University of Southern California

Student Life Blog

The Greatness of L.A. Traffic

By Mollie Berg Monday, June 16, 2014

Today, I survived my first week interning at Carousel Productions! However, I am generally more surprise/ecstatic that I survived my first week DRIVING to and from Carousel Productions. I just brought my car to school, and although I’ve been driving since I was 16, the Sacramento freeway truly has nothing on the Los Angeles freeway. Personally, I dislike—no despise—the LA freeway, and for the longest time, I have sworn off the possibility of ever living in LA because of the impossibility of driving somewhere around 5 p.m., and not sitting still on the 101 (also, driving in general is not my thing—I much prefer to walk/take the bus). Therefore, I approached the issue of driving to Sherman Oaks from downtown to work every day with a very negative attitude—dreading every moment I would spend stuck behind the wheel scared out of my mind. However, what I realized after my first week, is that like everything else, driving in LA is literally all about experience: practice makes perfect, they always say.

Typical scene on LA Freeway

Typical scene on LA Freeway

And as I was sitting—100 percent stopped, I mean—on the 101 yesterday at 5 p.m., I started thinking about how sometimes, I will be in a good mood and let people into my lane, while other times (especially if it is a big truck) I go, heck no, you’re not getting past me! As someone who loves metaphors and comparing life to weird obscure things, I could not help but think about how college life contains some mighty similarities to driving on the LA freeway. For one, it’s terrifying—like really scary, especially at first when you have no idea what is coming for you. Second, sometimes people are nice, they “let you in,” they invite you to join their club, sorority/fraternity, study group, etc. However, it’s also important to remember that everyone is driving their own path to his or her personal destination, and if they don’t let you in, it’s not a personal thing.

Also yesterday when I was driving (I clearly had an especially long time to contemplate life on the road), I noticed that one car had been behind me in the bumper-to-bumper traffic the whole time. It’s weird, I know, but I couldn’t help but feel a certain connection to the red car that sat with me through 30 minutes in traffic—we dealt with the same crazy drivers, both understood the pain of not moving, and both couldn’t see over the massive bus in front of us. When the car finally left me, I noticed its absence, and I said a little goodbye in my head (okay, so I sound a little crazy…I blame the traffic for that).

But I guess the biggest similarity between this whole college thing and the horrors of the LA traffic, is that while the road is long and sometimes grim (especially at 5 p.m.), in the end, it’s all worth it. I have had an amazing first week at Carousel. I love being around the film world. On Wednesday I got to go to a free preview of “What If”—a new rom com starring Daniel Radcliffe, which was a perfect mix of awkward and cute. Pictures from “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” line the office walls, and I get to read scripts and give my opinions on them. For a film lover it doesn’t get much better than that. (Plus, there’s a ping-pong table if all else fails). So for now, I guess I’ll continue enduring the LA freeway in order to make it to Carousel. Maybe I’ll even make some more red car friends along the road…