When I’ve been away for a while from LA, the first thing I like to do is go for a drive and check out the neighborhood. Whereas in other cities you’d go for a stroll, a meander, a perambulation etc, here in LA we put the rubber to the road.
So there I am in KITT, windows down, left arm hanging out the driver’s window, hip hop blaring out of the one speaker in the car that works, and generally feeling that all is right with the world.
In these reconnection road trips, I tend to get nostalgic for places that I never go to in my day-to-day life. Like Sunset Boulevard. Don’t ask me why, but this winding strip of road at the top of the hill with expensive restaurants, expensive boutiques, the Chateau Marmont, the Standard and a truckload of Hollywood lore is the place I like to zoom around to breathe in the magic of why I first came here.
And night drives are the best. So imagine my surprise when a bunch of photographers tried to kill me.
I was zipping past what I found out later to be a very chi-chi restaurant, where a very chi-chi couple were making their way to the limo outside.
What I couldn’t see in the darkness, is that there was a pride of photographers waiting to pounce upon their prey that they had been waiting for like snipers for the last two hours.
As that first Manolo Blahnik hit the sidewalk, the photographers leapt into action. The entire front door area explodes into a fireball of camera flashes; think Apocalypse Now meets Close Encounters meets Saturday Night Fever.
The light is so bright, I am temporarily blinded by the spectacle, only able to make out the silhouettes of small woman in skimpy dress and man in suit, like a 1980’s YSL perfume ad.
My natural instinct is to turn the wheel away from the inferno of light and I swerve into the next lane which I discover has one side of an oncoming car already in it, the driver of which obviously having no idea how to make a turn or color inside the lines.
He swerves, I swerve back, another person swerves to miss me and the ripples flow every which way for the next few seconds.
Then I’m past the scene, recovered, breathing hard and very, very alert. And very, very annoyed.
There was absolutely nothing about this in my California Drivers License exam.