Los Angeles, that sprawling, neon-saturated beast at the edge of the Pacific, is a place where sanity takes a backseat and chaos rides shotgun. So there I was, burning rubber down Sunset Boulevard, the smell of marijuana wafting through the air, a weird mesh of top-dollar mansions and dollar taco stands. The Hollywood sign, those mammoth letters like gravestones on a hill, always in the periphery, watching over the madness.
Earlier today, as I unleashed my customary greeting to riders who dared to step into my rolling sanctuary, “Welcome to the party, Uber. The only rule is there are no rules,” I felt like a pirate captain inviting lost souls onto his ship, steering through the chaotic sea of LA traffic. It always drew a smirk or a chuckle. This city, filled with hopeful actors and weary dreamers, seemed to appreciate a hint of anarchy.
But this evening, the mescaline-flavored haze of the City of Angels took a dark turn. The Griffith Observatory had just vanished from my rear-view when a passenger left behind a scene that seemed conjured straight from Dante’s Inferno. It was a horror show, the likes of which no one should be forced to witness, especially not in a space that’s been my trusty steed through the gridlocks and palm tree-lined roads.
Rumblings from the underbelly of the Uber underworld spoke of a few hundred dollar compensations for certain unsavory experiences. But this? This was a torrent of disgust that transcended the very definition of ‘unsavory.’ I was no rookie, but my naivety shimmered for a moment, wondering if any seasoned Uber desperado out there might have some guidance on seeking justice for the wreckage caused by such hedonistic fiends.
I really should have known by the rumblings emanating from the back seat of my Prius that something was off; something vile was about to rear its ugly head and roar.
Though I’ve danced with the devil under the pale moonlight and navigated the dingy alleyways of Venice Beach after midnight, some obscenities still shake my very core. My vehicle, this steel stallion, is no dumping ground for the debauchery of a city’s wild inhabitants. My off-beat invite may have sparked the chaos, but hell, retribution is in order.
Now, as the lights of the Santa Monica pier gleam in the distance, I find myself hammering away at this tale in my now stale steed. Maybe it’s the sheer delirium of it all, or perhaps it’s just LA. In this sun-baked town, where dreams float like smog and unpredictability is the norm, maybe I should’ve seen it coming. The world’s on a wild trip, and damn it, it’s spiraling crazier by the minute.