This, I believe. By The American Mastodon.
I believe that one day, in the near future, a nuclear bomb or massive earthquake will destroy large parts of Los Angeles. I believe that when this happens, the greatest danger will not be radiation poisoning, broken infrastructure, or aftershocks; rather, it will be my fellow man. I believe that I have a sound plan for escaping the city, which I will outline below.
First of all, when the bomb goes off, or the ground shakes and the wooden houses built on hillsides buckle and slide into the hundreds of canyons north of the city, I won't panic. While the people around me scream, hurriedly pull out their cell phones (which will be inoperable) to call loved ones, and run for their cars, I'll be calm; relaxed. If one were able to witness me, moments after the disaster, they would see a man of resolute determination and utter calm, whispering softly to himself - It's go time.
The first thing I would do is grab a bag that would fit nicely on my back, or could be slung over a shoulder, and large enough to store a comfortable number of foodstuffs and necessities. I would head to the nearest grocer and loot the shit out of the place. That is, if it were closed. If it were still open, I would obviously pay for the various items needed after a large-scale disaster: water, granola bars, dried fruit, canned meat, ibuprofen: these sorts of things. If it weren't open, I would have little recourse but to throw a rock or some sort of large, heavy object through the storefront window and find for myself the necessary items, which I would place in my bag.
The next thing I would do is steal a bike. I would hope to find one in the various alleys in Santa Monica, where I live. If I could not, I would resort to finding a person on a bike, flagging them down, and jumping them; wrestling them or pushing them off of their bike and riding off quickly. Ultimately, there is a bike shop nearby and I would make my way there and steal a bike if I could not find one by other means. The search for a quality bike would be, at this early stage, my most important objective, for having a bike is the most assured way of exiting the city quickly. You may naturally ask, "why not just get a bike now?" but that is a really silly question, because what if the bomb goes off while I'm having lunch somewhere? Or if I'm playing basketball in a park? The fact of the matter is that I must be prepared to loot food and steal a bike in the event of a large scale disaster, and I am. This I believe.
Many people will be trying to leave the city by car, which is pure folly. First of all, good luck traveling east - that is either where the bomb has been detonated or where the most damage has been done by the earthquake. That leaves escape routes to the north and to the south. Going south is perilous, because the Long Beach harbor could easily be attacked (or was the source of the original nuclear attack), and various brown people live south of the city. Though I appreciate their hip-hop music and delicious Mexican dinners, they are not the kind of people that you want coming up to your parked car as it sits in the middle of miles of standing traffic on the 405. Going north is a safer bet, but the fact remains: every person in LA has a car and every person will be in one going north. This does not bode well for expedient travel time. Gas stations, one has to assume, will be inoperable, and cars that run out of gas will have to be pushed out of roadways in order for more mobile cars to pass. Do you see where I'm going with this? I will average 10 mph on my bike, while the people in cars will sit in their minivans and Acuras, freaking out because 2 million people are trying to get to Simi Valley by way of Sherman Oaks.
And as they sit in their cars, frightened for their futures and the future of America, I will be on (someone's) bike making my way up the PCH toward Malibu and beyond. If I notice something particulary nefarious (say, an invading Chinese Navy), then I will work my way inland through the canyons of Topanga. Once I get north of Pacific Palisades, I won't be overly worried. Sure, the PCH will be a parking lot, but I'll be flying by them on my bike. I may even use the beach bike path. I'll just play it by ear, you know? It is also possible that frustrated motorists will attempt to jump me on my newly acquired bike. I'm not sure what to do about this fact, but I may have to take back roads, or I may have to purchase a gun. I'm leaning toward the gun idea.
Ultimately, once I'm out of immediate harm, the objective is to make it to Oxnard. Once there, refugee camps should be set up and I'll be able to contemplate how best to return to the city, if ever.
I could go into greater detail and outline a specific route that will get me to the PCH (Sunset seems the safest bet at this point), but suffice it say that revealing any more will only show you my hand, and when the time comes, assholes, it's not about us against them. It's about you against me.
This I believe.