Friday, October 21, 2011

How To Move To Los Angeles: there are two kinds of people in this city

The series continues with a look at the two very distinct sets of creatures that inhabit this specific corner of the world.

Based on my observations there are two kinds of people who live in L.A.: "real people" and "not people."

"Real people" are those who, if you took them out of L.A. and plopped them down in any other city in the US, would function just the same (albeit likely frustrated by the lack of avocados on restaurant menus). Upon meeting them their new neighbors would say, "that's a real person."

"Not people" are those who, if you did the same, would not be able to function as human beings in this non-L.A. environment. Upon hearing rumor of these people (they likely won't fraternize with the locals) their new neighbors would say, "what the $@#&*! is wrong with those people??"

Allow me to attempt to explain.

"Real people" have real jobs, real lives, real families and real friends. They go about their day attending to the tasks necessary to make their lives continue to go 'round. They behave in a manner befitting of the tasks they need to complete. They perceive the world around them as it actually exists. They take care of themselves (their bodies, their minds, their souls) in a manner similar to 99% of the world's humans. In short - they move with the general flow of the traffic of life.

Yes "real people" may have crazy/interesting/bizarre/only-in-L.A. jobs. They might be somewhat reclusive writers, insanely loud comedians, fairly eccentric directors or make-up artists with arm sleeve tattoos, dozens of piercings and bright, pink hair. They might be macrobiotic-exclusive vegans. It's not about what they do, it's about who they are.

Which is why they would fare well enough in any other city. People might find them strange, artsy or concernedly prone to testing out fad diets, but they'll get along well enough.

Not the case for "not people." To best illustrate what makes this set so far from real humans and thus so completely unable to function outside of this Mothership, I'll describe a few manners in which they successfully operate here in Los Angeles. All of these examples are rooted in reality.
  • A not person might request that all materials he reads be typed using one specific typewriter and one specific type of paper. No e-mail on a computer, no scripts on an iPad, no books in paperback, no newspapers on news paper. Every single thing he reads must be re-typed by an assistant hired to re-type everything single thing he wants to read using the specific typewriter and paper of his preference. Because, see, in any other city no one in their right mind would actually take that assistant gig.
  • A not person might eat only raw foods everywhere they go. At home they are exclusively prepared by a personal chef, but when dining out their assistant simply calls the restaurant of their choice ahead-of-time and explains your specific dietary request. Because, see, in most other cities in this country the restaurant would say, $%&*! off.
  • A not person might yell and scream profanities at the top of their lungs to employees, their boss, their clients, and/or anyone else their might do business with as a means to get their point across. Additional scare-tactics may also be employed to drive the point home. See above, add: you'd get fired because there would be an HR department...that did something.
  • A not person might not shower, not leave the house, not speak to a specific list of people they don't care to speak to, not write the script/edit the movie/produce the show their agents have been promising they will finish for the past six months and STILL being considered a genius whose work is coveted by many, many people. Same but: you'd be homeless.
And so you see a few of the ways in which Los Angeles enables not people to be people can be successful humans where elsewhere they would be rendered unemployed social outcasts with no restaurants to turn to.

Sometimes I think some of the "not people" could survive just as well in Manhattan (a place that has its own unique set of "reals" and "nots"), but then I remember that it gets colder than 60 degrees there and sometimes you have to climb stairs.


  1. Lol at the last line. I think there are real and not real people almost everywhere, but I agree LA is particularly susceptible. Plus, I'm from SF, and you know how that NorCal-SOCal rivalry gets :)

  2. Oh yes, there are *definitely* some "not people" populating Manhattan. I'm fairly recent transplant from NY to LA and am enjoying your blog!

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