Quote of the Day - Nicole showed up to meet me in an airport once wearing a sweatsuit, with a leopard-print neck pillow tied around her neck, an 'I Love L.A.' cap, and her hair in pigtails, ... I think she was doing it to torture me.
A friend of mine sent this email to me, and I made some slight changes to it:
A new and improved guide for visitors to Los Angeles:
You must first learn to pronounce the city name; it is "L. A.," not "Los Angeles."
The morning work rush hour starts at 5:00 a.m. and ends at noon. The afternoon work rush hour starts at noon and ends at 7:00 p.m. The evening "night club" rush hour starts at 7:00 p.m. and ends at 5:00 a.m.
The weekend rush hour starts on Thursday, just after noon and ends on Monday at 5:00 a.m.; 5:00 a.m. Tuesdays if Monday is a holiday. See above for the rest of the rush hour schedule.
The minimum acceptable speed on most freeways is 85 mph, and 90-95 is preferred. On the 105 or 110, your speed is expected to match the highway number. Anything less and everyone will know you're from out-of-town.
Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. L.A. has its own version of traffic rules. For example, passing on the right is perfectly acceptable. On city streets, cars/trucks with the loudest muffler go first at a four-way stop; the trucks with the biggest tires go second. In Malibu, however, SUV-driving, cell-phone-talking moms ALWAYS have the right of way.
If you actually stop (or heaven forbid brake or slow down) at either a yellow light or stop sign, then you will be rear-ended, cussed out, and probably shot.
Never honk at anyone. EVER. Seriously. It's another offense that can get you shot.
Road construction is permanent and continuous in all of L.A. and Orange counties. Detour barrels and concrete K-rails are moved around for your entertainment pleasure during the middle of the night to make the next day's driving a bit more exciting. Construction signage has been outlawed altogether.
MapQuest does not work here--none of the roads are where they say they are or go where they say they do, and the freeway off- and on-ramps are moved each night. Freeways are not labeled with directions (N-E-S-W), but instead use the more logical name of a city along the way. We don't care if you're unfamiliar with the city's location. Off-ramps may or may not be numbered; it's fun to guess, don't you think?
If someone actually has their turn signal on, then wave them to the shoulder immediately to let them know it has been "accidentally activated."
If you are in the number one lane (the left-most lane for anyone not from L.A., a.k.a. the "fast lane") and only driving 75 mph in a 65 mph zone, then you are considered a road hazard and will be "flipped-off" accordingly. If you return the flip or otherwise look sideways at the other driver, then you will be shot.
Do not try to estimate travel time -- just leave Monday afternoon for Tuesday appointments, by noon Thursday for Friday appointments and right after church on Sunday for anything on Monday morning.
If you're in a "parking lot" (L.A.-ese for freeway) and you see red light flashing ahead and a car flipped over, don't get your hopes up the traffic jam will clear up as soon as you get on the other side of the accident. We have accidents strategically placed in intervals around the city, designed solely to keep you on-time for your next appointment (see "departing times" above).
Why is the L. A. Freeway called the '4-oh-5'? Because no matter where you are going, it takes 4 or 5 hours to get there. In L.A., we don't measure distance in miles. Hours and minutes are the standard form of measurement.
And don't forget your standard-issue vanity plate with a Save-the-whales background on your foreign hybrid car. American cars will be pulled over and cited unless you're driving a Hummer with the chrome package. It's important to understand the exceptions.
Failure to wash your car weekly will likewise result in a citation, and rust spots constitute a felony violation, issued by the fashion police.
Oh yes, the weather. If it's sunny, then put the top down on your car. If it rains, then stay home. Your windshield wipers won't clear the rain because they only get used once a year. If it's raining, then it's snowing in the mountains. Definitely don't go there, either, unless you learned to drive back East. You don't have to worry about buying chains for your car, however. There will be plenty of spare chains laying about the road from those who don't understand how to put them on.
One last thing. If you see a Ford Bronco followed by a string of police cars, you're not required to pull over - it's the only time you can just wave and smile like you know the driver.