Saturday, March 3, 2012

Totally blown away ... then we got to the Wynton Marsalis concert!

I suppose at times, we all suffer from clouded judgment. Our irrational desires, seem, worth so much more than they really are. We momentarily stop, ... think, ... rationalize, ... stop again, only to let emotion and misperception override our best decision making capabilities. “Hey, you guys! Watch this!” we yell, and...

Into the brink.

Okay. Driving through a raging thunderstorm that earlier in the day gave birth to potentially fatal tornadoes (emphasis on the word “potentially”) may not exactly be the ultimate risk. After all, you’re in a car, designed by engineers for crissakes, who know their customers are idiots and will unnecessarily drive in rain and high winds for purposes that are probably not worth the risk. “Maybe we should let them hit the guardrail if they drive in a tornado?” says one. “Yeah, or...” But one of the engineers knows that a dead American purchases fewer cars than a live one. (He probably took a marketing course in junior college.) “Maybe we can put a computer on the wheels to control the brakes if they lose traction.” There is a moment of silence as the genius of the idea seeps into the other engineers’ brains. “But then they won’t skid out and hit a concrete barrier, and they’ll definitely never go over the median and into the path of an 18-wheeler. Where’s the fun in that?”

And you know that this conversation (or maybe a less macabre version of it) took place. You know your car can take you places, even in the worst conditions. So you weigh the chances of an engineer being smart enough to keep you alive against something you think is worth, risking, well, maybe just a little death, and you get in your car and drive 100 miles through a storm system.

Spoiler alert: Me, enjoying a glass of wine prior to the concert (I did not die on the drive down)
No. You’re not the smartest person on the planet. Because the guys that designed your car are all smarter than you (even if they do work for General Motors – hi, dad). But, you’re a good driver, and, you know your car will compensate for your (few) inadequacies. And besides, is it really all that windy? Didn’t you just change the blades on your windshield wipers? It’s going to be worth the effort, right?

My last rational thought, before I drove through a cracking thunderstorm for a hundred miles and almost two hours was: “If something is going to kill me in an untimely fashion in a horrible, sad way, it might as well be a car trip to a jazz concert by one of the pre-eminent big bands of our – or any – time. God, I’m sorry I didn’t practice the church music as much as I should have. I only realized five years ago I was meant to improvise. And please, don’t let the ABS fail me now.”

So me and Mrs. S successfully drove to Birmingham to see Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra perform live at the Alys Stephens Center on Friday, March 2, 2012 (a day that saw two tornadoes injure seven and damage 140 homes in Alabama). And, we met Wynton after the show at an exclusive meet and greet. So there’s lots to talk about besides the weather, and that’s all I’m going to say about the drive except: it was worth it.

The stage setting, before a bunch of musicians came in and messed it up.
Next: The Concert.

1 comment:

Lil said...

So glad you got there safely and that it was worth it. Amen.