I talk loudly to other drivers.

“ Come ON, you can do it, YES, there you go, move over, that’s a girl.” or curse them, “Are you f$#@%&* kidding? REALLY. You are actually making a left on a double red line you f$%^&*() moron?”

I am someone who plans her day on the right hand side of the street. My gas station, mailbox, parking lot are all on the right. Making a left is for LOSERS.

I listen to Joni Mitchell’s “Ladies of the Canyon” and cruise the very same canyons that she wrote about. Or I remember where I was, exactly, on the 405, going north, listening to Christopher Cross’s “Sailing”.

I mark the soundtrack of my life to the various drives I have done. Today, my daughter and I had lunch and the Spin Doctor’s Two Princes came on the restaurant’s radio and we remembered listening to that song, in carpool, as I drove her and the male twins across town to their elementary school.

The hackneyed dis on LA is that people don’t ask when you got here they ask HOW, what route? I have been surprised by a couple of shortcuts that others have shown me and I heap praise on the giver of the holy grail of directives as I feel it is a real secret to living a good life in LA.

There’s a book called “LA Shortcuts” and I, of course, laughed, as I knew them all, and then cursed it, as one of them passed by my front door and caused lots of traffic on my street.

I am my best self, driving.
I am my most trustworthy.
I am using my gifts to their utmost abilities.

My antennae are all firing. I can spot a red light far ahead and make an immediate right or left miles before anyone else sees the problem. I have backed down streets and alleys. I have pulled u-turns and have gone miles back in an opposite direction just to avoid the humiliation of crawling, inch-by-inch along a road…patient and complacent.

I also could live in my car as I have emergency kits replete with meds for disasters, and hundreds in quarters because the second humiliation is needing change.

I have a folding emergency bike, so, if in fact, there is the gridlock that is prophesized by ANY disaster, I can just park my car on a lawn and bike home. As I said, just keep moving.

I keep water for my dogs, got my iPad for work and play, and I keep a pillow and a blanket in the back, as I have taken MANY a nap as I waited for various children or school pick ups. I am also an early bird and will avoid traffic time and get to my destination WAY ahead of when I am supposed to, and I will park and listen to music or play Words With Friends or write or whatever.

I am safe and secure and I am already THERE and don’t need to do the dreaded dance of the Datsuns and Dodges and Ducatis any more.

In my book for children about self control, “It’s Hard To Be Five: Learning How to Work My Control Panel” I wrote:
“It’s fun to be 5
Big changes are here
My body’s my car
And I’m licensed to steer”

So there it is. If you see a white Lexus Hybrid SUV backing down an alley with music blaring, move out of the way because…

“I’m here, I steer, get used to it!”

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  1. I have owned a 1972 Capri that is set up as an SCCA A-Production racer for many close to 20 years now. After reading this article, I want to take it out for a few hot laps!

  2. Anne Marie Hayes says:

    Dear Jamie Lee
    I’m glad cars ring your bell
    But Thomas is watching
    So hang up your cell.

  3. Michael says:

    I’m a driver too!

    Coolest thing I’ve ever read about Ms. Curtis…and it was BY Ms. Curtis.

  4. Susan says:

    Way to go, Jamie! Just came back to live in California in Sept., and was surprised at how much I remembered about the streets and driving around the city. But I’ll need a bit more time to get even close to your level of expertise. But ask me about NYC or Boston and I’m up there!

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