Airbag/How Am I Driving?
When I visited Minneapolis PlanetDan, K*Mack and I went out for Mexican and I suspected we’d have a problem with gas. I didn’t suspect the gas would be carbon monoxide.
One thing you may not know about Dan is how narrow his garage is; it’s so narrow that you can’t open the passenger door in the garage. So I had developed the routine of getting out of the car while it was in the driveway, walking into the garage and standing by the basement door as he parked. But standing there as the car advanced reminded me too much of the Karma Police video and I started going into the house and waiting for him there.
So after the mexican restaurant, K*Mack and I wait for Dan in the basement while he parks the car. We watch the end of a movie of the week with Bionic Woman Lindsey Wagner, about a pregnant widow who learns to love again, an episode from the second season of Miami Vice, the one where Gina tricks a rapist into going after her so she can shoot him in her home, and then The 40 Year Old Virgin, which I refer to as The Dan Miller Story.
We got home from the restaurant before 10 and it’s nearly 1 am when Dan says, ‘What’s that beeping?’ I tell Dan that it’s just the movie. ‘No, it’s not,’ he says, getting up, looking a bit alarmed. ‘I think it’s my carbon monoxide detector.’
My first thought is, ‘that’s why I don’t have one of those things. Just another thing to malfunction and go off because its batteries need replacing,’ but I follow him down to the basement and—sure enough—the readout says 280 parts per million. At levels over 75 people start to feel symptoms. Levels over 200 can cause unconsciousness and/or death.
I walk to the garage and lean my ear to the door. He drives a car with an incredibly smooth ride and engine, so it takes some straining to hear that it is, in fact, still running.
‘Dan,’ I say, ‘I think you left your motor running.’
He walks to the door, takes a big gulp of air, runs into the garage, activates the garage door opener, shuts the car off, and runs back.
‘You don’t have to run.’ I say, ‘It doesn’t work like that. It’s a length of exposure thing.’
‘My lips are starting to swell up,’ he says, a bit panicked.
‘Well,’ I say, ‘you’ll be relieved to know that carbon monoxide doesn’t cause lip swelling.’
During that brief opening of the basement door, the carbon monoxide level in the basement jumps up to 370. We move the detector into the kitchen, it’s only 50 there. In the living room where we had been watching television, it’s less than 20.
‘No one’s calling the fire department,’ I say. With levels so low in the area where we had been watching television, we could take care of this on our own. EMS would be obliged to swing us by the ED and we’d get arterial blood gases to establish that we had not had a sufficient exposure to suffer any serious effects.
K*Mack, Dan and I put fans in the windows around the house and in the garage door. The levels drop to below 20—even in the basement—before Steve Carell loses his cherry. (Spoiler. Sorry.)
Since we decided to leave the doors open overnight to ensure the gas didn’t reaccumuliate, Dan stayed up to gaurd K*Macks door.
‘You realize, Dan,’ I tell him before I head off to bed, ‘that if we’d died USA Today would run the story as an internet cautionary tale: Double Blogger Suicide in Twin Cities.’