About a month ago now I randomly ran into a friend and his mother while out on a hike. We spoke for a few minutes before we got onto the topic of not owning a car in Los Angeles. I think she was a little surprised to hear that. Though I did explain the LAX CarShare, because sometimes a car is just plain necessary. She then asked me a very interesting question.
Do I feel like my driving abilities have diminished now that I’m driving less?
My initial thought was, no, no, I’m a great driver. Then I gave myself a moment and had to admit, well my response times are a little slower these days. However, I do continue to claim that I am a superior driver and even possibly one of the greatest drivers of all time.
My crazy tour of Los Angeles because I get lost easily route.
As evidence, I once picked up a guy from the airport to drive him to my graduate school campus for a panel discussion. The speaker, who was from Massachusetts, said to me “you drive like a Boston cabbie.” I am sure that was a compliment, and I have cherished those words ever since that day.
Well, today, the city streets of Los Angeles put my driving skills to the test. I had to take the LAX CarShare to Brentwood for an appointment. Then, because I am slightly terrified and often confused by the roads on that side of the world, I missed my entrance onto the freeway and ended up taking Wilshire to Santa Monica Blvd. to the 101.
Is this a three lane road or one lane. I'm not sure...
All would have been fine except, to my complete shock and utter dismay, there are no lanes on Wilshire Blvd for a short stretch before you reach Santa Monica Blvd. It did appear that street crews were recently there repaving. It is beautifully done. No potholes at all. But…no lanes?! I have never seen such panic amongst other drivers. One guy in a boxy SUV swerved unsure of whether he should merge into a lane or continue straight. And rightly so. There was no warning, no sign, nothing to tell us “hey, we aren’t quite done with the road work, so be careful and maintain the three lanes that are usually present here.” Maybe that is just a tad long for a road sign. . .
Some of us tried to stay in what should have been our lane and others sort of meandered between lanes hoping for a sign from above to tell them what to do. Luckily, we made it to the end without incident.
Seriously, I drive once or twice a month these days. It would be really helpful if you didn’t try to create an obstacle course out there on the roads.
And as a side note, LAX CarShare, I still love the access and ease of use, but #65 in Pershing Square has a rather odd smell a la that Seinfeld episode about body odor in the car.