Ask A Native Angeleno: Is It Okay That I Never Go To The Beach?
This week's question comes from an Angeleno with a confession. If you have your own burning question for a Native Angeleno, you can e-mail us using the subject line "Ask A Native Angeleno." It's fine if you want to be anonymous, just let us know which neighborhood you live in.
Dear Native Angeleno,
I'm embarrassed to admit this, but here goes: I haven't been to the beach in four years! Should I feel guilty?
Landlocked in Lincoln Heights
Dear Landlocked in Lincoln Heights,
Americans picture Los Angeles as a city of 4 million blond, sun-kissed Jeff Spicolis, only taking off our flip-flops long enough to brush the sand from between our toes. But the shocking truth is that most Angelenos don’t really go to the beach all that much. Even though Los Angeles County is blessed with 75 miles of coastline, it always seems like the furthest point from wherever you are. It sort of hooks away from you, like a carrot on stick, always out of reach.
And let's face it, on your average, run-of-the-mill 75-degree day, it's a bit chilly down by the beach, what with the dark and frigid Pacific Ocean looming about.
Of course we'd all like to go on when it's desperately hot out, but those are the days where the entire city wants to go, you have wade through an hour of gridlock just to pay 20 dollars to park, walk eight blocks, and cram your blanket in between seven stoned frat boys and an old Russian couple dousing themselves with sunblock.
Yes, the beach is gorgeous, relaxing, other-worldly. But it's such a hassle.
Now, this little rant applies more to people who live in the area broadly referred to as The Eastside, or people living in the Valley, for whom a journey to the ocean is roughly the distance between earth and the moon. But I know many who live in Santa Monica or Venice for whom a trip to the beach is maybe a bi-annual affair. They've been before. It hasn't changed much. There's still sand, still water, still the guy who roller-skates and plays guitar.
Yes, there are those among us who regularly tan, and, of course, there are those among us who surf, and never let us forget it. But these are the exceptions, not the rule.
Going to the beach in LA is like taking mushrooms—something everyone should do once, twice, maybe even a handful of times. But it's a rather exhausting endeavor, once that can drain you for days, and every subsequent trip can have diminishing returns.
Hillel Aron is a Native Angeleno. Follow him on the twitter at @hillelaron.