Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Deluge

The rain started just before I left work. As I spoke to a colleague, the storm revved up behind me, rattling my windows and echoing off my walls.

Lovely. It couldn’t wait until I got home. Oh, how I wish it had.

The wind whipped my little umbrella to and fro, inside out and then righted it again. The water beat down on me like tiny needles. I was soaked from the knees down, my feet squishing in my sandals, my hair dripping down my back. Yet it was still so warm that initially, the cool of the bus was a relief.

As we made our way down Washington heading for I-70, water shot up from the sidewalk. Because the rain continued so ferociously without slacking, the sewers filled quickly, touching off mini-geysers on the sidewalk, spraying water straight into the air. People on the street scrambled away from the tiny versions of Old Glory.

The water was thick along Broadway, coming halfway up car tires in places. Cars created thunderous rivers as they made their way through. Once on I-70, water poured off the overpasses like waterfalls. Some of my fellow passengers pointed and gasped. “Does this bus have fins?” I quipped and everyone laughed. We weren’t laughing long.

Route 3 was treacherous and water-covered. Cars were still getting through but that would not be the case less than an hour later. Police would close it to traffic after several cars got stuck in the rising waters. Finally, we reached the station. I made S. wait under the shelter of the depot while I grabbed Ladybird. Suffice it to say that while I'd gotten half-dried on the bus, it didn't matter. I was now soaked to the skin from head to toe after Mother Nature treated my umbrella the way a terrier would a rag doll.

S. was brave and she and I endured a white-knuckled ride on the last leg of our journey. Along the way, we watched the power go on and off – twice – in businesses and at the hospital – before quickly coming back on. More than once both she and I stiffened as Ladybird performed more like a boat than a car. Lots of other motorists would have begged to be so fortunate.

Luckily, these experiences were fewer once I made my way onto the main drag. However, I opted for sidestreets once we finally reached uptown and I watched other cars navigate rising waters at the intersection, I was pleased that I’d taken the alternate route. Shortly down this path and the rain finally began to abate, something it hadn't done in nearly 90 minutes.

As we neared S’s complex though, something was amiss. While it was dark as sunset (though that was hours away) no lights were on. Anywhere. As I pulled into her entrance, I spied light. Hey, there’s light!

“Looks like candlelight,” she said and groaned. Yeah, that's what it was, too. Looks like she went home to no power. Would I find the same at home?

As I made my way down the road, I passed darkened homes and businesses. Traffic lights were out, save one just before my turn. I held my breath as I turned onto the last street before my alley. Front doors stood open. People were sitting on their porches.

Uh-oh. This doesn't look good.

Our street light wasn't on. Hmmm. I parked Ladybird, grabbed my gear and headed for the back door. While the AC wasn't humming -- gulp -- cool air greeted me as I opened the door. As I opened the kitchen door, I held my breath.

LIGHT! YES! The power hadn't gone out.

Dorothy was right: There really is no place like home.

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