Monday, August 06, 2007

Drunken Strangers: A WWYD Quiz

So I'm driving along the lakeshore on my way home a few nights back, and the moon is about as full and as bright as I've seen it in a long, long time. If you don't already know this about me, I'm mesmerized by the moon and the stars. I hope to one day own lakefront (seafront?) property on the Sea of Tranquility.

Seeing it shimmering off of Lake Michigan, I decided to try my luck at some nighttime photography, already resigned to the fact that I don't have the skills...and perhaps not the camera...necessary to figure out the correct camera settings to capture on a memory card what I'm absorbing in person.

(want proof? completely embarrassing sample of "moonlit lake" appears to the right. I promise there's a lake out there somewhere. you just can't, umm, see it. this image is sooo not copyrighted. please, go ahead...steal it. and replace it with a better one.)

I pulled into a wayside along the lake, and snapped a few shots, fooling around with the camera's scene modes and its manual settings, adding the flash for a few shots to get the weeds and rocks along the shore in a couple of the photos. Not expecting much, but finished with my experiment, I turned to walk back to my car, and noticed someone else in the parking lot, maybe 50 feet to my right.

As I got to my car door, that someone spoke up: "Sir...excuse me, sir, could you help me?" asked a middle-aged woman walking slowly in my direction.

"Um, what do you need?" I replied.

"Could you help me find my Saturn?"

(after just having the moon on my brain for the last 15 minutes, I thought maybe she was an extraterrestrial trying to find her way to her home planet.)

"Could you..." **stumble — shuffling of feet — more with the stumbling** "...I'm drunk. I'm sorry, I'm drunk. My car. It's a Saturn."

"Uhh. Where did you leave it?"

"Well, I was just walking down there, and I thought I left it here and was in the right place, but now I can't seem to find it," was her answer. [sober ed. note: the "down there" to which she was referring is a trail that runs along the lakeshore, several feet from the waysides and rest stops along the highway.]

"Did you check the other waysides?" There was another one a short walk up the trail.

"I thought I did, but...maybe I'm just mixed up," she said.

Unsure of where her car was, or if she was even wandering the correct Great Lake, I decided that she was not going to get in my car, or else I might not get her out without her passing out, puking, or worse...stabbing me in the neck with her car keys and driving off without leaving a trace of evidence.

I could envision the headlines already, after investigators checked the SD card in my camera for clues: "Amateur Photographer, Unable to Comprehend f-stops, Ends Life Under Fuzzy Glow of Moonlight."

"Sorry, but I don't think I can help you," I told the woman.

"Thaaanks, dude!" was her sarcastic reply as she stepped almost immediately to her left and stumbled back toward the trail.

I got in my car and pulled out onto the road, and drove to the wayside about a quarter mile away. Sure enough, there in the parking lot was a gray Saturn, with Indiana license plates.

Having a bit of fun with this adventure, I drove back to where I'd originally found Ms. Stumbledrunk, not sure what action I'd take, but at least hoping to inform her where her car was located. She was nowhere in sight, however, and I wasn't feeling generous enough to go hiking the trail looking for her.

And as I slowly circled the parking lot, I thought it was probably best that I didn't find her. She wasn't in any shape to walk, much less drive.

So that's where the story ended, and I didn't make any more wayside pit stops on my drive home.

I hope she found her way back to Saturn, and enjoyed the view of the moon along the way.

— • — • —

Here's the quiz part: What Would You Do? How much help would you have given this stumbling drunk stranger? Which one of the following would mostly likely have been your response:

"Lady, go sleep it off on the grass. You'll find your car when you sober up."

— or —

"Sure, get in. I have nothing better to do than drive around aimlessly, chauffeuring some drunk who barely knows what planet she's on, much less what planet she's from."

— or —

"Do you happen to have a tripod handy? And......if I go with an f2.8 and a shutter speed of maybe 1/4 of a second, will that give me at least a couple ripples on the lake when I open this up in Photoshop?"

"The scientific theory that I like best
is that the rings of Saturn are composed
entirely of lost airline luggage."
—Mark Russell


  1. Heh. THAT was awesome. So is the picture! Really!

    But, um, remember when we talked about how if you spend all your time looking up at the moon, or Orion, your lady could stumble right in front of you and you'd miss her? LOL

    And Saturn's not so bad I'm thinkin...compared to Indiana!!!

  2. I do remember that conversation, E...and it actually crossed my mind after this whole big comical scene took place.

    I think, if that's the kind of company I can look forward to meeting while keeping my eyes trained on the path before me, I'll take my chances and continue stargazing and moon watching. :O)

    (Maybe I'll meet somebody during the daylight hours instead.)