It feels important that I write you this letter. It's a huge time of transition for me. I'm a college graduate, my sister just started college, I am car-less, I've seen the end of the Phelps-Bolt era of the Olympics, and, oh yeah, I moved back to Oakland. I spent the last five years of my life with an LA address, essentially my entire (brief) adult years. I cannot ignore these last five years I have spent with you, and so I am writing you this letter to get some off my mind.
You suck. Let me repeat. You suck. I can go on and on about my grievances regarding your nature, Los Angeles, and so I will. Let me just start with that traffic. My God! I think I might have spent as much time in a traffic jam as anything else I did during my time in SoCal. That sounds like an exaggeration, but it's not. Your public transportation doesn't alleviate the issue as much as one should, but it's relatively young and deserves a pass. But the drivers are the worst! What is it about you that turns a simple activity like operating a motor vehicle seem like landing the Apollo on the moon. And I know that the weather is on of the biggest draws for people relocating to you, but it's overrated. Yes, yes, I did move to you in part because I wanted to know what summer was like without fog, but too much heat is too much. You can't give me more than 15 days of rain a year? I once spent an entire week in the ocean because there was no escaping the heat. And why can't you produce a single great slice of pizza. Your people claim that you hold some great pizza joints somewhere, but why haven't I been able to find one in over five years? The fact that more than two people have claimed that Shakey's is the best pizza in LA says a lot about your quality of those delicious Italian pies. What else? Uh, what's the deal with Time Warner Cable? That's a question both directed at you and Time Warner Cable. Here's another thing: stuff is way too expensive. And everything is so far away from everything. When your developers were deciding on how to construct you as a city, did they not think that maybe putting stuff near each other would make it easier on your residents? And don't get me started on your sports fans. My experience with them has been so bad that it prompted me to write a blog post about their awfulness a few years back. Yeah, that bad. So it's safe to say there's a lot of things I don't like about you. That being said, I don't regret moving to you for a second.
Let me get one thing straight: Oakland is my heart and will always be my home, even if I end up living the rest of my life somewhere else. I did choose to leave Oakland when I was 18 for college. I wanted to be away from home and get a chance to see what I was made of on my own. I wanted to experience something that was different than what I was used to. Out of the many places I could have gone I chose you, LA. For years I was infatuated with the Hollywood lifestyle. Multiple seasons of Entourage and vacations to touristy spots gave me a particular impression of you. Imagine my shock during my first year stuck in Carson. It was nothing like the places Vince and company used to visit and a good drive from any of the scenic places I had visited on vacation. This was before I had a car. In Oakland I always managed fine without one. The city was small enough to get where ever I wanted by bus and for trips to the City I had BART. But you were a different beast. I had never encountered a city as big as you are and I must admit I was intimidated by you. A lot of the people I met my first year were assholes and I only knew one person from my high school days. Everything I wanted to do seemed out of reach. I had trouble adjusting to your heat, though I learned to love flip flops. When I came home for winter break I had my tail tucked between my legs. I thought maybe I just wasn't built to handle you. Maybe I belonged in Oakland all along. I was not sure I would return.
Something happened though during our temporary break up. I missed you. I wanted to come back to you and prove to myself that I can survive on my own. So I did come back, this time with a car. Holy shit, did that make a difference! Things that were not accessible to me were suddenly accessible. I wanted to go everywhere and see everything you had to offer. There was definitely something more enjoyable about being able to drive to your hot spots and do things LA people did. But it's not like the move back was peaches and cream. The struggles continued as I fought to find my foothold in a new city. From housing issues to car issues to money issues, my time with you was plagued with hardships. During my time with you I had been homeless, food-less or money less at one point or another. I mean, for fuck's sake I went a month and a half surviving on a jar of peanut butter. But I needed the struggle and your skyline provided the perfect backdrop to my story of ascension. Every obstacle that was thrown my way I eventually overcame. After struggling to find a stable housing situation I was able to meet a distant relative with a place for me to stay. After many unsuccessful job posts I was able to find a steady job on campus that I was able to ride out for the remainder of my time at Dominguez Hills. Though I started with just one friend I now leave with many more that I care about and that I know care about me. I even met my girlfriend during my stay with you, Los Angeles. I maintained a steady hatred towards you throughout the years, usually blaming my hardships on you, but it was during my time with you that I became the resilient and motivated man I am today.
