Friday, June 4, 2010
Driving In The Fog
So we decided to head up to the mountains over the three-day weekend. We left Palm Springs on a Thursday night. No big deal, right?
Sunny skies, kinda warm out, beautiful glow of the early evening, on the horizon we can see some clouds, kinda pretty. No big deal, right?
As we get up onto the curvy mountain road we see the dense clouds above us. We’ve made this drive through a bit of fog before (in the bright morning hours, but hey?). No big deal, right?
Then we hit the fog. Solid, intense, about 8 inches of visibility. And it is pitch-fucking- black. Sheer mountain cliff on one side, oncoming traffic on the other. Turns out it may be a big fucking deal.
However, Glowie is gaily chatting in the back seat. We tell her to Be Quiet, Daddy needs to concentrate on the road. And Lord knows I am holding us on this mountain road with no visibility, with the sheer strength of my toes, curled hard into my shoes which are pressing onto the floor boards.
My husband tries to turn on the windshield wiper, cuz in his mind, THAT is the problem here. If he can just clear the windshield, he’ll be able to see.
Through clenched jaw I tell him to KEEP HIS HANDS ON THE STEERING WHEEL AND FORGET THE FUCKING WINDSHIELD WIPER.
Then I alternate by saying optimistic things like: I’m sure this will lift when we get to the summit. This can’t stay like this once we make the turn off. Right?
Unfortunately, when my husband heroically (or blindly) makes the turn off into a sheer, black wall of fog we think: Thank God, this is it. It has got to lighten up here.
And I can finally unclench my digits.
But no. We still can’t see shit. We don’t even know if we are on the right road. We don’t know if there is a sheer cliff on the left or oncoming traffic on the right.
We are buried in fog. And now fucking lost.
But we do hear something.
In the back seat.
Constant, repeated sniffling.
We are tense, my husband and I. Him with the white knuckles on the steering wheel, me of course, with the clenched toes in floorboard and fingernails in dashboard.
I haven’t blinked in 10 minutes. Cuz I am keeping us alive with my will.
With every muscle in my body I have to turn my head, peeling my eyes off the invisible road, to see what the HELL is going on in the backseat.
I find Glowie softly sobbing.
Fear turns to sorrow.
“Why are you crying baby?”
Glowie: “Cuz I think we are going to die. And Mommy, I DON’T WANT TO DIE.”
And now the tension is broken. Hey, we still can’t see shit, but the kid has called out the elephant in the car.
I tell the girls to Hold Hands. I tell them everything is going to be fine. We are together. We may be in the fog, we may be lost and there may be a fucking cliff. But we are together.
And you know what? It turns out that being together as a family, is the biggest fucking deal of all.