Archive for the 'creative' Category

Chancellors of Fate

June 14th, 2009 | Category: Close to Home,creative,Shopping

Queue the theme from Dragnet.

“The story is true…”

One bright and sunny afternoon, Adam and Heather left their home for an afternoon of furniture shopping. Although Adam didn’t particularly care for the lemming-ridden maze that is IKEA, he decided to keep his wife company.

They headed out into busy Saturday traffic. Along the way, there was a girls soccer team washing cars where the corner of the street they were on and the highway entrance met. Adam turned to Heather and said somewhat in jest, “Ha! Maybe we should get my dirty car washed!” Agreeing that their 2006 Black Ford Escape was dirty, she replied, “Yes.” However, in the interest of continuing on their journey, the couple opted at the last moment to continue on uninterrupted.

Adam and Heather were happily cruising along now. Four minutes after leaving their home, they enjoyed the dulcet tones of the stereo, the warm rays of sun and pleasant conversation. Ikea was a mere 20 minutes away—or so they thought. It turns out that two of the main motorways in the Twin Cities where they lived were shut down for the weekend. They had both reminded each other of this fact moments before they came up on their first traffic jam. Adam said to Heather, “Maybe we should get off on Penn?” Heather concurred. This seemed a reasonable course since they would at least be moving.

They turned off the main highway and headed south. Although a side street, it was two lanes wide in both the north and southbound directions. To avoid getting stuck behind any cars attempting a left turn, Adam maneuvered the vehicle into the right lane. Their enjoyable chitchat continued.

As they traveled along, the conversation turned to a somewhat saccharine dialogue of relationships and how lucky they were to have one another. They both lamented their past relationships for a time before deciding that the circumstances and experiences they both had been through ultimately resulted in their being together. The following dialogue may not seem profound at first glance; however, it lacks no irony where a philosophical debate such as this is discussed. “Do you believe that we would have somehow ended up together regardless of our past?” Heather asked. Adam replied, “I supposed that depends on whether or not you believe in fate or chance. I for one do not believe in fate. I believe that fate, if it exists at all, is determined purely by chance.” It would be in that moment that their exchange would immediately halt due to a matter of uncontrollable circumstance.

A driver in the northbound lane, waiting to turn left, decided he would no longer wait for the busy side street to empty out. He gunned his motor and shot through the intersection. He passed through left lane of the southbound traffic unscathed. Ultimately his path left him with only one stop–a black Ford Escape.

There wasn’t much warning, but Adam simultaneously slammed on the brakes and veered to the right. Heather gripped the safety handle and braced herself. With a crushing blow both cars skidded to a halt at the uncontrolled intersection. Though the engines of the cars were still running, the world appeared to momentarily stop for the three people in the accident. Call it chance. Call it fate. Whatever you prefer to call it, one of the hypothetical decks of probability had been stacked–and Adam and Heather had just been dealt their hand.

Adam checked to see if Heather was alright and immediately unbuckled. Aside being a bit shook up, a seatbelt burn on Adam’s left shoulder and a mild bruise on Heather’s shoulder they remained remarkably undamaged. Adam had to forcefully pry his door open to exit the crunched vehicle. He glanced down at his fender and front driver’s side wheel and noticed it had broken against the axle.

After a brief exchange with the driver Adam quickly determined that although not hurt, the driver of the offending vehicle was not operating at full capacity. That is to say, even though this driver didn’t look drunk or otherwise “under the influence”, he was showing signs of mental incapacity. Adam phoned the police.

A passerby was kind enough to stop and offer himself, his wife and daughter as witnesses. “We saw everything and it could have been us! We’ll be glad to assist in any way possible.” the Good Samaritan stated.

To add to the adventure, the offending driver at one point decided it was time to leave. He reentered his still running vehicle and began to put the car into gear. Adam, fearing he would flee, ran to the front of his vehicle and stood his ground. Realizing that it would take some effort for the driver to pilot his vehicle back into traffic, Adam banked his decision to stop him on two immediate thoughts:

  • He didn’t believe this gentleman truly wanted to flee. He was just scared.
  • If he were to manage to move forward Adam would be able to move out of the way in time as there was too much traffic to simply run off.

Adam dialed the police a second time and expressed that he believed the driver was not operating at full mental capacity. “I suggest you get someone here quick, because this guy’s tryin’ to leave!” he exclaimed. Adam then turned his attention to the drive and said firmly, “You might want to get out of your car and turn it off, sir. The police will be here soon.” The driver reluctantly emerged from his car. “This is not my fault! I was just trying to make a left turn and ‘this guy’ came out of nowhere and hit me!” he yelled. “We’ll see who’s fault this is!” he dared. Adam stood his ground to insure that their new “friend” wouldn’t leave the scene and remained quiet. His new Good Samaritan-friend did not. The gentleman who had witnessed this incident decided that was enough! He approached the driver and yelled in concise terms that the driver was indeed at fault and he should keep his [explicative] mouth shut! Secretly, Heather and Adam were both amused and taken aback. They also felt some compassion for this poor man who really didn’t seem to realize the levity of the situation.

