Pleasant Surprises

During my last visit to Costco a couple weeks ago, I got stuck in a traffic jam created by some non compus mentoid who stopped her cart smack dammit in the center of her careless world, which to us unfortunates on the outside equates to the middle of an aisle whereupon the idiot adjourned to the book section to flip through a few pages of the latest Glen Beck masterpiece.

Pretty much every other cart had no choice but to come to a halt, with me at the lead of a line on one side and a procession of three elderly ladies on the other. Seeing as my momma raised me right, I opted not to do any of the following:

A) Scream “Yo wingnut! Move your fucking basket!”

B) Clear the aisle by shoving the hazard out of the way, which would mean up hard against her butt.

Instead, I stood there in resigned serenity until the first of the women coming toward me could slowly work her cumbersome cart around the roadblocker, followed by the second. When the third one passed me, she caught me by surprise in telling me “You have the patience of a saint!”

Embarrassed, I just chuckled and shook my head dismissively as I got a move on because no… I’m really not patient. At all. Or if I am the credit has to go to my bicyclingz.

Case in point: This morning I was stopped at the red light heading westbound on Venice Boulevard at La Cienega. If you’re familiar with that intersection you know there are two left turn lanes to go from eastbound Venice to northbound La Cienega, and during rush hour things can often get backed-up from the nearby 10 Freeway to the north with left-turners pulling out into the intersection where they then get stuck blocking the westbounders.

And that’s exactly what happened today — exacerbated by a monster jet-black motorhome, apparently named “Ellie May” because that’s what was written in large red letters near the front of the passenger side.

Boy howdy: You should have heard the horns and the cursing and the indignant and righteous and crude gesticulating emanating from vehicles in front, beside and behind me that immediately crescendoed and did not let up until the hapless RV driver was finally able to inch his way clear just in time for my greenlight to turn yellow and leave me waiting another long light cycle.

In the midst of it all the hyper madness I just sheepishly shook my head at the stupidity of it all while failing in my attempts to telepathically urge everyone to just chill the fuck out.

Sure, being on a bike I could have shucked and jived and hugged tight around the front or backside of the vehicle at the height of its barricading standstill and been on my way — and it’s certainly something I’ve done many times before. But in that particular moment surrounded by such a cringe-worthy and useless display of unmitigated brimstone and gall, to my surprise instead of making an escape it somehow became more important for me to stay put and represent the micro percentage of us who can display some semblance of calm in the midst of such a storm of frustration.

The facts of the roadways is that delays long or short are as inevitable as the selfish tendencies of our fellow travels who may leave us stuck at a second red light. We may end up a few minutes later getting to our destination, but in the end we all get where we’re going.

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Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."