Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Back in the Big Bad City

I am back in LA...and having a bit of culture shock. It's surprising, given that I was only in Arkansas for two weeks. But I guess it shows just how much I'd slowed down.

Here's the perfect anecdote. I walk out of LAX and get into a cab. The cab driver seems a bit gruff, but I don't think much about it. That is, until he floors the gas, peels away from the curb and nearly causes collision number one. I exhale and grab the door handle. Once out of the airport, he begins driving even more aggressively. Weaving through lanes. Slamming brakes. Accelerating maniacally. "Can you slow down?" I ask. I emphasize that I am not in a rush. Apparently this is a foreign concept, however. It just doesn't register.

Soon we hit traffic (it's not rush hour - it's just LA), and he grows impatient. Next thing I know, he goes completely helter skelter and pulls out into the lane that's moving, coming THIS CLOSE to clipping an SUV. I cry, "Watch out!" The SUV driver yells and gestures angrily. The cabbie screams back. Profanity flies, a fight atmosphere erupts, and the two men nearly come to blows.

At this moment, I realize that in just 20 minutes of being back, my blood pressure has gone through the roof. I'm tense and irritable. Big-city irritable. How do I know? It's the same feeling I have every time a car alarm goes off or those damn leaf blowers turn on.

Fortunately, the beach is the antidote to everything I just described, and I will be there all July 4th weekend. Help is on the way!

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