Paul Vercammen is a senior producer at CNN and a graduate of the University of Southern California who has endured the 405 mania off and on for three decades.
Los Angeles (CNN) -- My rosary-packing mom taught me not to say that four-letter word that begins with "h," not talking about hell but hate.
But she forbids lying, too, so I am going to be straight -- I HATE driving on the 405 Freeway.
I avoid the 405 like poison oak, or wild-eyed people you randomly meet on story shoots who want you to pitch their product.
The 405 is a time bandit, a concrete thief that steals hours as you take agonizing drives in awful traffic.
l live in the San Fernando Valley, but the 405 is a mandatory evil for times when I must head to LAX for CNN trips or vacation.
I tolerate the 405 by blasting the radio or stopping at Tito's Tacos in Culver City like it's some oasis.
The only thing more horrendous than the 405 is the 405 in rush hour. The only thing more horrendous than the 405 in rush hour is the 405 in rush hour during an accident. The only thing worse than the 405 in rush hour during an accident is to throw in construction.
The 405 defines relationships. A budding romance might wilt under pressure of having to drive or cross the 405 for a rendezvous. True friends will endure the 405's whims. The 405 tests commitment -- to work, athletic teams and even family.
My relatives who are clustered up the 101 Freeway in Solvang and points beyond fortunately have zero reason to drive the 405 to get to my house, But to them, the 405 is a barrier they still must navigate in Encino, like the Alps, or the Straits of Magellan.
During "Carmageddon" I will test whether it's faster to fly from Burbank to Long Beach via JetBlue or just drive it.
I will win this contest because it takes time to board a plane, and I can mainly avoid the 405. I'll slip around and past it, using the almost as heinous Interstate 5 and the 710 to get to Long Beach. The 405 is almost completely out of range as I maneuver far away from its reach, as if I'm dodging English archers.
But for all my abject hate for the 405, I want this billion-dollar HOV lane, improvement and overhaul to work.
I am rooting for the pain to be eased by new lanes, bridges, on ramps, off ramps interchanges and attitude.