LA traffic hell
memories of long car drives
why did I bring cats?
senryu by M. Nakazato LaFreniere
Okay I made it safe and sound. No thanks to Pinkie. I had it all planned. Take a long nap in the afternoon. Wake up at 5pm and pack the cats and go. That way I’m driving through LA in the middle of the night when there is not traffic. I have memories of LA traffic stopped dead on freeways. It’s crazy especially when you don’t know the place and can’t hop off at exits to take city streets. Did I mention I hate LA traffic?
Everything started great. Car was packed. Picked up Midnight and dropped him in the carrier with a quick indignant protest. Put him in the car.
Picked up Pinkie. Quick indignant protest while I carried her to the carrier. At the carrier, speedy swipe of her claws and I dropped her. She was having no part of it. Ran back into the bedroom under the bed. Now what am I going to do?
And then it’s a long wait before she’ll come out from under the bed and longer still before she jumps up to lay on the far side from me. Ok, I get it. You’re pissed and you hate the carrier. But it’s 3am and we have to get going. I can’t leave you here? Who is going to feed you?
Grab the yarn. Put the carrier on the bed. Thread the twine from the back out through the front. Slowly pull the yarn. Pinkie perks up. Eyes get large. She leaps for the yarn right into the carrier. Slams door shut! Yay!
Then it’s into the car for a 18 hour drive and two cats going meow meow meow all the way. I mean seriously. Isn’t a car supposed to rock them to sleep or something? But nope! Geez. For once they are in complete agreement. They hate traveling.
4:30 am I started. We’re out of Tucson like a shot with a quick stop for gas. We whiz through Phoenix before the morning traffic, free to take the carpool lane because it doesn’t start until 6am. Glorious sunrise behind me in my rearview mirror. Phoenix already so far I can’t see it any more.
Indio is like a casino convention lining the streets so apparently their rush hour is not 8am as we skate through it. Meow meow meow. geez.
We hit LA around 11am. Did I mention how I hate LA traffic? A stream of nonstop cities with highways stuffed with traffic. Stop-and-go on a freeway in the middle of the day? Who does that? Geez. A couple of close calls and luckily it’s not my day to meet my maker. At least I’m not sleepy. Nothing like loaded shots of adrenaline to wake you up.
Up through LA mountains, not so bad. Then onto Highway 5 which again was fairly speedy. There is only two lanes so luckily the slow trucks were actually in the slow lane. Splashes of red on the roadside. Is that blood? No, tomatoes! I start taking pics one-handed of the tomato trucks I pass. Can’t look through the viewfinder as I’m driving . Hope I got something. The trucks carrying pyramids of tomatoes peeking over the top. Another one looked like it was carrying paper balls. As I
pass it, I realize it’s millions of garlic. Tomatoes and garlic? Someone must have a spaghetti sauce factory nearby.
Between shots I figure out A) I need to learn to set my camera so the photo you’re about to take shows on the back so I can shoot without using the viewfinder and B) you have to tilt downwards, if you shoot straight, the shot is by default slanted upwards and you get the sky. My initial shots were all sky — I could see the pic because after I snap, for a second it shows on the back of the camera. Good thing there were lots of trucks to practice on. After I compensate, I no longer take pics of the sky but rather include slim slices of the truck tops. Compensate again. Yay! started getting the whole truck.
Electricity towers rise out of the mist like Kachina dolls. Pretty cool. Snap one-handed. Oh look at that lake. Snap snap.
Oops. Heading into San Jose. Drop the camera on the seat. Concentrate and get lost. Geez. I’ve been to Lori’s mountain home lots of times but it’s been eight years. The street names looks familiar but the freeway look wrong. That’s because I’m on the wrong side of the hill. Call her and we get it figured out and I’m back in the traffic again. Meow. Meow Meow.
Yay! We made it. Up in the San Jose mountains. Green trees. Cool breezes. Deer wandering by. Pretty. I totally recommend it. Just leave the cats at home. Plenty of friendly wandering cats here already.
Pinkie and Midnight mumble that I don’t appreciate them. For once, they are right.
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