Sunday, February 26, 2006

New Thing #36: yellow lights mean slow down

I mentioned in my last post that I haven't done a New Thing in, like, forever, and then, in the comment thread, Lindsay mentioned that she had noticed that my New Things had been rather sparse lately, (she didn't actually use the word "sparse," she used the word "dearth," as in: "I have noticed the dearth of new things") (which is much more descriptive than saying "new things have been sparse") (dearth is a great word) (I mean, really: who made up that word back in the day when people were busy making up words? death + earth = dearth) (it's brilliant) (I don't know the last time I used the word dearth) (I'm going to a birthday shindig tonight and I'm gonna use it there--I'm just gonna sprinkle it into conversation, wherever it seems to fit) (I use the word "parched" a lot, whenever I'm thirsty, because "parched" is also a great word, and about a week ago, I told someone I was parched, and she looked at me like I was crazy and said, "I have never heard anyone ever actually use the word 'parched' in a real sentence" and I was shocked because doesn't everyone use the word "parched" in real sentences?) (not that the word "parched" is anything like the word "dearth," but I suppose they do have similarities, in that they both refer to the absence of something) (why am I still talking about words and not blogging about New Things?) (back to what I was saying) (in case you've forgotten, I was saying that Lindsay noticed that my New things had been rather sparse lately) and I started to worry that other people were beginning to notice that my New Things have been rather sparse, and that people would grow tired (you know that 90's threesome movie called, um, Threesome, with Lara Flynn Boyle?) (who has never been as good as she was in Twin Peaks) (have you seen it?) (if I remember correctly, I actually saw it with Gina, my second-and-last girlfriend--maybe I should thank Threesome for helping me realize I liked dudes) (except I still didn't come out of the closet for seven years) (but I'm digressing on my digression) (there's this one moment in the movie when Lara is sitting at a coffee shop with Josh Charles and whatever Baldwin brother that was and she stands up and dramatically says that she has "grown tired" of them, and then she leaves the coffeeshop and I remember thinking what the hell was that? I mean, who says they've "grown tired" of something? It's, like, so 1885) (anyway, I loved that phrase and so after I saw that movie, I started using it all the time--I'd get up from the dinner table with an "I've grown tired of this meal," or I'd leave a friend's house with an "I've grown tired of your company," or I'd get out of bed and haughtily say, to no one in particular, "I've grown tired of sleeping") (You should try saying it sometime, it's bunches of fun) (now I've forgotten what I was saying) (oh, that's right, I was worried that people would grow tired) of my dumb blog and its lack of new things, and they'd revolt, and stop reading. So when I started to worry about that, I started to do a lot of New Things, and now I've done several New Things and I'm actually backlogged on my blogging about them.

I have to start with a New Thing I did today. Actually, it's not a New Thing I did today, but rather a new attitude I've adopted. (In Lindsay's comment, she also commented that she "would love to hear about new outlooks, ideas, and feelings" and I'm happy to oblige, here, now, with this New Thing.)

But first (or second):

Are you (a) one of the people who loved Twin Peaks, or are you (b) one of the people who never watched Twin Peaks, or are you (c) one of the people who thought Twin Peaks was overrated crap, or are you (d) one of the people who loved the first season of Twin Peaks and then thought that the second season was off its rocker?

If you're "a," then you're my best friend; if you're "b," then we need to hang out for 36 hours in front of my TV and then you'll be my best friend; if you're "c," then you never really gave it a shot and you should refer to "b"; and if you're "d," then you're wrong, wrong, wrong (except for that storyline when James left Twin Peaks and had the affair with the blonde woman. That storyline was off its rocker).

The reason I bring this up is that in the Pilot episode of Twin Peaks, Dale Cooper mentions that Twin Peaks is the kind of town "where a yellow light still means slow down and not speed up," and it's a great line because those twelve words tell you so much about that little town. And they make you think about how you don't live in a town like that, and about how often you speed by things, and about how infrequently you slow down and breathe.

I've been thinking a lot about that line today--hearing Dale Cooper say it in my head--and wishing I lived in the kind of town "where a yellow light still means slow down and not speed up" because that's not how I drive at all. When I see a yellow light, I hit the gas. I'm probably late to wherever I'm going because I've probably slept in or spent too much time fucking around online, so I usually really have to get and I've gotta get there soon so I'm not even more late.

But then, this morning, I was sitting at a red light, behind a couple of other cars, when someone else saw a yellow light and started speeding up instead of slowing down. My red light turned green just as his yellow light turned red. But he was still speeding forward, not even in the intersection yet...

The rest of us, we were totally oblivious. We saw our green light and we started to go. And then, suddenly, like I was in a movie, the man who was speeding for his yellow light entered our intersection and cars started hitting each other. The yellow-light-speeding guy hit the car that was two cars in front of me. Then the car in front of me hit the car two cars in front of me. Then the car next to me hit the car in front of her. Then...well, it all happened so quick--within seconds--that I couldn't really keep track of it all.

