Friday, May 05, 2006

Acid Casualty






My friend drove us on no fewer than five freeways in a row yesterday as we made our way to my sister's house in Altadena. She's getting a little better at the driving, though my hair has turned white from the twelve heart attacks I had on the ride.

What I didn't realize is there's no "hands-free" cell phone law in California. I couldn't believe how many people I saw driving while holding a phone to their ear. It's really fucked up. I thought this practice was bad back in New York, but it's seriously out of control here. What I don't understand is where this need to talk on the phone while driving comes from. Like, if it's important and really can't wait, then fine. But if you're just talking to your buddy or your wife or whoever about what you want for dinner or something equally mundane, then can't it wait until you're not behind the wheel of a two-ton vehicle? Seriously, what is so fucking important?

Meanwhile, now that I'm over my initial culture shock, Venice has begun to amuse me. It appears the cosmos have decided to link me somehow to the girl who haunted me on that first day, the one now known as "Acid Casualty." I ran into her again on the boardwalk on Tuesday. She had on an entirely different outfit, which consisted of a gaping-open backpack and black tight jeans that hung more than halfway down her underwearless butt. She passed me quickly at first, only stopping to turn and cackle at some random strangers nearby.

I spotted her again ten minutes later, this time going in the opposite direction. She zig-zagged up to me, laughed a little bit again and asked me for a cigarette. She was standing so close to me and sort of peering into my mouth, it seemed. I had already given out a bunch of cigarettes that afternoon so I said no, but I immediately regretted it. I should've kept her there so I could examine her blown out pupils, which also appeared to be white, in that cataracts sort of way. But it couldn't be cataracts as she's got to be no more than 23 years old, if that.

So now I'm obsessed and have been looking for her every day since, cigarettes and camera at the ready, but she's disappeared. I think I miss her.

Today I will be taking a city bus from Venice to Downtown LA. It's estimated to take an hour and a half and to cost $1.25.

66 comments:

EverJack1 said...

Hmm.... I can see the curiosity about the girl. There has to be a story there......... somewhere.

Enjoying the pics and this story was great, M.P.

On to LA! :o)

Anonymous said...

you should try some of her acid it might be fun and I'm sure a great post would follow

christy said...

let's not encourage acid using for this blogger. i think the posts would not be as amusing. M.P.- i hope you realize not all of cali is hopped up. if you can get away, visit san fran, it seems more your style. SOCAL is like another planet. -cali native

jMon54 aka BklynBoy said...

As a former NewYawker, the fact is everywhere else seems a bit surreal.

Anonymous said...

I think Chisty need some acid

Candy Minx said...

It's really fun "seeing" you somewhere else after reading about your work for so many weeks. Wow a hack on holiday.

Cheers,
Candy
http://gnosticminx.blogspot.com/

Gunny said...

What till you go on the I405 South aka "The San Diego Freeway" which ends no where near San Diego. I also hear they use a monkey to time all the signal lights in L.A.

Anonymous said...

How come you never write about politics and stuff, dont you care about the big picture?

Anonymous said...

How come you never write about politics and stuff, dont you care about the big picture?

Probably because this is a blog about what it's like to be a cab driver in New York. Do you need to know her political views in order to decide whether this blog interesting or not? If you do, that's sad...n stuff.

Anonymous said...

Well, if cab drivers don't care about politics, then they should stop bitching about low wages and crap -- politics matters, and anyone who thinks it doesn't deserves what they get.

team gingerbread said...

I dunno, I'm pretty sure most of the danger from using a cell on the road has more to do with amount of mental focus required to multi-task as opposed to the hand-eye coordination...

Rex said...

Are you developing the love/hate with this city that most of us transplants seem to have?

Drunken Master said...

Only in California. Actually, only in LA. I've seen it myself, cell phone or not, Cali drivers on the freeways are really bad.

Anonymous said...

keep a flashlight, whistle, good pair of walking shoes, and some protein snacks with you while in LA. You NEVER know when the big one will hit! And if you thought that sweet little town in Lousiana had it bad. At least most spoke the same language and didn't have a desert to cross.

greg said...

