The People's Exhibit A (davidology) wrote,
The People's Exhibit A
davidology

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Driving in Los Angeles. Lesson 1: Making a left turn

In Los Angeles, if you're not heading towards the beach, you're going the wrong way.

I've lived by that adage for a long time. After parties or raves in some random, sketch neighborhoods of Hollywood or downtown, we'd always roll the random streets, trying to find our way home. I'm not sure if my body hones in on the salty air, magnetic pull, or what, but I always could find my way west even if I couldn't find a recognizable street. And as long as we were heading west, we were going in the right direction.

Some time ago, mostly driven by cheaper rent, there was a mass exodus among homos eastward as Hollywood was being "revitalized" (the gays can't resist a good makeover). Back in the day, you only went to Hollywood to party—never to live—most of the place was hooker and drug-infested... oh... hmm... wait a minute. On second thought, that might actually better explain the move.

Okay.. I kid. You know I love you 323ers.

Anywho, because of that, every so often I consider moving that way, but then your life changes in some fairly profound ways. One of which, going to the beach suddenly becomes a day long event. I go to the beach for lunch, to pick up something, etc. When I listen to my more easterly friends talk about going to the beach, it's as if they're a family planning to come out from Arizona on vacation. I can't imagine living in Southern California and have the beach be a foreign land to me. The other is the pop in. Since parking is nonexistent in the east, both residential and commercial, and commercial parking structures woefully overcrowded, popping in disappears. Even a quick trip to the market or Target becomes an adventure. That's not to say we westsiders don't have our share of parking woes (hello, westwood), but we largely seem to have non-congested options.

Anyway, I went off on a tangent. The point of this rant was that it's become clear that there are new drivers to our fair city who have not mastered the art of the left turn. Those of you non-Angelenos or newly Angeleno may have, no doubt, noticed that we're not a city big on protected left turns.

If you plan to stay or drive here, grieve the loss of your beloved green left arrows NOW (and in private please). You're going to have to learn to either avoid them (3 rights do make a left after all), or learn how to negotiate them properly. Otherwise, we will kill you. Trust me, the system works better than you might think, besides, when LADOT adds a left turn signal, they generally do it in such a way as to really fuck things up (remember trying to turn left on Sepulveda and Olympic after the brain surgeons at LADOT added the left turn arrow there?)

But no worries. I am here to help you through this process. You just have to forget a few of the things you learned and pay attention to the traffic and lights, and follow these directions properly so as not to piss off the rest of us.

When the red lights turns....

GREEN - Move into the intersection. Now, I know you've been told that you don't enter an intersection until you can clear it, and that will be the rule any other time except when making a left. You don't have to move into the intersection super quickly, but do it quickly, otherwise, you make the rest of us behind you really nervous. Move roughly 1/3-1/2 of the way into the intersection so that the car's front tires behind you can cross the white line. Putting one's front tire on that white line guarantees the right to turn on this light cycle no matter what (otherwise he'd be blocking pedestrians), so it's very important for the car behind you. Now you just sit there and wait for a clearing or the light to turn yellow.

YELLOW - Get ready.

RED - GO! GO! GO! Now is your moment to shine. The light has turned red, and the spotlight is on you. In fact, it's all up to you. If you sit there with your thumb up your ass, you eff it up for the rest of us. If you do your job and pounce, however, no less than 2 of the cars behind you should be able to make that light (provided the person behind you isn't a n00b or a gigantic douche bag). Now sometimes some douche bag going straight from the other way will keep going after the light turns red, despite seeing you trying to turn (we've all been that asshole in a rush before). This part is optional, as you're only required to wait for them (and go immediately after it's clear). But if you want extra points, begin to turn in and act as if you're going to hit them (otherwise they won't learn).

RED (continued). Now if you're the car behind the first car, you have to ride the first car's ass. This tells the traffic that now has the green light that you're going. It also gives the car behind you the opportunity to do the same. The traffic on green isn't supposed to go until the intersection is clear (they are supposed to follow that rule), so provided you make sure it doesn't get clear, you can turn!

There! You've done it! Was that so hard? Trust me, after you get over the nervous feeling you get that someone will hit you (they won't), you'll be turning like a native. And, by working together, we can help prevent me from having to kill you!

This public service announcement was brought to you by the letters F and U, and the number 3.

Thank you. Drive through.
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