L.A. Ruminations
A Full Bladder With 1.9 Miles To Go
By Michael Coscia
May 1, 2003 - 6:59:00 PM

LOS ANGELES — In and around Hollywood there's new construction amidst the already cluttered eyesores called mini malls. The same stores keep appearing everywhere and the city insists on building more. Case in point is the new construction at the corner of Santa Monica and La Brea. It is destined to become a huge traffic nightmare.

Jenna Skarzenski / Canyon News
How many generic clothing, appliance, and shoe stores do we really need? And don't even get me started on those chains of coffee shops, which, by the way, I find an insult to my coffee addiction. They don't make good coffee, they only make good marketing but that's another story.

With all the construction come more cars, less parking spaces, and too narrow roads. Is anyone concerned about the traffic congestion these new monstrosities create? And what about when there are concerts at the Kodak Theatre and the Hollywood Bowl and streets are closed for filming?

I work out at Gold's Gym on Cole and I live near Runyon Canyon on Fuller. The distance between my apartment and the gym is exactly 1.9 miles, with eleven traffic lights separating us. It takes generally less than seven minutes to make the trip, and that includes hitting red lights along the way.

Recently I went to the gym late one afternoon. With my headphones securely in place, I sweated to the oldies (an '80s compilation CD). An hour and a half later, feeling like a model for Men's Health, (I can fantasize, can't I?) I headed home.

Once in the parking lot I realized I had to use the bathroom. I should have known gulping 32 ounces of water during my workout would fill my bladder. I rationalized I could hold it for ten minutes, maybe even twelve. I'd done it before and was certain I could make it home without any problem. Mistake number one.

Jenna Skarzenski / Canyon News
I drove north on Cole and, because I was checking messages on my cell phone, I didn't look ahead and foolishly turned left onto Santa Monica Boulevard. I came face to face with bumper to bumper traffic.

My leg starting tapping to the music. My bladder was sending me a message. Undaunted, I continued.

Ten minutes later I reached La Brea and just as the light turned yellow I put pedal to the metal and made the right turn. That spy camera on top of the traffic light didn't flash, did it? Mistake number two.

Racing through my mind were reasons why there was such a traffic jam. I cursed the Kodak Theatre, movie premieres, film shoots, the Hollywood Bowl, the Hollywood Highland complex, and all that damn construction! Anything and everyone was cursed. And my foot kept tapping faster. I felt the veins in my head throbbing. A traffic migraine was parking itself inside my head. Ugh, the pain!

So there I was crawling up La Brea devolving into mental chaos. I looked around and saw drivers around me doing the same thing. Horns were honking and impatience was certainly veering its ugly head. Road rage was one flip of the finger away. I kept my finger to myself.

Another ten minutes and I made it to La Brea and Hollywood ready to turn left. My foot was now tapping out of control. My knees were shaking. My head was pounding.

There was a line of cars waiting so it took three light changes before I finally made the turn. I sped as fast as I could. Of course it's only one long block until Fuller.

Racing down my hall, like a quarterback on his way to the game-winning touchdown, I fumbled with my keys as I plowed into my apartment. And yes, I made it to the bathroom in the knick-of-time. Barely, but I made it. Whew!

After two aspirin and a hot shower, sanity began to seep its way back into my body and mind. My migraine was beginning to ease. I turned on the television to relax (mistake number three) and right there before my eyes, some idiot criminal was being chased all over the highways and side streets by the police. It was creating yet another Los Angeles traffic nightmare.

I turned the television off and crawled into bed. That night I dreamed I was in a Mercedes convertible wheeling through the streets of Hollywood. No traffic, just me and my Mercedes. Ahhh, a dream is a wish your heart makes!



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