Memorable Moments in an Alien World











{October 18, 2011}   The Rules of the Road

LA traffic can feel downright brutal.

But I grew up in socal and am used to the rude drivers, the California waves, and the panic and multiple accidents that invariably ensue when it so much as mists outside.

I’m not the world’s most defensive driver, but I’m quickly making my way up the ranks. I have been particularly annoyed at the way L.A.iens (clever, right?) attempt to defy merging. It ought to work like a zipper – every other car – but rarely do I witness it functioning as it ought.

Today I was driving (that may be a bit of an overstatement – I was moving 2 miles/hr) on Pico Blvd on my way home. I’m in the outside lane and moving at a snail-like pace, feeling jealous of all the bicyclists passing me. All of a sudden, from behind, I hear the blare of a car horn – what else is new? – and I look over my shoulder to see a guy that my mind can only classify as a jackass (driving a massive caddy from the era of the 80s) trying to pass me. There was no merging – we’re on a normal street and he’s just trying to swing ahead of me using a bike lane!

We made eye contact and I could read his face like a book. It clearly said, “This kid is gonna give in to me. I’m a badass and she’s too nice to cause an accident.”

Yeah, I know. You think I read too much into looks. Perhaps. But, some of you know how crazy-accurate I am with my discernments. I looked at him and tapped the gas. He stared back and did likewise. We repeated this until he was wedged between me and a parked car on the side of the street. I pulled ahead and shook my head. That was insanity in driving if I ever did experience it. It was also this weird power struggle. But I couldn’t let this L.A.ien best me on the road.

So I won…this time. But I must say, I’ve driven in Italy and as jammed and angry as LA traffic can be, it’s not even the same species as the offensive driving constantly conducted in Italy. By the time I arrived home, I had reached my conclusion. In light of that bizarre experience, the international outside-of-your-mind driving score still reads: Italy – 1, LA – 0.

But I’ve only been in LA 8 weeks. There is still plenty of opportunity for LA to catch up. The game is quite early yet.



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