AROUND HOME : Traffic Schools

WHERE IS the place you are most likely to find yourself nibbling pizza in the company of a TV commercial magnate, the head of development for a well-known production company, a handsome actor and a twice-as-handsome screenwriter? Spago would be a good guess--but would you believe traffic school?

In the course of going places, one may occasionally break or at least bend the rules of the road. Rather than paying your insurance company extra for the next decade, you might choose to attend traffic school. In the old days, after that decision was made, you would have to wait for the list of traffic schools from the Department of Motor Vehicles to arrive, and then you would have to make the uneasy choice of venue. This is the case no longer. The 1980s advent of the traffic school at which the required material is presented in a less deadly, even comedic, manner has made the choices more palatable.

At the World Famous Improvisation Traffic Violator School held at the world famous Improv on Melrose Ave., classes are headed by improvisational comedians. For instance, at one class, Steve Verret, a young Cajun entertainer, interspersed the law with fun, games and stories about his uncle back in Louisiana. Violators were encouraged to bring food for the homeless and, for the group, treats--which ended up being mostly chips and store-bought cookies. Verret provided pizza at break. Written and oral testing proved that the students had, indeed, learned their lessons. One student, a real estate salesman and speeder, had such a good time that he exclaimed, "I've got to get some more tickets!"

The fare is much more upscale across town at the Traffic School for Chocohalics on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Classes are also held at the Robin Rose Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop in Venice with ice cream and chocolates included in the traffic school package.

All of the mentioned traffic schools are approved by the State of California, cost less than $30 and appear on the current Department of Motor Vehicles certified list. Other unusual traffic schools in Southern California include:

Lunch N' Learn at Fine Restaurants: Quails Inn, San Marcos, and the Reef Restaurant, Long Beach; dine while you digest the good driver's manual.

Comedy--Magic Traffic School: Meets at various locations in Southern California including Santa Ana, Granada Hills, Santa Monica, Long Beach, Cerritos, Beverly Hills, Canoga Park. Comedian-magician instructors.

L.A. Singles Traffic School: 50 locations (Newport to San Francisco) including Cerritos, Pasadena, Glendale and Torrance; sessions include mixers--two marriages are said to have resulted.

California Film & Movie Fun & Laffs 2 Traffic School: More than 100 locations from San Francisco to San Diego; comedian instructors show you the way with funny films.

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