It’s official. I’ve been in LA for five whole months. This month marks five months since I left my home and five months since I decided to move to a city I’ve never placed on my list. It’s funny, time really does fly and I’ve spent the last few days reflecting (what’s new?). People have approached me and asked how long I’ve been here, did I move for a job, how do I like it, etc. and it’s funny because at what point do I stop being a newbie here and officially considered a local? I’ve never known the answer to that question and the most people ask about my background the more curious I get.
What makes me a local verses a transplant verses a tourist or a newb?
I mean, legally I am a California resident. I live here, I have a California address, drivers license and license plate. I can vote in this state, I don’t have residence anywhere else and I pay state taxes. On the other hand, I don’t know my voting district (not even sure where my precinct is), who my government representatives are or what new laws have passed. I like to use the excuse that I am new so I’m still learning, but am I?
I know how to get places. But not just within a few mile radius of my apartment, I actually kind of know my way around certain areas of the city. Don’t get me wrong, I still rely heavily on good ol’ Google Maps but it’s not necessary to get me to work or friends homes or even to some of my favorite local spots in other neighborhoods. In fact, I have favorite spots in other neighborhoods. I know where other neighborhoods are in relation to each other. I talk in minutes and hours instead of distance. I can hear about people wanting to make a journey from somewhere and gasp in horror at the idea of sitting on the 405 for that long. But does that make me a local? Or an imposter?
I’m not at the point where I really understand LA traffic. It’s still this a mystery to me. But granted, it may be a mystery to everyone. I’m not at the point where my surroundings are only limited by the amount of time it takes to get from point A to point B. I recently had a conversation with a friend who has been here since she graduated high school. She told me (as a joke, but I think there was truth behind it) that when she started dating her husband she only looked for people within a certain distance from her. If he lived too far, not worth it. Is that what this city is about? You only date within your immediate surroundings?
That being said, I have friends who have close friends living in other parts of the city and they hardly see each other. In fact, one has never been to where the other lives. Is that normal? From what I’m gathering, each neighborhood has everything you could ever need. So much so that you don’t actually have to ever leave it. But… What’s the fun in that? Maybe I’m still such a newb and nowhere close to being a local that I’m still eager to see what this city has to offer?
I don’t know what classifies me as a local or a newb, but regardless I’m well on my way to learning more about this city.