Two men found dead from a car collision with a semi trailer outside a strip club in downtown LA- This could have been the news report summary that accompanied my death.
Luckily I am alive.
How I nearly came to be dead in a rental KIA outside a strippers spruiking their value pricing and lunch buffet, is not as sinister as it sounds.
I was in LA for work and had found myself downtown chasing coffee. I will drive a long way to try a good coffee and Stumptown seemed to be in an area that was so cool that the majority of civilisation hadn't agreed with it yet. It is an area of Downtown LA that is breathtakingly ugly, a sea of concrete that throws up waves of visual vapidity. This area is home only to the homeless. So you can imagine what it would mean if some upstanding young members of the gentry were to meet their end in a place such as this. How it would impact their legacy! Just imagine the confusion of loved ones and the gossip of the ones they didn’t love at all.
The story goes like this. I was in LA for the week, working on a few projects for my employer. Alongside me was my colleague who I will call Jake, as that is what his parents refer to him as and my repeated attempts to get him respond to the much-sassier Miguel seem pointless, as he never responds. I think this is to do with his disliking of the name but sometimes I wonder whether it could be a hearing defect from listening to too many Euro DJ mixes as a moody teen.
We had hired a car to get us around. It was a KIA Sorrento but its value was about four times less than something someone from Sorrento would drive. We had taken on the challenge of driving on the wrong side of the road (in a post-modern society can we really say which side of the road is right?), and up until to this point we were thriving.
We needed to U-turn from the side of road parking place we had taken to collect our coffee hit. Unable to U-turn in such a busy section of bitumen, we preceded up the road and into a side street. I noticed a business on the corner of the side street had an entry driveway that also lead to an exit onto the road we wanted to head down. I turned left and passed through the carpark, which belonged to a place of exotic dance, where empowered women could twirl without care or pants. We also noticed they were promoting a lunchtime buffet to accompany the boobs. After a few choice remarks and chuckles, we proceeded to be on our way down the highway.
But it was not to be.
As I attempted to make a left turn out of the premises, I was blocked by a stream of traffic that was impossible to pass. It was like some evil traffic villain was watching me from a nearby rooftop orchestrating an army of cars to block my every attempt to turn. I maintained my view on the North bound lane, determined to join it. In the process though, I had forgot about the southies.
I soon remembered them though, turning to see a friend of the South bearing down on me in a truck that looked like it was straight out of the Terminator movies. I had instinctually moved into its left lane, Australian-style, and we were about to have a head on collision. I swerved around it even further to the left before pulling into traffic again and joining the right lane. It took me in the right direction, towards freedom (and West Hollywood) and away from a death that would have raised questions. A death that would have looked like two young men died from colliding with a truck outside a cheap downtown LA strippers after enjoying a $12 lunchtime buffet!
Unless you are a Russian mobster or Euro DJ, nobody expects to go out that way. I wouldn't imagine my employer's insurance would pay out on such a claim. That type of incident would have invoked the morality cause, something usually reserved for real pervs. Imagine what our wives would have thought? Our friends and family? The shame!
I told my wife this story and my concerns from how I would have been remembered. Not too concerned, she said she would have worked it out. How I asked?
“I know how bad a driver you can be, plus it was down the road from a good coffee spot,” she said.