Dedication on the roof of a Pontiac

So… you’re filming for a movie, and you need footage of an icy Minnesota highway. The catch? You need moving footage (highway-speed moving footage) from about ten feet above the road.

If you’re Rissa Crowe (author of Anytime Archive, where she documents the movie making drama), you have resources. You have a tenth-grade friend with a brand-new driver’s license and a Pontiac. So you crawl up on the roof of the car, camera in hand(s), and start praying.

As you watch the frozen countryside sweep by–bridges, rivers, trees–you can’t help but notice other drivers watching as you ride by on the roof of the Pontiac, holding on to nothing except your camera. Balancing isn’t easy, but even when the car gets up near 60 m.p.h., you’ve got a handle on it.

This isn’t so bad.

Then your transportation brakes. You swivel, free one hand to brace yourself on the smooth, cold metal roof you’re sitting on. The car beneath you turns off the highway, and momentum yanks you forward. With the camera in one hand, half of your face and one arm smack the front windshield, and your life–in all its twenty-year-old glory–passes before your eyes.

And there you lay, splattered on top of the car just off a country highway, shivering and hoping you got the footage you need. It takes a few seconds to figure out for sure that you’re alive, that somehow you didn’t end up on the pavement. Or in the river. Or worse.

And… if you’re Rissa Crowe, you’re still telling the story. And if you’re me, you’re laughing and meditating on life, loving people, and doing those crazy things–whatever they are–that give life so much of its rich complexity.

Here’s to never growing all the way up.

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