NorCal meets SoCal: LA Living


This past Friday marks four weeks that I’ve officially lived in Los Angeles. I’m here at least through the summer, possibly for longer. While California is my home state, I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area- approximately 365 miles away. Prior to coming here, my knowledge of Southern California consisted of a trip to Disneyland at age nine, so you could say I was in uncharted territory.

Best Things About LA (so far):

  • Sunshine all day every day
  • Vegan food! There’s so many more vegan options here than any other place I’ve seen. There are whole vegan restaurants and I even got to eat a vegan scone yesterday.

Worst Things About LA (so far):

  • TRAFFIC. There’s not much public transportation, so you pretty much have to drive or Uber everywhere you go. The roads are utterly insane, and literally everyone drives like a 16-year-old that got their license 20 minutes ago.

I’ve heard it said that Northern California and Southern California might as well be different states (while we’re at it, Central California should be too) and I’ve concluded that that’s true. There have been actual movements to do this, but without much success. While we still complain about anything below 65 degrees, there are still some major differences between the Bay Area and LA:

  • Water conservation. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple years, you probably know that California is in a drought. While NorCal is filled with drought awareness signs and unwatered grass, SoCal seems to be bursting with suspiciously green lawns. While this has little to no actual effect since the biggest water consumer is actually the meat industry (yeah, I said it), the effort is still there. Also, doesn’t LA not have it’s own water supply? You would think there would be more public concern.
  • The nights stay warm. In the Bay, the night is when all the fog rolls in from the coast. The second the sun goes down, temperatures drop astronomically. Here, the nighttime temperature change is far less significant.
  • The lack of “chill.” I can’t quite explain it, but up where I come from, the general atmosphere is just more relaxed. Here, you get the feeling that everyone is in a hurry and service workers like valets and waiters talk to you like they’re afraid of you.
  • Assigned seating in movie theaters. I understand assigned seating in sports stadiums or live theater performances, but movie theaters? Culture shock. Weirder still, it’s actually enforced. I went to see Finding Dory during my second week and found myself being blinded by a flashlight at the behest of a staff member and asked to move. As it turns out, someone was in my assigned seat- I saw that it was an elderly woman and insisted that I was fine watching from the stairwell, but the staff member made her move.
  • Driving. Californians in general are infamous for our reckless driving, and while driving in San Francisco is no picnic, LA takes it to another level. Back home we have BART and Caltrain, but I haven’t even heard a train whistle since I’ve been here. As a result, you’re forced to drive pretty much everywhere- and traffic rules are considered more “guidelines.” Not even the cops use turn signals.


Despite it all, I’m learning to love it here.


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