Walter the Car takes a little detour off the main road near Saltdale in the Mojave Desert.

Driving the freeway gives me a nice view of life in the fast lane, as I am always watching people in addition to watching the road.

Around here it seems people are pretty good drivers, except for the occasional speeder who can’t read and thinks the speed limit signs say 90 mph instead of 70.

So, when this young woman barely missed my front left fender as she wove in between the fast lane and mine, I was a bit surprised. So much so that I had to remind myself to close my mouth that had dropped open. She then pulled over to make the exit at Hodge.

“Hodge?” I thought. There is nothing there.

Oh wait, I see why she was trying to get off the freeway, here comes a CHP unit. As she exited, he turned on his lights and got off behind her.

Woo Hooooooo! Yes! Finally they got one who had tried to do me in. Life is sweet. I love the CHP.

It’s been pretty busy between Barstow and Victorville lately. And don’t even mention the traffic down the hill. Going “down the hill,” out of the High Desert, is like a Disney “E” ticket ride — and I do not mean that in a good way. I think the Cajon Pass is rather scary.

Every time I am forced to leave the High Desert, I wonder “who ARE all these people and where are they going?”

It really is quite astounding. I understand the commute hour — people are getting off work and going home. But what about 2 p.m. in the afternoon? Or even 2 o’clock in the morning?

Driving is about the only time I forget that I am trying to be a duck, especially on L.A. freeways. Being a duck means letting things roll off you, like water off a duck’s back. Very zen.

I had to go to a needlepoint store the other day and as usual forgot which way to go when I hit Interstate 10. I was pretty sure my exit was called Tangerine — it had been a long time since I went to this store — and on I drove looking for Tangerine. No street by that name popped up but the song was stuck in my head for days. I finally concluded I was going in the wrong direction.

I figured I would just get off at the next stop and go back. Wrong. The ramp was closed for construction. Ok, the next one then. Ooops, wrong again, more construction. After the third ramp was closed I thought I was in a mad scientist’s test maze in another universe, forced to go on and on until I jumped screaming out of the car leaving it in traffic.

I was very grateful the next off-ramp was open so I could turn around. Back I went looking for the street named after a little orange fruit.

Turns out there is an Orange Street exit and one called Tennessee — guess I put the two together and came up with Tangerine. I wonder why I am allowed out on my own sometimes.

Freeway funnies

Ridin’ along in my automobile — Chuck Berry on the iPod — I saw a trucker putting on lipstick. I could see that in the truck’s side mirror.

What? When I got closer, I saw it was a lady trucker, complete with dangly earrings and newly applied lipstick. Just ‘cause you drive a truck doesn’t mean you can’t be girlie feminine.

Another day I was headed north toward Baker, when an SUV passed me going zoom-zoom in the fast lane. The car, full of young women, was decorated all in pink — pink ribbons and pink plastic penises flapping in the wind. Bacherlorettes headed to Vegas for a pre-wedding party, I suppose. Laughing that hard is dangerous when driving.

Since I started calling myself a duck, friends have been giving me little yellow rubber duckies. I just love them, but they can really be space hogs in a bathtub if you have too many. I particularly like the one with the crown — of course. There always has to be a “leader of the flock.”


  1. Hi Lara,

    I really like that one. What do you do when you have to drive in L.A. or SF?
    We didn’t get to go on any trips this year….bummer
    Take care, Ron

  2. Well done, Lara! I think it’s cool when someone finally puts into words what we are all experiencing to some degree. The last time I was in LA, I kept saying over and over….where are all these people going??? It’s good to hear that I am not alone wondering that…. Be sure to give Walter a kind pat, an occasional bath, and frequent oil changes!
    Cheer, Dee

  3. And there’s Walter. I need to get an update on her.

    Love your tidbits about people watching. Great for a chuckle.


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