Los Angeles traffic has finally got the best of me. Typically undeterred by horror stories about how monstrous commuting in Los Angeles is and how rush hour now stretches from 6 am to 10:30 and then again from 3:00 pm to 9, I usually go about my business of keeping social engagements, using side streets, alternative routes and planning with plenty of time. But the widening of the 405 freeway has finally cut off the Westside from the rest of the city, at least during peak hours.
Last night, I spent half an hour on famed Sunset Boulevard, navigating one block that could have been walked in less than 5 minutes. After nearly two hours in the car and no closer to reaching Beverly Hills that, under normal circumstances, can be gotten to in just over 30 minutes from my office, I turned around and went home, calling my apologies in to the group of friends I stood up. As much as I love them, developing an ulcer in order to get together is not in my healthcare plans.
Tonight, as I write, I should be enjoying a luxurious dinner at Tavern, Suzanne Goin’s latest outpost in Brentwood. I thought that making a reservation (2 weeks ago) in a restaurant west of the 405 would have been a safe bet. I was really looking forward to it, not to mention spending time with my dining companion whose birthday we would have been celebrating. Apparently I didn’t take into account the idiots driving on the Pacific Coast Highway. When I left work to come home and change, I caught sight of a van trying to make a u-turn, probably to secure a parking spot, and being hit by a car. Moments later, wailing of sirens. Nearly three hours later, the lanes going into town are still closed, traffic is backed up to kingdom come in all directions, and I am stuck at home, in my Paul Frank pajamas, staring at solid red lines on Google Maps, confining me to an evening in front of the tv.
It seems my social life is now limited to week-ends and/or anything close to home. The only one who is not complaining is Ottie, graced with my presence more often than he is used to. To appease my bad mood, I am digging out Jacques Pepin’s recipe for a perfect omelette – that is what I will be practicing tonight.