Defeated yet still somewhat defiant, the upset man slowly circled his vehicle toward Adam. Realizing that taking the driver’s mind off of getting back into his car might be the best approach, Adam politely asked to see his insurance. To Adam’s astonishment he complied without hesitation. The man fumbled for his license and obediently handed it over. “Ah ha!” Adam thought for a moment. “He just needs some direction to get his mind off of our situation!” Indeed this man’s mental state had reverted to that of a young boy who had been caught stealing. In that moment, the Sheriff arrived accompanied shortly thereafter by two additional squad cars. Literally relieved, Adam turned over the driver’s insurance card and walked back to his beautiful wife, gave her a hug and looked in dismay at his bludgeoned truck.

The police report read as follows:

For the purposes of the following transcript, Unit 1 refers to Adam & Heather’s Ford Escape and Unit 2 refers to the offending driver’s car.

 Unit 1 was SB on Penn Ave. S. in the right lane.
 Unit 2 was NB on Penn Ave. S. in the left lane.

 Unit 2 proceeded to make a left turn to enter a
 shopping mall parking lot in the 6500 block of
 Penn Ave and collided with unit 1.

 Driver of Unit 2 appeared disoriented and confused
 of what happened.  He did not seem to track when
 officers were talking to him.  He stated that he
 was suffering from bipolar and depression.
 He stated that he takes medications every day.

Even though their friend in Unit 2 could have easily driven his car, the police had the foresight to convince the distraught and confused man that he would be better off not driving.  They called for a tow of both vehicles.  They also managed to calm him down and help him understand who was at fault.  They filled out the above report and even let him go pay his cable bill–which was what his original mission had been in the first place.  He returned and apologized to Adam and Heather repeatedly for his transgression.

Things had finally calmed down. During the scuttle, Adam was able to phone a friend who gladly picked Heather and Adam up and brought them home. Their small, sad SUV was towed to a local body shop. The axle, fender, wheel, headlamp assembly, scratches, dents and other items on the Escape would need serious repair. Thankfully, as fate would have it, Adam and Heather would not.

*  *  *  *

Adam and Heather took a moment to be thankful for their fortuitous outcome.  They sat in their home and made a few phone calls to update their friends and family of the events of their day.  They enjoyed the evening sipping on Jameson and Gingers and enjoyed a nice dinner from the grill. Later that night, they recalled their conversation about fate and chance as they sat around a warm campfire.

Whether it was “fate or chance” will probably be a subject of debate for years to come. The most important thing is that Adam and Heather have time to discuss it.


A New Fiddlestick

March 07th, 2008 | Category: creative,Shopping

I’ve been wanting to get a new guitar for some time. Even more since I’ve been playing along every other Thursday with a gang of guitar players at work. It’s been paying off since I’ve learned more songs than Puff the Magic Dragon and the incorrect way to play All I Want is You by U2. I even know a Green Day song now!

All of my guitars have been used or hand-me-downs. I don’t have much room to complain as many have been great guitars. Most notably my Martin Shenandoah. I think it was a D-2832. Modeled after the Martin D-28. I foolishly sold it for a song in High School and have regretted it ever since. Today, the guitar goes for around $1800 in good “used condition”.
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Sometimes Things Converge Unevenly

February 17th, 2008 | Category: creative

Sometimes things converge unevenly and create something new and beautiful.

A couple of Christmases ago my mom gave me some pencils in the hope I’d begin drawing again. Within weeks I had produced a picture of our cat. It’s hard to draw moving targets though and so the perspective was a bit off. My skills were still there, un-honed and a bit rusty. I’d always received As in art. Artistic talent in my family is not uncommon. Whether it be writing, drawing, photography or simply restoration of fine pieces of history–art runs strong on all sides of my family. From time to time I miss drawing. My aunt and uncle, Jan and George, both artists themselves, gifted me another set of Pencils, Paper along with a nice drawing bag last Christmas.

A couple of years ago I’d purchased a frame with the intent I would use the gift pencils I received from my mom to draw her a picture from a photo of my dad. Although I didn’t end up using her pencils I did sit down last Sunday for a couple of hours to draw. I used the pencils I received from my aunt and uncle and a photograph from a few Christmases ago and produced this:

Dad Drawing (small)

Click to enlarge.

My mom stopped at my workplace mid week and I gave her the framed piece. It brought her to tears momentarily and then she stated, “You got his eyes just right.” There is a great satisfaction in giving my mom a drawing of my father. It’s the kind of gift that mom’s really appreciate. And though it probably won’t end up on her fridge, I’m proud to have given her something that reminds her of dad when he was happy. Then later this week I rediscovered this note Evan passed us shortly after my dad’s passing:

Evan’s Note

It was good to have all of these reminders this week.


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