Thursday, July 14, 2011


In El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula this upcoming weekend is something filling the brains of USA drivers (and their dependants) - with the possible exception of some New Yorkers and San Franciscans - with total horror but which I hope is making many others around the world laugh out loud: Carmageddon!

A three-day closure of an important rubber-tyred road vehicle link in Los Angeles. Sigh. I am from the West San Fernando Valley (what was once Owensmouth, then Canoga Park and now West Hills) and from before birth until around age 17 was driven over the hill - along with my older brother - between the Valley and West L.A. thousands of times.

First from my house to the maternal grandparents or the paternal grandma, then also to my dad's after the divorce, then - after a move - from my dad's to where my mom later moved closer to the Sepulveda Pass, which is what the San Diego "Freeway" - or 405 - goes through between these two main parts of L.A..

This was the real horror. Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. My mother would come pick us up or my dad would drop us off almost every weekend. This is not quality time. Sitting. Sitting. Sitting. Stuck in traffic. Ugly. Ugliness. 

How nice it would have been to go by public transportation. If I remember correctly, my father told me remembers seeing a L.A. streetcar arrive from the Valley with snow on its roof in the pre-Freeway days, must have in the late 1940's.

Yes... wonderful to do something a bit more constructive than sit strapped up over the years on the red vinyl seats of my mom's Volvo, the gray fabric seats of my father's Volvo, the synthetic something or other seats of my mom's Oldsmobile, and some VW's, a Ford, a Chevy plus whatever my grandfather drove.

The great news is that after this final stage of construction the new regional railway vehicles over the Pass will have playrooms for children, similar to above. 

And then I woke up to reality.