I tell it “get off the highway”, so my global positioning system guides me away from the deadly clusterfuck of the 405 and toward the southern mountains. I drive through Malibu on the way to LAX for the first time, two hours ago. I bolt south on the two-lane Pacific Coast Highway at the maximum possible speed, BMWs and Volvos flanking me like bees or Gestapo agents. Tony two-story houses perch precariously on the crumbling Malibu cliffs. Touristy restaurants straight out of 1953 beckon and shine. Movie studios — or, at least, pricey marble-covered front offices with names that end in “studios” — meditate upon the black Pacific waters.
In my West Virginia redneck mind, Malibu is a theoretical container for diamonds and movie stars and Barbie. Malibu does not really exist as a town or an entity. But I get it now! Malibu is to Los Angeles as Half Moon Bay is to San Francisco.
In one large motion, I return the rented SUV and bolt to the ticket counter at LAX, hoping that my shortcut will allow me to make my flight home. No dice ? I miss the flight by two minutes. Now I’m surrounded by businessmen who all look exactly like me, all peering into their laptop crystal balls, all waiting to be somewhere else.