Mistakes Made in LA

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Just like my NYC list from a few years ago, here’s a West Coast version:

  • Park in DTLA Convention Center at 4:34 pm only to read the fine print that says the $11 flat rate kicks in “AFTER 5PM.” Pay $39.19 and convince yourself that it’s a parking lesson and at least this happened on a Thursday so you didn’t pay the MoCA Grand entrance fee (which is $15) on top of that punch. Cry on the 405.
  • Take the Express Lane because you have quarters for the toll. Get slapped with a $26 fee instead for not having a transponder installed because you were expecting a tollbooth to appear like back in 1999 when you still lived here. You also get charged $10 by the rental company for committing a dumb violation thanks to a phantom tollbooth that didn’t take you to Rhyme or Reason. Cry on the 405.
  • Leave the house without water bottles. Dehydrate on the trek into civilization. Cry on the 405.
  • Leave your house at anytime between 7-9am or 3-6pm. CRY ON THE 405.
  • Experiment with being on a plant-based diet (don’t say the V word) because everything has kale in it anyway and, after 3 years of living with your born-again vegan sister, the over-sensationalized What The Health had you thinking WTF. Start reading Campbell’s The China Study while dreaming (literally dreaming while unconscious) of multicolored balls of sharp cheddar and In-n-Out Double Doubles.
  • Start asking “Do you have any dietary restrictions?” as a standard question when inviting someone out or over. Spend lots of money and time cooking 3 different entrees because you’re feeding a carnivore, a no-carb, and someone who can’t eat tomatoes. You never host again.
  • Go to a SoulCycle class. Realize that it’s a SoulCult that uses endorphins to hook you into paying $30/class which is the same amount as ONE MONTH at the gym. Their empowering mantras convince you that this is good pain for the wallet…and the crotch. It’s the same expense as a few drinks at a bar that looks exactly like the dark-lit steamy Soul studio except you’re a cascading waterfall in a sports bra. Go all-in and attend a Beyonce-themed SURVIVOR class on her Monday morning birthday in Calabasas.
  • Once again, use your “I’m from Beirut” face whenever you feel remotely uneasy about your surroundings. Unlike in NY, this doesn’t fit in well with the overtly pseudo-friendly SoCal residents and you just seem like an asshole.
  • Discover bottomless mimosa brunches everywhere. Start living by the great words of Drake: Champagne with breakfast while I’m yawning but also don’t drink all day by starting in the morning because like Ali from Soul says, the energy you put out into the world today will come back to you and you gotta Take Care of yourself. Treat yoself, whispers Aziz.
  • Contemplate how many tacos is too many when you see that all events revolve around taco trucks (bless you, California). A friend suggests, “anything below double your age,” you trust his formula, and remind yourself that you’re practically 30.
  • Learn where you are on the snob-scale after shopping in DTLA Fashion District. Sure, you didn’t know what a Patek Philippe was before Leo Burnett and Ye taught you who Margiela is, but True Cost taught you about fast fashion. All of these lessons in luxury go out the window when you see sunnies for $5 a piece.
  • Bond with +40 year olds at Barnsdall Wine Night at 7pm on a Friday. “You know you’re old when you’re like THAT’S MY JAM when they play Phil Collins and Toto while drinking wine in the park this early,” they say with a chuckle. Grasp that you completely relate to this statement and thus find out that you are old.
  • Get caught in traffic near the coastline. Pack a beach bag to keep in the trunk for impromptu detours when you decide to wait out the gridlock on the sand.
  • Spot fellow Arabs within 6 seconds of crossing paths based on choice of footwear, level of arm hair, traces of Lacoste, or the I know you glance. When in grocery stores, the jar of Bulgarian yogurt is the dead giveaway.
  • Foster a cat so you have a companion in your office/home. Fall in love, consider adoption, and solidify cat-lady status. Watch Godfather again and notice Vito Corleone’s black tabby. If the Godfather can be a cat lady, so can you.
  • Reminisce about a time when walking to your destination was doable and uber was just an adjective that only dorks like you used. Wonder how you ended up in another city with shitty public transportation.
  • Watch HBO’s Insecure as another form of research since Issa Rae presents the backdrop of South LA as a character who is more interesting than the actual cast or storylines. Live vicariously through the ladies of Inglewood until you spend hours googling the wine bar in season 1, episode 2. Someone please help me find it so I leave the house this week.
  • Develop a playlist with tracks that correspond to household chores. TLC’s Creep for sweeping, MJ’s Thriller for mopping, Black Keys/JCole for dishes & folding clothes, and the Black Album for writing the afikra newsletter. Please subscribe here, thanks.
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