Reverse Culture Shock

I occasionally visit Los Angeles — the city of my birth and where I spent most of my life. I miss my family and my friends, of which many still live in this area. I enjoy visiting them. However, I find it more difficult each time to visit. Living in a remote rural area like Cielito Lindo Ranch definitely changes your perspective on much of life.

It’s interesting to see the city with fresh “country” eyes. Everything is gray. The pace is hectic. Cars passing at high-speed on the right is dangerous and epidemic there. Gone is the chatty country friendliness I’m now used to – people are curt and always eager to get to the next thing. Attitudes are more competitive and less cooperative. Criticisms come frequently and easily.  Putting other people down is a regular part of the culture there.

There is a rich tapestry of noise. Trains, trash trucks, sirens, car alarms, roaring engines, squealing tires, horns, and the constant murmur of a thousand human voices.

The air is thick and humid. Breathing deeply is difficult. The stress is as thick as the smog.

I feel like I’m never alone in Los Angeles – I’m always under the continual unseeing gaze of a semi-conscious throng of humanity.

But there are also so many benefits. Hundreds of restaurants to choose from instead of four. Sushi – blessed sushi! I always eat an entire fishing boat of sushi when I visit. And, the blessing that is Zankou Chicken . I like to see movies. Where I used to live in Burbank I had twenty-eight theaters to choose from within a mile of where I lived. These days a two-hour drive is required to get to a good theater.

There is no right or wrong – living in a city can actually be a sustainable option if the city is planned right, so I can see nothing wrong with city living. But I will say that I now know the full feeling of culture shock – the other way around this time.

About Sam Palahnuk

Founder and staff member at Cielito Lindo Ranch in New Mexico.
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