* New pick by carrots! *
It’s raining steadily outside. This would be soothing if I could spend the afternoon with a mug of tea in my reading chair with Echo on my lap. Instead, it’s worrisome, as I have to drive to the far outskirts of Katy tonight to teach.
Houston, you see, only offers the illusion of solid ground. A steady rain for more than about forty minutes and the city reveals its true nature as Swamp. After a rainstorm, I can no longer leave my apartment without gondoliering my low-to-the-ground Saturn Ion through the narrow, low streets around my apartment complex — and I am unwilling to do this, as I’ve seen many a small car stranded with its hazard lights on, stalled out and drifting slowly through the flood. A hard rain means that, city-wide, underpasses become particularly treacherous, and many of the major streets seem to sink under three feet of water. Storm drains are only identifiable by a sluggish disturbance on the surface of the water.
Last Thursday, in fact, I returned from Katy to discover that I couldn’t get into my apartment complex due to a small lake that had formed at a vital intersection. I parked at a nearby convenience store with a few other small car drivers, and we watched all of those Houstonians who drive Texas Edition Extended Cab Hemi In Your Face trucks plow through the water, sending small waves over the flooded sidewalks right up to the stairwells of my apartment building. I called Danny on my cell phone, and after about twenty minutes he came slogging down the middle of the small street that leads to our parking lot, the water halfway up his shins.
“Yeah, you can’t drive through this.”
I rolled up my dress pants (just dry-cleaned, of course) and slogged after him, trying to find an overnight solution to the parking problem. I waded past a dead frog, a child’s plastic shoe, and many empty mini wine bottles. Judging by the trail of ugly bites around my ankles and up my shins, I also waded through a displaced colony of mean, biting ants.
Through some careful planning and a series of illegal driving maneuvers, we finally managed to get my car half a block closer to our complex, parking in a lot that may or may not be assigned to our complex. I left a very kind note on my windshield and hoped that my car would be there in the morning. Most tow trucks, after all, were busy rescuing those unwise drivers who try to ford the flood.
It’s raining harder now.
The ants are getting angry.