“Night Crasher” was a famous storm (perhaps even hurricane) which — you might be surprised to learn — was actually promoted by Hollywood and its movie stars in 1936. There are posters and other artifacts which I find fascinating and puzzling. Why promote a storm, and how did they know it was coming? Was it a real storm? I’m fairly certain it was a real film, as was alive to remember its decades-late sequel “Night Crasher 2”, released in the early ’90s.
A quaint, yellowed old-timey map shows a staggered row of island groups between the latitude above Australia and south of the equator. Never before have I seen these islands so presented (either grouped, or as a timeline) showing the odd order they were discovered, claimed, and settled. The map is even illustrated with cute icons to be helpful and memorable. Once again, this map was actually promoted by Hollywood media types at the time (so perhaps also from the 1930s).
I’m a small spry man of indeterminate age riding as a passenger in a car’s backseat. My companions and I travel at night in drizzly rain through an unfamiliar neighborhood. I’m not too familiar with my companions either, but they’ve also never been here. There’s an unacknowledged tension — as if we are all on a mission none of us signed up for. I weigh the balance of providing directions versus disturbing the group dynamic.
Soon it must be tested anyway; we arrive at our first destination. I tromp up a steep hillside of industrial scree to the curved wall of a concrete bunker. I’m the only one to have dealt with these people before, at some village-scale trade negotiations. With the vantage from climbing I now can see into their unobscured control room — no ceiling, disorderly but oft-used, a place of daily work for the overworked. We are summarily buzzed in and I must hop quickly after my taller male companion, as the timed doors close promptly after me.
An insouciant gray-haired lady greets us by suggesting we wait and go play table tennis. My companion is young and likes tasks requiring only brawn. He needs handholding, so I try to assure him that he simply doesn’t understand their ways here: they mean no disrespect, neither is it some kind of test. We really do only have to kill time. And pleasantly there is an actual pool table (or close enough).
After a while I leave through a different door within this compound, wanting to go outside to break up the time. Unexpectedly I encounter what must be the concert of the season going on… many people I know in wider social circles are seated across loads of metal balconies in this half stadium, all reveling. I’m glad I’m there: a few friends start hanging off the balcony rails; by chance I know the structure’s particular weaknesses. Once again I weigh the prudence of sharing advice. I’m glad I do share it this time, though.
Returning to the main room of the place, this industrial business compound, I meet up with my occasional friend Chloe. A great song starts playing and we spontaneously dance around the pool table. Turned away, with our butts pressed together, she offers a friendly warning: “don’t think this means any more than what it really does”. While playfully bumping/humping her from behind I respond in kind by quoting Rick Astley, “you know the game, and so do I.” This response lands well and I’m glad we’re on the level.
In my wallet I save keepsake political art made to look like dollar bills. These are even valid currency in some odd cases. I am only reminded when I go to pay for something (maybe the jukebox?) and I notice a $39 bill. It’s collectible, a feminist pro-union message as I recall, supporting daycare access for working women. Another one is an otherwise normal boring $10 bill. It’s design is so incredibly plain and modern that the overall effect strangely exotic. A sleeper hit, I guess we’d call it.