Wednesday, April 07, 2004


At least pull my hair!

I swear to God the worst drivers in the world are here in Los Angeles and they are all aiming for me! This morning I was driving to work and as I slowed to make a left onto a side street from the center lane with my blinker click-clicking, the fucking cliche behind me in the massive SUV with a phone clutched to her head with one hand and her Starbuck's in the other bore down upon me like one of the riders of the apocalypse, horn blaring. I wanted to stop, get out like a crazy person, jump on the running board of her landshuttle and scream in her face - "do you not see that I have my signal on? Hang up the phone, put down your drink and fucking pay attention".

But there was a break in traffic so I took my opening and went on my way to work, although I was screaming those words out loud. Driving here brings out the Tourette's in me. It seems that I can't make it a day without screaming FUCK! at the top of my lungs. The manuever that most often compels me to such dramatics is the asswipe, usually directly in front of me, who will pull into the intersection when the light turns green and then stop. When I toot my horn he decides to turn his blinker on. Dude! You were supposed to do that while you were waiting at the light so that people could get in the other lane and not have to wait, stuck behind you, in the intersection.

That's what the turn indicator is for! it's not a fun light that keeps time to the music playing on you radio as you drive merrily down the street with it flashing and flashing and flashing - yet still you never turn. It's so people who are in the cars around you will have some idea about what you're going to do next in your deathmobile.

Here in L.A. the use of the signal most often causes the people near you to drive even closer to the car in front of them so you can't merge. It's like their dinosaur brain turns on and they're all about survival of the fittest and somehow if they let you in it means that they will be delayed in arriving at where ever it is they are going. The fact that the freeway ISN'T MOVING doesn't really matter.

The polarity to this behavior is often exhibited at intersections where a driver pulls up in the right lane and then races you through the intersection in order to cut in front of you and the line of traffic behind you - except you're not racing. You're actually making space for them to get in front since they're in such an all fired hurry, but their car, which is blowing exhaust goes from zero to 25 in the 60 feet it takes to cross the intersection and now they are running you into oncoming traffic.

For a culture so completely dependent on cars there are an amazing number that seem to be held together with rubberbands and bondo. They are usually driven by people who don't have insurance. These same people do not believe that the California vehicle code applies to them and so therefore they can make right hand turns from the LEFT lane! In front of cars driving in the right lane. And when you have an accident with one of these individuals they get out of their cars holding their neck and grimacing in pain.

For these reasons and so many other violations I can't even list them all here, I do not own a gun. Remember when people were shooting each other on California freeways a while back. Well, I could totally relate to why someone would do something like that. Sometimes I fantasize about driving a big ass '71 Lincold Mercury with 4-point seatbelts and no license plate and just having my own little demolition race through the L.A. streets.

But since gas went from $2.19 to $2.27 a gallon between last night and this morning I think filling the tank would detract from the pleasure. So I look at my commute as an opportunity to practice patience and tolerance. I get in my car, fasten my seatbelt and find my happy place - and enjoy those special moments when someone makes an illegal left between 5-7pm when it's verboten - and since they're in front of me and they don't see the cop sitting on my right - I toot my horn as I sit behind them, stuck in the intersection and after they make their illegal turn I pause, so Officer Bill can cut in front of me and write them a big fat ticket.


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