Friday, September 14, 2007

not loving my neighbors so much

For all my talk of lovely fall weather, not-so-lovely fall traffic is kicking my ass. Well, technically it’s expanding my ass, because my ass spends way too much time planted in the bucket seat of a Honda Civic. Good thing I just joined a gym.

(After quitting the disastrously managed Bally’s in a huff, I talked to my poor 24 Hour Fitness rep like a been-burned-before lover still obsessed with her ex: “How often to you guys update your class schedules online? Because certain other gyms never update them, and when you go to take a class, it’s not happening and the staff acts like the mistake is a weird fluke that has never occurred before.”)

Anyway, two hours of traffic hell on Wednesday morning unleashed an evil spirit I’d been carrying around inside of me. I left AK a frantic phone message and then, when I got to the office and still couldn’t cool down, emailed her twice just to describe my misery, including the strangling-alien scream I let out around Washington and National. I vaguely blamed her, as if she’d single-handedly planted my office in Westwood and then told everyone she knew to hit the freeways at 8:32 a.m. and then made me accidentally take the Arlington exit instead of Crenshaw and get stuck in a “no left turn between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.” maze.

Everything that day seemed like a crisis or proof that I didn’t treat myself well (since I—what?—chose to live my life in a variety of parts of town? So in a weird way I was blaming myself too). A couple of years of therapy taught me that self-sacrifice (voluntary or traffic-induced) leads to bitchiness rather than generosity. Or, as a guest speaker at All Saints pointed out one time, “Women especially tend to ignore the ‘self’ part of ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’”

Determined to regain the self time that traffic had stolen from me, I slung my backpack with laptop on my back and went to Starbucks at lunch. After getting my latte, I realized that every plug in every outlet was occupied by someone else’s laptop.

Cruel fate! I said in my head. Why am I the unluckiest person in the entire universe?

Latte in hand, I stomped past several homeless people until I reached the emptier Starbucks down the street.

***

Yesterday morning I left about 12 minutes earlier and traffic was a breeze. I was in the parking lot by 8:30, greeting sparrows with a little wave and a crinkled nose. Despite my previous abuse, AK called me to wish me luck on the mean streets and I exclaimed, “I’m already at work! Can you believe it?!”

Nevertheless, I’m glad it’s Friday. Tonight we’re going to see the always funny, insightful and sexy-butch Butchlalis de Panochtitlan as part of Highways’ Latino New Works Festival. Among the many things I like about Highways is that they have the good sense to start their shows at 8:30 p.m. after traffic has died down.

P.S. For some entertainment that doesn’t require any driving at all, check out Tracy’s Carnival of the Mundane roundup.

4 comments:

Ryan & Lori said...

Speaking as the one who did, in fact, singlehandedly set your office in Westwood, I'm, um, sorry. But at least you're equidistant to two Starbucks, right?

Cheryl said...

Hey, no worries. By Thursday, I was all about Westwood. And don't forget, there's Peet's too.

Claire said...

Your driving torments had a positive aspect too. Usually your posts make me miss LA, but this one... this one made me feel pretty damn good about being thousands of miles away. ;)

Cheryl said...

Maybe I should start publishing more awful LA stats to encourage people to move and thereby free up the freeways.

1. There were gunshots on AK's street a couple of nights ago.

2. Subway To The Sea: Not scheduled to begin construction until 2010 (which means it will be finished in 2019, and there will be hardcore construction on the Westside until then).

3. Now that Pinkberry (or some perfectly good facsimile) is everywhere, there's no need to come to LA.

Sorry to traffic in cliches, people, but sometimes there's no other choice.