Mitt Romney once defensively said: "Corporations are people my friend!" In his robotic stance against some 99 percent-ers rallying against him, he was wrong. But I'd like to offer my own version, especially living in Los Angeles, where we reside in our cars (not in our homes) most of the day. It goes like this: "Cars are people, mi amigo!" So true! Driving's one of the most routine practices amongst Angelinos. Who's behind the wheel, why's this vehicle is their choice of car and what's the varying lifestyles and habits surrounding these vehicle owners make the car itself personified.
The guide below provides this understanding (or warning!), helping locals understand what cars to completely avoid driving behind if you're in a hurry, or who you've got to keep a close eye on as a potential date! We all differ, yet drive alongside each other in that bubble known as our car. Please don't feel insulted if my harshness toward your car fits into an embarrassing revelation. It's only a stereotype! Today in LA, the Audi brand -- once considered classier and less POP amongst the majority -- is unfortunately becoming the new BMW, while nowadays, even celebrities proudly pull up to movie premieres, award shows and other exclusive galas in their Prius before walking onto the red carpet. Below are my stereotypes of eight different cars' distinctive personalities based on eight stereotypical, fictional Angelinos behind the wheel. Red, amber... GO!
Speakers oozing: Amy Winehouse, Best Coast, Diplo, Julia Holter, Lana Del Rey, or Fleetwood Mac
About to grub @: any Whole Foods Market; pick up groceries at Trader Joe's; dine in at Café Gratitude
Passionate 'bout: Obama in '08 but Obama Kush in '13, liberalism, Amy Goodman, the next vacation, socializing, exercising/working out, yoga, texting, sustainability, TOMS, quality coffee (not at Starbucks!), NPR, KCRW, PBS, Hulu, etc.
Driving skills are: mediocre or average, drives at a slower pace than most; seems to think everyone's driving way too aggressive and looks at anyone passing them like, "Whatever, I'm smarter because I save way more gas than you, prick!"
Similar to: Nissan Leaf
BMW 3 Series
Speakers oozing: Kaskade, Tiesto, Beyonce & Jay-Z, T.I., LMFAO, Pitbull or Drake
About to grub @: Newsroom Café on Robertson; skip the groceries and dine at Umami Burger
Passionate 'bout: his/her car, iPhone and iPad (most updated versions, of course), Lakers, clubbing, sexting, high-priced new kicks/handbags, his/her personal achievements and the Kardashians!
Driving skills are: superior, unnecessarily speedier than most; seems to think everyone's driving way too slow; hardly signals by using their indicator light yet changes lanes frequently and looks at everyone like, "I'm in my BMW -- I don't care about what you're driving, I'm in a BMW, bytch!"
Similar to: Ducati Superbike
Minivan (all types)
Speakers oozing: What speakers? Los Lobos, Kenny G, AM Radio, Brian McKnight, FM Radio, or Kelly Clarkson
About to grub @: the park; pick up groceries at Costco or dine at McDonald's or Del Taco or Jack In The Box or Burger King or Taco Bell or... you get the point!
Passionate 'bout: family activities, grandkids, the next vacation (road trip style!), casinos, the next BBQ, Xmas, Easter, bargains/sales/coupons, a pay raise after working multiple years without any, and weddings 'cause it's the only chance to get out dancing
Driving skills are: below average, at a slower pace than most; has a lot going on in their vehicle aka managing kids; changes lanes at the last minute; misses exits frequently and looks at anyone passing them like, "What'd I do wrong this time?"
Similar to: minivans!
Speakers oozing: Barry White, Bob Sinclar, Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Rick Ross, Kanye West or Bach
About to grub @: Chateau Marmont; giving instructions to the personal chef on groceries to pick up; or dine at Fig & Olive
Passionate 'bout: not just the Bentley (but the Range and Porche!), new investments, private club, golf, purchasing power (that applies to people, too!), upcoming fundraisers, vacations in the Seychelles, and options, options, options!
