Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2006
Raiders of the Wish-I-Had-An-Ark
I drive about sixteen miles one-way to work, on a rural highway that's got more twists and turns and dips than a politician's version of the truth. It's been rainy off and on since last night, but naturally when I was ready to head home from work tonight it switched from rainy to something of Biblical proportions.
For the majority of the drive it's a speed limit of 50 mph and the majority of the world drives it at 60 mph. It was raining when I left work, but about one mile out of town I was wondering if I should've invested in a set of oars and a life vest. About five miles out I was positive I should have, though I was beginning to reconsider trading the life jacket for a life raft. By the halfway point I was wishing there was someplace to pull off the road - not that I could've seen it if there had been. Either that, or upgrading to a cruiseliner.
Arizona is a land of extremes when it comes to weather. Either it's bone-dry for months, or you get gully-washers that'll take out everything in their paths - including, all too often, roads and vehicles and people. And this one was bad enough that I figured it was entirely possible once I got near home, one particularly low section of roadway could be underwater. So not only could I not see, but I wasn't sure that I would be able to make it home and could end up stranded for a while.
Of course that wouldn't be the end of the world. The temperature was a little on the cool side but hardly at the danger point, and unless I was stupid enough to park in a wash or next to the river, I wasn't actually going to be washed away. But since there was a truck following entirely too close behind me, I also didn't care to pull off the road and stop, only to have said truck plow into me.
Like chaosdaily, I kept my speed around 25-40mph for most fo the trip. Mister Truck-Driver didn't try to pass me. You really could NOT see and I think a couple of times I let it drop back to about 20-25mph, it got so bad.
I hit water running across the road a couple of times, with exactly zero advance warning. In this state you do NOT take something like that lightly.
It finally eased up enough that I was able to pull over and let Mister Truck-Driver go ahead. (The fact that it had to get LIGHTER for me to do that should tell you a lot.) I pulled back in behind him and followed him across the low spot I was most worried about - which, ironically, had very little water running through it. Much less than several spots I'd already floated through. (Or more accurately, hydroplaned through.)
Lunchtime today I'd come home and put a ham in the crock pot for dinner. When I arrived home, Rosie was hustling to fix a couple of side dishes, because we were all braced to lose power, another side effect of Arizona's weather spasms. As it turned out, the electricity flickered momentarily but held on.
Part of our staff worked late tonight because of elections. I've got a sneaky feeling they'll also be covering a slew of accident and flood reports.
Before - After
In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )