As I mentioned before in this space, I take the winding roads of Topanga and Old Topanga Canyon to and from work on most days.  Depending on the time of year and time of day, I often have to use my brights on Old Topanga when coming home.  I know the road well by now, but it’s really dark and the extra light makes a hell of a difference when no other cars are around.

Being the courteous driver I am, I’m always super concerned about turning off the brights immediately upon seeing an oncoming car somewhere in the distance.  Their lights give them away usually a turn (or half a turn) before our paths meet, so I often have ample time to avoid blinding someone on the steep and windy road.  Aren’t I sweet?

Here’s what I’ve noticed though recently: I have the power to make other cars appear.  (My lovely wife might already be thinking, “The world doesn’t work that way” even before reading my explanation, and she’s right of course, but hear me out.  And honey, my sitting position absolutely affects how well the Lakers are playing – I’m not giving up on that one.  Though I should really be looking for new sitting positions since they’ve all been failing recently).  Much like my ability to make a rainy day sunny by leaving my sunglasses in the car, my usage of brights dictates whether or not I’ll be alone on Old Topanga.  Here, in all of blog’s glory, are how my powers manifest themselves:

Every car I’ve ever driven (to my knowledge) has had two ways to turn on the brights. (Sorry, another tangent.  I like the name “brights.”  It’s like two car makers were sitting around right after the variable-intensity bulbs were put into the first car and had a conversation.  “So we have our new and improved headlights,” said one, “complete with the ability to make them brighter when needed.”  “We should call them something,” said the second.  “The variable bulbs?” asked the first.  “No, just the brighter lights themselves.  You know, they’re not just regular lights; they also transform into super lights.”  “I see,” the first replied.  “But what should we call them?  We have lights and brighter lights.  Super lights? By golly, old chap, I think I’ve got it.   Lights and…brights!”  “Yeah…I’m not so sure about that.  I see where you’re going with the whole adjective-into-noun thing, and it’s good, but it might be a little confusing,” said the second.  “No, this is good stuff!  Why do you always have to be like that?  Is it because my dad owns the company and you think I get special treatment or something?  Is it because of that time by the lake when we had a little too much wine and things got a little weird and confusing?  Because I told you, that…that was an accident and won’t happen again.  I hardly even remember it and totally don’t think about it on dark and lonely nights.  Oh yeah, brights! We were talking about brights!  We’re going with that name.  My dad’s the boss.  Ya know, fuck you and the high horse you rode in on.  I’m tired of this shit.  Unless you wanna go to the lake again this weekend like old times?  Yeah, me neither.  I was just kidding anyway.”  I’m pretty sure it went down exactly like that.)  Wow, where was I?  Ah yes, two ways to turn on brights: you pull the lever toward you for the temporary version, or push it away from you until it pops into the lasting version.  Here is what I’ve learned: if I keep the lever pulled toward me in the temporary fashion, I will come across 0-2 cars during my whole time on that road.  As soon as I think, “It’s easier if I just leave them on” and push the lever away from me, I’ll see approaching headlights and need to turn them off.  It happens within seconds every time I do that.  I can make cars appear.  Keep holding the short-term brights, and it’s just me and the occasional coyote that crosses my path (which is why I really do need them).  Turn on the long-term ones, and it’s a frickin’ party in Old Topanga.

There.  I feel better now getting that off my chest.  It’s a burden having powers and not sharing them with others, so thank you for being there for me.  If you even need a car to appear on a dark road, a rainy day to turn sunny, or for the Lakers to keep playing at the same level of success or lack thereof, you know where to find me.  Have a great weekend.

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