Like most people, I got my driver’s license in high school. But unlike most people, I didn’t drive again for the next 30 years.
I spent most of my adult life in New York City, where the only cars I rolled around in were bright yellow and had a ticking meter next to the driver. Occasionally, when I got lucky, I might get a ride in the back seat of a company town car or, even more occasionally and even more luckily, on the back of a Harley. But for the most part, like most New Yorkers, I got around by subway.
Then, a decade ago, I moved to L.A. and suddenly found myself sitting behind a steering wheel. At first, it was a little nerve-racking. To be honest, I was never a particularly good driver, even as a teenager—it was actually a small miracle that I passed my road test. My first car was an ancient, tanker-size Chevy gifted to me by my grandma. A year later, after driving it into the front window of a (closed) kosher deli, I decided I was done with cars. But, it turned out, they weren’t done with me.
My first car was a tanker-size Chevy from my grandma. A year later, I drove it into the front window of a (closed) kosher deli.
Needless to say, my first excursions on the 405 were terrifying. But the more I motored around Los Angeles, the more I felt like a high-school kid again, rediscovering the giddy exhilaration of acceleration, the crazy liberation of being able to go wherever I wanted to go whenever I wanted to go there.
Of course, mostly where I went was from my home to the office, with periodic stops at Whole Foods. But never mind. These days, the time I spend in my Mini is often the most fulfilling and productive of my day, even when I’m stuck in traffic. It’s where I do my best thinking, where I can get away from it all (meaning, you know, other people). It’s where I blast hip-hop and Howard Stern, Nirvana and NPR. Most important, it’s where I learned all about L.A., a sprawling, magical cityscape literally built for drivers.
This month, we’re publishing our first-ever car issue. Given how obsessive Angelenos are about their automobiles, I was surprised to learn that we hadn’t done one before. In our latest issue, you can learn all about the hottest new electric vehicles, how vanity license plates get censored, and which cars and colors are the most (and least) popular among auto buyers, plus—in Tara Weingarten’s cover story—marketing experts and auto aficionados reveal what the car you’re currently tooling around in is telling the world about you. (Believe me, it’s more than you think.)
Once you zip through all that, there are lots of other interesting stops inside our December issue. As L.A.’s bombshell city council scandal continues to make national news, Sam Quinones and Peter Kiefer take a deep dive into the long-festering racial resentments that were exposed on those shocking audiotapes. And on the eve of Rebecca Grossman’s upcoming trial, Jason McGahan speaks to the Hidden Hills socialite who faces life in prison after an alleged drag-racing incident that resulted in the tragic deaths of two young boys.
Elsewhere, you’ll find an essay by Gilmore Girls actress turned author Lauren Graham about L.A.’s other great obsession—boobs; our carefully curated, nine-page holiday gift guide; and a Q&A with the 20-year-old actor who stars as a teenage Steven Spielberg in The Fabelmans, the director’s autobiographical new drama.
So, without further ado, start your engines, take your foot off the break, and go.
Maer Roshan, Editor-in-Chief
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This article appears in the December 2022 issue of Los Angeles magazine