Rumor has it that there is civilized life outside of Los Angeles. Suspicious, but in the bad books with my family in NorCal, I hesitantly hit the road.
Less than an hour outside of LA on Thanksgiving Day, I’m shocked to see this:
No, not the empty freeway, the Carls Jr or the X5 (though all are yummy)– the white stuff on top of the mountain on the left. Yup, that’s snow just outside of Gorman. (don’t know what Gorman is? if you don’t ride motorcross, don’t worry about it.) And then the scenery gets even more interesting:
Then I get close to San Jose and something weird happens, there are barriers in the middle of the freeway. There’s some scary barbed wire and I hear a terrible roar (and it’s not the DVD player because the kids are watching Nemo) and I see this:
Apparently here, in the Bay Area, they all pile into a tin can to be shuttled to their destination, smelling other peoples farts and trying desperately not to make eye contact with the homeless guy in the corner.
But seriously, while I’m vaguely enamored of their public transportation (the saved gas! the car insurance! the tiny carbon footprint!), I can’t help but love my seat warmer and my 500 horses more. I know it’s not politically correct and a woman of my age should really buck up and buy LA’s version of public transportation (a Prius– it’s ugly, slow and anonymous just like the subway) but I just can’t.
The real shock comes as I drive, without warning, up to one of these things and the guy demands $5 in ..wait for it..CASH!
Huh? Cash? Who has that? I always carry enough for a $1.95 Grande Drip, but 5 whole US dollars? I scrouge around my car for any semblance of change and end up with 5 Cheerios, 4 Tampons, 3 Valet tickets, 2 Toothpicks and $3.95. OMG.
The good news is that the guy at the ticket booth (lovin’ you from here Tyrone) is familiar with my kind. And let me go through, despite my $1.05 shortage. My “I’ll get you on the way back” received a gracious nod and I’m sure was followed by a deep eye roll and some unflattering comments in my wake. But I appreciated it.
So what’s Motorhead Mama thankful for this holiday? I’m thankful for a full tank of gas, an empty highway, the glory that is the California landscape and a tollbooth guy with a heart.