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11/23/2013: ""Drizzle Batters LA""
I know it doesn't rain much in Los Angeles, but even in the driest years, it does rain sometimes, and always during the same months. You'd think the city's motorists might remember what it's like from one year to the next. But part of the appeal of cars is that they allow you to believe you can ignore the world outside the windshield.…

The car, after, is your private space.

However, dream though you may, O driver, the road is not your private playground—certainly not to all of us paying to subsidize motorists' cherished delusions while you shove us aside or just run us over.

Today was one of those days where the faintest sprinkle of rain engendered chaos. Three dead, numerous large trucks destroyed, a rail line blocked as the oblivioids slid all over the freeway, and the usual "record number of crashes" reported to the CHP.

On my pedal home from the Westside I caught a glimpse of the behavior that leads to such tragic absurdities as death by drizzle on the streets of LA. And it has nothing to do with water, which is a fairly common substance on this planet.

I was riding eastward in the bike lane on Venice Boulevard. Venice is six lanes wide at that point, far wider than it needs to be for the traffic it carries. And the bike lane has been there for forty years, enough time even for LA drivers to notice it.

But no sooner had I turned onto Venice in Culver City, than I came across this scene:

A late-model Benz was blocking the bike lane—quite illegally—and laying on that loud Mercedes horn, blasting repeatedly at the idling…ambulance(!)…that the inmate of the Benz felt was blocking his way.

The ambulance was not blocking the bike lane, but had left a large enough space for me to get past it. Once I had, I saw that said ambulance was pulled up immediately behind a row of parked cars.

In other words, the petulant Benz wasn't going to get through no matter what.

But as I pedaled onward, I could hear the Teutonic screech become ever more frenzied, as the driver, apparently around three years old, repeatedly tried to bully the ambulance through sheer sonic pressure.

Then, not two blocks later, I encountered a USPS mail truck, blocking the entirety of the bike lane…with nearly five feet of empty space between the truck's right side and the curb.

I turned off Venice a couple of blocks later and took a slower but far more peaceful route the rest of the way home. I didn't want to become any more discouraged over our species than I already was today. Which was an otherwise exhilarating day, with sweet air and swirling clouds exciting the senses while calming the soul.

Not that the poor folks stuck in their cars could feel any of it.

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