The Game of Los Angeles: Smooth Operator

6080 Center Drive, Suite 450, Los Angeles, 90045
6.7 mi – about 9 mins
up to 25 mins in traffic

The cold chill of the leather car seat creeps up my skirt as I slide in clutching the Styrofoam coffee to-go cup. The engine starts with a roar. The buckle gets fastened. I turn on Tom and we find our position.

“Good morning, sugar” he says in a low slow Texan drawl that commands attention while your knees grow weak. “Good morning, handsome” I smile as I press WORK and we pull out.

The road, the morning traffic; the bustling and hustling of the stressed commuters fill the air. I keep alert, but I can’t keep my eyes off of Tom…

After a few minutes of silence, he says “Let’s move over to the left and take exit 49 for H Hughes Pkwy toward Sepulveda Blvd…”


11111 Jefferson Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230
2.3 mi – about 8 mins

I enter the data while listening to the low surrounding hum filling the parking garage. I place the package next to me. Finally I finished those metric reports that measure the company’s current human capital performance in terms of how useful each person is to the success of the business.

“You doin’ alright?”

“Yes, Tom…just a bit exhausted…”

“I understand…make sure that you take that right turn at S Sepulveda Blvd.”


4243 Overland Ave, Culver City, CA 90230-3754
1.6 mi – about 4 mins

“Okay, we are very close. Just Head back south on Jefferson Blvd toward S Sepulveda Blvd.”

“I really could use a glass of red wine…such a rushed time of day – I’m so glad you know where we are heading”

“Sure thing baby. Just turn right at Overland Ave and your Destination will be on the right. Enjoy yourself – you deserve it.”

As I lock the doors and turn away, I already miss him…I wish we could enjoy times like this together: that we could hold hands while we walk towards the restaurant, have him pull out my chair and kiss me softly on the head as I sit down. We could share appetizers and joke with the waiter…but at least he takes good care of me…


6080 Center Drive, Suite 450, Los Angeles, CA 90045
3.4 mi – about 8 mins

Satisfied and filled with delicious French cuisine, I head back to Tom.

“Ahhh… that was so good!”

Time to get serious – the reviews are being held in about an hour.


10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024
7.6 mi – about 9 mins
up to 45 mins in traffic

end of the day, sliding back onto my car seat. It has been a rough day filled with interviews and evaluations of human capital, such as:

‘shy, nervous, non-engaging, and unable to formulate critical questions – would never last at Phase One Communications.’

Time to relax and unwind. Tom is leading me through the clogged streets. The morning commute frenzy in reverse. “Stay to the left and merge onto the ramp for I-405 N”

And we are stuck. Stuck in the never-ending sea of cars packed into the six lanes of the I-405. It is stop and crawl. The joke is that this is called the 405 because you go either 4 or 5 mi. It is known to be the immediate driving trap, I wonder why Tom would even think to go this way?

“Baby, it is the shortest way. Don’t worry, you will get there in time.”

Amazing. We have crept along barely 1 mile in 6 minutes. The soothing sounds of southern California fill the car. And I’m slowly going crazy. Rows upon rows of cars and no end in sight. I stretch my neck as we roll up to a quasi-hill just to see the same sight as far as I am able to see. I panic. Isn’t there a shorter route? Where are we?! I see a sign for Venice…Italy? …Can’t be.

“Sorry honey, but this is the best I can do.”

Gokivo was so much better at dealing with these situations and finding alternate routes. But then again, he didn’t understand me like Tom does…

Calm down. Just listen to the Beach Boys.


1759 Beloit Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90025
1.5 mi – about 4 mins

We arrive and of course we are an hour too late.

“We are here. Destination is on…”

Deep breath.

“Nevermind, Tom. Just take me HOME”


Ariane Roesch
October, 2009