I was first in a long line yesterday. I've been first in line at movie premieres and at Apple Store events (including the release of Tiger), but never in a line like this one. It was a freeway backup! In the early evening yesterday, I was driving westbound on one of the busiest freeways in Los Angeles, the Ventura (101) Freeway, with Mrs. Q. We were going to visit some friends. In the area called Agoura Hills, a police car up ahead of us started moving back and forth across the center few lanes, which is the way they get traffic to stop. A few cars passed the police car (and got away with it) but the rest of us stopped. I ended up first in line in the fast lane! There had been some kind of accident in one of the righthand lanes, and ambulances and a firetruck and other police cars went past us on the shoulders, sirens on, to reach the area in front of us. We ended up at the head of a huge line of cars that backed up behind us for miles, and must have delayed thousands of people going home from work. We couldn't see what kind of accident it was, and in fact (this is the oddest part) we saw no other cars or people or anything damaged - just police cars and the emergency vehicles. We hoped nobody was seriously hurt. Maybe they had already towed the damaged car(s) away? Maybe somebody had walked onto the freeway? Maybe they were catching a bear that escaped from a zoo? We couldn't tell. One fellow near us had a police scanner and was trying to listen in to learn what was going on, but he didn't figure it out. Meanwhile, they stopped the eastbound traffic on the other side of the center divider as well. We couldn't imagine why they had to shut down the whole freeway when the activity was all in the right two lanes going westbound. Then we figured out why - a helicopter, which we had at first thought was from a TV news station, was landing on the freeway. We assumed it was for a medical evacuation. It was hot, and we had turned off our engines after the first few minutes, so we had gotten out of our cars. We stood there and watched as the chopper landed right in front of us! It was surreal to be standing on a Los Angeles freeway, in the fast lane, at rush hour, with no cars moving in either direction. Almost everyone was friendly and chatting with each other about how late they were going to be for wherever they were going. Something else a little eerie: A TV show we like, called The Dead Zone, had had its season premiere on Sunday, and the story was about a huge traffic jam where all the action took place among the people wandering around on the road or standing next to their stopped cars. We couldn't see any stretchers being loaded into the helicopter (perhaps they loaded from the far side), but it eventually took off again and the police opened the freeway again. We were stopped about 30 minutes total and we never did see any sign of what actually happened, even as we drove by. Traffic was certainly smooth after we got to drive again, since we were the first car in our lane and there were no cars ahead of us for as far as the eye could see. It probably took hours for the backed up traffic to totally clear. This last bit of the story made me laugh: After 30 minutes stopped dead, when the police finally waved to us to proceed, we got back in the car to take off. But before I could even put the car in gear, the car behind me honked at me to hurry up. That's an L.A. driver for you! Today I saw nothing about this traffic "incident" in the newspaper or in my usual news sources online. If anybody knows anything more about what happened there, please tell me. Google map of the area where we stopped, just east Reyes Adobe Park.