Friday, December 07, 2007

White Knuckler

I'm still a little zingy from it, so if I type this out, then maybe I can start to think about going to sleep. The ad agency that handles the Big O Tire store franchisees in Utah (my brother Garth and now, my evil brother Max (he bought the Kaysville store from Dad and Garth this year) are franchisees) buys out a theater at Christmas for a family movie and gives each franchise holder a bunch of tickets for free admission and all the popcorn you can eat (Ellie just about pees down her leg, that girl just loves, loves, loves the popcorn). Last year we saw Charlotte's Web way way way out in the south end of the valley. I felt like I drove to Provo to get there. When we came out it was snowing and really cold, the roads were pretty damn treacherous and it was a slow slidey slog home but worse for my brother and his family heading a lot farther back north to get home. But we all lived.

So wouldn’t you know, well, you would know because the weather forecasters have been warning us for days about this storm, when we walked out tonight, it was really putting it down with about five inches on the ground already. At least this year, the theater was only halfway to BFE, not the full fare, so I didn't sweat it, we'd be home in a jiffy. I drove slowly and safely heading north on State Street until I could hop on the freeway heading back up the hill and then home: twenty minutes max, even at 25 mph. I’m not a timid driver, I have reasonable confidence of my driving skills in snow storms. I wasn’t even thinking twice about pulling into one of those the seedy motels you pass on State Street way out there past that one mall (don’t you love my precise descriptions? Should have been a damn map maker) to wait out the storm. I just kept plowing forward, wishing I was behind the phalanx of plows that was clearing the westbound lanes of the freeway, but still not sweating it.

But I was concentrating on the car ahead of me just a little too hard and followed it off the exit to Park City heading east on I-80. Doh! We don't live in Park City. Okay, now I'm feeling a wee bit sweaty. I-80 it notoriously bad in snow, crap. And no phalanx of snow plows, or even a pickup truck with plow attachment, had been over this stretch yet. It was ugly and I was gripping the wheel and sitting so far forward in my seat, you could have mistaken me for 14 year old on an out of character joyride in her father’s car (not that I would know what that feesl like). And I couldn’t get off, I just had to keep going. I started to think that the seedy State Street motels were looking a lot better than hanging upside down from the shoulder harnesses in an I-80 borrow pit. I pulled in behind a semi, turned on my flashers and just drove. I do not exaggerate: the semi's tail lights and the rumble stips were the only things keeping me on the road. Yikes.

I didn’t dare take either of the ranch exits I passed to turn around because who knows how deep it would have been on those over passes. But thank the gods that I didn’t end up driving all the way to PC just to turn around. I got brave and pulled off at the East Canyon exit because it was lighted, yay, and isn’t that where the salt dump is for the plows? So I got us turned back in the right direction, with the view out the windshield looking a lot like hyperdrive in the Millennium Falcon. I nearly snapped Ellie’s head off when she wanted to know how much longer it would take to get home right as some horse's ass flew by us in the left lane and threw up so much slush I couldn’t see squat or bupkiss. Nothing like a little adrenalin surge to top off the prickly sweats. So 90 minutes after leaving the theater located not too far south, we pulled into our own driveway. And we all lived.

And the movie we risked life and limb to see for free? The Golden Compass. Two thumbs way up. I never take the kids to PG-13 movies, but a mom at school took her 5th and 1st graders and said it was not scary, no worse than Harry Potter and my little girls love to watch the Harry Potters and, what with the buckets of free popcorn to boot, I thought, oh, why not, they can’t watch Disney dreck all the time (although they really could, my girls loves them some Disney dreck).

So when a couple of Coke’s polar bears were fighting it out to the death (albeit bloodlessly, go figure), a scene that was really too intense for 6 and 7 year old eyes, was playing out only six rows removed from five sets of 6 and 7 year old eyes (my niece and nephew too), I just kept saying in a loud stage whisper, “Whew, isn’t this exciting? Not scary, right? What a good adventure story, I wonder what will happen next, whew. That Lyra is a brave smart girl, whew.” My kids were all very excited about the movie and whined “Oh” when it ended without resolution. They left the theater wanting more. Talk about a successful franchise. Count me in the crowd that can’t wait to see the next one.

And for all the leaders of conservative Christian groups who are worried that the movie will create interest in books that are written by an atheist and, therefore, cause more copies of morally corrupt books to be sold? You were right! Amazon has my order which Santa will put in my Christmas stocking and I can’t wait to start reading the series to the girls. Wow, what a good adventure story, right? Ideas aren’t scary, right? Ideas are exciting, whew.


Rebecca said...

Read the books. They are just like reading the books about Narnia (albeit not nearly so good for kids IMO) - a good adventure story with a religious undertone if you choose to see it.

It's called His Dark Matter - the overlying arch of the trilogy. Things get a bit confusing in the second book and then clear some in the third so you have to read all three of them.

Amy said...

Yay! His Dark Materials is my favorite book series, even as a (supposed) adult. I love Love LOVE Phillip Pullman. He's one of my literary crushes.
I haven't gone to see the movie yet, because I haven't had two New York minutes to slap together, but I am REALLY looking forward to it.
And honestly, since you seem to be the kind of Utah gal that I was, isn't part of the appeal the written-by-an-atheist part?
And I'm very glad you and the littles made it home. My scariest drive ever was actually in Oregon: driving through the Columbia River Gorge with the wipers going full tilt and buckets upon buckets pouring down to make visibility exactly zero. And of course, there were frickin' (hmm... frickin'... a Utah word) minivans passing me and spraying huge waves of backsplash water up on top of the buckets to further decrease my chances for survival. I had my head up against the windshield trying to see, and I fully expected to see a fish go by, it was so wet out there. And no exits to be found. Obviously, I survived. Barely. ;) Second scariest was when I lived on First Ave in SLC and had to drive into the curb to keep from car-tobogganing down the avenue into State St. traffic and through into the fountains at Temple Square. If I was gonna die, at least it would have been on holy ground, eh? Phew.
Lots of love to you and the kids -