I think the NY law against talking on a cell phone you're holding in your hand while driving is violated almost as much as the laws against jaywalking are. I even saw a cop in a police cruiser doing it once.

Anonymous said...

I am from california, I only use a cell when driving for urgent matters...people don't even realize how shitty they drive here- someone chanling lanes on a busy exit with out signaling? Not paying attention at a 4 way stop? No one will let you merge? 9 out of 10 times they have a cell phone on their face.

Thomas Vickers said...

Having ridden in cars in LA and New York, I can understand your fear. Even if your friend was a NASCAR driver, you would still grit your teeth and leave your finger prints in the dashboard. LA is freakin scary.

Of course I have had LA drivers whine like babies about Houston trafic

DK said...

takes about an hour in a car. LA is quite an amazing city, im surprised you dont like it

Anonymous said...

I'm in Socal and I drive while on my cell phone all the time. It's no big deal if you're a competent driver.

See you on the freeway. BWA Ha Ha Haaaaaaa!!!!

meesh said...

Oh my. Public transportation in L.A. is NOTHING like NYC's system. Prepare yourself for a long and um...interesting ride. :)

Good luck finding the Acid Caualty again. Careful though, they can turn on you in a second!

pelican1 said...

Too funny - hope you find her. Can't wait to see the picture.

friedz said...

Oh no, you took the bus??? I am an east coast/NYC transplant to LA and you're in for a rude awakening. Like your style though...the subway is much better if you get a chance to check that out. LA is almost always my topic of choice to rant about in my blog, The 2 am Buzz.

phriedz.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

The two articles about California are the wittiest and most interesting articles I've read of yours. I am a sometime reader (you're on my homepage). Acid Casualty sounds a lot like Meth Tweeker. I wonder if they are related? Venice sounds like my Northwest town what with all the street people asking for cigarettes. I left California 14 years ago after 31 years, but my impression was that LA/Orange county drivers are some of the best in the world. The cell phones are the problem - they interfere with your concentration.

Matt said...

Man, the Left Coast IS going to hell in a handbasket....

Dana said...

Yes assholes on their phones while driving. Yes idiots not using blinkers. Yes acid heads in Venice!
How long are you going to be here? Come on down to the LBC (Long Beach) and have a drink and a chat with me.
Peace

RabbitExpress said...

Ican see why you would be afraid of the traffic. I agree though with the one guy who said that Houston traffic is bad. But in Texas, driver's will pull over to allow faster drivers by.
I sent you an e-mail by your gmail address, hope to hear from you.

Cheetarah1980 said...

I talk on the phone when driving all the time. I feel that concentrating on the driving is not enough, I really need to do something else too, and talking on the phone just seems like the perfect way to multitask.

Girl Watcher said...

Wont ever convince some drivers gabbing on a cell phone is dangerous! So what happens when you go right by your freeway exit cause you were distracted? oops missed that exit gotta go 3 or 4 miles extra now. I could what if along time if not all day about the dangers of distracted driving! Wouldn't do me any good though no body's listening any way.

That Queer Expatriate said...

Talking on the phone whilst driving is really bad.

There are a few tasks in life that need full mental engagement, driving is one of them--a few years back my car was hit by a drunk driver, and when I visited it at the shop, the shop's owner told me that when he started in the biz back in the 70s, he would come in to work and point at a car and say, "drunk driver," and then point at the next car and say "drunk driver."

When I came in, it was unusual, he said that usually he points at a car and says "cell phone."

Lynn said...

Oh man, New York drivers are so much worse. I grew up in L.A., and it was so much easier to drive there than it is to be a car passenger here in N.Y. I find that L.A. drivers know how to drive, they just really like to bend the rules. Whereas here, I don't think anyone even passed fucking driver's ed. Not to mention that L.A. drivers, even on a bad day, do not even approach the levels of rudeness N.Y. drivers exhibit daily. Excepting the Hack, of course. :)

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear you're missing your buddy ( sniffle ) . I think I know where she is ......... in your blind spot.

Mary said...

Too cool that you are taking us on vaction w/you.

