Dallas to Atlanta, or how PMS saved my life.

On the last leg of my drive from TX to GA, I encountered a tornado-laden lightningfest of a storm that had me alternately tailgating the semi in front of me to keep track of where I was, crying, and generally freaking out. And crying some more. I was really scared.

The tornado passed around me, complete with wipers being pulled off the windshield and a chunk of guardrail smashing the side of the poor rental car. I thought the scariest part had come and gone; my nerves were really shot after 9 hours on the road and 300 miles to go. But the worst was yet to come, as it turned out. The rest of my travel on I-20 was under a torrential downpour that matched my exact speed and heading and obscured all but the taillights of the 18 wheeler I latched onto, lane change for lane change. My wipers were a joke, there are no lights on the highway, and smashups that percussively dotted the roadsides reminded me that my fears were well founded.

I scanned the dial for news, sports talk, NPR, anything to keep me company and on the level. And you know what came through in staticky pulses? The Petros and Money Show, or ‘PMS’, as it’s known. It’s a Los Angeles based (mostly) sports show that recently went syndicated, and one of my favorites. I actually know one of the guys on a cursory level, and although I was across the country I felt like I had a friend in the car, reminding me in 12 minute segments that home still exists, that there was sun up somewhere else, distracting me from my fright. Thanks, guys. You’ll never know.

I pulled into my hotel and slept, and dreamed.

The next day, I taught a private lesson and was treated to a magnificent dinner. As I pulled away, a shiver came over me. I knew it was going to snow, and the weather channel agreed with me. I jokingly texted CelloGirl that I had brought the bad weather with me. The next day as I drove to the church for the class, I did my first snow drive. (I have done ice driving, or car-skating, as it should be called on several occasions) The entire trip was worth those 40 minutes of absolute wonder.

Did I mention that I was happy about the snow? Thanks, Ann, for taking this pic of me, even though it is very silly.

And then there was the class!!

Here are the participants, and me. (guess which one I am)

Casey played a stellar Kol Nidrei, artfully photographed by organizer Ann’s husband.

All 3 participants are students of the amazing David Hancock, whom I didn’t get to talk with nearly enough and was just about regale him with sordid tales of Emily Wright, compulsive truth-teller and hence Hollywood outcast. I may have scared him off!

There are more pictures here, some of them more flattering than others. I had such a cute outfit planned for 70 degree weather, but alas, warmth won out just once over fashion.

I’m in Miami now, in a new hotel. Last night yielded about 57 minutes of sleep due to an exuberant bunch of cruise ship passengers passing through the various stages of drunken glee, romance and finally the inevitable justice of physical illness.

There is much to be said of this tour, now that I’m entering the final 36 hours of the adventure. I’ll save that for the next post, which may be written here, or maybe after I get back to LA.

Thanks to: Ann and Dan, Justin and Penny, Kim, Martin, Casey, Elizabeth, Kat, the other Elizabeth, Stephen, Kathy, the cellist who works at Hertz rent a car, Church of the Redeemer, Louis, Mrs. Bryant, and the nice people at the Ritz Carlton Atlanta and The Blue in Doral, FL.

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11 Responses

  1. I don’t know whether to hug you or slap you silly for driving in such weather. I am so glad you lived to tell the tale!

  2. Slapped by Maricello and GGP! I see how it is! 🙂 It is good to be wrapping this thing up. It was enough of a whirlwind without actual whirling winds!

  3. Emily, glad to know you're ok! I drove from FL to DE starting Saturday morning. Little did I know about the travel conditions (my journey from DE->CA and back was a lot nicer!). Apparently around Savanna, GA, they had tornado warnings and horrible thunderstorms… I had forgotten what a thunderstorm was since I've moved to the North.

    I do remember being scared, as I could barely make out the vehicles in front of me. However, it sounds like you had it much worse than me with a tornado around you… I would've cried! I was close to, anyway, haha.

    I'm getting such a travel itch. Never thought road trips could be fun but nothing tops the sightseeing.

    Have a LOT of fun, even though it can be stressful. I'm sure you'll check the weather next time before heading out like that again 😛

    p.s. my friend would've gladly traded seats with you for the thrill of the tornado! Crazy, I know…

  4. Gah! I would have died of fright when the guardrail smashed into the car. I’m so very glad you’re all right.

  5. Heavens to Bettsie! I’m a California girl who’s terrified of tornadoes!! I’ll take earthquakes over twisters any day of the week. But I’m glad you escaped (mostly) unscathed. And I love Money (Petros is just meh). I would find him comforting, too!

  6. Terry & I were sending you safe travel thoughts on Tuesday. He'd been eyeballing the Weather Channel, monitoring the skies of your route. I'm glad to know you made it through okay and with a lovely snowfall to boot.

    Congrats on such success and inspiration :). We missed you here!

  7. Oh my dear god. That trip sounds more than horrifying. Musicians really are another breed.

    I had a really great first masterclass thanks to you! I’m trying to get all the experience I can this first year of college and it’s really changing the way I play. Dare I say I’m growing up???

    I’d love to have a private lesson with you sometime. (o0o that’d be a great pick-up line, must remember that one.) You are so fun to work with. I enjoyed the lighthearted atmosphere you brought with you. Thanks again, Emily!

  8. Kat! Good to see you here! I may be in TX again in the next few months, and if I am, with Dr. Morrow’s blessing, we’ll have a lesson. It was a pleasure to meet you.

  9. Your WINDSHIELD WIPERS BLEW OFF??? Oh my WORD!!! That is terrifying! I can just imagine you driving sans wipers in a tornado, your bumper mere feet behind the semi in front of you. Holy Schmoly. So clad to hear you made it out safe! I’m so jealous of your master class students! Hoping this trip hasn’t scared you away from the East Coast . . .

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