From Beaches to Batman

September 2, 2010

Malibu palm trees

Well I never made it to the 27.

I ended up on the 90…

I was in Malibu just taking it all in, it was getting dark and I guess I missed the signs… not the first time, certainly not the last I’m sure. The 27 would have taken me onto mountain roads and ultimately to Mullholland Drive. Instead I found myself on Lincoln Boulevard in a place that had all these signs with “Marina” added to other functions. I found out later that it was a burb actually called Marina.

It’s dark, night time.

I got these stupid googles on because my face shield is tinted hence useless at night. I am riding down this main drag, tons of signs, cars, traffic, the place hums with life.

A woman decides to cross about 200 feet past the traffic lights, which had just gone from red to green, we’re just gunning it down, I’m first in line. There she is. Middle of the lane. She’s looking at me like I just insulted her. I am just wondering where the hell she’s going to decide to go and what she is going to do : retreat to the sidewalk or cross, or just sit there and glare…
She crosses. But I have enough room to zoom past her and continue on.

Right now I’m just looking for a sign that says “anything East”. East would get me back somewhat on track as I am going south now.

My wish is someone’s command… or just inevitable and the sign : “90 East, left lane only” appears.

Good enough.

I turn, there are two or three cars wide speeding up towards the freeway. It’s dark. This is one situation where you gotta keep up with the Joneses. Wimping out is not an option. Like in a stampede if you stop you’ll get trampled. So I floor it.

I get on this freeway. It goes on for a while. The grooved cement lit by my single headlight. Cars left, right, front and back. We all go as if we were running the last errand to save the Earth. Suddenly there is a fairly sharp left turn (sharp for a freeway) Cars are scattering right and left, trying to make an exit or another, I had just accelerated, I am thinking “what the f…”

“HOLY SHIT!” I yell.

There is a traffic light just at the bottom of this curve and downhill bit of road followed by a severe right hand turn and a traffic light… (severe if you are going 70 miles per hour…) Bwaaaaaahhhhhhhh, Bwaaaaaaahhh, Bwaaahhh the motor says as I madly downshift, 5,4, 3…. Thankfully the light is green when I get to it. I skitter to the right, grateful for not being in the middle of a cavalcade of cars…

“What?!?” I find myself on a freaking boulevard. Just like that.

“Where the hell am I? “ I thought. Obviously in the city. No doubt about that. As I ride down Slauson Avenue. I switch on the GPS which greets me with the familiar menus : I Agree. Where to. Favorites. Address book. Altadena…

I’ve cursed that thing many times but right now I’m so happy to have it light the night.

It takes me down this road and another to the 110. It is so Big City out here. The pavement is rough, the drivers are deft, fast, unapologetic, tailgaiting their way to wherever they are going. When in Rome…. so I bluff my way down those streets, like yeah man, I know where I’m going, I know what I’m doing… Pfffttt…

After a few turns I get on the freeway. The elevated type. The night is black. But around me a forest of high rises, towers, lights…. I am dwarfed by it all. I am in a Batman movie. A helicopter flies above… The elevated road gives all of this an unreal feeling, floating above the world. the yellows, the blues, the reds, the whites… the blackness is pierced by thousands of lights, but they just kind of twinkle in the crisp darkness, in the immensity of this decor, velvety and cold at once. I am mesmerized and freaked. There are wild splits in the lanes, 4th, 5th Avenue… gotta be sharp, negotiate unseen pavement, GPS reading, traffic movements. I can’t see the pavement so I pray for not lost cargo on the road. Or gigantic potholes or those treacherous splits in the cement.

I hear only some higher frequencies from the motor because I have ear plugs. I also hear the high frequencies from the wind whistling because my shield is up. At some point the buildings are so close to the road… just incredible. I am in a movie scene. Not just any movie, I am in the latest Batman movie, dark, scary, super sexy dangerous. except my Batmobile is white and red. I am a white knight. #7 coming to the rescue…

A sign says something about blue lights…. “Blue lights…” then out of nowhere these blue lights embedded in the road make it look like a flight deck on a spaceship in a science fiction movie. I let out a heartfelt Whoa!! Me and my baby are about to take flight… the road curves, it’s so unreal, it gets narrow… Trees I think…

Golden State Freeway 5 North. All righty. Here we go. Come on baby… we’re going to be Golden too… Wrrrrrr it roars.

I’m now flying I-5 North. There’s got to be at least 8 lanes of regular traffic lanes, then there are ramps coming in, others letting the flow of traffic out. OK, I know this one. I-5 keep going for 20 hours or so you’ll get to Vancouver… But that’s not where I’m going.

110…. 210… Fly baby fly. I’m crouched down on the tank because it’s actually cold. There is elevation… hills ahead. I’m out of downtown. In the rear view mirror all the lights of LA disappear in a curve hidden by the hip of a hill. The traffic lightnens, relaxes. I speed up. Fly baby fly. I love this. The terror, the amazement, the power, the wind. The not knowing what is coming in the next turn.

The GPS takes me to an exit, I recognize the place, I can actually turn it off. Thanks Mr GPS… thanks! I sit at a light thinking : ” I am in LA. Wow”. I smile. I make it to the Coffee Gallery on my own knowledge. Yeah baby. We made it through another one.

My head is full of sun, ocean, wind, road, night, night lights, Batman…


night falling on Malibu


3 Responses to “From Beaches to Batman”

  1. Alan Says:

    Haha, yeah, welcome to the freeway system, Ms. Batman….
    “We all go as if we were running the last errand to save the Earth.”

  2. David Walker Says:

    Danielle, you have now met my Los Angeles, I grew up there. I learned to drive by going out of our driveway and making turns around the block and back into the driveway!! It is funny. I have this LA driver personna that I dig up whenever we go back to LA. It is dog eat dog and aggresive +. I am relieved you survived. I just drove the 110 three weeks or maybe four weeks ago.

    Today I told my dept head I will retire end of next June. I have crossed the Rubicon.
    You be watchful.

  3. Norman Barreca Says:

    You got it! Riding in LA, killer sport for sure. Marina is actually “Marina Del Rey”

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