The first time my mother recognized that I was an adult was when she and my stepfather came to visit me in LA and I was driving through downtown LA, going from 110 South to 10 West.
That interchange is not for the faint of heart.
I heard my mom in the backseat whisper – “She’s not a baby anymore.”
If you can drive around the environs of Los Angeles, you not only have grown up, you have also grown a set.
That same visit, at some point, she asked me when I and my sister Linda (who also was living in the LA area at the time) started yelling at traffic.
I thought I always yelled at traffic.
But thinking back, I believe she was right.
Driving in Michigan, I may have made a derogatory comment about my fellow travelers, but it certainly did not rise to the vehemence, colorfulness or pure volume as my road rants on the streets, byways and highways of California.
For one thing, the number of people out and about at any given time is mind boggling.
And this is in a city with some really good public transportation and highway systems.
Five p.m. rush hour?
The garment industry gets out at 2 p.m. – if you want to get anywhere, you better be there before 2 p.m.
And at 3 p.m. the schools let out.
At 4 p.m. some of the folks with flex hours are leaving work.
At 5 p.m. – well, everyone knows about 5 p.m.
At 6 p.m. the rest of the flex hours people are leaving work.
At 7 p.m. the folks going out for dinner are on the road.
That’s rush “hour” in LA.
I’ll tell you one thing. I was living in LA when drivebys on the freeway became a thing; and there was nothing that cleaned up people’s driving manners like the report of a driveby.
I am not advocating drivebys.
I am only pointing out that the bad driving is a choice being made, because it has been proven that these folks do know how to use a turn signal and not cut off other drivers, etc. if they are properly motivated.
Also in much of California, most of the drivers totally lose their shit when it rains.
It’s like those old movies of ancient times when there is an eclipse – only it’s this wet stuff dripping down from the usually sunny sky.
OMG WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SUN??????
And because of the number of people on the road, you are facing people of all kinds of driving abilities and inabilities.
Please note, yelling at traffic is a time-honored tradition in California.
It is not road rage.
It is what helps prevents road rage.
You have to vent or blow.
And so now I yell at traffic.
And I want you to know, I’m fucking good at it!