One thing I'll always respect about you is how you continued to surprise me. I thought I had you all figured out. I had seen all your top tourist attractions. I knew all about Venice Beach, Hollywood and Disneyland. I had worked in Downtown LA, learning the roads. I got bored with you. By my third year I was ready to move back home. I thought you had nothing else to show me. Boy was I wrong! Maybe it was the new people I was hanging out with that introduced me to some new nooks and crannies that reignited my interest in you. Or maybe it was me realizing that while you weren't the dreamland I imagined you to be, there were so many things about you I can still grow to learn and appreciate about you. After all, we were stuck together for at least the next two years. So I started to search deeper than what was shown in the movies. I learned you had as much to offer in East LA as you did in Santa Monica if I looked hard enough. I learned you had so much history that made you become the city you are now. Both beautiful and traumatizing events from the past molded you into what I recognize you as now, a complex and fascinating place people call home. People like me. I began to understand why people loved you as much as I understood why people hated you. When I was with you, no two days had to be the same unless I wanted them to be. You always had something brewing in the far reaches of your land. Your people, though sometimes arrogant, were interesting, active and thoughtful. I began to see that LA natives were just like Oakland natives in the respect that they really love where they are from. (Oakland natives are just more likable.) You are diverse as a motherfucker. I mean that in every facet of the word. (The word being diverse, not motherfucker.) I had friends and colleagues of every race, religion, sexual orientation and economic level. Being from the Bay Area that's nothing new, but it was nice to experience on some level with you. I was able to find a balance between long-term tourist and full-time resident. Spending my summers with you certainly helped. I even accidentally called you home once or twice. I got myself a Disney pass, I went to a Dodger game (in A's gear obviously), I listened to Big Boy in the morning, and found my favorite restaurants. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'll always say the Bay is better in so many ways (because it is), but I do consider you a home and I will miss you.
You want to know what I'll miss about you? I'm gonna miss the culture. I'm going to miss the fact that so many different types of people can live within you and are the reason why you are so unique. You were the perfect city to host an event like the Special Olympics World Games. I'm going to miss your festivals and fairs. I'm going to for damn sure miss your food, especially your Mexican food. You do Mexican right, Los Angeles. But there's so much more food than that. The best Korean spots I've ever been to have been in you. I've had amazing Japanese ramen too. I can't forget about some good old fashion barbecue. You have some great breakfast joints and no one can take that away from you. I'll miss the shit out of Fatburger. After In N Out, Fatburger is my favorite burger joint. I'll miss the nightlife you provide. The nightclubs and bars added to your allure, and while I did most of my clubbing in the first two years it was a big part of the reason I liked being with you. More than most places, I felt like you were the best place for me to be a young adult. I won't deny it, we had a lot of fun together. I'm going to miss your variety. You are such a fucking big city it's crazy. The best part about that is that all the areas you encompass are so different from each other. I had so many options of places to see and people to meet. I could appeal to my cinema loving nature in Hollywood; I could beach bum it in Hermosa Beach; I could get dope Mexican food in East LA; I could visit an art museum on Wilshire; I could go on a date in Long Beach. You introduced me to some of my best friends, friends I am going to miss a lot, friends I'm going to stay in contact with. Some of these friends I met at school, work or through other friends. They all played a big part in my development as a person. I reconnected with long lost family too during my years with you, LA. I was able to strengthen the relationships I have with my family at home. I have to give you some credit for that. I'm going to miss all the memories I formed with all those people that make you such an amazing place. Five years is a lot of memories and a lot of story telling for a guy who loves to tell stories. The majority of me and my girlfriend's memories together are based in you, which is why you serve such a crucial part of our relationship. So I'm sure she feels some of the emotions I feel towards you as well. Shit, I'll miss some of the bad stuff too. I do like hot weather. I've had a hard time adjusting to not being to rock flip flops and shorts everywhere. I'll even miss the bad traffic. Really it was an excuse to listen to my CD's. I might even miss Dominguez Hills. As much as I had trouble with that school it was where I needed to be.
When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, there are more positives with you than there are negatives. You are a huge part of my life. As an adult I grew up with you. I did what I set out to do and became my own person. I experienced something completely new and I wouldn't change one thing. I know it might be a little different for you being without me, but you know I'm going to visit a lot. You're only an hour flight away. Oakland is and always will be my home, but you are my second home. From an Oakland native to you, Los Angeles: I'ma hella miss you.
El Guapo is a talented blogger on the rise, regarded by many as a cross between Homer and Socrates. Through real life experience and expertise in many facets of life, the Guaps aims to provide readers with unique takes that will enhance the way they think and live. Keep up with his main blog Infinite Wisdom From El Guapo’s Brain. NBA fans have to place to go with his basketball blog, Infinite Wisdom on the NBA. Like him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram. Leave comments in the section below. Stay Guapo out there!