Tuesday, March 07, 2006

In bemusement . . .

. . . of LA Drivers.

Okay. Los Angeles is all about its cars. I had resolved, on moving here, never to buy into the LA car culture. How wrong I was. Now, I look at people's cars, and if the car is dirty, I think, "I'll bet they keep their house like that too."

Part of this is because after you've lived here long enough, you start to get a little Zen about your car. In a lot of ways, my 30-minute/3-mile drive is my "me" time - the time to zone out (while paying attention, of course), listen to my music, and have a think. There are plenty of times when I'm going somewhere that the getting there is more pleasuable than being there.

But LA drivers really exemplify this town - a lot of people who think they're important, that really, what they want to do is what matters, and that they're under no obligation to think of anyone else.

For example, I have to turn left from Santa Monica onto Avenue of the Stars. This left turn is normally easy, but they've shut the street right before it (Century Park East), so it has twice the traffic. I found myself not able to get into the lane, having overshot the end of it. I thought okay, and drove to the next street and did a ewie. However, I've seen plenty of LA drivers simply stop, put their blinker on and wait for a space to open, completely blocking all traffic behind them. No thought about what this does for others.

Today, a woman on a cell phone in a Porsche, yakking away while the light went green and she went nowhere.

It's the symptom of this town - a lot of people trying to get ahead, tought through what is alleged to be "Self Empowerment" to actually just be self-absorbed and thoughtless. It's not malicious, just an utter inability to consider that getting what you want might negatively impact others. It's not like I haven't dated a few of those.

I've always believed that Los Angelenos should be sent to the UK for a year, where you quickly learn that you can't always have things exactly the way you want. No, you can't have the chicken grilled and not sauteed, and they don't have low-fat-Atkins-friendly ranch dressing, and no, it comes with fries, not a salad. Sometimes things just don't work. Sometimes it gets a bit drafty. Laundry takes a long time. If your friend buys you a drink, you must buy him one (the number of times I've bankrupted myself doing that - assuming that I've just bought 8 drinks, so I'm set for the night, when the recipients are assuming I'm just being nice . . .).

But I did see a strange one today - a Red Civic with a sticker of California in the gay rainbow colours. But the license plate: JAG ESQ. The ESQ shows he was a lawyer. JAG? Judge Advocate General? Combine that with the gay thing and you can colour me confused.

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