Tuesday, July 6, 2010

28. Exit

I'm not from here. Let the record show that I didn't grow up here, with Crazy Town's quaint and chaotic ways, but instead I'm from that bastion of normalcy--that's right: L.A.

I'm not going to tell you that the beach is better in L.A. (although it is) or that the weather's better in L.A. (although it is); no. I'm going to tell you that even though L.A. gets a bad rap for their freeways and horrendous traffic, at least they have a system that makes sense.

I'm referring here to the misuse of the word "EXIT." Webster's defines "EXIT" as "a going out; departure; a way out; to leave a place; to get the hell out of a burning plane or movie theater." As Webster is my hero, I, too, define "EXIT" as above.

This is why I cannot understand how on the East Coast when you are attempting to merge onto one freeway from another and the sign says "EXIT"! How can that be? What am I missing here? I want to get on the new freeway, so shouldn't that be called an "ENTRANCE" or better yet, simply an "On Ramp?" No. The-People-That-Make-Confusing-Freeway-Signs have determined that any road that connects on or off a freeway shall be called an "EXIT". The freeway shall be equal-opportunity, and not discriminate (even though the driver is getting on and not off the freeway).

"Oh, silly semantics!" says the Counsel-Of-All-Things-Freeway, "We get a discount from the sign factory if all the signs just say 'EXIT' on them. Plus, it is easier to move them around later if need be-- they're interchangeable!"

Picture the scene. In a rare and quiet moment of driving bliss (obviously either the kids are at school or passed out in the back) The Husband and I are looking for our freeway ENTRANCE. I am the one driving (now we know this is fiction). I miss the area completely because it says merely "EXIT 62" or something equally benign. I am not trying to leave, I am trying to get on. OK, I am irritated. I just wasted 15 minutes from passing the schizophrenic EXIT/ENTRANCE and now I have to turn around and try again.

The Husband is fuming. We have lived here over five years now, shouldn't I "get it" by now? (The answer is no. My driving/ navigational skills are only surpassed by my cooking skills-- see previous blog.) I do a screeching U-turn just in time to see the workers setting up cones for some freeway maintenance. And what is that there, that they just put up?

A sign, like a beacon: "THIS EXIT CLOSED."

("Missing Obvious Vectors")

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