Tunnel Vision

Old Amagi Tunnel which is famous for The Danci...

Old Amagi Tunnel….Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka, Japan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You’ll find out soon enough, so I might as well let the cat out of the bag. I’m pretty crazy. (Pretty: word used to soften and dress up the truth.) Or maybe I’m pretty and crazy. 😉 (Haha.) “No, Officer, on my honor, I have not been drinking. I did have a little Chinese though.”

With that ridiculous, just-to-prove-I’m-crazy introduction, I will move to the main event. I wanted to share a story with you.

I’m not the only character in this tale. You see, I have a partner in crime, and she’s just as crazy as I am. I mean it. We once stumbled, giggling, down a hotel hallway – bumping into walls and everything – at 2 o’clock in the morning – quiet as possible – each with a bottle of root beer in our hands. (Yes, I said root beer.)

But that’s not this story. For the sake of the story, for now, let’s call her Stupid and me Darlin’. Now, before you throw rotten tomatoes in my face, let me explain that these nicknames do not necessarily have any bearing on our personalities and were gained quite spontaneously with neither deserving our respective titles. I was not being a darling (happens more than I’d like to admit), and she was not being stupid. Then. Uh, scratch that. (Then.) *cough* 😉 But that is a different story as well.

This story took place several years ago. It’s probably not the best story by which to introduce Stupid and Darlin’, as it paints us as such idiots. But, I think, everyone has their idiotic moments. It keeps us humble, and interesting. 🙂 (Please, don’t ever be this interesting.)

Back then we enjoyed taking drives, taking the long routes and enjoying the journey sans map. We would still enjoy these, but we don’t seem to have the time anymore. (Note to self: take a drive with Stupid.)

One lovely day, we were taking one of these long-route drives to meet some family. We didn’t have to get there immediately, so we took side roads virtually the whole way. We would look down a road, think, “Hm, that looks interesting” or “We haven’t been down this one” or “Let’s turn left this time”, and off we went, always moving in the general direction of the selected meeting place.

One such turn lead us down a road we had been down before, though it had been a long time. It was a straight shot, and we would not have gone all the way, but we spotted a dark, arced area where another road rose into a bridge.

Stupid or Darlin’, not sure which, said, “Look, a tunnel.” Now, maybe that’s selective memory. But, no matter. Whoever said it first became irrelevant as we both jumped on the bandwagon. “I never knew there was a tunnel under ‘Baker’ Road.” “Has that always been there?” “I wonder where it leads.” “Let’s find out.”

Excitement swirled in our stomachs. Another adventure. We had discovered something new in our very own stomping grounds. Something we never knew existed before and we were off to explore. The excitement made its way into my foot and we accelerated, though not too much as we were in a neighborhood. We were zipping down the road, eyes trained on the tunnel, when…

BANG

The car slammed into a bump and heaved over it at suddenly alarming speed. (No, we did not speed up, but it suddenly felt way too fast.) Our bodies jolted, heads touching the ceilings as our insides were stir-fried. The next second was slowed down by the speed of my now-turned-on brain, which was realizing several things. (1) That ‘bang’ had been a curb (meant to be slowed down for) that served as a speed bump for the entrance of a parking lot. (2) I was now in said parking lot and nearing the end fast. (3) There was no tunnel. That was brick with windows and a door and cars parked in front of it. The sharp inhale next to me said Stupid had realized the same things.

My foot stomped on the brake, and held till we came to a complete stop. If anyone happened to look out their window at that moment, they would have been wondering why two people were parked in the middle of the lot, sitting ridged in their seats, mouths hanging open, eyes wide and staring straight ahead. One gripping the steering wheel in a death grip. The other with a stiff arm to the dash and a similar death grip on their door handle.

Our ‘tunnel’ (unlike the one in the picture) was an apartment building. And there was another to our left, and another to our right. Nice, sturdy brick buildings with automobile bodyguards. We would not’ve had a chance. But we had noticed none of this till now. Gives new meaning to the term tunnel vision.

Now, if we had been in our right minds (if we have those) and thought it out, we would have realized a huge flaw in that ‘tunnel’. Namely, if there was a tunnel and we did drive into it, we would have dropped smack-dab in the middle of the interstate. Not a good adventure.

Back in the parking lot: We looked at each other, eyes still wide, hands still gripping, and dissolved into two puddles of laughter in the front seats. After a short while, we decided to spare ourselves the feeling of multiple sets of eyes from a multitude of windows, turned ourselves around and got out of there. We laughed all the way to our destination. I had to keep wiping tears from my eyes so I could see the road (not that it had been much help before).

Many times throughout the evening, and for several days to come (and, even now, years later) the image of our ‘tunnel’ and what we must have looked like flying into that parking lot comes back to our minds and we find ourselves puddle-ing again. Rather difficult to explain when someone walks around the corner at work and you burst into laughter. Turns out, they aren’t too eager to believe that it was just a memory and had nothing whatsoever to do with them. Alas, some things can’t be helped.

This has been an episode with Stupid & Darlin’. I hope you enjoyed. 🙂

I think every experience we, all living beings, have is sewn into our story of life, and, for writers, into our fiction. It has an effect. It gives us an insight, even if it is merely into the day-to-day ‘stuff’ of different people, or the kerfuffles of unsuspecting humanity, or even the hilarity two crazy kooks manage to talk themselves into.

Sometimes the gathering of info is so subtle we do not even realize we are doing it (*cough* Miyagi *cough*). But down the road (not the tunnel), when we need it, it bleeds into our story, adding the smack of authenticity. It really is a beautiful thing. The subconscious is an amazing tool. But let’s not fall into that deep rabbit hole of thought. 🙂

Ciao

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4 Comments

Filed under Stupid & Darlin'

4 responses to “Tunnel Vision

  1. Pingback: The Origin of Stupid & Darlin’ | The Story of Writing

  2. Okay so I finally got around to reading this! 🙂 I must say, I did indeed laugh and my jaw did drop on an occasion. 😉 You guys crack me up. Nicely written 🙂

  3. Anonymous

    I laughed all the way through this! I wish I could vote more than once on this one.

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