This week I was forced by work to attend a one day conference in Norwalk, California. Norwalk, just South of Downtown L.A. is part of the giant L.A. mega city, and is right off the 5 Freeway. It was around 7:30am when I found myself merging off of a busy Highway 14 on to a very busy 5 freeway. By 8:15am I was stuck in the middle of a slow moving traffic snarl and what should have been a quick drive, turned in to L.A. morning commuter traffic hell.
Slow stop and go traffic the whole way down the 5 Freeway, people cutting one another off, almost causing accidents, Semi’s weaving in and out of traffic in lanes that they have no business being in. What should have been a 20 or 30 minute drive was well over an hour. Once I reached Cerritos College in Norwalk, I was talking to a local. I asked him about the traffic, he said that it was a normal every day occurrence and that you just got used to it. The guys from San Diego said the same thing.
These are the same people that tell me I am crazy for living in a smaller town out in the middle of the Mojave Desert. “There is nothing there!” “You must always be bored.” “Where do you go shopping?” “It takes forever to get anywhere!”
It’s true, their isn’t much here, it does take at least two hours to get anywhere with any kind of shopping or shows, not much shopping can be done, not much of a variety of restaurants and not a lot to do in the immediate town. However…..It takes me between five and ten minutes to get to work. I pay 750.00 a month for a two story, three bedroom apartment, with a garage. My car insurance is cheaper, my air is cleaner, I can see a breathtaking view of stars at night, I have the Sierra Nevada Mountains just a short distance away, a low crime rate….
Don’t get me wrong, this town isn’t exactly a paradise. The crime rate is going up, but it started going up after the influx of section 8 tenants from the San Bernardino/Riverside area, L.A. area, etc. The lack of food choices in the town isn’t great, and a better choice in food, clothing, and car dealerships would definitely be great. But in the end, that’s all just stuff. The internet can bring you about anything you want anyway.
When I drove back to the desert, I left Norwalk at about 4:00am and the traffic buildup was already starting. Once I merged on to Highway 14 however, I was almost alone on my Northbound trek. I looked at the line of car headlights heading South, bumper to bumper, slow moving. People that drive an hour or two to work an eight hour job, just to drive an hour or two back home, maybe spend a little time with the family and eat dinner, before they have to go to bed to start it all over again.
Me? In that time I have gone to work, gone home, hung out at Starbucks with a good book, comic books or friends, eaten dinner, spent the evening with my fiancé and the girls if she isn’t at work, or playing my XBOX 1 if she is. I might go to Denny’s and hang out while she works. I can go to bed at midnight and still get an easy 6 hours sleep.
People feel sorry for me because I don’t live in a city. I feel sorry for them because they do.