Traffic in LA sucks. We all know this. The problem is you never know just how much it is going to suck. With the number of pedestrians, cars, intersections, police officers and sh*tty roads between you and your destination, it has become impossible to predict exactly what the streets will bring you at any given moment.
Some people like to indignantly proclaim, in a wide variety of pompously-judgy platitudes, that this suckage number is indeed quantifiable. That between sigalert and your general knowledge of traffic patterns, you have a pretty good idea of how long it’s going to take you. To them, I dedicate this story of today’s drive to work. (With a minor digression involving my get-ready time.)
It started off like any other day – just slightly more rushed. Someone had decided to put a 9:30a meeting on my calendar. At 6p yesterday. Ahem. I shall restrain myself from delving into office/scheduling etiquette.
Fortunately, thanks to my summer glow, I have been embracing a no-makeup lifestyle and my hair was freshly-ish washed. A quick shower, throw on the outfit I had pre-planned, grab the workout bag I had packed but neglected to use the day before, toss my paints and iPad into my satchel and I’m ready to head out the door!
F. This outfit doesn’t look like it did in my head. Quick change! Cute. I like this. Bracelet? Ooh necklace as a bracelet. Sh*t. Why didn’t I notice this clasp was broken? Quick fix. Done. Awesome. Oh! Sh*t. I was going to do one more coat of paint before I left. Should I? It will be really quick? No. Ugh. Paints are already packed. I’ll just do it later. Wow, my stomach’s already grumbly. I think we get a grocery delivery today…ugh, but what if it doesn’t come ‘til noon and I’m starving all morning. Ok. Throw stuff down for one sec while I grab a bite of yogurt. Eh 3 bites. Ok. Good to go. Why does my hair look kind of greasy? Oy. I was probably playing with it all day yesterday because it felt so clean. Typical. Twisties it is. Hm. I could have sworn I threw a few just-in-case bobby pins in this drawer. Guess I’ll snag ‘em from my vanity. Ow. Mother F*cker. Toe. Bench. Smashed. Pain. Ok. Shake it out. Yugh. Awesome, I f*cked up my pedicure. And by pedicure I mean toes I painted by myself. In the comfort of my home. Hm. This light is kind of weird in here…do I have to wear a bra with this? No, I’m fine. Hm. Maybe? Hm. Better check in the bathroom mirror. No, I’m totally fine. I think. Maybe I’ll just untuck it a tad. Ok, cool. Totally good to go. Ooh! Rings. Ok. Cool. Out the door. Oh shoot, I don’t have the key to my mailbox. It’s so full. I was totally going to do that this morning. Meh. Another day. Onward and outward!
As I put Riot into reverse, I spot the elderly woman who lives next door, being helped across the top of my drive by her caretaker. Ok, no problem. I’ll wait this one out. It’ll give me time to properly line up my car-belting-out-friendly Spotify picks. Once I hit the street, I take my first left, only to have someone pull out of a driveway right in front of me. They hesitate mid-maneuver, blocking both my forward motion and the entire street in general, as they consider whether that was a smart move or not. No, really. Take your time.
We both then take the first right, after a lengthy pause at an otherwise deserted 4 way stop. Ooh street cleaning day on the left side of the street. Score! Finally enough room for both lanes of traffic to drive normal speeds. Why are we stopping? Oh. Right. Beverly Hills Police. An accident. Of course.
I watch 3 rounds of traffic lights go by before I am able to make my left turn. Really glad I took this ‘shortcut’. I make it two blocks to Robertson & Wilshire, without further incident. Here, I encounter one of my biggest pet peeves. Cars in the right turn lane who have no intention of turning right. Awesome. I’ll just wait back here. When the green light finally shines our way, my curvature is blocked by a woman and a stroller. Woman gets stroller stuck as she exits the curb. Nothing a little finagling can’t fix! Oops – finagling caused her water bottle to hit the ground. Gotta grab that. Oh shoot. Her bag’s falling off her shoulder. As I watch in fascination, inhaling and exhaling with practiced care, I silently urge her to turn back around. There’s no way she’ll make it across now.
Coast is clear! I’m free! Or not. Why is this Prius driving in the middle of two lanes? The quiver of the vehicle’s irrationally slow and illegal movements lead me to believe the driver is elderly. I am not mistaken. I feel only slightly guilty about honking impatient/incredulous-ly. I make it around her in just enough time to miss the next light.
At this point, I decide to send the inevitable “I’m going to be a few minutes late!” text. And then pause for the pedestrian crossing at the crosswalk. I continue that pause for the next sluggish pedestrian as well. My humorous outlook on life is slipping from my fingertips at an alarmingly rapid pace.
At the next major intersection (read: 6 minute long light sequence), a car pulls out of the gas station drive and crosses the first lane to meander into my own, where he comes to a comfortable halt. At the end of a green light. As I’m sure you are aware, the follow-up to green is a yellow beacon of there’s-still-a-little-time-left-for-you-little-guy light. But no, that’s ok. I’ll just enjoy this moment of awkward cross-lane accidental eye contact. Moment(s).
It didn’t get much better from there on out. 10W traffic lagged more than usual (obviously). I would later find that to be the result of a poor excuse for a car crash. No one wins in a slightly elevated fender bender. Even accident freaks find themselves unable to revel in that depressing midi-crunch of aluminum. I attributed the intense backup at Cloverfield to the earlier time of morning and the traffic at Lincoln to amped-up tourists ready to grab hold of this 80 degree beach day.
5th & Broadway presented me with malfunctioning street lights, turning the at-the-time traffic-heavy intersection into a 4-way stop. Yet another Prius (why is my own kind turning against me??) blocked my entrance to my parking lot’s alleyway access point and once I made it to the entrance, my key card failed to work. Thank God for Juan and his magic gate-opening skills. And thank God for my penchant for taking the stairs. Best to leave the elevator out of days like today.
If you can predict all of that, I need you in my life.