While getting gouged at the gas pump during last Thursday’s torrential rains, I noticed an SUV stranded underneath the bridge of the railroad tracks. It seems every railroad trestle in the area overlooks a makeshift pond during heavy rains, but the (crappy) picture I took with my iPhone shows this was no ordinary storm.
Normally I’d be the one tempting fate to see if I could plow through the water in a game of engine roulette, but I just happened stop off to get gas just before the bridge. The cars driving underneath the bridge looked more like amphibious landing craft at Normandy as they floated the last ten or fifteen feet until their tires hit pavement again. As I pondered taking out a second mortgage to pay for topping off my gas tank, I noticed one car struggling to move forward. The rain was coming down in sheets, and the waters were rising quickly. Hoping to remain dry, I silently willed the car across, but it was as if someone had put a matchbox car in an aquariu
I tried to take a picture, thinking maybe the Stratford Star could use it as a tweet, but it was raining so hard I feared frying it. I put it in my pocket to keep it dry. When it became clear the car wasn’t moving and the cavalry wasn’t coming, I sloshed into the pond and made my way over to the car. Before I knew it I was up to my hips in water—if you’ve ever considered jumping into a river created by a flash flood, don’t. It’s exactly the same as jumping into a half-full trash can at the beach and filling the rest with bilge water… only much, much colder and faster.
I got the driver’s attention and she rolled down her window—she was eight months pregnant and didn’t know what to do. She said she’d just called the fire department, which I thought was a wise thing to do. Knowing I have karmic debts to pay, I had her turn off the car and put it in neutral so I could push her out. This is not a wise thing to do. Eventually someone else came in to help and we managed to get her clear just as the fire trucks arrived. In other words, if I had done the smart thing (who knows what electrical wires could fall in the water and fry me like bacon… or an iPhone) and waited for them to help, I wouldn’t have waded into toxic water with my wallet and iPhone in my pocket. I wouldn’t have had to bury my phone in a bowl of rice in a desperate attempt to keep it from burning out, and it wouldn’t smell like a chocolate cigarette even a week later.