Wednesday, April 13, 2011
L.A. 7 months in: I finally figured out why I hate driving so much
My first job in Manhattan was exactly one avenue and six blocks from my apartment or 2.5 iPod songs - 1.5 if one of them was Justin Timerlake's What Goes Around Comes Back Around.
My second job in Manhattan clocked in at three songs or zero avenues, ten blocks. And by zero avenues I mean it was on the same street at my apartment.
And for my third job in Manhattan I walked exactly twenty blocks north (yes, on my same street again) for a total of five songs or one Savage Love podcast. There was also the option of a subway, but it was technically out of the way.
Today I drive 12 miles to and from work through three neighborhoods. The song count is irrelevant because I listen to NPR for the entire 35 minute drive. Yes, 35 minutes. We all know my situation with math, but even I know that 12 miles in 35 minutes makes for too few miles per hour.
At first I thought it was the driving I hated. You've got to pay such close attention and manage control of the breaks and, if you're driving to a brand new place, keep track of the road plus the spot you're trying to find. It's really harder than they make it out to be over those six hours they stick you in a car with some cigar-smoking Race-track regular who makes you stop for tomatoes and asks if you can lend him a dollar to get some. Or was that just Howell Driving School?
But as it turns out, it's not the driving part I can't stand. I have this cute, salsa red Jetta that drives like a dream. I'm better at the whole breaking thing than I remember being in high school (the last official time I drove regularly). And being able to stash a change (or three) of clothes in the trunk for fickle fashion days or evening costume changes is a real plus.
My issue with the amount of time I spend in the car is the amount of over-analyzing, future-stressing, and hemming/hawing I now do on a daily basis because I'm trapped in a vehicle.
On my walks to work in Manhattan I passed places, things, people, clothes sales. My iPod was like the soundtrack to my own personal movie montage. You can't stress over what kind of progress you're making with your writing career when you're doing your best impression of Carrie prancing through the streets of Paris to "La Belle e La Bad Boy." (do the French really have phrase for bad boy?).
Now it's nothin' but the sound of Lakshme Sing telling me that the government is facing shutdown, again as I pass the same empty Coffee Bean.
And so my mind wanders and picks apart and plans for scenarios. Last week I mentally wrote myself a will (if you're a size 8 shoe and have been particularly kind to me, it's looking good for you). Two days ago I gave myself a stern lecture for not being further along with a spec script I'm writing. And just this morning I developed a daily diet and exercise regime sure to have me in bridesmaid shape in no time.
Which seeeems productive except I can't write anything down while I'm driving so it's all just lost time slash thought.
The way I see it I have two options here. 1. Invest in making it so that my blue tooth system hooks up to a voice recorder to I can actually accomplish productive thinking that I don't lose the minute I arrive at my destination. Or 2. quit my job and start applying to places within a NYC walk away from my house.
Note: No Mom, pay attention to the road and stop letting your mind wander so much is not an option.