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Stuck In Traffic In LA Please Kill Me

Updated on May 7, 2007

Stuck In A Traffic Jam For Over 45 Minutes, Only In LA - Don't Get Me Started!

I lived in LA twice, or was it three times? I really, honestly can't remember at this point. Anyway, I had to come to LA for the week on business and although it's only an hour flight, getting up at four in the morning is still getting up at four in the morning. So already I was exhausted. Then it was thirty-five minutes waiting for the rental car. Finally I'm on my way and then it happens. About eight cars ahead of me there's an accident. For the first few minutes, cars are trying to go to the right or the left and get around the accident but then it all comes to a complete standstill as the emergency vehicles start coming. There I was, going nowhere fast. Stuck in a traffic jam for over 45 minutes, only in LA - Don't Get Me Started!

It's 8:15am in the morning and the only thing to do is to call a friend on the east coast that I needed to return a call to, right? So there I am, chatting as I can see the top of the fire truck with its lights blazing just barely ahead of me. A few minutes later, here come the helicopters above so I know I'm stuck and one would think that everyone else (especially the native Angelenos) would understand that we were going to be here for awhile too. But no, as more emergency vehicles start coming to the scene, someone far behind me actually starts honking their horn. Honking their horn!!! Can you believe it? I mean, where in the hell does this jackass think anyone is going to go? It's five lanes of parking lot at this point, no one is going anywhere and the whole honking of the horn thing made me want to find him and ask him if he knew he was such a jackass.

Suddenly I'm in the movie Nashville (Robert Altman film where they're all stuck on a freeway going nowhere). People start getting out of their cars and are walking around the highway as if it's a lovely spring day and what better to do on a spring day than walk a freeway? Ah, the smell of the fumes. Oh look, they have a Chevy Nova that hasn't been washed in years. Ooh, my third cousin has a BMW like that one. And see that Land Rover really doesn't have as much room as you would think it would have on the outside. It's almost as if they're shopping for a new car, well some of them. The rest of them suddenly look as if they're from Close Encounters, walking like zombies toward the emergency vehicles as if they can't help themselves. An overly amplified voice says, "Get back into your vehicles." And the helicopters continue to circle. They're from different news stations and the zombie people with their travel coffee mugs keep walking toward the emergency vehicles. This whole time I've been looking in front of me but something catches my eye and I look into my rear view mirror.

The woman in the old car behind me is sitting in her car and if she were a cartoon you would see fumes coming out of her ears. I see her twisting in her seat, slapping the steering wheel with both hands and then she's dialing her cell phone. The next thing I know, she's getting off the phone and getting out of her car. Now this is not all that shocking as several people are out of their cars at this point. But here comes the shocking part. She locks her car and then sits on the hood of her car. Now I have to laugh to myself. I mean who is stealing her car in the middle of this parking lot that used to be a freeway? Plus she's sitting on the car so who would be able to not only steal the car while it's sitting surrounded by other parked cars while she's sitting on the hood? She crosses her arms and then uncrosses them. Next she's headed back into the car. Now she has her hands on the steering wheel and her head is resting on her hands. Uh, here she goes again, she's coming out of the car and she's locking it. Now she's just standing beside the car raking her fingers through her hair. She unlocks the car, locks it again, she unlocks it again and gets back in the car. This pattern seemed to repeat itself (almost in its entirety) time and time again. I mean, true, we were about fifteen minutes in to what would become a forty-five minute ordeal but all the throwing her head on the steering wheel and raking the fingers through her hair was dramatic enough but as long as I live I will never understand all the locking and unlocking of the damn car.

I may not be Maya Angelou but I know why the caged driver sings. I was trapped in my car and all I could do (after calling anyone and everyone it was decent to call at that hour) was to start to sing with Sheila E. who was on the radio. "She wears a long fur coat of mink even in the summer time." Eventually the emergency vehicles start to go. The helicopters stop circling like hungry vultures and we're suddenly on our way as if nothing happened. The traffic seems to go from zero to sixty-five in seconds. How some of those people got back to their car I'll never know but more importantly, I never looked back to see if the woman behind me was either locked out or in her car with her head on the steering wheel when the traffic started up again. What a hell of a start to a day. Stuck in a traffic jam for over 45 minutes, only in LA - Don't Get Me Started!

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