One of the most inconsiderate things any driver can do is to attempt a standard parallel parking maneuver (i.e., stopping cold and then slowly reversing into a parking spot) on a busy two- or four-lane boulevard. This always forces dozens of others to stop dead and cool their jets while the driver very slowly and always without evident skill backs into the parking space. It always takes them forever. You just want to pull out a Glock and shoot their rear tires.
Don’t most people have power steering these days? The only way to park on a busy street is to ignore what the DMV says and just dart your nose in there and then wiggle around until you’ve got your car more or less parallel to the curb and within 18 inches of it. I would never, ever stop dead on a busy street and effectively say to the people behind me, “Excuse me but I’m going to parallel park now…would you mind stopping and waiting for the next 80 or 90 seconds, and perhaps for the next two minutes? You don’t have anything pressing to do, right?”
If I parallel park I’m out of the driving lane within 5 or 10 seconds and the whole maneuver is complete within 20 or 30 seconds, tops.
The key thing about driving in a major city like Los Angeles, above and beyond observing basic rules of safety, is to never fuck with the flow by getting in people’s way. Yes, sometimes you just have to suck it in and wait and do your breathing exercises. Like when the old Jews in the Fairfax district slowly shuffle across the street with their walkers. I always tell myself “there but for the grace of God” and “they’re doing the best they can.” But I give glares of hate to almost all parallel parkers.
I always take note of the gender and ethnicity of the driver when stuff like this happens, and each and every time I’ve been stuck behind a parallel parker the driver is always female. Why? Because guys are aware of the “never fuck with the flow” rule and would rather go into a concrete parking structure and pay $6 dollars rather than block people.
By the way: I was cruising down Third Street in West Hollywood last night, and out of the wild blue yonder a woman driver just pulled out of a parking lot directly in front of me. I was maybe 75 feet or 90 feet away at the time but going 40 or 45 mph, and if I hadn’t tromped on the brake immediately I would have slammed into her. Did she roll down the window and wave in order to say “sorry…wasn’t looking!” Of course not. She just kept on driving and chatting with some dude who was riding shotgun.
“Defensive driving” means knowing that this kind of thing is going to happen sooner or later and just waiting for it. This is the key to not getting into accidents in this town. You’re going to hit someone if you drive around thinking “here I come…get out of my way!” You have to drive around like Hercule Poirot and say to yourself, “Okay, where are the assholes? They’re out in force so I have to keep a close watch.”