Thursday, March 23, 2006
L.A.drive - Arlington to Wilton
Arlington to Wilton
Hurtling to Thai Town the other day from the Westside, I aimmed myself eastbound on the 10 freeway, waving good bye to the discordance Santa Monica has with the Hollywood/East Hollywood/Silver Lake quadrants of Los Angeles. There is no direct or quick route to get from A to B. They are on opposite sides of the moon from each other. But the time was now nigh, the Fairfax exit, La Brea Blvd. exit, I had a decision to make. Do I take my normal route, Crenshaw Blvd., travel through Hancock Park via Windsor and then continue north on Gower? Would Western be brimming in congested muck as usual, making my drive more akin to bulldozing? Was it late enough to just continue on the 10, go north through downtown, and then unnaturally backtrack to my Hollywood Freeway exit?
No, once in the while I get in the mood to make exploration more important that quickness. Los Angeles being set up in a more or less grid pattern makes these driving tests possible in theory and the potential for success great. I ignored the Crenshaw exit and saw that the next was Arlington. Arlington? There isn’t an Arlington in Hollywood. Was I to end up at a dead end or a discovery?
I turned on to Arlington, headed northbound, and immediately understood what my driving stance would be. Two lanes both directions, with the right lane toggling from curbside parking to driver’s right of way. The upcoming light was bearing down, I stayed in the left lane and then saw the driver up ahead about to make a left turn. I jumped into the right lane and flew past 5 cars now stranded for not paying attention. Granted, the driver didn’t have his left turn signal on, but his driving language was loud and clear (the most consistently inconsiderate maneuver on the road today). But, what’s this, the right side lane is filled with parked cars. A quick eye dash to the mirror and over the shoulder and I’m back in the left lane, again poised and ready to read any changes in the road’s current.
This pattern continues, I wet my finger to the wind, read the signs up ahead, and continue this exhilarating propelling. Images of an old cemetery, chateau-styled apartment buildings, and a quaint neighborhood blur and bounce by as Arlington fades into Wilton Place. Wilton! I know this street, it passes within striking distance of my Hollywood Thai! I am saved and excited. My driving prowess has been weilded and my new route proves worthy of repeating.