Woodrow said...

The West is the Best. The only thing wrong with Cali is you need lots of cash to stay here a long time and live in a nice area not crowded with "Acid Heads" roaming aimlessly. You found a friendly looking young one as most look nasty, old, rotting, and near death. Which I'm sure you wouldn't think twice about handing a cigarett to.

Cell phone/Driving Multitasking should only be done by people that can handle it. The others should be rammed into the slow lane. I've been in plenty of accidents (None caused by Cell) since my job has required me to drive all over northern Cali for the last 10 years. People cause accidents not Cell phones.

Natalie said...

I know what you mean about the cell phones. Every time I find myself shouting at some idiot in the car I see a second later that they are talking on their cell phone whilst trying to do a two handed maneuver with one hand.

maria inés said...

New York and LA, deffferente world,differete gods, they say. What did you do to your belly? I would liked to film you watching people at Venice.

One thing you didn´t say, did you enjoy? Thankyou for the hollydaysyou gave us. I´m from Buenos Aires, here hollydays are off.
Love the fhotos. Be resafe.

El Mas Chingón said...

Welcome to California. If you think drivers in LA are crazy, come on down to San Diego. The drivers down here will make all of your hair turn white, if not raise your blood pressure at least ten to fifteen beats a minute.

Anonymous said...

I still see way too many NY/NJ drivers on cell phones, but the law does seem to have made a significant difference. I was in Chicago recently and experienced the same thing MP did in LA -- drivers might as well have the friggin things Krazy-Glued to their faces.

Miss Anonymous said...

Oh My God! I know exactly how frustrating it is to see someone driving while talking on their mobile phone! You feel like smacking them or taking their phone and sticking them up thei ass. Urgh! Well, technically no because i'm just 15 and in this country women cannot drive! I live in Saudi Arabia. And i just love your blog!

Anonymous said...

Please post as soon as possible after your bus ride to let us know you survived! I'd like to hear your thoughts on the "pedestrians have the right of way" law in LA, if you get to experience it first-hand. When I lived in LA, I saw an old dude crossing the street at a red light. I saw him spit on a taxi's hood because the hack was a few inches into the crosswalk! People in LA will blindly walk into a crosswalk and just expect the world to stop for them, and will walk slowly on purpose!

Lugosi said...

What's the big deal about cellphones & driving? Heck, if you want a challenge, try blogging and driving!!! You quickly learn how selfish people can be when you drift into their lane and they STILL refuse to get out of the way.

William K. Scurry Jr. said...

I love the whole Venice thing... it's like Coney Island with better grillz.

Anonymous said...

Multitasking my ass. Cellphones don't kill people, drivers using them do.

geoff p said...

just found this blog and i love it!
geoff p

Anonymous said...

We spend so much time in our cars out here, so we use the time to keep up with friends and family. No law against it, yet.

And yes, using turn signals is a sign of weakness, so we don't use them. All a turn signal does is let the guy in the other lane know your intent so he'll speed up to close the gap. He does this so he can get to his destination 5 seconds faster (those extra 5 seconds add up over a lifetime)

Hey, at least we all have cars out here.

San Diego, CA

Lacey said...

I live in Venice! Near Lincoln & Venice Blvd. I know about that lady. One day she was sleeping, wearing a short, short skirt with her legs sprawled out- and of course NO UNDERWEAR! So our nickname for her is Gary's Girlfriend. (Gary was our old roomate and has a bad wrap on who he dates.)

I hate the bums in Venice. They really are EVERYWHERE!

I used to live/work in Beverly Hills and if a bum was on the sidewalk all you had to do was call the police. Within less than 5 minutes the police would arrive and give them a ride (or herd them) to the Los Angeles side of the street!! In Venice, I am afraid to go out by myself at night. Ugh.

R2K said...

Dope grafoetoes.

Maria said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Maria said...

I noticed you passed Robertson exit on your way to your sister's... Try and visit Robertson and the streets of WeHo... Bring your camera, it'd be both interesting and fun!

Pieces of M.E.