I had my foot on the breaks, pushing as hard as I could, thanking my lucky stars that I'd just gotten my brakes fixed at the shop yesterday. But cars were still hitting each other, so I didn't have time to be too thankful. Pieces of glass were raining down on my windshield. The car in front of me started spinning. He spun three times, then ran into the car who had originally started it all, the yellow-light-speeding guy, who still appeared to be accelerating, and they both smashed into the center divider, sideways, traveling about twenty feet before they came to a stop.

It was all so loud.

And then it was silent.

Smashed up cars were everywhere. All around me. But me and my car were both unscathed. (Well, actually, my car is a wreck in and of itself, so it looked like my car had been part of this current pile-up, but none of my car's dents were created today.)

Thankfully, no one was hurt. As awful as all of the wrecked cars around me were, no one was hurt.

After I was finally able to get back on the road and on my way, I heard Dale Cooper saying that thing about how Twin Peaks is a town "where a yellow light still means slow down and not speed up" and I decided that's where I want to live. If not literally, then metaphorically at least. From now on, when I see a yellow light, I'm gonna decide it's not worth it to start accelerating. From now on, I'm gonna slow down.

And the funny thing is, ever since I made that decision, every light I approach has been yellow. I've stuck to my guns. It's been a mellow yellow day. And, shockingly, I haven't been late anywhere. And, also...

Well, um...nevermind.

I've grown tired of this blog entry.

18 comments:

jenny said...

Wow - so glad no one was hurt! I've been super cautious when going through lights recently because twice in two weeks I had to slam on my brakes to avoid being killed by someone running a red light.

Anyway - we would totally be best friends because I was obsessed with Twin Peaks! In fact, a bar near me just ran the pilot and first few episodes last weekend - I was so sad that I missed it!

Gina said...

oh my gosh Erik, that's so scary. I'm glad you weren't hurt and took away something positive from something negative. Good for you.

Ralph Colby said...

Slowing down is such a difficult thing to do in the Greater Los Angeles area. We are all in such a hurry. And really do we really have to get there THAT fast. Unless you are or have a VERY pregnant woman in your car.

As previously stated in a comment I bought a new car. Now that I'm old and make tons of money I bought a nice car. Only 8 miles on it and the dealer told me. "Drive it under 70 MPH for the first 1000 miles." And, wanting to keep my nice car nice I have stuck to that. Cars wiz by me. I drive "slow" on the freeway. 60 MPH, in the number 3 and 4 lanes. And guess what, I still get to work on time.

Point is "Slow down when you see yellow" is more than driving a car slow.

And I'm glad you are okay.
Bloggingly yours,
Dad

Monets said...

Whoa. I'm glad you weren't hurt and everyone was okay.

I'm a yellow-light runner. And I usually have (unless I'm on my way to work) my 2 small boys in the car. I think I need to rethink. Thanx.

Erik said...

Jenny--that sounds like so much fun, watching the show in a bar! Do they have plans to run more episodes? They should make it a weekly event.

Gina--it was SO MUCH FUN to see you last week. You need to email me pictures so I can blog about the night. No pressure.

Dad--I can't wait to see you car. It's a good lesson, right? You can still get places on time without speeding. Who knew?

All--Thank you for being happy I'm okay and all that.

Bonnie said...

1. So glad you're okay.

2. So glad you have such a kick-ass worldview.

3.

4. You asked: "Are you (a) one of the people who loved Twin Peaks, or are you (b) one of the people who never watched Twin Peaks, or are you (c) one of the people who thought Twin Peaks was overrated crap, or are you (d) one of the people who loved the first season of Twin Peaks and then thought that the second season was off its rocker?"

Answer: A. And then some. We threw "Twin Peaks" parties at the start of each new season (or anytime there had been reruns for a few weeks and then the new episodes started back up). The first episode of season two, we had a party in which everyone was invited and, on the invite, they were told to dress like a particular character. My co-host was Dale Cooper. I was the body of Laura Palmer. Yes, complete with the letter "S" typed in courier font and slipped under a long fingernail (plus seaweed and a trash bag as my "wrap"). HOT!

Food/drink at the party was cherry pie and coffee.

Most creative costume: the gal who came dressed as Diane (yes, she came in a micro-cassette recorder costume). Runner-up: the log lady.

Brilliance at UGA in '90. What can I say?

Good times.

And... the reason shows like "Northern Exposure" could do so well is because shows like "Twin Peaks" laid the groundwork. Same as "Arrested Development" and "Significant Others," which laid the groundwork for "Sons & Daughters," which starts next week. You watch. ;)

5. Seriously glad you're okay. XXOO

Erik said...

monets--i've always been a yellow light runner, but after yesterday i realized it's totally not worth it. it was straight out of a movie. except it was real and freaky. thanks for the well wishes.

Erik said...

