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The Sunny Side of Strife

October 06, 2002

Let us celebrate the silver lining in the painfully serious West Coast waterfront shipping lockout--fewer giant big rigs on the freeways. Sure, scores of ships squat idly outside nearly 30 ports waiting to unload countless tons of cargo. Yes, we're told the shipping dispute has cost the nation $1 billion a day in unloaded baseball caps and running shoes and unshipped lettuce. So forego running to eat salad awhile. Those estimates come from economists, confident that no one else is counting. So, let's lock those economists out of their nerdy little offices. Have them sit behind a smoking truck hauling a rusty container and read the "Caution Wide Turn" signs over and over.

Some estimates (there they go again) say about 34,000 truck trips have not been made daily in south Los Angeles County because of the lockout. If we could prolong the work stoppage until 2020, that would be, what, 92,000 estimated truck trips not made daily? Imagine the congestion and smoke avoided.

While we're at it, let's spread the work stoppage benefits to northern Los Angeles County. Every other resident there seems to change addresses each month. Moving-company truck drivers and Ryder rental clerks could go on strike to help out, plus the drivers of UPS, the Postal Service and FedEx, those sheriff's buses and all the open landscapers' trucks that drive around while their loads of trees grow up.

Drivers of SUVs pulling boats ought to be locked out; there's plenty of parking space offshore among the idled ships. While we're at it, let's have an enduring strike by motorcyclists who dart between stopped cars and the folks who make those precious license plate holders proclaiming what their drivers would rather be doing--hiking, cycling, skydiving. We'd rather they be doing that too. So go do it.

Let the New York Yankees be angels and strike to protest actually having to play games to reach the World Series. Judging by the number of checkout aisles never open in crowded groceries, discount stores and banks, their checkers and tellers are already on strike. We also could use a chat stoppage by people who insist on having private cell phone conversations in public; we don't care what their doctor said.

Speaking of chat, chipper morning show hosts and really jolly weather forecasters need a lockout, as do moviegoers who can wait in the concession line 14 interminable minutes but still need to ponder their choices at the counter. While waiting in this line, we're wondering why popcorn and a drink that's much more ice than drink now cost more than the movie ticket itself.

Let's walk!

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