This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. This blog is not supported by advertising, it's supported by the generosity of my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

Making Los Angeles into a small town


If you're new to Los Angeles, you may still be trying to take it all in. That's what Raymond Chandler called trying to "get your arms around Los Angeles". And no, it can't be done. It's just too big and there's too much going on. And in fact, if you're still trying, it marks you as a newcomer. You need to make it a small town, and this is how people in LA do it:

• Find a major boundary. Most people just use a freeway. I used to say that there was really nothing east of the 405 for me. I lived in the western part of the San Fernando Valley, and so that's really a pretty big area. But the next step is the most important:

• Find human scale. Find a coffee shop you like and call it "the coffee shop" as if were the only one in town. Without being creepy, learn the names of the people you see all of the time, at your local convenience store, at the grocery store. And give every place a name that's personal. Tell your friends that after you've gone to the coffee shop, you'll meet them at the Quicky Mart.

No, I'm not telling you to give up on understanding Los Angeles, nor am I recommending that you don't go to new places, and try new things. But if you're like me, and got the "LA Hee-Bee-Jee-Bees" from everything being so big, so crowded, so noisy, and so impersonal, slow down a bit, and make LA your town.

And by the way, calling it a "town" is where most people start. Welcome to my town!


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