Written by Katie Kusiciel
The other day someone asked me where I was from, and I responded with the usual groan of, “Arkansas…” and waited for them to say, “oh, really…? Like near Little Rock?” (because that’s the only city anyone knows in Arkansas) Then I have to go on and explain that I didn’t live anywhere near Arkansas’ capital but rather in the city of Rogers in the NorthWest corner. Cut to me making my usual joke about grass, cows, Walmart, and Bill Clinton. End Scene.
Then I started to realize it has actually been a while since I moved to LA and I can barely identify with the Arkansas “me” anymore. I did the math and it turns out I have been in LA for a little over FIVE years now. Whattttt?! *Insert emotional crisis here*
Just like everyone else I got here with big dreams and a small timeline expecting to be booked on a TV Series as a lead by now… Then reality set in and I tried to be realistic with career goals and put tons of work in but not measure success by such rigid definitions. I decided to fake it until I make it and embrace the LA mindset. I still have my midwestern values but there are moments when I can tell LA has taken over. Here are 5 ways you can tell if you’ve been in LA for 5 years:
1. You Have Justified Something By Say “Mercury Must Be In Retrograde”
When everything is going wrong and no matter how hard you try your day, work week or love life can’t seem to get back on track, blame it on Mercury. People in LA talk about planets and spiritual alignment more than I have ever experienced before! I don’t know if it is because of the huge yoga culture here or if millennials just need to blame their problems on anything but themselves.
Don’t get me started on the hippie – dippie culture here in LA. It has turned me into someone that literally paid someone to re-align my chakras! I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW WHAT A CHAKRA WAS FIVE YEARS AGO.
2. You Pronounce Quinoa and Acai correctly… and even eat them frequently!
Before I moved to LA I could not pick quinoa or acai out of a lineup much less pronounce them correctly. It was so embarrassing the first time I said quinoa out loud was at my first restaurant job in LA and I said “Kee-No-Ah” only to be corrected in front of everyone. Similarly I went through multiple different attempts at saying acai when I worked at Jamba Juice and frankly I’m still confused at the correct pronunciation.
I will confess to still hating kale (sue me), but I do eat quinoa and acai at least once a week. #sobasic
3. You Have Done A Juice Cleanse
Not only is there a fresh pressed juicery on every block in LA, but they also sell juice cleanses! I never would have thought this was a good idea living in Arkansas but when I moved here I started to get bombarded by the idea that to reset my body at least once a year I should be doing a 3-5 day juice cleanse to get rid of toxins and shed water weight. I have bought into this fad twice now and let me tell you…. I was cranky and hungry the whole time. Probably healthier, but definitely not happier.
4. You Sound Like A Character From SNL’s “The Californians” Sketch
Every day I catch myself saying things like “Just take the 101 to the 405 and get off on Mulholland..”
Traffic and driving in LA is a never ending hate spiral that we all curse but still keep driving in as a sacrifice for living in the land of dreams.
When I took little farm roads to get everywhere I never imagined myself boldly merging onto the 405 and veering across 5 packed lanes of traffic to hop into the carpool lane (barely moving any faster).
In Arkansas, driving somewhere 20 miles away actually took about 20 minutes. In LA, driving 20 miles could take up to 2 hours so buckle up. Don’t even bother using traffic as an excuse for being late somewhere in LA, it just makes you look like a novice because everyone here constantly has to plan around it.
Hollywood BLVD is now the LAST place you would be caught dead at. After freaking out the first time you visited and then subsequently taking every person that has ever visited you there, you have realized it to be the dirtiest, slimiest, traffic filled part of town that you beg not to go back to until you’re on the red carpet.
5. You Don’t Remember What Life Was Like Without In-N-Out OR Constant Avocado
Initially upon moving to LA, it is normal to have a two week period where you crave In-N-Out Burger every day. After a while, it is just a treat you get on the regular but you know it will always be there for you.
Avocado is offered EVERYWHERE on EVERYTHING. Even if it does not originally come on the dish there is always an option to add it. Because we are in California and that is how life works. I am not sure if I ever saw an avocado in person before moving here. That is how the midwest works. Carbs before produce.