Monday, August 24, 2009

That Accidental Feeling

It’s right in the pit of my gut. That’s where it starts, anyway. A warm, frantic, emphatic something. Then, really fast, it spreads out to the rest of my body. My heart speeds up, my focus sharpens, and sweat finds its way out of what has to be every pore on my skin. So far I’ve found only two things that can cause this wonderful, horrible feeling. Getting in a car accident (or almost getting into a car accident) and getting pulled over by an officer of the law (or almost getting pulled over).

“Ohboyohboyohboy, I almost hit that semi.” Or, “Ohnoohnoohno, that cop’s lights just popped on and he pulled out. Is he after me? How fast am I going? I’m not going that fast. Other people were passing me. Ohno. Yep. He’s right behind me. I’d better pull - phew. He’s going after someone up there. Yeah, I knew I was okay. Other people were passing me.” And it’s right there, that magnificent natural high found almost exclusively in the face of vehicular danger. I suppose it’s adrenaline, and the feeling is some cross between or combination of fear and excitement.

I made the mistake of telling Lindsay I liked it.

This does not mean, as I had to repeatedly assure her, that I want to total our car. Nor does it indicate that I like getting speeding tickets (I kicked that habit back in college). It doesn’t even mean that I would seek out the feeling. Just that when it happens, I like to enjoy it. To realize that it’s rare and should be savored as an unsought but delightful experience, like when you happen to witness a dog running headlong into a screen door he doesn’t think is there.

But I’m pretty sure Lindsay gets the feeling now. The other day some moron (this is the technical term for anyone piloting a car you are not in) cut across several lanes of traffic at a tool booth plaza, right in front of Lindsay. Lindsay slammed on her brakes. There was a quickening of heart rate. Sharpened focus. And sweat from pores. (But don’t worry; no injuries.)

And you know what? I’m not sure Lindsay disliked the feeling...