Tuesday, August 23, 2011

LA drivers make me want to BLOW OFF LA

I love living in LA. When I moved here from New York six years ago, I thought I'd never get adjusted to this sprawling city-suburb hybrid. But now I'm not sure I can imagine living anywhere else. It's not just because of the weather-- it's the proximity to the ocean, the restaurants, the fact that my body doesn't feel like it's been clobbered by a sumo wrestler at the end of everyday, the people (yes, the people), and the celebrity sightings of course.

If there's one thing I hate about LA...one thing that makes me consider moving someday...it's NOT the traffic, but the drivers.

You might be asking yourself...how can you like the people and hate the drivers? Well, I'm convinced that when the residents of LA get into their cars, they morph into spineless, hateful, pod people. Here are their top ten offenses in my book.

10. The left turn from hell. Having to turn left at a solid green light literally makes me panic. Either I'm stuck behind asshole #1 who misses the yellow light, makes the slowest of left turns on the red, and leaves me stuck at the light. OR I'm stuck in front of the asshole #2 who honks at me, because I'm too timid to literally turn onto oncoming traffic. I'd also like to take a moment here to bitch about pedestrians who give me the stink eye when I'm in the middle of the cross walk. Pedestrians, I'm not in the middle of the crosswalk for shits and giggles-- I'm here because I got stuck behind asshole #1.

9. No blinkers. Seriously, is it that hard to alert the person behind you of what the eff you are trying to do? Or were you just raised with a certain level of entitlement that made it okay to cut people off? The good old "california wave" thank you is only acceptable when other drivers are being nice enough to let you into their lane...not when you just barge in. Parents, when you teach your kids about saying please & thank you, also teach them the importance of using their blinkers.

8. The cell phones/texting & driving. It's astounding how many people I still see talking on their phones and driving at the same time, even though it's against the law in California. Our broke ass state could make so much money if we just ticketed these people more...instead of ticketing people who've gone over the two hour parking limit. Guess what? My parked car can't kill anyone, your cell phone can. The other day, I saw a guy texting and driving on the 101 and it was not stop and go traffic. (Full disclosure...I have been known to text at red lights. I know, I know, I need to stop.)

7. the "driving five mph in search of a parking spot" maneuver. I know parking in LA sucks, but that does not give any of us the right to slow down traffic in search of a spot. Why bother, people? This is LA. There are no parking spots. (Full disclosure, I've done this maybe once or twice. Sorry.)

6. the "taking forever to get out of a parking spot" maneuver. I've circled the Trader Joe's parking lot for fifteen minutes now, you're about to leave, and I put my blinker on to take your spot. Except you take your sweet ass time getting out of the spot. WTF are you doing? Flossing? Plucking your eyebrows? Updating your Facebook status? You should be out of that parking spot in the time it takes to put on your seat belt and start the car. I can say with much certainty that I've never been guilty of this.

5. Road rage. Okay, clearly I've got a bone to pick with LA drivers, which is why I'm writing this post...but even when it comes to the worst offenses I rarely give someone the finger or yell at them (I much prefer to mutter dickface under my breath). I always assume people with really bad road rage are incredibly miserable in all other aspects of their lives. I once got flipped off by a guy after doing the slow roll at a stop sign...at a blind intersection right by my apartment. I had to pull up to see if there were cars coming. I was not going fast and nowhere close to hitting him and he looked at me like I just killed his babies. And then there was the guy who pulled up to my car and screamed at me for having an Obama bumper sticker. I don't even do that to people with "Yes on Prop 8" bumper stickers. Again, I just curse them under my breath-- and okay, maybe I give them a dirty look as I drive by.

4. The blatant disrespect for stop signs. The cross street to where I live has a ton of stop signs and no one seems to see them or know what they look like. And I'm not talking about the slow roll (I said I was guilty!), I'm talking about just running right through them. In the last week, I've had to slam my brakes three times for drivers that ran a stop sign...while they were talking on their god damn phones.

3.The bad parking jobs. I'll admit, four times out of five when I parallel park, I end up a little too far from the curb-- but this doesn't fuck with another driver's ability to park. If I park on my street and see that I've left too much room between my car and the one in front or behind (thus, taking up two spots), I get back in the car and re-park. I once witnessed a girl at the gym take up two parking spots for absolutely no reason. I hate her now. Last week, I missed a doctor's appointment, because there was a car parked directly in front of my driveway in broad daylight. The car got towed and the next day...the driver came back, parked to the left of our driveway and took pictures...as though that's where he parked the day before. I hate him now.

2. We're in stop and go traffic, cars are blocking the intersection, but you're leaving a giant gap between you and the car in front of you. Or I'm trying to make a right turn, but I can't get past your car and you won't move up at all to let me by. Why? Why are you doing this to me, evil pod person?

1. Drunk drivers, duh. My fiance face got hit by one two weeks ago. He stopped at an intersection for a fire truck and got rear ended by a fifty-seven year old woman who was drunk on a Saturday morning. She was arrested at the scene. (Luckily, he was totally fine minus the $7K damage to his car.) And then there was the guy a few years back who drove straight into the cardio room of my old gym...drunk on a Sunday morning. Geez, people. At least if you're going to get a DUI, can you do it on a Friday or Saturday night like most people? Just kidding. Take cabs. It'll make you feel like you live in New York for a few fleeting minutes.

Okay...a bunch of you had some awesome suggestions on Facebook that I may or may not have included on my list...so here they are below. Please leave some more in the comments section!
  • Laker flags!
  • Inexplicable ability to generate gridlock on the 405 AFTER 1am.
  • They don't stop for pedestrians. EVER. Even in marked crosswalks. So by default, you can't stop for them either lest you lure some unsuspecting pedestrian into thinking its safe to cross the street only to have them be pancaked by the a**hole in the next lane over
  • Never use turn signals
  • Unnecessary rubbernecking. If there's an accident I can almost understand it but rubbernecking for a car that's just broken down by the side of the road? Do they think they're gonna look and see Brad Pitt or something? Also, making a right hand turn from the left hand lane.
  • Stop 20 feet behind nearest car ahead of them, regardless of how many people are behind or whether said people are now blocking the intersection.
  • Oh, late night and weekend drunk driving. Ugh.
  • They view the price tag on their cars as reflective of their penis size.
  • Valet is a right, not a luxury.
  • People who fuck up driving so you honk and they flip you off. No accountability. Also pussy drivers.
  • rain is crippling and couple that with an emergency response vehicle and you have instantaneously paralyzed the masses. And stop checking your phone while driving!

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