Crossing the Rubicon: You know you’re an Angeleno when…

RodneyRamsey's skyline pool photo used through a Creative Commons license
RodneyRamsey's skyline pool photo used through a Creative Commons license
I first moved to Los Angeles in January (2002) from Madison, Wisconsin, and while there are about ten thousand reasons to be thrilled about such a move (proximity to an ocean, the ability to purchase a kosher hot dog, PJ Harvey concerts…), it being mid-winter, the reason foremost in my mind for a long time was the weather. I, in fact, reset the homepage of my web browser to, zip code 53703 so that every morning I could get my daily dose of Schadenfreude (“Gee it’s a bit chilly today, I may need a long-sleeved shirt and a jacket. Oh look, it’s -5 in Madison. Poor sods.”). At the time I thought I would never tire of LA’s long strings of sunnyday-sunnyday-sunnyday-sunnyday. My local friends, in contrast, were delighted about the rare occasions when it was overcast. For my part I thought anyone who had spent eleven long years in Wisconsin, as I had, had already lived through a lifetime’s supply of crappy weather. I have a friend who moved to LA from Minnesota who used to tell the folks back in Moorhead, “We know it’s winter because of the steam that rises off our hot tubs at night.” What’s so wrong with endless summer anyway I ask you?


And then it happened: I crossed the rubicon. One morning about a year and a half ago I woke up to a gloomy, wet, icky day and I thought, “Oh how nice: a rainy day.”


This I count as the moment when I became, not just a visitor, but a resident: An Angeleno. And I was reminded of the transformation, not just by the rain, but by @tara’s June gloom lament.


What about you–when do you think someone finally becomes an Angeleno? Is it when you hear yourself telling someone that it takes “about twenty minutes” to get somewhere (regardless of the actual distance)–that uniform, blanket estimate that annoyed you so when you first moved here? Or is it when you are driving in Glendale and find yourself cursing, “Damn Armenian drivers.” Live here long enough and you’ll discover ethnic prejudices so finely honed they are meaningless in other cities. Do you think “smog” is a verb? Doyou understand the phrase “get work done” to mean “have plastic surgery” rather than “accomplish something”? Did you valet your car for the peace march?


You might have crossed the rubicon.

6 thoughts on “Crossing the Rubicon: You know you’re an Angeleno when…”

  1. I’m wracking my brain. It might have been when I became totally comfortable on the freeways, as I was a little intimidated as I drove into town 14.5 years ago. It’s my route of choice at the times of day when traffic is good. Perhaps it’s when I learned when you can take the freeways without too much worry of back up (and knowing various alternative routes in case).

  2. I think a pivotal moment for me was when I stopped complaining about the heat in the extended summer (i.e. November) and just started wearing more white, short-sleeves and shorts. Only took me 12 years.

  3. Great post. I realized that LA would become my semi-permanent home when I fitfully advised my out of town friends to fly into Burbank, not LAX.

  4. I was born here, and I always feel like my Angeleno mark of quality is wearing shorts and flip flops in the rain. How cold is it gonna get, really?

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