My last time driving was my first in Los Angeles, from the airport during Friday evening rush hour. I sort of loved it. Hertz had come close to selling me on the convertible upgrade (I’d planned a drive up the salted coast that weekend, and it was tempting), but in a final shudder of frugality, I envisioned myself with the top down, roasted red by the desert sun, and passed.
Drop-top or not, it didn’t matter. Bubbled in the sedan’s air conditioning, with garbage-pop throbbing from the stereo, I was isolated and happy. The wheels gripped the road perfectly. The pedal picked up each tiny flex of my foot. I only got cut off once, by a teal 1980s Toyota. Even that was rather charming.
I’m back in NYC now, writing this from one of the Financial District towers I dreamed about as a kid stuck in the suburbs.
Strolling near my office not long ago, a taxi rolled through a stop sign and nearly struck me. The cabbie leaned out of his window to spew his abuse at me, and my hand swung reflexively up to offer him the bird. What a pleasure! His vitriol doubled on the spot, but there was nothing he could do. Cars had piled up behind him, and I had vanished down a one-way alley in the other direction. That was that.
But if I’d been in my own car, and we’d been on a wide turnpike instead of a city street, we could have driven side-by-side for miles, trading obscenities upon an open road.
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Miles Klee is the author of True False and Ivyland, and the editor of The Daily Dot's LOL section. Follow him on Twitter.