Thursday, April 26, 2007

Rescue Vous?

While driving home over the mountains and through the woods with the radio off (and praying for all I was worth my car would survive the trip) I pondered….is it okay for a heroine to continually bail her hero out of sticky situations?

I know it’s plausible for her to rescue him, since the new kick-ass action romances have the heroine doing just that. But do you feel that the romantic couple should work as a team, or is it okay for the heroine to take the dominate (usually stereotypically male) role? (And I don’t mean in the bedroom with handcuffs leather chaps and a horsewhip.)

Of course, there’s no way the hero can be a nincompoop. I mean who could fall in love with a man too stupid to live? (Don’t we already dislike the girl who’s too stupid to live without adding this?) Even a nerd has redeeming qualities, like a brain for instance. And yes, Betas do exist rarely these days, but even they have the occasional fortitude to go Alpha when needed.

Earlier on the loop we discussed the changing genre of romance as it morphs to embrace the modern woman. Because she is confidant, intelligent and the person to get things done, should she be the token “hero” to save the “shrinking violet” guy? Or is this too far a reversal of the romantic norm? And should the men in romances embody the real guys we interact with everyday? Or atleast share some of those newly developed characteristics with a hotter body, etc.?

Are you still wondering what I was doing in those woods? I’ll preface by saying my bf didn’t manage to lock himself out of his car (or the house) again. Though I should’ve known trouble was afoot since “the guys” were getting together to hang out and had fast cars at their disposal to muddle through dangerous terrain. Did I mention he almost never calls unless something is amiss? He called on my mother’s phone twice and my sister’s phone trying to hunt me down.

With my heart in my throat I returned his call around 9 pm. It seems he’d had an accident…thought he’d totaled his car…and needed me to come get him. So what’s a girl to do? Get freaking mad first, then take a deep breath and strategize a plan of attack.

My brother-in-law and I left at midnight with a seen-better-days F-150 and rickety trailer that was hauling my car to travel across the state. Black Mountain (so named because it’s a transmission destroyer) had us saying every prayer we knew and ended up pushing us to the stopping point for the night. Three and a half hours later (and $90 poorer thanks to the shortest hotel stay I’ve had) we unloaded my car and set off to uncover the location of Fontana Dam. Things were fine until we turned off on Hwy. 28. Slowly, but surely the paved roads turned into asphalt covered goat paths that twined through the hills with sheer drops on either side. Can I say for the record, this isn’t my idea of fun? I wanted to turn back, but I knew I had to “save” my man. He had no one else to turn to.

When the inclines reached 60 degrees and the turns shrank to 90 degree angles my brother-in-law pulled off and said the truck couldn’t make it any farther. Then he told me I’d have to forge on alone. Gulp! I had to suck up my fears of venturing into unfamiliar territory (that could quite possibly get me killed). Sticking in there paid off when I saw my bf for the first time after his call. He practically ran across the lobby, hugged me like he never wanted to let go and started to cry. (Did I mention that car is like his baby?) I hugged him close, soothed him down and of course told him, “Everything is going to be okay.” Like I had a crystal ball tucked in my pocket!

After he got packed up (since he didn’t think we’d drive through the night), we met back up with my brother-in-law to backtrack and devise a route to get over the Great Smoky Mountains to Tennessee. Why forge ahead? The tow truck driver quoted my bf double the price to tow the Miata back to Fontana, then was kind enough to take the car farther out of our way. (Nice, huh?)

US 129 also circled around the mountain, and my bf (who had the only hands-on knowledge) said it was flatter than Hwy 28. That sold us on giving it a try. So we set out with a little fresh food in our belly for the ride. It was a beautiful summer day and all I had to do was follow the trailer. The panorama of the mountains was breathtaking…and then I started the hairpin turns, blind rises and almost got rear-ended by a Chevrolet whose driver thought he was “the man”. Dare I mention the motorcyclists insane enough to pass in a posted no passing zone going 10 to 15 over the 30 mph speed limit?

When we made it to the other side, I asked my bf, “Did we just drive the Dragon?” Which is the infamous road the car clubs had come to drive (including some from other states) because of its reputation…318 CURVES in 11 MILES! He said, “Yeah.” I said, “I drove the Dragon and didn’t even get a t-shirt!” Making it through clean at top speed is a feat that they crow about for months on end, and I’d done it in a Contour, not a sports car. And my brother-in-law had done it in an old truck while hauling a trailer!

After we hauled butt through a third of Tennessee to our part of North Carolina and unloaded his banged-up car, I told my bf he’d have been impressed with my skills. After all I’d kept hot on my brother-in-laws rear end (not just on 129 but also on I-40 with insane transfer truck drivers) and stayed inside all the lines. He scoffed as if I didn’t drive better than him. Now remind me…who was it that needed rescuing?

His shirt reads “It’s only funny until someone gets hurt…then it’s hilarious!” I'm just glad he stayed in one piece like he promised!
Want to see video of the trek? Go here: Check out this website ( for more information on the Dragon and the yearly gatherings at Deals Gap.

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