I am so used to our wonderful writing community I forget that not everyone in life has good intentions. Sadly, a tourist was murdered on one of the islands two days before we stopped to enjoy the native flair. Our world has become a place where all intentions are questioned and stopping to help a stranded motorist can be scary at the very least.
Who have we become?
On our way home from the Minneapolis airport, DH and I journeyed over unplowed and windblown roads. We had considered staying put, as our flight didn’t land until late in the evening and the promise of nasty road conditions didn’t excite either one of us. However, missing our kids won out and we travelled the road less taken.
Fast forward a few hours to a lonely stretch three miles out of town. It’s midnight and DH and I are both so tired not even tooth picks can prop open our eyelids. We see a rag-top Jeep in the ditch. The internal debate begins. We pass by, our headlights shining on a man waving his arms at a passing car–ours and another.
DH slows the truck and turns around. The misgivings hang heavy in the air between us. What the heck are we doing? My imagination kicks into overdrive, fueled by my recent reading of Serial, a book about psychopathic hitchhikers. If you haven’t read it, don’t. Unless you never plan to pick up a stray on the side of the road. Then by all means, read away, secure in the knowledge that you will never be on the short end of the pyscho stick.
Never was there a more perfect setting for foul play than that night. Outwardly oblivious and inwardly cowering, we took turns pushing Unlucky Motorist’s Jeep and trying our hand at the wheel. To no avail. UM’s four wheel drive remained useless and his truck stranded in the mounting snow drift.
What to do? We offered him a ride, even though fourteen other cars had passed him by.
The questions abounded: where do you make let UM sit? Will a DVD case serve as an adequate weapon? What will our kids say when we meet our demise 90 miles from home rather than on a remote island or in an airplane crash? Why didn’t someone else pick up UM first so we didn’t have to go through so much turmoil?
Then I looked at it from his point of view. Likely we were no better travel companions. After all, who in their right mind would be driving around at midnight in the middle of a winter weather advisory?
And so I wonder, who have we become when the need for help is shunned and good intentions are questioned out of fear and distrust?
I hate that this is our world and think maybe the dystopian novels aren’t all that far off. I know they say all fiction is based on fact, but it was a sad reminder of how dysfunctional parts of our world have become.
Because of that, I am exceedingly thankful for my cyber friends and the writing community who open their arms to stranded writers along the way. It is a place I feel safe and in control.
Now that we are safely home, it is easy to say we did the right thing. But it does make ya wonder…
Have you ever done anything that makes you think “novel fodder” in the worst way? Have you used these experiences in your writing? Does your writer’s imagination make simple acts seem questionable?