I remember my first post I ever wrote in LA. Lovely to look back, having an online diary does good things. I often don’t remember first impressions. And having it written down somewhere is very entertaining.
I realize now that I moved into the Venice that I enjoyed so much that ‘one day in LA’ two years ago. Life flows in strange ways.
I’m most grateful for having been able to set my feet in this happy town with its sunny days, it’s colorful houses and bleached haired surfers.
One thing that I have not yet started to appreciate about LA is traffic.
I don’t drive a car unless it is really necessary. Which is surprisingly enough not often, Venice has it all. I guess nobody here likes traffic. And it’s one of those necessary evils in LA: can’t live with, can’t live life at all without a car. LA is big.
I’m glad David drives, he is a great driver, and I’m happy he carries the burden. But even David is not immune to the stress it brings.
This is what happened:
A sunny Saturday. Half day spent in bed with cuddles, kisses and sunshine. Finally we move from the bedroom into some essential day planning. We decide first to go for carrots, ginger and apples to feed our daily juicing desire. And since Trader Joe’s is 40 minutes away (a big change from SF where it was a two minute walk), we decide go hiking after that.
When leaving trader Joe’s in West Village, a place that feels almost Mediterranean, we are happily stacked up with green and orange vitamins.
Slowly with a 2 mile an hour speed we crawl towards our hiking destination. Traffic. Luckily we know its only going to be twenty minutes until we will be moving again. We come to the end of our lane, and it is necessary to merge. However, the car behind us in the other lane, does not like that plan. It will make him arrive at his destination one car length slower.
When a space appears we stick in the nose of the car to move left, getting ourselves to get off the lane that now is soon to end. CRASH! The person behind us really didn’t want to give us any space. In such a way that he thinks its more rational to crash his nose into our side than to wait a few seconds to give us the space we were taking.
More surprisingly, he starts pushing us to the side, digging his nose deeper into our door. When we back off and try a second time since our lane will end, he decides to plunge his nose into us again, now with more force. BANG! He drives straight into our backdoor. This was clearly a hit out of anger. I am utterly confused. Is this really happening? In my mind my fear fed imagination starts spinning. He will hit us again! And then draw a gun! I mean, this is LA and I have seen enough movies to know what is next! A gunfight, shots, me screaming.
But it stays with those two clashes. Thank god.
The dream-catchers in our car now sway heavily back and forth (yes I married a man with dream-catchers hanging in his car). The paper-mache mask that decorates our dashboard looks less happy now, being clearly equally shocked as we are. The anger explosion behind us jumps out of his car. “ASSHOLE” we hear from behind. I am not sure I want David to get out. So I decide to join, hoping that some female presence might tame the typhoon of adrenaline.
This is the part I don’t understand: our car is nice but no way new or shiny. Yes I love it, it has gotten us everywhere. And it has been like a home. But his car is expensive. It is a nice KIA, silver, unscratched, probably quite new.
Perhaps the fact that the driver is not the owner explains something? The owner sits right next to him, frantically pushing buttons on his phone, calling the police. I wonder what he was thinking when his friend rammed his car into ours in his blaze of anger. But observing the car owner it is quite apparent he is convinced that our ship needs to go down.
There we are, standing still on the highway in the middle of LA, dodging the anger flames from these strangers. David, a modest boy from Minnesota and a shocked Dutch girl that is not sure what is going on. It feels surreal.
I feel more foreign than ever. Is this the LA way?
Does LA sting?
The police man is extremely nice, though I’m sure that our newly obtained friends will tell him terrible stories about us. I mean look at us… We can’t even fight back!
So that was a good Saturday afternoon. The time we reserved for a hike has been spent in a parking lot, trying to figure out insurance information, talking to the police and waiting for this mess to be over.
Luckily there was an amazing hawk circling the parking lot, we got a bit of nature in the hot desert of concrete.
The most interesting thing about this situation is that I got to observe myself in fear. The nerves in my body got tightened like guitar strings. I was on edge the rest of the day. Every new merge we made I frantically looked backwards, expecting more crazy clashes.
In the evening I went rollerblading over the boulevard by the sea.
On my way back a gentleman makes a joke, expressing that I am taking too much space on the bike lane. My still tightened strings in my body instantly respond to his accusation: ‘Where am I supposed to go then?’ I ask him with an agitated voice.
‘On the pavement,’ he responds.
‘It is full of holes!’ I snap back at him. And I turn my back towards him, hiding the flames in my eyes, almost giving him the worst of all: the finger. Luckily I’m able to restrain myself.
He starts laughing. Confused I look back. He says he was joking. It was an attempt to start a conversation with a girl on rollerblades. I feel terrible. When did I become so flammable? Is this what it takes to merge into LA?? I hope I can keep my guitar strings nice and relaxed so that I can play good tunes instead of the angry ones.