Heating Up: LA Freeway Tension … or Pretension?

How one little word can cause highway hysteria.

In a place so filled with out-of-staters and expats, when are you truly considered an LA resident? Some say it takes at least five years to admit liking the place. We say you're home when you've embraced the traffic. But not just the Sig alerts, the cell-phone swerving, the inevitable rusted Toyota mini pickup piled sky-high with construction scraps. When you start referring to freeways as landmarks preceded by pronouns -- "The 5," "The 101 North" -- yep, you're done.

So divisive is this issue, the LA Times wrote a whole piece on it with some surprisingly vociferous opinions. To "the" or not to "the...." That is the question.

Pretentious? Maybe. Even our freeway-proud restaurants are pronoun pushers. So do as Angelenos do and mull it over lattes and egg-white scramble at The 101 Coffee Shop. Or fuel up for a surf at the oceanside 101 Cafe. No charge for the extra pronoun.

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