Today, between running errands and doing some work, I squeezed in an hour to go on the wild wild web.
It was the infamous 'Book Of Face' this time, and lo and behold - I randomly found myself following a live car chase for over an hour.
The chase started in Tarzana, and covered a wide range of neighborhoods in Los Angeles, going towards Compton, through Torrance, and other neighborhoods I have never visited around the city of angels. I was watching thanks to ABC Live cam that was following the chase from a helicopter.
WHY was I watching this for an hour, you ask?!?
IT WAS FASCINATING.
Better than most stuff on Netflix, really.
I never thought I would be so hooked onto something like this, but this car chase got me goooood.
See, the car, a grey ford fiesta, tried to escape the helicopter's view, and the highway patrol police cars chasing it, and was making extremely dangerous moves like driving in the opposite side of the road, speeding up to 110 mph, driving through red lights, and so on. It was like watching an episode of 24; Adrenaline pumping, thriller drama, with sirens and danger at every corner. This chase's twists and turns would shame some of our biggest box office action plots, in fact.
The most fascinating moments to me, were the ones in between the speedy chase; When the car - and obviously, it's reckless driver, seemed like he thought he could 'get away with it', and casually blended with the other traffic. From the bird's eye view,I could almost see the way this driver was thinking - his moves, and his pauses, and his last minute u-turns and search for alleys, were suspenseful and engaging AF. It was as if I was following a criminal's mind. And as a storyteller and an overly analytical person, my imagination was soaring; Was this a stolen vehicle? Was he mentally ill? Drunk? Did he have ANY plan whatsoever? Did he commit a bigger crime than driving like a maniac, which is why he was, well, driving like a maniac to escape getting caught!? Did he really think he could get away with it!? I mean, did he NOT notice the helicopter circling him for more than an hour!?
Watching that car chase, was like seeing Hubris in action.
*I've seen this 'type' of hubris before, when someone thinks they can get away with a crime.
I've seen it in some people in my life that were... narcissistic much and had the 'special' syndrome.
The "I get away with anything" types. Personally, I find it to be a hideous sentiment, so I try not to spend too much time with people who have such a special vision of themselves. It's eSPECIALly toxic, in my opinion.
Unfortunately, narcissists are a growing breed, and many of them occupy the city of angels, darn. But perhaps Covid-era will flatten the narcissism's curve a bit. One could only hope.... but I digress.
Back to the action packed car chase:
Observing this particular hubris, from a bird's view, made me empathetic to the guy. Made me slightly root for him to get away! I mean, he was taking so many risks to achieve his goal (thankfully no one was hurt) and I, like all of us movie-watching-21-century-zombies, have been indoctrinated to expect a happy ending for a protagonist. And having the helicopter zoom in on this driver and his grey Ford Fiseta - sure made HIM the hero of the moment.
Which brought me to think of responsibility.
See, the helicopter was following every turn this driver made, and zoomed in on him from every angle, with much interest. A lot like a storyteller focused on his story's hero. Well, so would you think the helicopter's pilot has a similar responsibility so many of us in the entertainment industry have when accused to be 'glorifying villains', 'advocating for crime or violence', and so on?
Where does 'The Hero's Journey' fit in the real world story telling vs. the fictional world?
And could we even change the narrative in the real world, if we wanted to? Or are us humans wired to be 'hooked' as I was, to anyone trying her hardest to achieve her dream, even when it's a crime?
Stories of life, and stories of imagination are so often intertwined.
I will continue asking these questions in my own work as a storyteller, and also as a person in real life.
At least in this 'real life' story - the driver escaped and no one got hurt.
So.... all's well that ends well? Perhaps.
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman