How to Be an Angelino: Part 2

Last week I talked about the importance of shortcuts in the life of an Angelino (someone living in Los Angeles). Today I’ll add another essential (necessary) element (part) of life in L.A.: Expect people to be flaky.

To be flaky (can also be spelled flakey) means to say you will do something but then don’t do it, especially when it relates to meeting someone, calling them, or going somewhere with them.  This is something that people who move here – and the majority of the people in Los Angeles are from another city, state, or country – notice right away.  I noticed it within a few weeks of moving here in 1991. But then like most long-time Angelinos, I soon took no notice of (did not pay attention to or think unusual) people’s flakiness (the state of being flaky) and just assumed that it was normal.

Here’s an example of being flaky: You say to your friend that it would be great to visit that new restaurant on Sunset Boulevard.  Your friend says, “I’ll call you on Friday and we’ll go!” or even “Great idea! Let’s meet there Friday night at seven o’clock!” Come Friday (when it is Friday), your friend doesn’t call.  Or worse, you actually go to the restaurant and the person doesn’t show up (arrive for an appointment).  When you call or text them, they say that they “forgot” or, if you were supposed to meet them somewhere, give you the classic (most typical or well-known) Angelino excuse: There was horrible traffic! But you remain friends, because in L.A. you expect people to be flaky, so this doesn’t seem unusual.

Being flaky isn’t something most Angelinos are proud of, and not all Angelinos are like this.  But it is common enough, I think, to warrant (deserve) mention in any description of typical Los Angeles behavior.

Let me hasten (quickly) to add that not all Angelinos are like this, and in general most probably don’t approve of this sort of behavior.  I try never to be flaky, and I don’t like people who are (and would not, in the end, be friends with them if they were!).

All places have their good and bad qualities.  What are some things people who live in your city or region are known for, good or bad?


Photo credit: Palm trees by Echo Park Lake by Nikhil Kulkarni CC


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23 Responses to How to Be an Angelino: Part 2

  1. Peter says:

    If you think about it ,it is a disaster what Angelinos do.
    I mean ,being flaky for a fun hang-out or something of a trivia is, in a way ,acceptable . Could be overlooked.
    But ,sometimes it happens that you have a meeting that your life depends on it.
    Imagine ,You have financial-related meeting say with one friend of yours who happens to be an advisor.
    You see what I mean.
    There is another thing that grabbed my attention,from how you pictured it ,it could be conveyed that for majority of cases both parties are no-shows simply because it is a common phenomenon down there (sarcasm intended)
    It does not make sense, so in LA people never get to hang out with one another.
    You know where I m getting at,don’t you?
    I mean,in principal,it may be doable ,but not in real life.
    It is absurd,
    Being a no show is one thing ,bragging about it is another.

    It makes everbody unreliable and untrustworthy.
    What is their angle doing it Jeff?
    No matter how I go about it ,it does not make sense.
    It is just me ,or it is really outrageous.if sb does it to me ,he/she goes directly to my black list.
    There is no merit to it
    I would never do that
    When some body takes time out of his/her life to come see me ,the least I can do is to have a descency to be on time.
    To tell the truth,I had heard it is not easy to get a girl to go out with you on a date in LA. I had my doubts about it . Seems like it is true:) seriously I had heard about it.

  2. emiliano says:

    I do not think there is a common peculiar character among the people who lives in Madrid.
    This big city has been created with people coming from every different villages and cities
    of Spain, also no with people from the other countries and every one has their own way
    of doing things or behave.

    Too many years ago there was a common way of behaving and it was cordiality among
    pedestrian, or conductors that could need information about an address or were asking
    for some kind of help.
    Now this nice cordiality has almost disappeared but not among people of some aged
    who has lived here for long.

    I hope Jeff that you do not be infected by this unpleasant “flaky” way of behavior.
    In fact I am sure you will not be flaky despite you may live fifty more years in L.A., it
    is so incredible unpresentable light way of acting that I have to considerate the
    idea of going to live in L.A.

    Being young I have seen people shaking hands to make a commercial treat or
    agreement and not papers were necessary. The word was sacred for a man or a
    woman who be proud of themselves.
    If a friend said this or that, I am sure he/she is going to do that without any
    kind of apologizes, just the same like people I really appreciate.
    You are joking Jeff, don´t you?
    I can not believe what you said….

    My best dear teacher.


  3. emiliano says:

    I like the photo very much.
    It is really nice.
    Just a new mistake…
    Please, to be read: cities of Spain, also now with people of other countries….
    Sure, you are joking Jeff
    I can not conceive people being so inconsiderate as to make yourself feel
    like an absolute silly person….

    Thank you Jeff, it is quite illustrative.

  4. Jeff says:

    Peter, Emiliano – Thank you for your comments. I have corrected my post by adding another paragraph clarifying that I don’t like this sort of behavior, I don’t do it myself, and many – most? – Angelinos probably dislike it. It exists, but it is not seen as a good thing, for sure.

  5. elcomandant says:

    What’s up Jeff?. Are you making new Angelinos friends? I bet all friends you have now you’ve already them lost. I dont know whether you are joking or not. I don’t believe Angelinos are like that. At least, I that isn’t what Los Angeles’ movies show us in the cinema’s screen.

    By the way, how many such a beautiful movies have been shot in that city. Suddenly I can remember some of them like:
    “To Sleep With Anger” – “My Crazy Life” – “L.A. Confidential” – “L.A. Story” among much much more.

    Sorry, I know this have nothingto do what Jeff said in your writting, but I like the cinema a lot and we can’t deny it’s an important part of Angelinos.

    I would like there to be one part of “How to Be An Angelino” that speaks about the L.A.’s cinema and movie stars. Something more that the Angelinos mustn’t pay attention at movies stars.

  6. Betty says:

    Thank you very much indeed, Jeff, for this piece of valuable information about how some Angelinos behave.

    I am sure I have known some people like that. These people are not Angelinos, they are just very absent minded people.

    Well, just like Peter and Emiliano commented, I think you are joking, Jeff, I hope you are joking.

    If what Jeff told us was true, then what we have learned here is, people living in big cities lead a very stress life and some people have lost their mind – just like having a mental illness.

    I hope I will not become flaky. One day, if I become flaky, it is not what I wanted to be, I will not be proud of it, and I hope people understand it is an age related illness that no one will be proud of.


    What am I talking about? I think Jeff did not say that ‘flaky’ was associated with age.

    Anyway, it is sad if people are flaky, very sad!

    Thank you again Jeff. Now I know next time if I meet someone flaky, I will know it is not my fault that they don’t turn up.

    We learn something new every day!

  7. Peter says:

    Dear Jeff,
    It is cool having you below the Profs’ line among us for a change 🙂
    Thanks for the clarification,and thanks even more for the term “and many most.”
    I am gonna steal that from you and use it as my own:)
    First time hearing the combination ,and love it!
    I didn’t verbally attack you,or somebody else for that matter. I just meant ,” Generally ,I don’t acknowledge ,or encourage the behaver.”
    It is socially frowned upon

    Sincerely yours

    A huge fan

  8. emiliano says:

    Thank you Jeff, it was not necessary to clarify anything as we all know
    quite well how our teacher is.
    The best teacher and quite a nice good person by all means.
    All your friends have to be sure about your right common sense, clear
    mind and good heart.
    I know that for long, it is like a feeling.
    Just the same about Dr. Lucy Tse, a marvelous person that is
    not flaky beyond all doubts.

    Jeff, it is nice to know that the majority of L.A. people
    dislike that way of being flaky it sounds so awful just to act
    like a silly not minded person without any consideration to
    the others.

    Well, now I have to reconsider again the idea of going to the beautiful
    city of L.A., puff what a relief……
    That´s right, all my best dear teacher.


  9. Ethan says:

    Come to think of it, it’s very unlikely that Jeff is kind of flaky. I mean how on earth could someone flaky podcast more than 1,000 episodes?
    He’s very sincere man and I always thank him for that.

  10. Ziba says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I think the topic you mentioned is common every where, but the amount is different. So don’t worry Jeff. Here it’s common too.

    When somebody do this for the first time, it’s ok but when they repeat it, other people can’t trust them anymore.

    One of common behaviors in my city (capital of Iran) is people try not to show their poverty or their low classes to ones that they don’t know them.

    And another is : most people are very curious about others lives and try to get information or involved in their colleges’, friends’ or relatives’ private lives/ affairs, even strangers. Maybe you say it in English “poking into their lives/ affairs” or “poke their noses into others lives/ affairs”

    Remmeber, Don’t lend money to people you don’t know them well.

    Anyway, I think these kinds of behaviors are every where with different scale, though.

    Thank you Jeff, perfect teacher as always.

    Ziba (Iran)

  11. Betty says:

    I know, I know, it is very hard to make and keep friends in a big and busy city like Los Angeles, so you just ignore your friend’s flakiness in order to remain friends even when you suspect they are making excuses not turning up.

    But how do you plan your parties and things like that in L.A.? Do you oversubscribe your guest list like the airline companies do, and hope that not everyone will turn up then the number of seats will be just right?

  12. Johnny says:

    I thought to be flaky is a dishonest and irresponsible behavior of human being,
    this phenomenon that seldom happens to a person who has higher cultural awareness
    and educational knowledge, and plus develepment of a working economy associates with a man of his word.

    I have to confess that I have this similar flaw when I was in college, as a matter of fact I always cut off classes even though
    I am supposed to be in classes due to I promised my parents I won’t do that again.
    but I am getting to switch myself turn to be a person without any irresponsibility.

