Wednesday, May 21, 2008

May Or May Not - A Month Of Militancy, Part 3: Drive Like The Militant!

Throughout the Militant Angeleno's 11-month blog journey, he's put an extremely disproportionate amount of subject matter on riding his bicycle, leading many, especially those in the bike community, to assume he's another "bike blogger." Well, kinda sorta. Again, the Militant reiterates that he is not necessarily pro-bike or anti-car, he uses and celebrates all modes of transport (though he's yet to take to horseback, maybe the LA Cowboy can led some pointers). So this time around, the Militant will share with you his driving tips and techniques.

1. Drive Less - Well duh. It's the latest craze sweeping the nation! So what's the point of driving less when you own a car? Simple economics. You'll spend less money on gas and maintenance (due to less wear-and tear on your car both inside and out). Driving less also decreases the likelihood of you getting in an accident which in turn potentially lowers your insurance costs. And when you do drive, and hopefully not when everyone else is, your driving experience will be less chore and more of the recreational pleasure it was originally meant to be. Be like the Militant and take advantage of every mode of transportation available to you: walking, bicycle, bus, train, razor scooter, rollerblade, skateboard, Segway, pogo stick, whatever. Map out where you live and set a radius on how far you should walk, or take transit or use other modes. Beyond that distance, only then would driving would be allowed. Since the Militant adopted this system, he now only fills his tank every 2-3 weeks.

2. Drive Only During Longer Trips - The Militant has a 10-mile rule: The car, as much as possible, is to be used only for trips exceeding 10 miles. The internal combustion engine is most effective when going for long, uninterrupted trips, and not when you constantly make cold stops and starts, which is why you use up way more gas when making 285 miles of trips around town than heading straight to Vegas (but not on a Friday evening when the 15 is just as congested).

3. Cheap Gas? It May Not Or May Be Worth It - That $2.49 gas out in La Freaking Habra that you heard about on KFWB sounds awfully tempting. But is the drive from Hollywood really worth it? You're gonna waste more gas getting there than recouping your savings. The Militant advises you to fuel up at the cheapest gas station within a 2-mile radius of your home or workplace, as you're really not gonna save anything in the end.

4. Zen and The Art of Road Rage - When someone waves to you on the road with 1/5th of their hand, IGNORE THEM! They do that to illicit a reaction from you, usually to get you just as pissed off as they are. So even if you find yourself getting flipped off, avoid eye contact, and even pretend you never saw them. Seriously. Because you don't know them, they don't know you, and it's probably ideal to keep the relationship that way. Because if this escalates into a honking match to a shouting match to "I'm pulling over and getting out of my car and kicking your ass" match or even an accident, you really don't wanna have to see that person again, especially in a courtroom setting. Ignoring someone is worse than openly expressing your dislike towards them -- you are refusing to acknowledge their existence, hence not being worth your while, which makes all their effort into displeasing you a total waste of time. Ignoring people WORKS. After all, the mainstream media does it to non-black minorities all the time.

5. DE-FENSE! (clap, clap) DE-FENSE! (clap, clap) DE-FENSE! (clap, clap) - ALWAYS DRIVE DEFENSIVELY and check your ego at the door. If some cartard insists on getting the right-of-way even though they aren't legally entitled to it. Stop or get out of their way. Again, you really don't want to get to know this person (see above). Treat those kinds of drivers like inanimate objects. If a boulder rolls down on the road in front of you, are you gonna honk your horn at it, roll down your window and drop verbal f-bombs at it and drive towards it, hoping it'll keep rolling out of your way? It's a f-ing boulder. You notice it, react and swerve out of its way, and continue on with your day. Don't let any fools on the road bring down your day.

6. There Is A Season, Turn, Turn, Turn Signals - Once you've decided you want to change lanes, use them. You'll get better value out of your car. After all, your car was built with the assumption that you'd actually use it.

7. Combine Those Trips - If you live in Echo Park, and suddenly decided you want to go to Fry's in Burbank on a Friday night to pick up that limit-one-per-customer widescreen 24" Samsung LED monitor you've been pining for, and then have to visit your sister in North Hollywood on Saturday, um...why not move one activity over and do both on the same trip? You'll save on time, money, hassle and gas. Zipping back and forth around town not only wastes the aforementioned time and gas, but then you're just another fool taking up needless space on the road.

8. Very Be Carpool - It's okay to drive if every seat in your car is full, because you're using your vehicle to its designed capacity. Driving solo in a minivan or a gas-guzzling SUV? Stupid. If you live in Koreatown and your friend in Irvine is having a party at the Dave & Busters out there, and your other friends in North Hollywood, Silver_Lake and Boyle Heights are going to the same party...then you should all get together, meet at one of your houses and roll down together. Again, saves money, saves gas and takes cars off the damn road.

9. American Idle - The Militant did get to carpool with a nearby operative recently on a day trip to San Diego. The Militant suggested the fastest way to SD, as he always does, was to get on the 60 East and take the 15 south - the destination was near the 15 and the 8 in SD anyway. He decided not to, citing that it's gonna use up more gas to get out there, so the operative opted to take the 5 straight down. On a Saturday. So there we were, hitting Los Angeles traffic, hitting the Commerce-to-Cerritos traffic, hitting south Orange County traffic, hitting North SD County traffic. The trip took 3 1/2 hours (Los Angeles to SD via the 15 takes 2 - 2 1/2 hours guaranteed). Moral to the story, you're gonna waste more gas idling in traffic than taking a longer, but faster route.

10. Know Thy Shortcuts! - The Militant's system of local shortcuts, like his identity, is a closely-guarded secret, so he ain't gonna give them away. But if you read this entry, you could easily find The Road Less Traveled for your commutes and find your away around town in a more efficient manner. Most fools stuck on the freeways don't really know this City very well, and only stick to the route familiar to them. So any Militant driver knows that the best way between Downtown and the Valley during Friday evening rush hour is to take the [classified information] to the [classified information], make a left at [classified information] and take [classified information] all the way into Burbank.

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