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Falling Down in Los Angeles Traffic

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:57 pm - January 19, 2012.
Filed under: LA Stories,Movies/Film & TV,Post 9-11 America

Yesterday, while pumping gas, I saw a woman melt down when unable to fill her Lexus SUV with gas. I silently mocked her. Today, I sympathized with her.

Maybe she had had the kind of traffic I did today and the challenge of self-serve gasoline was the straw which broke the proverbial camel’s back. Driving to meet my friend at the Century City Mall (where we were slated to see The Iron Lady), I changed into the left lane on Santa Monica Boulevard to pass a slow moving cement mixer, but failed to advance in traffic when cut off by a slow-moving delivery truck — which later tried to turn left onto Beverly without first changing into the turning lane.

Road work then slowed my progress further. Leaving the parking garage after watching the movie, I was stuck behind a woman who couldn’t figure out how to use the automated exit machine. And I couldn’t back out because the driver in the car behind me wasn’t aware of the problem.

Because of road work, I avoided Santa Monica Blvd on the way home only to find traffic moving to a crawl on Olympic. I so appreciated the scene at the beginning of the 1992 Michael Douglas movie Falling Down when his character, stuck in traffic, simply turns off his car’s engine and walks away.

Screenwriter Ebbe Roe Smith must have experience many journeys like the one I experienced today.  Sometimes, you really just feel like turning off the car, leaving it in the road and walking away.



  1. Oh please – is it even possible to come up with a more boring topic than whining about driving in a big city? This kind of crap belongs on the systems for narcissistic morons: Twittering or MyFace or whatever… I expect to find interesting (usually trenchant) political commentary when I come to this, a supposedly political weblog.

    Comment by Moses Lambert — January 19, 2012 @ 7:03 pm - January 19, 2012

  2. Here in KC (on the Kansas side, at least) traffic isn’t all that bad (not compared with the I-5 around San Diego). But there are times when I could blow a gasket.

    It’s not the delays that get to me, it’s the stupidity. It’s one thing for traffic to slow due to weather or a wreck but watching people who seem astonished that a red light eventually turns green and have to gape in wonder at it; the people who are too busy on the cell phone to remember to push the gas pedal while on the freeway… it’s drives me nuts.

    So I can understand why someone might have a meltdown at the gas pump.

    Comment by SoCalRobert — January 19, 2012 @ 7:06 pm - January 19, 2012

  3. @Moses: easy does it… did you have a rough commute?

    Comment by SoCalRobert — January 19, 2012 @ 7:07 pm - January 19, 2012

  4. Dan… You have a friend????

    Better not let Dan savage know this! It will destroy his image of you !!!! 🙂

    Comment by sonicfrog — January 19, 2012 @ 7:15 pm - January 19, 2012

  5. The one city in the state of Kalyfornia I don’t care to return to is LA.

    Comment by Richard Bell — January 19, 2012 @ 7:52 pm - January 19, 2012

  6. Well, actually it’s almost a tie between LA and Long Beach.

    Comment by Richard Bell — January 19, 2012 @ 7:54 pm - January 19, 2012

  7. Reading your entries is like watching paint dry some days…

    Comment by Tim in MT — January 20, 2012 @ 3:39 am - January 20, 2012

  8. Hollywood made a movie like this starring Michael Douglas. Cannot remember the title.

    Comment by rjligier — January 20, 2012 @ 11:20 am - January 20, 2012

  9. fj, check the last two ¶s of the post above, referenced it there — and in the title.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — January 20, 2012 @ 11:44 am - January 20, 2012

  10. […] Falling Down in Los Angeles Traffic […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Lessons from “The Waiting Place” of LA Traffic — January 20, 2012 @ 3:36 pm - January 20, 2012

  11. Another reason why I live/work in the valley.

    3 years of living in WeHo was enough for me.

    Comment by The Ugly American — January 20, 2012 @ 6:08 pm - January 20, 2012

  12. Yes, but Ugly, I’ve seen some pretty awful traffic in the Valley as well. Nearly lost it last week when driving on Ventura to meet a friend for a movie in Encino.

    And the 101 would have been far (far, far) worse.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — January 20, 2012 @ 6:28 pm - January 20, 2012

  13. Ah, I drive & live in Manhattan. I miss driving in LA.

    Get gas in NJ, where it’s unlawful to pump one’s own.

    Comment by nyc — January 20, 2012 @ 9:57 pm - January 20, 2012

  14. High Desert freeway traffic for me. I get mad when I have to slow down to 60 because of a slow moving truck passing another.

    Comment by Kalroy — January 20, 2012 @ 10:08 pm - January 20, 2012

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