    Eslpod is going to become my nourishment for my daily life, this is my only luxury and I’ll never ever walk out on it.

    Thanks Jeff, my adorable teacher.

  13. Peter says:

    No,Jeff is not flaky.
    He set it right.
    To tell the truth, I went the there for a second.
    You know,I have known Jeff through his work. I have never met him in person.
    So,I didn’t rule it out merely because he is my professor. I checked the evidences so my judgment wasn’t bias.
    From the order of things around Eslpod , I could rule it out
    It is most likely that we cannot find any trace of the odd behaviou in Jeff or Lucy
    One can infer from the way They run things in their teritory that they are organized to a fault.
    Jeff is a many-sided man
    He is a man of integrity
    That is why Eslpod couldn’t go wrong

    So,on could conclude that The bizzar practice has rubed off on him as well.

  14. elcomandant says:

    Good for you Jeff. After I read the paragraph you added to your writing, I was glad for you. I’m sure all your Angelino friends you had lost they came back to you again.

    If that is what Angelinos do, then it isn’t very different what it happens in the rest of the world. So don’t worry about too much. Fortunately there are more good people than bad people on the Earth. In my opinion people who do what you told us in your writing is people who nobody can trust them. They will do any bad action in any moment.


  15. Peter says:

    Dear Jeff
    Angelinos have the reputation of being religious as well .they are very orthodox.I heard .

    I never check the authencity of the news ,but it is what they are associated with in Toronto.
    And Newoyorkers are very arrogant and snubby . This one I experienced myself
    They believe that they are the coolest people on the coolest city.

  16. Hilario says:

    blame it on sun.- Some sociologists attribute flakiness attitude behaviour among a wide scope range of cultural and social behaviour that frame the body of Northern-Southern differences. It seem clear that influence exists, a man´s word doesn´t have same effect in wet, cool and cold weathers as thus has in dry, hot and warmth climate. Both sense of humor as friendship conception among others personal interactions change very much according to latitude. A northern-born, bad weather dissident, that scape away from terrible and greyness climates must not be choosy about these tiny regards, you take the whole of it with everything. Same as the directional shortcuts guide, there should be an anti-disappointing guide. First must, forgetting, contemporize and be indulgent, merely as Jeff has pointed it out before. But thus yes, one must be aware of the mimetic effect and be prepared for undesirable side effects. The worst flaky that we suffer in South Spain is “where I said I say, I say now …”, meaning not assuming what was assured and accorded and doing odd language twistings for nothing.

  17. Peter says:

    For ,you see, I m a sucker for such topics that get us closer culturally.
    It serves us good knowing the regional custom and habitual behaviors of people.
    The more you know , the better off you are.

  18. YONGHO CHUN says:

    After reading the blog, i started wondering if i am flaky. I guess I’m a person who likes to plan trips or events, and i tell my friends that we should do this and that~
    However, actually there is more time i don’t make it than i make it. I think my words go way ahead of my actions. So am i flaky?

  19. Peter says:

    Chief ,
    I found the comparison of simmilar words that you do on English cafe very useful
    Make it a continuum my man
    Of course ,If you don’t mind boss
    They are eye openers
    It feels like you are lifting the heavy ,dense mist over the English language,a hazy raddle reaped in mystery if you will
    This once mystery-raddled language is turning to be an inherent part of me.thanks for that.
    Getting clearer by day.
    I bow to your expertise Jeff.
    In deed you have a beautiful mind.
    I got emotional again. Sorry, I can’t keep my emition at bay.
    I just can’t

    A huge fan

  20. Tania says:

    Hi! I think it is trendy this phrase”beware what you wish for” even psychologicaly. For me it sounds frightfully.

    We have a lot of wisecracks, jokes, with the golden fish which can fulfil any wish if you leave it in its water again.
    Beware what you wish for because the golden fish sometimes is a bit deaf.

  21. Tania says:

    Hi! “The Golden Fish” is a classic Russian fairy tale in verse by Alexander Pushkin.
    The moral of the story is: do not get too greedy, or you will end up with nothing.

    I’m afraid of a meeting with the golden fish.

  22. Tania says:

    Hi! Nothing is free of charge. Everything has a price: in money, in tears… Even worse, in tears and money.

  23. Igor says:

    You know, Jeff, when I had been reading your post I have remembered about one interesting book written by two great Russian writers Ilf and Petrov in 1935. This book was about their trip across the US (curious enough, because back then it was a really difficult deal to get somewhere out from town to town even in the USSR, not to mention about such country as the US is). So that book titles “Single-storey America”. And there they described Americans as very reliable and responsible persons. They told that if an American said that he will do something, he will do that for sure. I often remember their words about this nice American feature and try to create it in me…

    And that was interesting to discover that today’s Angelinos in particular hed become absolutely contrast those Americans from 1935! Or maybe they were always such flaky people? So, Jeff, please tell us about that!

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