A weird thing happened as I was driving home last Friday night after having dinner at the Smokehouse. It was around 10:30 pm as I drove south on Laurel Canyon Blvd. Honestly? I was feeling a little bit tired. I passed the light at the Laurel Canyon country store as I drove in the right lane, and as I approached the Hollywood Blvd. turnoff I started to ease in the middle lane…hahhnnk!! A guy had driven into my left-rear blind spot. I zipped back into my lane. Shit.
And then the guy pulled ahead of me and veered into my lane and slowed and then came to a sudden stop at an angle, blocking both lanes. At first I thought we was making a U-turn but he just sat there. When I tried going around his left side he veered forward to block me. Oh my god…a raging asshole who wants to go Dodge City on Lauren Canyon Blvd. Three or four cars were stopped behind us. One of them honked.
The road-blocker opened his window and I could see a shaved head — always a sign of trouble. “You wanna settle this?” he yelled. I indicated “naah” with a hand signal. “Are you a fucking asshole?” he yelled. I just said “sorry, man.” “Don’t fucking drive like that!” he yelled. “Okay,” I said. “You hear me?,” he added. Then he barrelled off.
Everyone gets angry when someone almost drives into their lane, but real men suck it in and let it go. Real men swear and forgive. Mr. Clean was basically conveying that he’d felt very scared for a micro-instant and so, being a baby or an alcoholic or just a rage junkie, he became Vernon Wells in The Road Warrior. “Mommy…this bad man almost hit me!” This is what Los Angeles can be late at night. The psychos who sleep until 11 am or noon the next day tend to come out after 10 pm.
Update: Yesterday I mistakenly referred to to the Road Warrior costar Vernon Wells as Vernon Wez. The character he plays in George kennedy’s 1982 film is called “Wez.”