Posted by: GeekHiker | April 2, 2007

An Inconvenient Death

(A horrible commute today, filled with rude & inconsiderate drivers, inspired this post rant.)

If there’s one place I truly hope never to die in LA, it would be on an LA freeway.  In the middle of rush hour.  When it’s raining.  That, right there, would be the worst.

It’s not that I don’t want to die there because I’m more afraid of dying on an LA freeway than I am afraid of dying anywhere else, mind you.  It’s just that my death would make life so dammed inconvenient for everyone else.

People’s reactions to death are interesting.  If it’s a close family member or personal friend, of course people have an intense reaction.  People have sympathy for others who are suffering through the same thing.  I’ve seen coworkers genuinely sad at the passing of another co-worker.  People even feel empathy for news stories about total strangers dying in apartment fires and such.

But, in LA, if you die on the freeway at the wrong time of day, well, that’s a whole different story.

I first noticed it in the traffic reports on the radio.  Traffic reports in this town air 24 hours a day, which is frightening enough, but it’s the way the information is delivered that’s pretty shocking, when  you step back to think about it.

Literally, on the radio recently, the helicopter announcer said “there’s been reports of a fatal motorcycle accident on the PCH, that’s going to be tough.”  He wasn’t referring to it being tough on, you know, the guy who died, or his family and friends.  Nope, it’s going to be tough on the people who, heaven help them, are going to be delayed in traffic.  See, that death caused the other drivers’ commutes to be held up by at least an hour or two.  How dare he?  What nerve!

Not that I expect a helicopter traffic reporter to get all teary-eyed or anything, but, geez, could we at least acknowledge that a fellow human being just passed away?  I’ve seen more sympathy from news reporters for a gerbil getting killed in a house fire.

Come to think of it, the gerbil’s the only one who would make the nightly news.

I’ve been on the freeway behind these types of accidents, and watching the sheer level of anger, nay, rage of the other drivers is simply unbelievable.  After all, they’re important people!  They’ve got important places to be!  Important things to do!  Or some such silly notion of their own self-importance.

So, just in case, I’d like to apologize in advance to all of my fellow drivers in LA.  When I have to swerve around one of you idiots who’s in such a hurry you think of traffic as just one big game of bumper cars, roll my truck on its roof and get crushed by, oh, say a jackknifing milk-carrying semi (which then, in true Simpsons style, explodes!) and you’re delayed and can’t make your facial/botox/fake tan appointment that day, I humbly apologize.  It was never my intention for my inconvenient death to put such a damper on your day.

There.  I feel much better now.

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