Everything in Los Angeles is competitive, except using the restroom. If you have to whiz, take your time. But for anything else, you should expect heavy competition. Everything from eating at In-N-Out Burger, to buying crappy used furniture, to watching a savage gang beating on the subway requires shoving your way through large crowds of people cool enough to know about it long before you.
For Los Angelians . . . Los Angelites . . . for people who live here, nothing is worthwhile unless it’s wrestled away from someone else. Want to sign up for a pilates class, go to a flea market, eat an $8 grilled cheese sandwich from a food truck or drive your car two miles to your workplace? You’d better set aside about two hours for each of these things. Being a resident here means always having an endless crowd ahead, full of people who have much nicer sunglasses than you and teeth that are crooked in an oddly attractive way that makes them look pretty, yet just flawed enough to be interesting.
Everything is this way. In order to get my apartment, I had to check Craigslist every fifteen minutes, abruptly leave work at 10am to view the place before everyone else, and immediately commit to it without having any time to consider other options. I then had to hammer a rusty nail into the end of a board to fight off the 20 other people who were rabid enough to do the exact same thing. And I still didn’t get the apartment. But they had another unit available later if I was willing to pay the full first month’s rent and deposit that day, one month ahead of time. Which I was, because I’m a sociopath who lives in a city full of them.
So as one might expect, something as simple as adopting a dog is also tedious and exhausting. You can’t just go to a shelter in Los Angeles. The ones in the city are terrifying. Much like human jails, if a dog in Los Angeles is going to get busted, they should probably make sure it’s in the suburbs. If you get sent to the city lockup, your bunkmate is probably going to eat your face.
The main metro area animal shelters are almost like training grounds for dog fighting. Most have row after row of cages filled with giant rottweilers, pit bulls and doberman pinschers that some wannabe gangster in Compton abused and trained to attack people. This is apparently what people do for fun in neighborhoods where murder happens more regularly than mail delivery. If the shelters have any small dogs, they’ll be yappy little teacup chihuahuas and other Paris Hilton purse dogs that were abandoned when the trends changed. These little dogs are even angrier and meaner than the large dogs because they’ve spent their entire life being treated like a tube of chapstick.
So merely finding a dog that fits your personality is an ordeal. For a grown man in search of a good old-fashioned golden retriever or black lab, you might as well spend your weekend hunting leprechauns with magic vaginas that dispense rare 1st edition Dark Dragonite 5/82 Team Rocket Non-Holo Error Pokemon cards.
I got a sharp pain in my temple after writing that last sentence. I’m not joking. The entire left side of my body hurts.
For a decent animal shelter, you need to travel to the outskirts of Los Angeles County, in cities like Downey or Baldwin Park. The selection is much wider, but competition is fierce. Shelters have to wait 4-7 days before selling strays, and they use this to their full advantage. Some shelters take names of interested adopters and turn it into a silent auction, treating the dog like a small sheaf of Shia LaBeouf’s pubic hair on Ebay.
Others use a first come, first served method in which the dogs become available at noon on weekdays, and anyone with their name on the list needs to be there in person right at 12:01 or risk forfeiting the dog to someone more willing to get yelled at by their boss for playing hooky. Well-behaved, non-aggressive dogs are gone quickly, most of them to dog flippers who immediately relist them on Petfinder.com for $300.
I found a dog that I like this weekend, but I’m second on the list of potential adopters. Wednesday is his release from the hole. Being a true Los Angelethian . . . Angelesbian . . . being a true asshole, I have no choice. I must snipe this dog. I must show up at 11:59 – possibly in a clever disguise involving a mustache – and legally douche my way into owning this dog’s love. I don’t care if it’s a child or an old woman in my way. I will snipe that dog right out from under their wrinkly asses. This is Los Angeles. You’re either a winner or you own a little yorkie that poops in your mouth while you’re asleep. This bitch, in a purely literal sense, is mine.