Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Not so Dad

On the 405 going north toward Sacramento, trying to find the right off ramp leading to the 10 toward Santa Monica, I was seriously outgunned. I mean, the people here are all Professional Drivers. Like New Yorkers are Expert Walkers.

If you walk in New York the wrong way, you know, with a certain oh-well-la-dee-da gait, everyone within three city blocks will know you’re from Des Moines. Or, as did one of my in-laws, if you wear a fanny pack, you’re from Des Moines. White tennis shoes – Des Moines. T-shirt tucked in – Des Moines. The result of this slow walking is that you will not ever get a seat on the subway nor will you contribute to a rapid moving bagel and coffee line at the Korean deli in the morning where the lady behind the register barks, “StepDahn! StepDahn!” People will despise you and will never buy…corn…or whatever you grow or produce in Des Moines.

But I digress.

I’m in LA, and I am quite out of my element. I mean, I am a pretty good driver, learned behind the wheel of my grandmother’s 1970 Mercedes (it was racier than it sounds) – which, by the way, had a stash of chocolate Carnation Instant Breakfast Bars in the trunk that my brother Jim and I used to sneak out and gobble. My mom taught me to drive, and she was a beautiful driver. My grandfather said so: “Your mother is a beautiful driver. She can glide up a hill and make you feel like you’re not going up. Knows just how to feather the accelerator.” True enough, she was great.

Not so Dad. I was in the vehicle once with him as driver, having just crossed over the Willis Avenue Bridge onto the Major Deegan Expressway, and I almost elected to jump out the backseat window into oncoming rush hour traffic in the South Bronx with drug dealers and Squeegee Men on every corner who didn’t like white boys from the time they cut teeth. Dad was awful.

He would have driven in this town, and they would have said, “Dude’s from Des Moines…”

2 comments:

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Yikes...who knew when you were driving around my "hood" that you were one of those guys from Des Moines? Lucky, I wasn't on the road. I'm one of those professional drivers!

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