Sunday, October 22, 2006

Mist Magic part 2

The story begins here.
It was a cool and breezy Sunday, the day after a very warm and still Saturday and the mist was thick on Highway 1 where it mounts the final dregs of the Santa Cruz range to briefly meet Skyline Boulevard and then cross over to join with Highway 280. Such conditions are ideal for fog-watching; so I noted as I cruised over the pass late one autumn afternoon. I was feeling burnt-out from my third 80-hour week in a row as my company came up on a major release deadline and told myself that I needed a break. On impulse, I jerked the wheel over at the last instant to exit onto Skyline south, provoking an angry drawn-out honk from a car that I had cut off. I slowed to fifteen at the peak of the overpass where the fog was so thick that I could barely see the guard rails five feet away even with my lights shining directly on them. I relied on the taillights of the car ahead of me to get me through the worst of it and soon I was southbound on Skyline, driving through a ghostly world of swirling mist under the threatening branches of shadow trees, all color and detail washed out by the fog in the faltering afternoon light. I always loved this drive.

As I was about to pass the water tower, I hit the breaks on another impulse, drawing another furious blast from the same car that had honked at me before. I turned onto the access road for the tower and watched the angry car pass in my rear-view mirror. The driver was probably flipping me off invisibly in the fog, but the poor soul could now console himself that since I turned off I was out of his life forever, never to startle him again. Most likely.

I had never actually been on top before but I had stopped by a couple of times in daylight to case the joint in case I ever felt the need to climb the tower --always be prepared and all that. The tower was fenced, but I drove right up to a tree that I had scoped out before and parked. I checked my cell-phone battery in case I fell and broke a leg, then hopped up onto the hood of my car and into the crotch of the tree. From there it was an easy crawl along a branch that passed over the fence where I slid off onto the roof of a low shed. I dropped from the roof of the shed humming the theme music from Mission Impossible: "BUMbum. BUMbumBUMbum. Dadada. Dadada. Dadada."

Straightening up I began walking across the flat ground to the ladder attached to the side of the tower, all the while rehearsing what I would say if I got caught, "What!? You mean I can't climb over a fence to ..." No, that wouldn't work. How about, "I thought that fence was just to keep out kids, not respectable acrophilic members of the community like me." I decided I'd just better not get caught.

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