Driving skills are: above average, never in a rush, but might push that peddle to the metal after a few cocktails; seems to think everyone's looking at him/her; makes signals by using their indicator-light only when he/she feels to; can't wait to valet -- always thinking (in rhyme), "This is the best part about having this car, everyone knows I'm living like a star!"
Similar to: Mercedes Benz G-Class
Speakers oozing: Nas, Tennis, The Cult, Mumford & Sons, Estelle, The Weeknd or Florence & The Machine
About to grub @: Whole Foods (in Venice), picking up the groceries there too because of the hectic schedule; skips dining and instead meets up with friends for drinks at The Dime
Passionate 'bout: Barack in '08, more impressed with Michelle Obama in '12; hating on the GOP; the next vacation is piggybacked with work travel; Pilates, multiple-dating (both genders), fashion shopping, photography, fashion blogs, puppies/small dogs, dog parks
Driving skills are: very good, drives at a regular pace unless late for that work appointment; seems to think that even though other, more expensive cars are affordable, this is the right car to fit the lifestyle she/he lives; everyone's way too stressed-out driving and feels like being behind the wheel of a million bucks can't buy happiness.
Similar to: Audi A3
Speakers oozing: Pink, FM Radio, AM Radio, Taylor Swift, Ryan Seacrest, Rick Dees, or traffic info
About to grub @: Fat Burger; pick up groceries at Ralph's or dine at Chipotle
Passionate 'bout: working for others, whatever you want me to be passionate about, books, tabloid magazines, board games, gambling, what vacation?, the downfall of others (especially the rich and famous), TV, random reality shows, 711 Stores, Blockbuster (what's Netflix?), meaningful friends and American opportunity
Driving skills are: horrendous, drives at a pace that makes you anticipate an accident is about to happen; can't think or maneuver according to basic daily driving deviations or circumstances on the cuff; reacts after everyone's already reacted; driving seems to be like figuring out a Rubik's Cube or crossword puzzle and looks at the people overtaking (usually beeping their horn in scorn!) like, "You're like the 10th person to blow me -- okay, okay, I get it I can't drive!"
Similar to: Hyundai Elantra
Audi A4 or A6
Speakers oozing: Daughtry, Erykah Badu, David Guetta, Bruno Mars, Enrique Iglesias, Adam Levine, or Alicia Keys
About to grub @: California Chicken Cafe, pick up groceries at Trader Joe's, grab quick lunch at Whole Foods, Ralph's or dine at Koi
Passionate 'bout: Bush in '04, Obama in '08 but toyed a bit with Romney in '12; financial planning; climbing the work ladder; NFL; wines; visiting the Napa Valley; finding a wife/husband and starting a family; red carpet events such as the Golden Globes, Oscar's, Grammy's, etc.; and Netflix -- movies, movies, movies!
Driving skills are: above average, used to drive as a good example to others but recently since switching from the expired BMW lease, thinks the Audi doesn't need to give signals too; seems to think everyone's driving to overtake so he/she pushes on the gas harder to make sure they don't; truly believes "I'm a leader" (but is really an expert in being a closet-follower)
Similar to: BMW 5 Series
Speakers oozing: Dave Mathews Band, Coldplay, James Brown, Bruce Springstein, or Bob Marley
About to grub @: home, pick up groceries at Erewhon or dine-in at Inn Of The Seventh Ray
Passionate 'bout: anything that begins with the words "grass-fed" or "biodegradable" or "organic"; hiking, skiing; daily dog duties; coffee (just get me any kind!); locally brewed beer; farmers markets and outdoors; a nature lover!
Driving skills are: above average, drives at the right pace and safer than most; always aware of their surroundings; perfect reflexes; seems to think most Angelinos drive way too selfishly; doesn't care about anyone passing them because they're truly happy within (their car, of course)
Similar to: VW Passat/Jetta Wagon/Golf