Sunday, January 16, 2011

We Can Drive It Home...With One Headlight.

Yesterday evening, I met Rish at the theater, and we saw that Harrison Ford movie Morning Glory. Rish never misses a Harrison Ford film, and this one had the added benefit of having the dreamy Rachel McAdams in it.

It was a pretty good film. Plenty entertaining, and even the fact that I work in the news business didn't ruin it. Usually, knowing the business that is being portrayed in a film too well can do nothing but pull you out of the story, because there is always tons of inaccuracy. In this case, it wasn't a problem for me. I did scoff a few times at the beginning. This morning show that McAdams worked on had a veritable battalion of people producing it, all the way down to the worst offense, when they showed someone applying make-up on the anchors. There may have been a day when those sorts of things went on in local news, but those days are so long gone that my dad can barely remember them. TV is done as cheaply as possible folks, and the first thing they do to get the profit margin up is get rid of people. That's always been my biggest beef with shows set in a news background--the dozens and dozens of extras they have running around in the background. It makes for a more interesting shot, but a less accurate one.

Anyway...I wasn't going to talk much about this, so I'll quit now. The rest of the show was fine for me. I think probably because it was on a national morning show. I've never been within sniffing distance of something like that, so I don't know what they're really like. So, it just couldn't put me off.

So, afterward, Rish and I went and hung out for a while at the only fast food joint that stays open late in this town. Unfortunately, it is a Del Taco. On the drive over to it, Rish started freaking out, because he thought I was driving with my headlights off. Turns out that they were, in fact, on, but one of them had gone out, and the other was just pretty dim. This might seem irrelevant, but it turned out to be the most important thing of the night.

After a while, Rish and I went our separate ways. On my drive home to my own particular backwoods town, I had to take the freeway for ten or fifteen miles or so. Shortly after getting on, the thickest fog I have possibly ever experienced descended on me. Here's a picture I snapped.*

Here I was, on a freeway where cars normally go around 70mph. I, however, was doing something like 20mph, because I couldn't see ANYTHING. I only had one headlight, a dim one at that. My highbeams worked great, but in fog they only make things worse. I kept tapping on my breaks just to make sure that whoever coming up behind me would know I was there. My heart was beating at something around 200 beats per minute. I only knew I was going the right direction because I could see the dashed lines between lanes. What's worse was, even the light overload of a car dealership was barely visible through the fog. I couldn't see anything, especially not where my exit was. I was certain that I would be trapped on this freeway for hours, and wind up in some city far away from my own, because I couldn't find a way off the freeway.

Luckily, I noticed the sign for my exit with just enough time to swerve crazily toward it. Then I found myself on an even sketchier bit of road. The fog was slightly, ever so slightly thinner here. But now I had to cross intersections in which there were no dashed lines to guide me through. I was sure I would suddenly find myself high centered on an island, because I had drifted slightly as I crossed the intersection. In the end I made it. When I finally reached my own town (which seemed to have taken forever, and it probably did considering I was driving 20mph the whole way) the fog was totally non-existent, and the last mile or two of my drive was peaceful and calm enough for my heart to come back down normal once again.

There have been times in my life that I've been nervous, but I can't think of a time that I have been more certain that my life was coming to an end soon than on that drive home last night. You would have heard of it on the news no matter what city you live in. A thirty car, fog-related pile-up with dozens of deaths would be big news. But I'm alive to type another day. I guess you can't kill me that easy.

Oh, this morning, the first thing I did was go and get my headlight fixed.

* Okay, I admit it. That's not a real picture. I would never have managed to snap a picture of the conditions. My white knuckle grip on the wheel was unbreakable at the time.

1 comment:

  1. I don't like that Outfield boy, Biggie. He doesn't respect you, always talks over you on the podcast, and inadvertently nearly gets you killed.