El Niño, Downtown Los Angeles 1966 - age 3.

El Niño, Downtown Los Angeles 1966 - age 3.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Driving in Los Angeles Rain Storms

Los Angeles Storm
photo courtesy of twitchietai

I love Los Angeles and Southern California. I have been here my whole life and have never strayed from it even during the rough times of riots, earthquakes and recessions, so when I hear someone bad mouth the people, the culture and the city it makes my blood boil. Last night at the Vons in South Pasadena, a woman in front of me was talking with another shopper as she blurted out “its irritating that people in Los Angeles don’t know how to drive in the rain”. Well, I almost lost it

Compared to the big cities on the East coast, Los Angeles is relatively just a teenager. The City of Angels really did not start to bust open until after the war. I agree that it is not an easy task commuting everyday or trying to get through the 110 freeway when Dodger Stadium, The Staples Center, the Nokia, the Galen and the Sports Arena are all in full swing. I don’t think that 100+ years ago, city officials and planners would have dreamed that our little pueblo with its Zanja Madre (mother ditch) and it’s small unpaved roads would someday be shared by millions of people driving millions of cars through miles of endless suburbs. It indeed did happen and it is a monster task trying to fix the traffic and congestion issues during tough economic times especially while millions of us still need to use the roads and highways everyday to get to work, school, the unemployment office or a 7:05pm Dodger game, but little by little we are making progress and I am proud of that fact. If you grew up here in Los Angeles you probably started driving at an early age. In 1979 the driving age was 16 and I have now been driving for 30 years through El Niño’s, flooding, riots, hail, heat waves, Santa Ana winds, earthquakes, freak tornado like conditions, decade long construction projects, firestorms, and through that soiled queen size mattress sitting in the fast lane of the 405 North. Rain is water, water is “mucho” powerful. It has swallowed up streets, and entire neighborhoods, brought down mountainsides, wiped out cities and continents (well, if you believe the legend of Atlantis), so respect the rain and use caution when driving in it.

So to the woman at Vons I say to you…… We here in Los Angeles have years of experience driving in the rain, it is you Madam who probably just moved here, have rarely driven a car, let alone driven in the rain, and probably has caused one too many sig alerts while zooming down the freeway in your Lexus, chatting away on the cell phone without any idea that there are a few millions cars in front of you and behind you, and that your off ramp is coming up in about 50 feet or so…..whoops you just missed it.

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