When I first came to this country I could scarcely drive. Coming from Europe, driving was seldom required and one might say impractical. All the same, I had somehow passed my test, and in the beginning drove in Los Angeles on my international license.
I purchased a VW Beetle, an old one, which I loved. I had learnt to drive on a stick but it had been sometime since I had actually changed gears. What a mess! It would take me about five, sweat inducing minutes to travel but a hundreds meters. The stalling! The complete lack of comprehension of how to master the vehicle coupled with no idea of what is expected from a CA motorist. The streets were so large. I would stall in the middle of massive intersections, and at the top of the steepest inclines (think La Cienega & Sunset Blvd) in a serious panic.
If one invited me to dinner at ones home say, and the directions included changing freeways (think the 10 to the 110 or 405) I would simply decline the invitation explaining to my host or hostess that it would be impossible for me to make it to their soiree, as motorists on the freeways here do not permit me to change lanes.
“But Bali one simply has to “get in” they would exclaim baffled.
My other foreign friends without cars would beg a ride when they found out I had wheels. Naturally, I was always happy to be of service, omitting to reveal that I was a complete novice motorist, and they’d be better off and perhaps reach their destination sooner on foot.
Time passed, and my driving skills improved. Soon I was zipping around town with ease. I even drove with two Swiss/Italian friends to Mexico for ten days, and the car purred along like a champ. I should mention; however, that I caused a spectacular traffic jam on the 405 on the way home. So eager to leave Tijuana, we forgot to stop for gas—need I say more.
Today, we here in Los Angeles are becoming more intelligent with regards to traversing the town: bus, Uber, bicycle, metro or walk—my favourite.
Make it what you will. Accept the invitation and “get there!”