My parents were here last week for a visit. They drove out to Las Vegas from Chicago in February for a couple of months and then came to spend a few days with us. My mom wanted to get the oil changed in her Lexus, so I called the local Lexus dealer and asked for the service department. "How much is an oil change?" I asked. "$74.95" was the answer. Um, no. We Midwesterners think a $74.95 oil change better include a pedicure at the very least. So the oil change would wait. We had a lot of fun, went to Santa Monica, the Farmers Market--my new favorite place in L.A.-- and had lunch with a friend of my dad's at Mel's Drive-In, a retro-y diner. I plugged the address into the GPS in my car, and we were off. The friendly voice of the GPS directed us up La Cienega. I could see the street getting steeper as it approached the hills in the distance. Have I ever mentioned that I have a recurring anxiety dream where I'm driving up a hill and it gets steeper and steeper and my car starts rolling backward? Anyway, we are driving up La Cienega and I can see that there is a stop light almost at the top of the hill--just where we have to make a left turn onto Sunset. Of course, I am the first car that is stopped at the light, still headed uphill, having to make a left turn when the light changes. And there is a big truck in back of me. My heart is pounding. My dream has become my reality. The light turns green. I take my foot off the brake and put it on the gas. In the few seconds between those two actions, my car starts to roll backwards a few inches. Now my heart is really pounding. I step on the gas and thankfully, start going forward and make the turn. I hope this lunch is good, because I'm never going back to this place again. My dad's friend gets there and my heart has returned to a semi-normal rhythm. I ask him if all the streets leading to Sunset are that steep. "No," he says, "that's pretty much the worst one. I usually try to avoid that one." Now he tells me.