I spent the morning doing laundry, and running through some of the preparations for the trip. Seraphine was cleaned out and given a final checking over, and the radio was installed. A friend came over (whom I haven't come up with an lj nickname for yet) and gave Sera a bumper sticker. It's a Tolkein quote, "Not all who wander are lost".
We hung out for a few hours, and then went on with our days' seperate stuffs. I completed everything that needed completing for my impending voyage, and left for a certain bail bonds establishment, where there was 250 bucks waiting for me to collect. This was at around 5-ish. Cash like that almost always comes in handy for road trips, ya know? The fellow wasn't in, so I called his cell phone, to learn that he was picking up his kids from daycare, and would be there "in a few minutes". So I waited, and half an hour later, he arrived. the money was not on hand, but it was coming, as there was some lady who wanted her significant other freed from county, and so would be paying 250 bucks to the bondsman to bring this about. She was called and she, too would be there in a few minutes. An hour later, she was still not there, and I was growing eager to be upon my way. Not that I wasn't having fun there. In fact, watching his 2 daughters, ages 5 and 8 alternately lick envelopes and chase each other around the office with handcuffs and tonfas was entertaining as all hell. But still, the road called, and I was getting fidgety as the evening wore on. Luckily, someone else found themselves in need of bail about that time, so shortly I was gifted with 300 dollars, and sent merrily on my way, at about 8. He called the extrs fifty a "tip". I arrived in Jacksonville around 1am, and stayed the night with Annakes. Around dawn we went to Dennys for food stuff, and I had fish. We then took a nap for "just an hour or 2", and woke up that afternoon, much later than was intended. Hooting and yammering we piled into the car and headed north. The trip was not unpleasant, except for one brief period where my search for enlightenment through vehicular oneness caused my slightly less spiritually inclined passenger some degree of discomfiture, but that passed. Basically, I was calculating the shrinking space between a car to my left and a truck it was about to pass, and whether or not I could fit through. As I approached, the car accelerated, seemingly in order to discourage me from the intended lane switch. My calculations proceeded, gathering and processing data from the speed of the truck ahead, the speed, direction, and acceleration of the car to my right, and my own ambient velocity. As the point of no return approached, I dropped into 4th gear and gained velocity, positioning my car for passage through the narrowing gap between the truck and the other car. In my head, alarm bells started going off, as the safety zone disappeared. I realized in the last few instants that the alarm bells were actually distracting me from the calculations, hindering their efficiency. Since survival depended on the calculations, as the alarm bells provided no real data, I came to understand that they had served their purpose in the very instant that they began, and were no longer providing any useful function. I did not notice my passenger in that time, or anything other than the three vehicles involved and their relative velocities and positions. My calculations remained clear that a curved, diagonal corridor would remain between the two vehicles for the time I would be moving from one lane to the other. With the alarm bells silenced, I perceived that I could even afford to stray a few inches closer to the rear of the truck, as it was less likely to change it's velocity or direction, as it's driver was not aware of my presence. I smiled at this new understanding of physics as I gained the final additional velocity needed, and at the proper instant, swerved. I heard the tires squeal a bit as their adherence to the road was pushed close to its limit, and as I had expected. I felt the predicted inertia as my body was pulled abruptly to the right and then left, as I completed the switch and corrected my direction. It was over in less than a second, and it was completed perfectly. I had approximately half an inch of space between the front of my car and the truck's rear bumper, and 2 inches between my rear bumper and the front of the other car. I was glad to see that my calculations had been verified, as well as this new understanding of the limited usefulness, and discretionary nature of the "alarm bells". My passenger did not share in my joy. Oh no, quite the opposite, in fact. She was positively incensed, and gave voice to this displeasure in a truly spectacular fashion. Luckily, she had the good sense to wait until after my intense concentration was not required for our survival before commencing her very distracting tirade. I'm sure you can guess the general content of her words, so I'll not repeat them here. Suffice it to say that it was about an hour or two before she came to a more complete understanding of the way of things, and regained her sense of perspective, even giving praise to the technical precision of the maneuver, if not it's advisability. For the record, I've been driving (like a lunatic) the same type of car (280zx) for a little over 7 years and over 400,000 miles now, in the forms of Sera and her predecessor, Beth. Sera has Beth's transmission, suspension, and exhaust, so even the differences to be found between 2 cars of the same make and model are minimized. Also, I've been the primary mechanic and designer of the various customizations and modifications made to first Beth and then Sera. In other words, by virtue of experience and time, I have become intimately familiar with my vehicle's capabilities and limitations, as well as how to coax the occasional miracle from her chassis. I have never had an accident with either vehicle, in all the time and distance I spent with them, despite all the admittedly foolish and occasionally insane things I've done while driving them, and there is a reason for that. I do not gamble when I'm driving. What I did was not "risky" at all. Unnecessary? yes. Disturbing to those around me? definitely. Dangerous? not at all. It was merely a lesson regarding the proper use and scope of fear. My passenger's displeasure was merely the result of her calculations coming to a different conclusion than mine, but not being able to act upon their urgings. However, once she saw that my calculations had been different from hers but still objectively correct and valid in their result (we made it through completely unscathed), she understood, and was happy for the lesson I had learned. And so we continued north as the sun and the temperature both fell. The next bit coming maybe soon ...
music: Luxt - Safety Dance