Driving In LA: An Exercise In Not Committing Murder


When I tell people outside of Los Angeles that I live in LA, the first (and only) response I get is, “But, the traffic!” To which I respond and say, “It’s worse than you can imagine.” And they nod their heads in a way that tells me they think they understand, but only I know they can’t possibly understand unless they’ve lived in LA for minimum six months and had to subject themselves to the day to day torture that is the 405, Highland exit on a Hollywood Bowl night, or basically any time you need to go anywhere during the hours of 6:30am-2am any day, all day, no matter what the fucking day.

The traffic in LA will make you rethink your stance on murder. You’ll be like, maybe murder is okay if we’re murdering people who don’t use their blinkers or people who use the exit only lane on the freeway to speed up and then squish themselves in between a pair of cars that are only five cars from where they just were and make you slam on your brakes and pray to whatever god you believe in that you don’t get into a ten-car rear ender on your way to Santa Monica. Like, maybe I can argue in court that I murdered that guy in the BMW because, RUDE, we all have places to be and the judge will be like, “you know what, Jamie, that happened to me on the way here to the Los Angeles Courthouse, so I am dropping all charges and actually awarding you $2 million for being a vigilante hero.” Then, this will entice other people to be vigilantes and soon enough, we will have killed off all the dick drivers and the streets will be free and polite and blinkers and great lane-changing will abound!

This just got dark. I promise I’m not going to murder anyone. I’ve been watching too much The Good Wife and The Killing, so I think I’m in a weird space of murder-y and sort of knowing from Julianna Margulies how to get away with murder (hire Lockhart/Gardner seems a good start) and so I apologize for turning this essay about driving in LA into something twisted and could potentially be viewed as some telltale signs of me being dark and potentially dangerous.

I blame LA!

It’s rough here on the driving front. Now, I am an impeccably anal driver. I use my blinker so aggressively that I will put that shit on when no cars are in sight and I am only pulling into my apartment’s parking garage. I am considerate and I am always making sure that there is enough room for me to change lanes so that I don’t cause the person behind me to hit their brakes even a little bit. I merge the way merging was meant to be, how the founding fathers of merging intended it to go down. I look in every mirror at all times. I AM CONSCIOUS OF MY SURROUNDINGS.

Because of these reasons, I find driving in LA to be even more exhausting than perhaps other people do (which is saying a lot). Not only am I frustrated at the lack of moving of my vehicle because, hi, traffic for-fucking-ever, but I am also frustrated at the amount of things that people do besides, oh, I don’t know, DRIVING THEIR FUCKING CARS IN A SAFE AND EFFICIENT MANNER. Not only am I having to avoid the shitstorm of people doing everything but driving safely, I am also spending half the damn time correcting their driving in my head and actually almost rear-ending someone because I’m looking in my rearview mirror trying to figure out what the hell the person behind me is doing.

No, you do not need to be eating that Whopper as you drive, sir. No, talking on your cell phone is still illegal, miss. No, you can’t be going 50 MPH in the fast lane, who are you and why do you have nowhere to be? What kind of life of leisure are you living? And, where are all of you bitches going? It’s 11am on a Tuesday, GO TO WORK SO I CAN MEET MY FRIEND FOR LUNCH. No, are you actually texting while driving 65 MPH on the freeway and coming into my lane? I CAN SEE THE BLUE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR iPHONE ON YOUR FACE.

Honestly, if you don’t die getting into an accident in LA, you’ll probably end up having a heart attack from all the stress you have to endure by trying to avoid getting into an accident. In other news, I’m looking for a new place to live starting now because this article I’m writing right now has shown me the level of fucked-up I’ve gotten myself into because of this driving situation. Gotta move myself to somewhere peaceful before I get in an accident, have a heart attack, or murder someone and face life in prison. My future is bleak in LA.