L.A.: Stressed or Self-Obsessed?

Aug 30, 2010 • L.A. Odes, Opinion

In a study of the country’s most stressful cities, Forbes has found Los Angeles ranks second — right after Las Vegas.

Their methodology is fairly straight-forward: compare unemployment, commute times, work hours, access to health care, overall physical health and incidence of exercise.

Las Vegas, being the capital of entertainment, is not such a fun time for residents, by virtue of how much work it takes to keep sin running in working order. Irregular work hours, work places saturated with smoke, handling of money on a regular basis, the wild spread of disease facilitated by jobs where one engages people from all over the world — yeah, we can imagine how rough it is.

But Los Angeles at number two — more stressful than New York? We know commute times are a bitch and we spend most of our lives parked on the 405. But come on. By one’s second year here, we have developed the skills to make our way without daily nosebleeds. And those of us who don’t have TVs in our SUVs to pass the time have our phones, laws or no laws. So what’s the deal?

According to Forbes it has to do with our health. Los Angeles has among the lowest scores for the well-being of its residents — 22.8% of Angelenos reported that our health was less than good. “Physical and mental health are closely intertwined,” Forbes reports. “It’s hard to keep from stressing out when one’s body is failing.”

Oh, Forbes. Your reporter has obviously not spent enough time in Los Angeles.

The fact of the matter is that everyone in Los Angeles is acutely aware that they’re dying. This is why we are so obsessive about organic food, our million diets and shakes and supplements, why we have a yoga instructor and pilates instructor and yogalates instructor, why we jog every day, have a million different doctors for a million different things and so on.

It’s not really that we have bad health, though we’d never allow our health to be surveyed — we have ensured we have a million laws against allowing the truths of our general well-being to be perused. No, no, the reason we’re so obsessed with our dying is that we’re a bunch of narcissistic assholes.

There, I said it. Our preoccupation with health is nothing more than a noble spin on self-obsession. We’re still talking about ourselves 24/7, but doing it under the guise of health and wellness, it’s harder for people to notice. It even inspires awe in others!

Really, we deal with stress fine. We don’t have more pot dispensaries than Starbucks per square mile for nothing.

Image by Te55. Information from Forbes, via Gawker.