Thursday, September 13, 2007

a thing


Doc Nagel's Top 100 Things

73. Quick, uneventful drives to LA. I just love 'em. They don't happen often. The last couple of times down we hit intensely ugly, rotten, evil traffic.

Of course, LA is renowned for bad traffic, but this is actually a bit erroneous. Yes, the traffic is bad, but the key is that traffic in LA is different than in other places. It reaches a critical mass and begins a fusion reaction that not only causes temperature spikes (once you come to a dead stop in, say, the San Fernando Valley, right where I-210 splits off for Pasadena, it's suddenly 10 degrees hotter than it was a moment ago), but also melts roads, so that optional routes actually disappear!

Today, however, we left at 8 am, and arrived at Lauren's family's place at a quarter to 1. 326 miles, 4 3/4 hours. We only came to a dead halt once, because a CHP car was zigzagging across the lanes to halt traffic in order to pick up debris. Thanks! And the motorcyclist and his teeny tiny itty bitty girlfriend clinging to his back, weaving around cars in and out of the carpool lane, didn't get run over by lumbering SUVs.

72. Bagels with cream cheese. I just love 'em. We had bagels for breakfast before hitting the road.

My favorite bagel ever came from a closet-sized coffee shop in Dupont Circle in Washington. I was there for the American Philosophical Association meeting at the Washington Hilton (outside of which Reagan was shot), but I was staying with my friend Doug in Alexandria. They left for work earlier than God, so I was dumped at the metro station and took what must have been the first train of the day into the city. I was exhausted from the long journey to DC the previous day, in a diesel VW Rabbit (top speed: 52.2 mph), and I was hungry, cold, and in pain (cheap wingtips). I stepped in, and bought a 12 ounce coffee and a bagel with cream cheese from the possibly Syrian proprietor. The bagel came lightly toasted, the two halves pressed together sandwich-like around 3/4 inch of cream cheese, and cut in two, wrapped in waxed paper. Fantabulous. Perfect. Exactly what the situation called for.

1 comment:

Bobo the Wandering Pallbearer said...

Somewhat ironically, the worst bagel I ever had was in New York City, specifically at a little shop in the East Village. It was stale, it was hard as a rock, and it was clearly from the day before. I didn't complain-- I don't complain, usually-- but when one of my companions did complain, the owner, probably Scots-Irish by descent, gave her a look that very clearly said "It's your own fault, tourist."