Friend: Here, quick, just get on this one and do the test rounds.
This is how I found myself climbing onto an ATV for the first time ever, about to start shooting a video.
Of course, I missed the "how-to" briefing because I was shooting something else.
Which to be fair, hadn't seemed important, as I wasn't planning on getting on the vehicle at any point.
Instructor: *mumble, vague hand gesture*
It was some kind of instruction for turning it on.
Instructor: *louder mumble, repeated vague gesture*
I attempt to copy.
And fail horribly.
He puts my hand in the actual correct place.
At least 3 times for all the levers and buttons I was supposed to press.
Finally, the beast was alive.
I was sent on my way with a wave of the hand - GO! Practice!
As I rounded the first corner and started bouncing rapidly down a hill, I was suddenly gripped by a deep and terrible panic.
I don't know how to stop.
There are a lot of levers and buttons.
And I don't know what they're for.
And my speed is increasing.
And there are a lot of people watching.
OMG WHERE'S THE $@**^£@ BRAKE!?!?!?!
…this is what the briefing is for…
I praise God for simple reflexes and that a childhood spent on bicycles meant the first thing I grabbed for was, in fact, the brake.
With the accelerator and the brake under control, it was time to shoot.
My friend put on the helmet cam and handed me the loose camera.
Friend: You need to get to the front so we can shoot them all coming up.
This is a new face.
It means, brain agrees, and is trying to think about shots…but brain is a little distracted with new skill and trying to avoid death.
Anyway, it's too late - they've started driving.
And the very first part of the course is a ridiculous hill - ridiculous in its incline and the uneven-ness of its surface.
After almost flipping the beastly ATV backwards up the hill, losing a leg and knocking my head on a low-hanging bamboo, I reached the top.
Now his eyes were open.
Friend: Gimme that.
He took the loose camera and thrust the helmet-cam in my direction.
Much better idea.
[scarier than it looks. honestly.]