After three days driving South on I5 we arrived, March 5th in “sunny” San Diego. It was hot in LA when we arrived. Hot and sticky and wreaking of people and cars all slurping up everything in sight and spewing out an infinite cloud of bile. Like the armpit on a fat guy after a long night of drinking tequila and eating at taco trucks. Every time I return to Los Angeles (even just in passing) I remember with more clarity why I hate the very bones of the place.
If I had a tumor, I’d name it Los Angeles.
We drove 1,500 miles between our little cabin in the woods to my in-laws’ house. The first 1,200 miles without a lick of traffic worth mentioning. A couple times we were forced drive less than 75mph. But then, some of those residential streets in Northern California can get a little curvy. The last 300 miles? That god forsaken stretch of land that begins in North Hollywood and ends in San Juan Capistrano. That was a stench filled, crawling death march of cars. Bumper to bumper nearly every mile. With most people doing their best to prove that the Los Angeles freeways are home to some of the worst humanity has to offer.
1,200 miles of people smiling and waving you into the turn lane. Slowing down to let you slide in without impeding the flow of traffic. Then, without warning you’re thrust headlong into the undeniable awareness that we have entered Los Angeles. The hemroid of the West Coast.
The first sign? Our welcome back? This guy’s riding my bumper so hard I can’t even see the hood ornament on his canary yellow penile compensation mobile. His car costs more than the mortgage people are being thrown out of their homes for, but it sure convinced me of his manly awesomeness. So I guess it was worth every penny.
He’s on his phone, gesturing at me. Telling his douchebuddy all about this yokel with Washington state license plates. His gestures indicate that he would prefer I drive faster (or just die), so that he may drive faster. He feels that my inability to drive faster is undeniable proof that I’m a complete moron who wouldn’t know a gas pedal from the dent he’d like to bash into my skull.
I assume that somehow he can’t see past my compact Toyota. He’s so close to my bumper the only thing in his field of vision is my license plate, In n’ Out and dog adoption propaganda stickers. I assume there is no way he could be calling down such fire and brimstone on me if he was able to see for himself that the reason I’m driving this innocuous speed is because there are 439,857 cars directly fucking in front of me.
He swerves out, down shifts the compensation mobile and blasts past me. Wanting to make sure I’ve received his thesis, he then swerves in front, cutting me off by a few feet. Congratulations sir, you have just gained 12 feet on me in our respective destinations. He slams on his brakes. Maybe for added flare, maybe because we are all stop-start-stopping on this giant, slithering monster of concrete bones and metal scales.
I decide I should get out from behind this psycho. There’s a good two or three car lengths of open space on my right, so I check my mirrors and hit the turn signal. Bad idea. A forest green mini-van 30 feet back gets wind of my intended usage of this empty space. One more car in this lane is unacceptable. The mini-van puts pedal to floor and shoots forward to plug the hole I intended to slip into. I’ve already started my lane change when the mini-van is on us. It swerves toward me, aggressively letting me know I should perhaps find a different lane to drive my car. I jerk the wheel back into my original lane and make a mental note to remember that using turn signals in LA only gives those behind you more time to thwart your intentions.
As the minivan comes up beside us and stays parallel, lest I get any ideas about changing lanes for the rest of my life, I look over at the driver. Scowling at me like some nameless enemy crouched in the trenches of Vietnam, praying only for my misfortune, is a Hollywood-skinny soccer mom in a pink tennis visor with kids in the backseat.
Hope and love and peace die within me. I resign myself to the cesspool. Embrace the darkness, the horror, the plague that is Los Angeles. I feel my soul turn cold as the light goes out. I tell myself it’ll be alright, we just have to make it to San Diego. My left hand slips down, kills the turn signal. I ease off the gas so that my brake lights won’t draw attention. I drift back until I’m lined up with a space about 3 inches bigger than my car. Then I jerk the wheel to the right. I join the assholes.