PS: 5 freeways, huh? Well, at least you only have to do it while your visiting, I drive 3 freeways to go to work everyday, it's crazy, I know!

Andrew said...

To "Anonymous" who wanted more politics on this site:
Aren't there already enough blogs about politics already, for crying out loud!?!?

Anonymous said...

I'm a fan of this blog, but the "New Yorker who can't understand L.A." is as tired a conceit as there is. In this day and age serious people are usually bicoastal: it saves a great deal of time and cliches.

Anonymous said...

...cell phones don't kill people...people kill people.

fewl.

Anonymous said...

"Today I will be taking a city bus from Venice to Downtown LA. It's estimated to take an hour and a half and to cost $1.25."

Get your friend to drive you, you coward! :D

eastmoormom said...

you must find her!

Country Girl said...

I was watching a rerun of the Simple Life the other day. Paris Hilton was talking about how homesick she was. When asked what she missed about LA, she said quote "driving around in my car with my cell phone up to my ear." What's up with that?

DS said...

I Love freaks like that i hope you get her picture. I Hate California everyone is so.....i don't know happy it is unnatural. Hope there is not an earthquake while you are out there i was there and it is f-in scarry. Hope your vacation is fun

Bea said...

Being from the east coast I'm required to think that everything in California is crazy, so the phone thing isn't suprising. New Yorkers have their excuse that they are... New Yorkers, even if it still is insane.

Daisy said...

I can't believe more accidents aren't caused by cell phones. I've noticed that whenever I use my cell when I'm driving, I kinda blank out and don't really notice where I am. When I hang up, I tune back in again. Then I wonder, where the heck was I just then? What if something had happened? I wouldn't have been ready for it. And so, I rarely talk on the phone while driving because of this. It's just not safe. I can't believe other people don't space out too.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather be accosted by one of Steven Spielberg's light-flashing, Orf-honking, island-sized UFO's than have some drooling meathead with a cell phone to his/her ear anywhere near me on the highway.

Anonymous said...

venice is not an accurate cross-section of LA, - neither is a drive from the airport to venice. there are plenty of good things -how do you like walking around with your coat off and not having people bump into you every two feet when you're walking around? kind of nice - right? it's nice to look up and see the sky sometimes instead of 7 miles and 40 stories of buildings. oh yeah they have something called good mexican food out here - you should try it - you'll never go to benny's burrito again. yeah - i can see how weird it must seem when total strangers are nice and try to actually talk to you and aren't absorbed in their own daily life. anyway - i love la and people that don't - don't really have to be here. if you see any disgruntled actors here that are from ny trying to "make it" in this city while trashing it with their mouths and attitudes - will you please for the love of all that is good take them back with you. it'll make this city even better. all cities are good if you have good friends around.

R2K said...

Imagine if you drove people that far: 30 bucks...

Transplanted Lawyer said...

No! Don't do it! STAY OFF THE BUS!

Anonymous said...

WOW. Ok, so venice sounds like a scene from the "Lost Boys" movie. Noticed any "vamps" yet? Probably not, they'd remind you too much of NY street Goths. As for the wacko she's probably a "Meth Head" by the description(acid head is so 70's). Beware the next time you refuse her a smoke, she might snap out on ya. Anyway I like the fish out of water story, and the pics are kool, keep on shootin'.
Robert from Delaware

Lisa S said...

Why do people say things like "it's ok to talk on your cell while driving if you're a good driver"? I have a friend who thinks there should be no speed limit for 'good drivers' either. The problem is that everyone thinks they are a good driver.

How do the police enforce the hands-free cell phone law in NYC? I can't envision anyone being pulled over for that in a city so big, with so much traffic.

Anonymous said...

Ha! I couldn't agree more. People have got to stop using their phones while driving and my spine is proof of this!

I was rear ended a couple of weeks ago by some ditzy woman talking on her phone and almost HAD to ask what the hell she was talking about that was SO IMPORTANT!

Anonymous said...

Welcome to LA

bronte said...

today is the seventh day without post from you. is there reason to worry? I've become addicted, and it seems like going cold turkey... :-)
bronte