January 11, 2014

A Banality Update

...is below the fold.

For those understandably disinterested in such matters, there is this...


...which, while neat, is of unknown provenance, so take the caption with a grain of salt.

UPDATE: In the comments, J Greely has the goods.



Well, last night I was over at a friend’s house watching Dr Who and a few of the anime shows that have premiered over the last week or so. This fit of fanboy recidivism lasted until we became aware of the time and I left around two AM. It was raining as I left and as I got on the interstate, it began to come down exceedingly hard, to the point that visibility was badly restricted. This being Interstate 264 on a Friday night at 2AM, traffic was rather heavy due to the law requiring all bars to close at 2.

The traffic alert signs indicated that there was a wreck blocking the left two lanes just past Witchduck and immediately my fellow motorists began jockeying for position and accelerating because…Virginia drivers.

 As I passed Witchduck I noted the blinky blues nearly a mile ahead and thought for a moment that the wreck was much closer to the Newtown exit when I noted a pulverized, unlit, white sedan sprawled sideways across the middle two lanes of the 4 lane highway as it suddenly became visible through the downpour about a hundred feet in front of me.

If it had become visible a moment later I would have hit him. As it was, I narrowly missed the car and after a display of very embarrassing driving skills, came to a stop on the shoulder. At this point the rain was coming down as a gully washer and it was hard to see anything other than the shape of a human being staggering next to the sedan that was acting as a racecourse hazard to a bunch of angry drivers.

 I actually had my Walter Mitty pack on my belt and so only needed to grab the bag of trauma packs from the back seat as I rolled out of the car. I could vaguely see through the rain that two other cars had stopped on the other side of the street to assist as well. Between us and the disoriented gentleman in the middle of the street were two columns of speeding motorists zigging and hydroplaning to avoid the wreck in the middle of the road.

I was finally able to take advantage of a break in the traffic to scuttle across to the car. As I did so, I ruefully noted that I was wearing all black, like some bedraggled, fat, ninja…but with no mask and a collar…which is non-conducive to visibility on a rainy night. I got to the car and confirmed that the gentleman did not seem hurt, that there were no other people in the wrecked car and that the other motorists had already called the police…this was fortuitous as in my haste I had not removed my phone from the radio. I put my first aid bag on the trunk of one of the other motorists and we ran over at the first break in traffic to try to push the sedan from the middle of the highway.

This was a bit more difficult than we had expected due to the demolished front end of the sedan which precluded very much steering, but did allow us to move the car with a bit of difficulty. One of the other motorists with the most non stealthy clothing ensemble directed traffic, while two of us pushed and the now somewhat coherent driver tried to steer with little success. We got it almost off the road, in the service lane behind my car. This was despite a sudden wave of drivers that slalomed around us. Somehow, we avoided being T-boned or otherwise inconvenienced in the process.  I checked on the driver again and he was sore but uninjured and no longer disoriented. Moments later a roadway assistance truck showed up and I waddled through the downpour to my car, trying with limited success to avoid the oily breakers that the speeding motorists left in their wake.

At this point a young lady from one of the other cars that had stopped ran across 4 lanes of terrible traffic…in the rain…with dreadful visibility.

She wanted to give me my first aid kit…which I’d left on her trunk.

I thanked her…but…damn that wasn’t worth risking her life for.

 In any event, I got into the car and noted with some annoyance that in my haste I had not shut off the headlights…or the radio…or the fan…or the defroster or the dome and reading lights...thus, my battery was dead.

SO..

I got out, pulled the battery charger out of the trunk, and jumped the battery. I got into into the car as fast as I could manage, and started the engine, which paused during ignition for dramatic effect. Once it was running, I dried off my glasses, defogged my windshield for some time and noted that while there were at least 3 police cruisers tending to the wreck about a quarter mile ahead, only the Roadway Assistance vehicle had arrived yet.

I left, noted something on the traffic alert signs about ANOTHER wreck farther up 264, and so I looped around onto 64 to take the long circle around the local beltway through Suffolk…where there was yet another wreck. Fortunately, I was at that point close to an exit and near enough to route 58 that I was able to get off and go to Franks Truck Stop…where I wrang myself out , and got something to eat while I waited for the rain to stop and hoped that the wreck would be cleared.

I got home at 04:50...by which time I'd been up for 26 hours.

I napped for 6 hours and came to school.

My mission was twofold: to buy my books and take an online writing placement test.

Mission one was a bust.

My credit union ATM card had some kind of network seizure and ceased functioning, requiring me to leave a pile of books at the front desk while I tried in vain to find an ATM machine that would talk to my card.

Mission two involved the online writing placement test.This test, it turns out is the "prerequisite" that has been keeping this senior from taking English 101, which, due to my transfer credits not being honored, I need to graduate. It has for years been part of the admissions process, and that is why no one figured out until last month that this was the source of my problems. This week the test was set up and I discovered, yesterday, shortly before the school closed, that this test cannot be taken with my Apple keyboard because "delete" and "backspace" (which are combined on the Apple) have very distinct functions with regard to this test...one being "Forfeit".


Anyway I'm here in the ODU Library. As I type this I have just sent this E-mail to the testing center.

To: Whom it May Concern

   I attempted to take the Writing Sample Placement Test. I tried to answer question one. However, I got knocked out without having typed anything. I am unsure what I did to get this result. As I was unaware that I had defaulted on question number one I continued to attempt to find the questions and submitted question two with no text entered.
   This has resulted in a score of zero. However, I am a native speaker of English, and a senior at Old Dominion University. Additionally, I just successfully completed History 201 (Historical Methods) which is a course in essay writing and academic research. Therefore, I do not think that it is appropriate for me to be enrolled in the English Language Center and would like very much to retake the test at the first possible opportunity.

    Very Respectfully,
   
Redacted
 


Given my success rate at achieving my goals today, I'm going to set as my next series of goals complete avoidance of large monetary windfalls, avoidance of any weight loss, and making absolutely sure not to meet any cute quirky geek girls who have a thing for bald guys.


It is important to be able to adapt.


(UPDATE: I should note that shortly after typing this, I encountered another wreck with no police vehicles present yet, this time an overturned car, so pulling over again seemed like a good idea. Fortunately there were no injuries and nothing else of note so I left. I've seen 9 other wrecks this week..)

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 05:44 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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