Saturday, July 1, 2006

What the hail?


My old phone was ringing, and since it is older than I am, I had to move fast.

I dove over the puppy, dodged my brother, and grabbed the receiver before the phone gave up hope of human intercession and stopped ringing.

It was dear Becky."Laura!" she said."Becky!" I replied."I need you to go cover something," she continued. "They're testing the water down at the public access site in Manchester. Just go, get some pictures, maybe talk to some people, whatever."

"Sure!"I got on my shoes, styled my hair, and hopped in the car.

Two minutes later:

Thunder boomed over my car.

Minutes passed, hail began, the little gray car I drove had begun to pour water onto the passenger seat. As I had no passenger, I moved my belongings and allowed the water to soak the chair.

I realized after driving past the Roann gas station that the level of gas my car currently had in its tank was nearing the level of emergency. Not only had it reached the "E," it had passed it, coming to rest on the bright red emergency fill-up-your-tank-right-now line. But it was pouring sheets of rain outside, and I wasn't about to stop until I could get to a place with a canopy I could stand underneath.

North Manchester

The rain had worsened, hail battered my car. A steady stream of water poured through my windshield. The soggy Wendy's napkins had fallen out of the cracks where I had stuffed them in a futile attempt to stop the flow of rain. They lay defeated on the floor of my car, where I am certain they will remain until Dad decides I'm a total slob and cleans my car for me. This should happen within the next month, after he notices how badly my oil needs changing and does that, too.

I stopped for gas. At this point I realized that the level of water had exceeded ankle level on the ground, my legs and feet were icy cold and very, very wet. Now I had to pump gas.

As I did so, the wind picked up. Rain blew under the canopy, drenching me completely, from head to toe. I punched in the payment information, threw my gas cap on my tank, and ran back to the car.

Unfortunately, the car had taken the moisture which had fallen into the vehicle and it had evaporated, fogging the windshield completely. Since the defrost in my vehicle does not work, I was forced to roll down the windows on either side of the car. Now I was off to cover the event which I was certain had been canceled due to the fact that rain and hail were coming through my windows and assaulting me.

There was no one at the river.

So I went to the office, sat down, and wrote this out.

Becky, you know now how dedicated I am to you and to this newspaper. Otherwise, I would have called you back when I was in Roann, laughed at you, and turned around to go back home and sit with my puppy. I would have knit the case I'm making for Dad's Irish whistle and fought to keep the wool (from the Peruvian Highlands) from going into little Darcy's puppy mouth. I would have been warm and dry.

However, if I had given up like that, I wouldn't have had blog material, and for that, at least, I am grateful.

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