae said...

Thank you for showing LA some love. I also have made the move from The Bay to LA and you really can't beat the weather. Right now in the month of January we have clear skies and tempertaure is in the seventies. I'm loving all the sunshine.

Kristi said...

It sounds fun. I have a blog I read and she makes me want to live there too. Especially when she talks about all the food trucks.

markmurata said...

At a Worldcon in the LA area, I remember going out onto the balcony at night and realizing that strangely-lit piece of real estate I was looking at was Disneyland. It was like its own city.

Diane said...

Wow! Sounds great. I live in a small semi detached in a small town.

NReis said...

I'm from Central California and I didn't realize Southern California was so...pleasent! Especially the people, very interesting!

I did know Disneyland is a great place! One of my favorites:)

Susan P. said...

If I win a trip to LA or Hollywood, I would go in a heartbeat. I've been to SF and love it but want to see other parts of CA. Here we have hurricanes - there you have earthquakes. There was an earthquake while we were in SF but it was minor.

Kammie said...

"So while my new home might not be utopian it's significantly better than Hell." hahahaha! I've never been to LA, but I think I'd like to visit it some time

TerriOsburn said...

Kyra - I don't need a husband, I've already had one of those. LOL! But a fun circle of friends would be nice. (Though now I'll have to lose weight before moving.)

Barbara E. said...

I'm glad you're enjoying living in Southern California. I was born in La Jolla and lived in the OC most of my life until I moved to Florida six years ago. We have Mickey here too, but there's nothing like the "real" Disneyland to me.

Sue A. said...

I spent a year in San Francisco and I have to say it is a very unique place. My experience of LA is limited to driving pass it on my way to Disneyland. The last thing I remember about San Francisco was about them taking the toys out of Happy Meals.

kyradavis said...

see LA would never take the toys out of the happy meals. We are WAY too fond of our commercialism

Jenyfer Matthews said...

I'm not sold on Disney, but the rest of it sounds pretty good :)

LMcLendon said...

"There's nothing better than a contest to kick off the year!"
Yes, Indeed!!

"The City Of Angels Is Significantly More Pleasant Than Hell"
I'll say - LOL

Janean said...

LA sounds great, I would love to visit one day, including Disneyland. I am going to Disneyworld for the first time this Spring and can't wait. Happy Reading, Janean

carole720 said...

It's 6 degrees here in the Chicago area (windchill in the negatives). Northern CA... Southern CA, either is okay with me.

Carole
carole@msn.com

Maureen said...

When I see the gorgeous weather in LA and I am in the cold shoveling snow I am very jealous.

Amy S. said...

Great post! My friend Cathie(Caffey) told me about the contest!

Cathy M said...

I didn't know much about So Cal until my boys went to SDSU for college. I know they really enjoyed their time there.

Robin Kaye said...

Kyra - So...when do I get the invite?

Caffey said...

I hope this message goes through this time!

I'm way over here on the East and rarely travel and knew nothing about that! I always so wanted to go to CA (but it will have to be driving, I so don't do good with flying!) But too being on the east here, when I say I'm from NY, most think NYC. So alot of assumptions everything is NYC when there's so much for NY. So I say 'Blizzard City' now, LOL

Its only 16 today. Brrr! Great post! Learned so much here, always.

cathiecaffey @ gmail.com

David L Rattigan said...

Great post, but not as great as an Amazon Kindle. (Pick me! Pick me!)

Margay said...

Oh, I wish I could be in California right now! I am currently under a couple of feet of snow in Massachusetts - winter can't end soon enough for me.

Katie said...

I've always wanted to live in LA! I know that the whole smog thing is supposed to detour my yearning for the warmth, gorgeous oceans, and even the friendly atmosphere. But it hasn't! I took a trip there once, and made a ton of friends....I even got invited to a random house party! It was so cool to be welcomed so freely, since I wasn't from anywhere near LA! Ohio is a LONG way away.

Cherie J said...

Great post! Coyotes! I think I would be nervous if I saw one while hiking. I guess there is still too much of the city girl still in me.

sonya said...

sounds like an awesome place

bettycd said...

We enjoyed our visit to LA area immensely. It was a long time ago and we'd love to go back

Robyn said...

I was laughing out loud at your descriptions. "Trying to crease her botoxed forehead!!!" Oh my--soo incredibly funny!

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com