Bonnie, I love that you went to that costume party dressed as Laura Palmer "wrapped in plastic." Oh, I can't read those words "wrapped in plastic" without hearing Pete Martel warple those words and being sad that Jack Nance is dead. Your costume sounds ultra hot. I've never been very good at getting costumes together, but if I had been invited to that party I would have wanted to go as Gordon (the Chief played by David Lynch) so that I could yell all night. That would probably get old after, like, five minutes--no, actually, probably more like three minutes--but remember when Gordon and Shelly met at the diner and he could hear her and he fell in love with her because he didn't have to shout when they were talking? There are so many amazing moments in that show. Remember that moment when Major Briggs tells Bobby about the dream he had that his son was going to be okay and Bobby starts crying? That moment kills me. I could go on and on, but I won't because it's late and I don't feel like I'm being eloquent at all and I don't want to just list off random moments that were good unless I have the energy to really explain why they were so good and I just don't have it in me right now.

But it sounds like a party I would have enjoyed, that Twin Peaks costume party.

I love that you love Twin Peaks. OF COURSE you would love Twin Peaks, 'cuz we've already established that we're BFF's.

Erik said...

Also, JENNY--I've decided that we're totally new best friends forever, too, because of our mutual obsession and love for Twin Peaks. I have been obsessed with a lot of television shows in my lifetime (Buffy, Arrested Development, MSCL, Freaks and Geeks, etc.), but my obsession for Twin Peaks is probably most-definitely bigger than any of my other obsessions. Well, except for my Michael J. Fox obsession. Nothing can really rival THAT one.

Bonnie said...

Obsessed with "Buffy"? Really?

Not me. But most of my friends are (which totally means we're BFFs, since all of my BFFs are "Buffy" fans of the highest order and if I didn't simply REALLY dislike the whole vampire thing, I'm sure I'd like the show too), so one of them shared this with me, which I will now share with you.

All Seven Years of 'Buffy' in One Song

Being a "Buffy" obsessive, though, you've probably already seen it. Just in case, though. ;)

Erik said...

Yes, I am totally a Buffy obsessive. I actually didn't start watching the show "live" until the fifth season, but I quickly got hooked and then bought all of the earlier seasons so that I could catch up on everything I had missed. The first season is kinda iffy--okay, actually, I love it, but you can tell that they're still finding their footing. But then the second and the third seasons are genius. And the musical episode is one of the best hours of entertainment ever (though, to fully appreciate it, you have to have a familiarity with the show and the characters). What's brilliant about the musical ep is that what could have been a gimmick--the big musical episode--actually moved every single character's story forward in a major way. And the whole "musical" aspect was woven in organically. When I saw it the first time I was so giddy about how good it was that I wrote a fan letter to Joss Whedon and I totally never (rarely) write fan letters.

I don't think I've seen what you linked to, but youtube is down right now for maintenance, so I will watch it later and let you know.

xo

Erik said...

oh, also, Bonnie: WHAT DO YOU HAVE AGAINST VAMPIRES?

Huh?

Anonymous said...

it's fascinating how that '7 years of buffy in one song' short is completely meaningless if one has never watched an episode in one's life.
lindsay

Erik said...

Lindsay, have you really never seen an episode of Buffy in your life? Why are none of my blog readers Buffy watchers? What's up with that? I need to write a big ol' blog entry about Buffy so that I can get some Buffy google hits and start attracting Buffy fans. And I should have an 80 hour (or somesuch) viewing party and invite all of you non-Buffy watchers over to my house for the massive marathon (we can skip the super bad episodes, like the whole last season after the awesome Anya-centric episode) and then you'll get caught up and you'll love Buffy too and it'll be a really fun marathon party, I promise.

Gina said...

Erik, photos are on my clubphoto page. I expect mad shout outs about how much you love me.

Erik said...

Gina, me love you long time. Huge shouts outs to you. Great photos. I'm gonna write a real blog post about that night and use lots of pictures and give you even more major and more public props then. XO.

Anonymous said...

Okay, first of all, I'm really glad you weren't hurt!! I used to think yellow lights meant speed up...that is until the nice policeman who stopped me thought it meant I should go to traffic class if I didn't want a ticket on my record. So I went one night. Of course I had this awful, guilty feeling the whole time, like I was some awful person who drove through a yellow light. I tried to look on the bright side, however, and pay attention to learn something...like DON'T drive through yellow lights, for instance. Now I don't know what these classes are like in the rest of the country, but in Tennessee the instructor talks about the dangers of speeding and such and then he puts on a film. So they turn the lights down and the film comes on and out WALKS a young, healthy Christopher Reeve...at which point I gasp and scream out loud, "Oh my God!!!"...and no one else utters a sound because we're in the south, after all and such outbursts aren't exactly run of the mill...but I'm from NY and I don't care. I think they should get a different film! Anyway, I don't drive through yellow lights anymore. That's all I wanted to say. (By the way, it's your cousin.)

Erik said...

Oh my god, Ilene, they to-tuh-ley NEED to change that video. I mean, if only for the fact that the driving information is probably really old and outdated. You know?