GUARDIAN ANGELENOS : In L.A., No One Can Know the City--or Knock It--Like the Natives

Los Angeles natives are presumed rare, but we always manage to make our oversensitive presence felt the minute anyone from elsewhere dares bash our turf. After all, no one can trash our beloved city better than we home folk. While we natives may be the last to acknowledge the absurdities of our daily existence, we are the first to insist on its darkly sublime beauty. Chauvinism aside, anyone bold enough to pass the following test may consider themselves an honorary native Angeleno. Pencils ready!

You're a newcomer to L.A. when you think: a) LAX is a description of airport security. b) You can reach someone by dialing direct. c) Lasorda is an opera house. d) The grunion run is a charity marathon. e) "The blue crew" is a rap group.

You've been officially welcomed to L.A. when you get up in the morning and your car: a) Is covered with bird droppings. b) Has a window broken out. c) Has new dents. d) Is booted. e) Is not there.

You know L.A. is in your blood when: a) You think "later" means "I'll be in touch soon." b) You can eat your burrito with chopsticks. c) You always get the hot gossip six months ahead of the talk shows. d) You have your most stimulating and philosophical conversations while waiting at the bus stop. e) You're self-conscious because no one is staring at you.

You've got L.A. down when in the space of 30 minutes: a) You just miss 10 accidents; b) You dodge 10 panhandlers. c) You get 10 parking tickets. d) You run into 10 people you're no longer on speaking terms with. e) You experience 10 aftershocks.

L.A.'s got you down when: a) Your mom asks for the name of your agent. b) Your internist is writing a screenplay. c) Your baby-sitter auditions for a soap and gets the part. d) You need a translator to read the billboards. e) The latest find at the La Brea tar pits turns out to be a relative.

You've earned your first I-Love-L.A. bumper sticker when: a) At night you find the whirrrr from low-flying helicopters soporific. b) The student you flunked last term signs a $15-million record deal. c) The people at the next table are flossing their teeth. d) Your cardiologist says, "Don't worry. I'm a vegetarian." e) When your masseuse asks for the name of your agent.

You know L.A.'s recession isn't over when: a) All your favorite restaurants keep going under. b) All your favorite bookstores keep going under. c) You hear ice cream trucks making the rounds at 11 p.m. d) The 60-year-old woman in front of you is buying cat food and bagels. e) Your neighborhood panhandler asks for the name of your agent.

You've finally settled into L.A. when you: a) Do all your produce shopping off the freeway on-ramps. b) Stamp "copyrighted" on all your shopping lists. c) Buy a starter set of designer burglar bars. d) Notice that the smog turns your nose ring green. e) Drive instead of walk to the corner store.

You know you'll survive in L.A. when: a) You sleep through 6.2s. b) You stop counting the new cracks in your walls. c) You can leave home without consulting your Tarot deck. d) The house shakes and you ask, "Was that a sonic boom or a truck rolling past?" e) You develop an immunity to hepatitis B and E. coli.

You know it's too late to leave L.A. when: a) Your roaches ask for references. b) Your dog's haircut costs more than yours and looks better. c) Your parakeet is taking Prozac. d) Your cat is an informant for the tabloids. e) The shark that bites off your leg refuses to give it back unless you grant him a percentage of the movie rights.


Answers: Congratulations! There are no incorrect answers. Therefore you've passed and are now a full-fledged native of the City of Angels, if you weren't one already.

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