Sunday, May 14, 2006
My previous blog indicated that I had trouble finding my car after the airshow. It's not a pretty story.
I left the final act, the Blue Angels, 15 minutes early so I could get a jump on the thousands in attendance who would be fleeing the scene shortly. I was carrying my photo gear (heavy), a backpack containing a large plastic canteen that was half-full of lukewarm water, and a new lawnchair. The lawnchair was not one of those lightweight models that can substitute for a Frisbee at a picnic. It was a substantial model, with a sturdy metal framework and a canvas seat-back. I estimate that I was carrying 30 lbs. of stuff.
As soon as I entered the parking lot, I was already in trouble due to dehydration. Despite drinking excessively during the six hours there, the 90-degree heat and steady wind left me with enormous thirst and the old cottonmouth condition. It would be imperative to get to the car quickly.
I was in the wrong lot but didn't know it. For the next 45 minutes, I walked back and forth across the lot, vainly pushing the panic button on my keyring, hoping my car would talk back to me. I was getting enormously hot and dehydrated to the max.
I did have one option. I was there with a photography friend named Vasanth Darmaharthan, or something like that. He's from India, the son of a neuro-surgeon, here to get an advanced computer degree and work for IBM. He is, in a word, brilliant. And he had parked his car next to mine. Maybe he could help. I called his cell phone at least six times. He answered every time, but you must understand that his mastery of English isn't quite complete yet. In fact, it's far from complete.
I was never able to explain where I was to the point where he understood and could come rescue me. This was a huge psychological blow because he seemed to be my not only my best option, but my only option. The situation got very critical very quickly. My skin became cold to the touch and I quit sweating. I knew those were danger signs, but I did not want just yet to give in and ask one of the many people walking to their cars to please, get me some help.
I finally managed to make it back to the entrance to the lot. I had learned from Vasanth that I was simply in the wrong lot. But there was a tall fence keeping me from entering it. I found a volunteer and asked him how I might get access to the correct lot. His answer indicated that I might have another half-mile just to get into the lot. It was at that point, I collapsed mentally and physically. I told the guy that I was in trouble with the heat and to call someone. At first he demurred. But I was insistent. My voice was about gone and at this point, I was lying on the hot concrete, a victim of my own stupidity.
Two minutes later, a golf cart arrives. It has "MEDICS" emblazoned on its plastic windshield. I told them I needed to
be taken to my car, that I thought I could handle the impending heat stroke if they could just find my Honda. They loaded my gear on the back of the cart and within another two minutes, I was at my car.
During the ordeal, I had tried drinking the water I was carrying, but I might as well have been trying to drink sea water. It was simply too hot. I tried praying...many times. The Lord did come through, but only after I had given up on the great "I AM" and was praying to Baal.
About an hour later (the traffic was miserable), I pulled into a convenience store and bought two cans of Sprite. I felt that if I bought cold bottled water, it would make me bloated. I'm crazy that way. The Sprite flooded into the dry riverbeds of my body, bringing healing and life to my withered self.
I do believe my brain was fried by the experience. So future blogs probably won't have the impeccable grammar you're used to, nor the riveting wordplay. Just deal with it.
Enjoy the above shot of a Russian MiG I took before I marched in the wilderness.
Posted by Tim Perkins at 5/14/2006 08:03:00 PM