Friday, January 06, 2006

Mountain Lesson #3 or Let There Be Light

This is not a heavy fog on Ground Mountain. Picture, if you will, a Twilite Zone type of fog, swirling and so dense only the glow from Rod Sterlings cigarette is visible. That is the kind of fog, read clouds, we get. Maybe "Smokey Mountains" will ring a bell. Now add dark to the snapshot. The dark is like the fog hiding the stars, impenetrable.

Needless to say driving during this event becomes an adventure. A friend of mine told of making a turn and winding up at a right angle to the road. Navigation is by means of the line down the middle of the road or, if no line, the edge of the road and hopefully that road edge is not ajacent to the side of the mountain or as the case in point does not lead into a muddy ditch.

Monday was the first official day of my wife's new job. Because of the 100 mile roundtrip to Christiansburg the Toyota was the vehicle of choice. It gets twice the gas mileage of the Pathfinder not to mention being a lot more fun to drive on these mountain roads. The downside, no four wheel drive.

She left with the usual instructions, "I may be a little late getting home", "don't make a mess", "be careful", "please change the cat litter" . Fisal, shortly before, had been banished to the cold outside deck for peeing on the floor. If she were as good at letting us know when litter needed changing as she is at waking us in the morning it would be a beautiful thing.

The rain started about noon and continued until the clouds rolled in in the evening. The day goes by, no mess, careful and cat poop dully removed. It's about 7 PM and I'm drinking cheap vodka and watching Ohio State beat up on Notre Dame and not worried, not much, and certainly not about the misfortune of the South Bend Irish. After all she did say "I may be a little late getting home".

(A word about football to break the tension)

I like the game. With the advent of the season my wife and I have separate TV's. She remonstrates about being left alone until the final quarter of the Super Bowl. She should be happy, I detest B'ball and Hockey is like extreme figure skating with sticks. (Didja ever notice they like schedule figure skating the same times as football?). Baseball is OK if you like to watch guys spit tobacco. Any way I'm kinda glad the season is almost over, I'm starting see yellow lines and OD on chips. My enthusiasm for this icon of American culture will be renewed come August.

Suddenly and silently there was a wet and trembling apparition at the door. In a state of near hysteria she explained the car was in a ditch and it was a miracle she wasn't eaten by a bear or mountain lion. The good news, the car was at the entrance to our community. The bad news, the quarter mile walk down the DARK road in heels feeling her way from rhododendron to rhododendron. After sitting in the car (did I mention it was dark?) for about an hour blowing the horn and trying desperately to remember the code for SOS a new problem arose.

Not finding suitable facilities during the day and continuing to drink coffee, she had to pee. Wanda is very particular about cleanliness. I think "don't make a mess" is only second to "did you wash your hands?" . A result of this is a strong aversion to any "facility" except her own. It was on our first trip to Florida she finally had to resort to a public rest room because of the distance. She took a job close to her apartment so she could go home when nature called. I don't know if it was her state of frenzy or an uncontrollable urge (I think the latter) she dropped trou beside the car and relieved herself. When she told me that I knew the situation was beyond serious and I was begininning to understand her frenzy . I, of course, immediately asked, "did you wash your hands"? (you know I've got to be kidding about that) After much sympathizing and getting both ourselves back to some semblance of rational thinking we were on the phone to AAA.

A word about AAA. We've been members for years and it's more then paid for itself. Back in the day when we we driving less then dependable cars I can't remember the times they towed and changed tires and unlocked doors. When we lived in Baltimore one could watch several NFL games, clean out the basement and cook a pot roast before they showed. I expected a long wait here in the boonies but they were prompt considering it's a bit of a drive comming from Hillsville...on a foggy night. Scott and Dave, really nice guys considering they were crawling around in a muddy ditch, had the car back on the road in no time.

All that was left to do was gingerly drive back to the house, get comfortable, sympathize with love of my life (she thrives on it) and drink more cheap vodka. Oh yes, and wash my hands.

We now have flashlights in both cars and I'm trying to figure out how to have reflectors placed along the side of our road.


Blogger Bonita said...

Poor Wanda - she experienced what I have always feared; I keep a backpack in my trunk with survival flares, food,water, compass, tarp, radio, and I always carry my cell phone. Also, good hiking shoes are in my trunk and an extra coat and sleeping blanket - you never know when you'll be stranded.

8:53 AM  
Anonymous NormaD. said...

Good Grief, Charlie Brown....Get that love of your life a cell phone. I am also much in favor of reflectors on dark roads. I agree with Bonita on the Emergency pack.
Since we do a lot of traveling, we consider our vehicles an extention of our home, and have them stocked for nearly everything that could happen. Makes me feel safer.

1:03 PM  
Blogger The MacBean Gene said...

You are both sooo right. Survival pack on it's way. The cellphone also. Only problem is this is not a good area for reception. We had them but sent them back because of the perpetual "no signal". Just have to find the one that works here. She really needs it now since most of her job involves travel. Thanks, don't know what I'd do with all the good advice I get from ladies, LOML included.

4:25 PM  

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