I promised myself that I would add one of these stories here every time I told one. I tell them at one point or another throughout the summer. There will be no chronology - not yet anyway - nor will there be much of a schedule. You never know; I might add a story every day and I might not. This is my life. Every day is an adventure.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Driving in the Fog

You might think that driving in the fog is no big deal. Maybe a little frustrating cause you should slow down just in case the guy in front of you is going slow, provided there is a guy in front of you. I mean, after all you have that nice line on one side that tells you where the edge of the road in and a nice dotted line that tells you where the middle of the road is, and if you stay between those two lines, all you have to worry about is the slow poke in front of you.

Course, if you're driving in the fog, you're an idiot. Now, before you get angry at me, please know that I add myself to the idiot list. You see, many's the times this time of year, when I drive to work in the fog; I'm sure we all do, even when it's really bad. But for me it's even worse. There are no nice neat lines on the water to tell me when I'm too close to the bank or crossing to the wrong side of the river. There is no wrong side of the river. The goal is to simply stay in the water and miss the other guy or whatever other obstacle may be just floating along. In the fog, that might be rather interesting.

Most of the time, I can spot the tops of the trees and can identify them by their familiar profile. The swirls and circles in the current are also quite familiar, I'm even thinking of giving them all names, they're so familiar. Pass George on the right side but keep Pete on the left. Stay far away from Betsy and start to turn left at 666, but don't drive over it cause 666 likes props. Ah well, it's an idea. Should I give the swirls in the water female names and the trees male names? Or should I do it the other way around? Na, I'm terrible with names anyway so I guess I'll just stick with keeping them in sight and where they're supposed to be.

And if there is some dark shadow looming in front of me, I give it a wide berth. I'd really rather not play chicken with a floating tree, or even part of one. Now, if you're flying in the fog, you're an even bigger idiot than I am. I met (sorta) one of those idiots once and it was lucky I'm sitting here telling you about it.

One day, years ago, my son and I were driving up the river in serious pea-soup fog. We could scarcely see a boat length in front of us and the tree tops were nowhere to be found. We were forced to drift first to one side until we could see where we were and then angle to the other side for another ghostly landmark. Suddenly, we hear a plane rev up for take off. From where he was, the only direction he had to go was right over us and there was no telling how close he was to us. For him to assume that the river was clear was pure idiocy. He couldn't see us, or even hear us inside his cockpit and certainly not over his motor.

We dove for the side of the river, willing to run aground if we had to, to get out of his path. We made it, barely, and he made it off the water before he reached our area, but if he'd been loaded, and if we'd picked the wrong direction, my son and I could have just as easily been splattered all over the river, never to be found or even missed until we were too late for work and someone called home to see if we were having motor troubles or something.

I think I managed to produce a couple gray hairs that day. I've only been so scared one other day and that was on a bright clear day. I'll save that story for another post.

So, to all you pilots out there who may be reading this someday, remember this one word. "Assume" Remember it by saying to yourself, "When you assume, you make an 'ass' out of 'you' and 'me'. I never could figure out where the 'me' came in, but if you're assuming something, you're definitely making an 'ass' out of you.