can’t see the forest

Presidential Drivebys and Nuclear Comebacks

Posted in Alabama, driving, George W. Bush, News, Nuclear Power, Personal, USA by Curtis on 6/21/07

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So I’m sleepily stumbling out of algebra class at college this afternoon, positively numb after two hours of factoring trinomials, when I remember that my friend Joey is in the college darkroom in a building on the other end of campus. Free for the day from any further scholastic obligations, I decide to visit him in his chemical lair before heading home to the pool on such a beautiful afternoon.

The college campus sits on a sparsely populated highway some miles outside of town; you turn off the highway and on to a parallel access road by which you can get to all the various buildings on campus. As I’m navigating down this little lane from the math building to the other side of the premises, I notice that state troopers (police) have blocked off all the exits back onto the highway. There are people—mostly older folks—lining the sidewalks, many arrayed with homemade American flags and patriotic T-shirts. Did I sleep through the rest of June and the first few days of July? I’m asking myself.

I dart into the fine arts building and say hi to my buddy, then head back outside and attempt to find an exit that isn’t blocked. There isn’t one. Since I have to head north to my home, I pull into a parking space right next to the highway, one that’s very near the northernmost exit—I smelled gridlock in the near future, in other words. A campus security officer walks up to the window of my Jeep.

“Sir, the Secret Service says you can’t park there.”

“Well, what’s going on, officer?”

“The President is coming through momentarily.”

“The President of the United States?”

“That’s the one, son. Now, if you don’t mind, please back over there.” He points me to a parking space no more than twenty feet away. O-kaaaay, I’m thinking.

It’s at this point that I realize my cigarette lighter is out of fluid. I already know that the built-in lighter in the Jeep is shot. And, after all those trinomials, and in anticipation of the visit from His Decisiveness, man, do I need a smoke. I make my way to my appointed parking spot, step out into the bright sunshine, and nervously await the passing of the esteemed motorcade. Great, I mumble to myself. The snipers will think I’m suspicious just because I can’t stop fidgeting.

There was no traffic of any kind on the highway. After about fifteen minutes a helicopter flew over. Five minutes later, practically every state trooper in Alabama came parading northwards on motorbikes. They were followed by several squad cars, a few SS vehicles (SUVs, of course), two armored limousines bearing the flag of the United States, one of which contained the distinct profile of our misunderestimable leader, and a couple more SSUVs. Oh, and an ambulance running code. WTF?

I couldn’t figure it out: What in the hell is the President of the United States doing traveling north on Highway 31 towards Athens, Alabama?! There are several interstate highways and even a couple airports nearby, you know?

It turns out that Mr. Bush is in town for the reopening of a long-silenced reactor at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, a nuclear power installation here in Limestone County which was once the world’s largest operating nuclear power facility.

Once the motorcade had passed, it took about twenty more minutes for the authorities to remove the blockades and allow traffic to slowly resume course. It was a long and cramped ride home, as you can imagine.

Gee, I hope His Decisiveness didn’t have any trouble with those pesky hairpin curves on Nuclear Plant Road.

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6 Responses

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  1. raincoaster said, on 6/21/07 at 8:13 pm

    I hope he drinks the heavy water. Unfiltered.

  2. Curtis said, on 6/21/07 at 9:01 pm

    Gurgle, gurgle. Smack. Aaaaaaah. What’s good for America is good for the President!

  3. Dave said, on 6/29/07 at 2:03 pm

    So, did you ever get that smoke lit?

  4. Curtis said, on 7/2/07 at 1:07 am

    Miles later–but, yes, I did.

  5. zbt said, on 9/1/07 at 3:51 pm

    I had no idea you smoke!

    (Why does my English seem incorrect?)

  6. Curtis said, on 9/14/07 at 2:50 pm

    Because of the implied complementizer (that)! Check out this sentence for kicks: He said that that ‘that’ that that ‘that’ modified was incorrect!


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