From the mind of a mild mannered maniac

Posts tagged ‘discomfort’

RED LIGHT

REDLIGHTbcl

The red seemed permanent, I rapped anxiously on my steering wheel, and glared at the traffic light  in as intimidating a manner as was humanly possible. Staring hadn’t worked either, I’d blinked over a dozen times and yet still the angry crimson orb peered, back at me, as constant as the throbbing in my brain.

Several car horns , repeatedly voiced their opinion of our current predicament, but mine did not join the chorus. It was with me at the front of the line,

I was so tempted to abandon my little Corolla, and walk home; I probably would have, too, if I hadn’t just made the final payment on her, two weeks earlier, and if home wasn’t, at least, twenty-three kilometers away, of course.

With so few vehicles approaching from any of the three, alternative directions the other temptation was to jump the light and get on with my day. Why didn’t I ? That is a great question, I am glad you asked it in so timely a fashion.

Not twenty feet from where I waited, with rapidly dwindling patience, sat a Vancouver City police car. It was unoccupied, but I somehow sensed that it’s driver was, even as we speak, scrutinizing this scene from his window seat in Madison’s Cafe.

I wondered how long he could possibly leave it before he intervened, and ushered us dutifully through the intersection. A new city ordinance against the use of a cell phone whilst behind the wheel of a running motor vehicle was, for the moment, preventing me from summoning  himself, or one of his colleagues.

A few cars were, now, performing illegal u-turns; Others were zipping past me, in the inside lane, and turning right. I counted to twenty a half a dozen times, but still I waited, and still I stared at that, confounded, red light! It would have been so simple to break that law, many others would have, of that I am sure. Curse my parents for raising a lily-livered, law-abiding citizen!

I turned on the radio, half expecting to be mentioned, on the traffic report.  Speaking of traffic, it was backed up, behind me, by now, for several city blocks at least. People were hollering, horns were blaring and my head was pounding like a thousand Ringo Starrs. I rested my right hand on the hand-brake lever, and sat poised with one foot hovering over the clutch, and the other by the throttle. My patience was at an end.  I was all set to break the law!

The guy behind me finally lost it, he yelled at my rear-view mirror while waving his up-raised fist in some sort of unfriendly salute. His big-block Chevy engine roared angrily, clearly in tune with its agitated owner, and his vehicle pulled out and around mine in an, impressively, aggressive leap.  As his head drew even with my passenger-side window, he glowered at me and I clearly remember the throbbing vein, dancing away on his glistening forehead; well that, and then as the Chevy accelerated into the intersection, the squeal of protesting tires and brakes, and the gut-wrenching  explosion as two perfectly good vehicles became one mass of smoking rubble.

copyrightCopyright 2014 – Clifton J. Lewis

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Comfort Zones

“Are you as comfortable in front of a camera as behind one? Being written about, as well as writing?”

tables turned

That is a definite, no! I am so far out of my comfort zone that it is preposterous. Firstly a camera pointed in my direction, must do so at it’s own peril. To put it bluntly, I don’t have a good side! 😉

As far as being written about…

See, I have been writing for such a long time now, that I have erected this protective cocoon around me. As long as I am ensconced safely within my writer’s bubble, or barrier, I am in my happy place, impervious to all outside influences.

As silent observer of events, I can wander uninhibited by social obligation. I can observe and report, and as much as is possible, remain neutrally buoyant.

The moment the tables are turned, when interraction is required, and the scrutiny is squarely on me, I flounder.

Oh sure, I can tread water, and put on my game face in short spurts; heck I’ve even been known to turn on the old charm a time or two. I’ve always got a few cute quips and rejoinders in my arsenal, but the moment I reveal the real me, the facade crumbles.
I become that shy, retiring, socially inept, awkward little boy of my youth.

I remember being interviewed about a piece I wrote in my high school newspaper. The article was a rather scathing and brutal essay about fiscal mis-management in the student counsel. In my defence, it was a very thoroughly researched treatise, and fact checked within an inch of its life. I had truth, justice, and propriety on my side, and I was proud of myself.

A fellow student reporter decided to write a follow up piece. I was happy to discuss my investigative techniques and the essentials of the case, but then she turned the tables on me and started asking personal questions! Where did you grow up? What are your personal and professional aspirations? How has family life molded you into the person you are? What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I know what you are probably thinking. These are not difficult questions! I wholeheartedly agree with you, but I was really put on the spot!

When I go for job interviews, a process I abhor, rigorously but tolerate out of necessity.  I am at least slightly prepared for the onslaught. I have some intelligent responses dialled in. Some go-to rhetoric as it were, and I can always duck behind my humor blind if all else fails.

In this case though, I was struck dumb. Cold shivers undulated and rippled down my cowardly spine. My knees turned to jelly, perspiration sprang from every pore, and worst of all, my cheeks glowed a shade brighter than any steamed lobster I have ever known.
I stammered incoherently for a while, then clumsily excused myself. Not my finest hour!

Later that evening, in the sanctuary of my bedroom, I sat and wrote a brief bio. covering the salient points.  I was able, there, to quietly ponder each question, and respond to each, fairly eloquently.

The next day I slid the answer sheet across her desk and mumbled some lame excuse about feeling ill. I hated myself for lieing, but, then again, was it that far from the truth, really?

That same day, our basketball team won the finals, and her article never saw the light of day.

To the wonderful people that have taken time out of their busy day to read this post, I extend to you my sincerest thanks.

I also beg of you one teensy little favor. If ever the unlikely occasion arises, whereby you must interview me in person, please give me fair warning. Better still Email me the questions and I’ll answer you properly. 🙂

Keep Smiling,

~Cliffy

 

Copyright2013

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