Pathetic Fallacy

I hate driving in the fog.

Don’t get me wrong – I love a picturesque scene as I drive: fog rolling on the hills, lit by the soft morning sun. But when it doesn’t stay on the hills, when it’s on the road, I’m not so keen.

I went to see some friends after work the other day and was consequently late driving home. It gets dark so early now, and the extra couple of hours made it all the darker. And the fog that had been present all day hadn’t lifted.

Such driving conditions make me nervous. The last time it was foggy, I was nearly hit when pulling out of a junction because a car didn’t have any lights on. Never mind fog lights, it didn’t even have headlights. I could see the two cars behind, but he was invisible.

It seems to me that the number of people using their fog lights is actually inversely proportional to the amount of fog. And of course, people continue to drive irresponsibly: overtaking in dangerous places, carving each other up and generally driving too fast for the conditions.

Then there’s the creepiness of fog, day or night.

In writing, when weather is used to reflect the tone set by a scene – such as a sad break up happening in the rain, or a giant battle being fought against a backdrop of dramatic thunderstorms – it’s known as ‘pathetic fallacy’.

There’s good reason why every horror story/film ever uses fog. It’s creepy. Even in the daytime, when all monsters except Edward Cullen (and to be honest, I think I could take him) are safely sleeping, unlikely to eat you unless you poke them with a big stick.

There’s something about the way the light dances off it, the way it twists into faces and shapes as you drive through it. It makes you see things that aren’t there. Or stops you seeing things that are.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t the sort of person who jumped at her own shadow. Tonight I’m staying in a supposedly haunted cottage in the Lake District.

I’m seriously hoping there’s no fog.


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