GETTING LOST is something that comes very naturally to me. I like to call it “directionally challenged.” When I came to LA, the first gift I got from my parents was a navigations system. They knew that for a normal person, LA could be difficult to get around, but for me, it is an absolute nightmare; I’m talking Boogey Man kind of nightmare.
The thing with navigation systems is that they don’t take into account how fast an exit comes up or how quickly a lane may change, and neither do the freeway signs. So, I was cruising down the 10 West in the carpool lane on my way back into the city when all of a sudden, without any form of warning, a little tiny white sign popped up to my left that says “Carpool Lane 101. “What? Since when?” I shouted as I was forced to veer off the freeway.
Panic immediately ensued. Why was it taking me this way? I needed to stay on the 10 West! I felt like the designers of the LA freeways were playing a practical joke on me.
I followed the lane like a small fish trapped in a narrow river with current that was too strong to fight. I passed next to the big freeways. I knew that’s where I needed to be, yet I couldn’t get there. I blindly followed the lane, as it took me through round-abouts that cut next to rusty fences along one-way streets, unsure of where this current was going to spit me out. Finally, I was launched into a sea of red break lights. “Oh,” I thought, “so this is the 101.” As I looked up, I felt like a helpless animal at the bottom of the forest floor. Giant palm trees and skyscrapers patch-worked against the sky. I was lost in the LA jungle.
As I inched forward, grey skyscrapers towered overhead, walls covered in ivy enclosed around me and the smog was as thick as the fog in the rainforest. Palm trees that sprouted between the buildings gently swayed in the light smog infused breeze and the sherbet sunset glared through its haze. It was eerily quite, no horns or people shouting. The cars around me slowly moved forward all together, aimlessly as if they were in a magical trance. But I knew exactly how they felt, for I suddenly became calm, as if I too was in a trance. All I could do was quietly inch forward like the rest of them. I felt frozen like an animal does right before it gets eaten. That’s what LA does right? Chews you up and spits you out.
BEEEP! It was the sound of my navigation system that finally broke me from the trance. It was signaling for me to get off at the next exit. Although I was scared that some larger animal higher up on the food chain was going to pounce on me as I broke from the rest of the pack, I knew I had to take my chances. The off-ramp took form in front of me and I darted out from the lane and took off out of the jungle.
Getting lost is a scary thing. But being lost in LA is even scarier. Its survival of the fittest out there.
|Photo Credit: Google Images http://wallpapercavern.com/wallpapers/concrete_jungle_los_angeles_california_800x600-800x600.jp|