Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Bright Light Night of the Hunger Games

It all happened so fast that I didn't have time to process it all as it occurred, and only now, am I beginning to understand the strangeness of tonight's unsettling events.
My heartbeat has just come back to normal, so I figured that I'd better get this down, so I can remember the details.

It all started when I decided to go see a movie.
The Hunger Games opened tonite, and since I am one of those people who likes to form their own opinion, I chose to see the film before the media (and possibly other people) give anything away.
I hadn't read the book, but I know many who have... the large majority of which are female tweens.
Thinking it would be a Twilightesque teen romance, I went with low expectations.

Without giving anything away myself, let's just say that it was more violent, even graphic at times, then I thought it would be.  Many tense moments drag on, and there is a lot of suspenseful action, that like it or not, demands your attention.
When the movie ended, I wandered out of the theater to where I parked my scooter, while processing the film in my head, trying to decide if I liked it or not.
As I got on my scooter and headed south on the main drag (S. Kihei Road), I started to think about certain issues I had with the plot.  As I approached the traffic light, it turned green at the perfect time and I opened the throttle on my moped picking up speed.  I looked up at the sky and noticed it was a clear night, star-filled and cloudless.
There was an orange light, strangely bright, that caught my attention.  It seemed to be aiming right toward me. I got into the left turn lane, while trying to focus on the light.  After making the turn, I decided that it had to be a helicopter... maybe the coast guard, looking for a lost tourist.
I pulled over to the side and killed the engine on my scooter, quickly pulling it up onto the kickstand.  I wanted to hear the sound of the helicopter, so I could figure out why it was so close and bright.  As I watched the light get even brighter, and flicker like a flame, I popped the storage open on my scooter and reached for my phone.  Then I noticed that it was quiet, there was no sound of a helicopter and now the light was slowly moving off to my left, towards the volcano.

Then, suddenly, the light began to flicker and fade, just as I got my phone to video camera mode.
I looked around, scanning the balconies of the condo across the street, wondering if anyone else had seen the strange light.  Nobody was there, and only the far off sound of traffic was in the distance.
As I was turning my phone off and putting it in the pocket of my hoodie, I noticed something faint falling slowly from the sky, descending slowly in a squarish shape, like a deflated balloon.  I fumbled again for my phone and lost site of it as it dropped behind a condo halfway down the block.
I thought about getting back on my scooter and heading over to where I guessed it would land, thinking that maybe I'd be the first to see it.  It was 1:30am and there weren't many people awake. (I had gone to see the late show, and it was a long movie).

Before I had a chance to act, I noticed another bright orange/yellowish light begin to ascend into the night sky and this time I had my phone ready. By the time I started video, it was already fairly high, and going up fast.
Normally, I'd post the video here, but I just watched it , since I downloaded it minutes after I burst into my cottage.
It is 38 seconds long, but I could barely make out a tiny dot in the night sky, hardly scintillating evidence.
As it happened, the light ascended slowly and gradually faded away.

I looked around and noticed a truck approaching me with it's high-beams on.   I squinted as the pick-up slowed down and came to a stop on the other side of the street.  The driver's window was tinted and closed and I couldn't see the driver, or any passengers.  I waited, thinking that maybe they had seen the light as well, causing them to pull over. I started to wonder what why they had stopped, and if it had anything to do with me, standing alone with my phone in my hand, next to my scooter, peering at the sky.
Nothing happened.
So, I put my phone in my pocket and got on my scooter and quickly drove away.
As I gained speed up the long hill, I was thinking about stopping at the top to get a better view, and possibly, to see more lights.

That's when I noticed the bright lights behind me.  It was a vehicle, coming from where the truck had been, with it's high-beams on, approaching quickly. My mind began to race, still trying to figure out what the sky light was.
Since I knew the road well, I kicked my scooter into fast mode.  The raised speed bumps were more like small, flattened humps, which at high speed can be "jumped," merely by timing it right and lifting yourself off the seat as the bike went up and down.  I did it all the time, in the daytime.
So I gunned it, hopping the three bumps without crashing and I came to the intersection between Kamali'i School and the highway.  I buzzed through as I noticed the lights of the car behind me coming up quick, like they were trying to catch up with me.
By the time I passed the school, less than a minute later, the lights were right behind me, and now, I had noticed, they were flashing blue and white.
I pulled over to the side and once again, popped it up on the kickstand.

The lights were so bright, I could not see anything at all.  A Policeman was approaching me but I stepped towards him to get out of the light. The cop just looked at me and backed up on his heels.
In a gruff voice, I heard him ask me "Why didn't you stop back there?  You know you need to stop there."

"Dude, did you just see those lights in the sky?" I heard myself say to a cop.
He looked at me and I burst out with "No seriously, I'm not drunk or stoned... I just came from a movie."
He was about to say something when I heard myself say "What were those lights in the sky?  They kind of freaked me out."

"Oh." he said, "those are from the Navy, they're mapping."
Quickly he added "next time stop at the intersection."

"Thank you for telling me... I was freaking out, wondering what the lights were... and then, someone was chasing me... and..." I trailed off, hoping to avoid a sobriety test.

The policeman shook his head, walked back to his car and turned off the flashing lights.
He did a u-turn and drove away as I started my scooter and headed home, my heart beating wildly in my chest.

At least I had a story to tell.

Watch this video of a weather balloon getting to 80,00 feet, it'll get your heart pumping:


Cul-de-sac-ed said...

Are you going to start sculpting mountains out of mashed potatoes now?

Did you like the movie or what?

Anonymous said...

It must have been a powerful movie to turn a normally calm, cool, and collected laid back dude like yourself into a paranoid stop sign running, speed hump jumping, nervous moped rider from Heck!