The idea of navigating the southbound 405 freeway, from LA to San Diego, at the start of rush hour is daunting. However, that was the price I was willing to pay, to show my nephew the peak of the day at the Santa Monica Pier.
I have a genuine phobia when it comes to LA traffic. Eight years ago, I witnessed an accident so horrific, it would reframe my perspective on the experience of being a driver southern California. Since that time, I have had 2 legitimate panic attacks while driving in LA traffic, both times I had to call a friend to help me through them. Yesterday, I did not want to have a 3rd, in the presence of my nephew.
We had a great time at the pier. We sunned. We dined. We talked, laughed, and philosophized. We did pier stuff, and uncle stuff. The time came though, for us head home with our memories tucked safely in our hearts and in our iPhones – it was 3:30pm.
The freeway entrance is less than a mile from the pier, so I had little time for the crippling anticipation of the traffic to come. I don’t think I let on to my nephew just how worried I was that another panic attack might be forthcoming, but my hands were already a bit shaky as we merged into traffic, and my heart-rate was increasing. I was more calm than I expected to be, but I could feel it coming on.
Looking at the rows of cars barely moving before me, I couldn’t help but feel that I was born into the worst time in human history, and by choice, I was in the worst place – LA at rush hour. Traffic, I thought, is like a pistol whipping – a dull pain that still has the ability to kill. The good news was, that it was less of a merge, and more of crawl – it took nearly 5 minutes just to get on the freeway.
As we claimed our parking spot on the 405, I looked to my left and immediately saw an older Lexus, in weathered condition. Inside was a man with a long gray beard – maybe 60 or so. He was wearing a turban, nibbling on a piece of fruit, and bobbing his head up and down. His passenger window was open, and we were moving slowly enough beside him that I could clearly hear The Patti Smith Group resonating from his stereo.
I can’t explain why, and really, I don’t want to know, but I felt an overwhelming sense of peace with this scene. My shaky hands calmed a bit, and my heart and senses eased up. There I was, with my nephew at my side, driving alongside a Sikh in a tattered Lexus, eating an apple to the core, as the song, People Have The Power, gave rise to my spirit.
In that moment, I could not help but feeling that I was living at the finest time in human history, and in the best possible place to be – stuck in LA traffic.
For the next 3 ½ hours, we barely moved – to go 90 miles. There was no panic though, no fear, and no frustration from the traffic. Just peace in the idea the life can be still good, even when anticipating the not-so-good, and that the people have the power… Jhciacb
If you are not already a subscriber, please scroll up and do so. Tell your friends about me — about what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head. Oh, and there’s this from The Dogs O f Peace. Enjoy…