Archive for July, 2013


Comprehension

It’s a funny feeling when you come to understand something new about the adult world.

Me, I’ve just come to understand the worry a parent feels when their child is late in coming home. See, it’s three AM here in Punta Cana, and neither of my siblings have returned to our shared room. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything – a number of this resort’s establishments are open until this time or later, and as I recall from my own escapades in Cuba five years ago, the party doesn’t stop until the house lights come up, and sometimes not even then.

Despite that, I’m wide awake at three in the morning, waiting for them. I get anxious at every sound I hear outside, hoping it’s them. Thus far it hasn’t been, but maybe this time…?

And suddenly I get it. I understand why parents stay up until their teenaged children come home. Because despite whatever promises they may have made four hours ago, I have absolutely no idea what they’re up to right now. They could have decided to defy orders and go to the beach, which is generally a bad move this time of night due to the lack of light.  The matter is made worse by the fact that I can’t send them a text to make sure they’re okay. Nor did they give me an indication of when they’d be back, so I’m just stuck here, waiting. This resort is huge, and going out to search for them would be futile; if I found them, what could I really do or say? Plus, I’d look foolish if they saw me now. And if I didn’t find them, which is likely given the size of this place, I’d just end up more worried. So I just sit here and type out a blog in order to pass the time. Thinking about it, I don’t even know for sure if my parents are back right now. There’s another fun thought.

3:30 now. Hopefully they get back soon so that I can feel that sense of relief wash over me and then get to bed. If they decide to do this every night (and knowing them, they will), I’m going to need a vacation after this vacation.

Driving In A Lake

The last week or so has provided me with a few golden opportunities for blogs. Between cleaning out my room and discovering heaps of old memories, the continued joys of medical malpractice, and a looming vacation, I’m not starved for topics.

But deserving as all of those subjects are, I’d be crazy to not mention the flash flood that hit Toronto last week. Boy oh boy was that insane.

I left work at about 5:30 last Monday. The skies were dark grey and I knew I’d be driving home in the rain. I joked about it being a monsoon out there at one point, not realizing that I wasn’t far off.

At the beginning of the drive it wasn’t raining very hard at all. A moderate drizzle, really. Traffic along my normal route was looking awful, so I decided to take the highway instead. And that’s when the rain started to pick up.

At first it was manageable with the windshield wipers on at 70% capacity or so, but with each passing kilometre the rain became harder and harder until it was getting hard to see even with the wipers on at their highest setting. I took it nice and slow, but I realized grimly that if the cars in front of me suddenly stopped it would be difficult to react in time, especially with the soaked roads.

Fortunately, I survived the highway, and I figured that I was home free. WRONG.

***

Funny how the little decisions can add up. I had three chances to avoid what was about to happen. I could have

a) decided to tough it out and take my normal route despite the bad traffic.

b) decided to exit the highway one stop earlier, which would have been a perfectly reasonable decision under normal circumstances and even more so given how godawful the highway conditions were.

c) Took a slightly more circuitous route  to my house after exiting the highway, which again would have been perfectly reasonable given the amount of traffic that the more direct route usually has.

On another day perhaps I would have taken any one of those three options, but for whatever reason on this day I didn’t.

***

I was just over a kilometre away from my house when I saw a massive puddle at the end of the road. ‘Wow’, I thought. ‘Never seen that before’. And then as I went to make a left turn at the end of the road, I realized that this massive puddle wasn’t just a massive puddle. It was the tail end of a river where Weston Road used to be. And it was at this point that I realized that I was in trouble. I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t turn around. There was no way to go from here but forward. And so I charged forward, with the water level slowly rising.

And then I saw it.

Astona Boulevard, a 50-metre long side street which leads to my house. The first half of it was underwater, just like the road I was presently on, but the second half of it was dry. Well, not dry – that would be highly improbable given that the city was in the process of absorbing a month’s worth of rain in two hours – but at the very least it wasn’t buried under a foot of water.

Seeing that freedom was just 25 metres away, I took a deep breath, gripped the steering wheel tightly, and proceeded to make my right turn.

I made it about three metres before the engine cut out. Panicked, I tried multiple times to restart the engine. No dice. I learned later that attempting to restart the engine is #1 on the list of Things Not To Do when driving in a lake, as attempting to restart the engine causes water to be sucked into the engine, ruining it. Oops.

All told, I ended up trapped in my car for about an hour. The water was high enough that if I tried to open the door I’d be swamped. I could have climbed out through the window or sunroof if I was so inclined, but what for? It was pouring outside, and if nothing else I was dry in the car. So I sat there, texted people about my peril, and waited for a tow truck. Fortunately, there were three other cars trapped as well (for some reason I failed to notice these as I was making my ill-advised right turn), and as a result, a fair number of tow trucks nearby. Since I was within a kilometre of my house, my dad decided to put on his rubber fishing overalls and wade in. There wasn’t much that he could do, but it was good having him there anyhow.

Eventually the tow truck pulled me out of the water and onto dry land in one piece. The car, unfortunately, was completely ruined by the ordeal. The interior managed to stay dry but the electrical equipment had all been fried, rendering the vehicle useless. I never thought I’d be the type to total my parents’ car, but there you go. Insurance will cover it, thank fuck.

By way of an epilogue, we’ve been given a rental car until we get the wreaked one replaced. Because of a technicality in the insurance process, I’m not actually allowed to drive right now, and as a result I’ve been getting rides to and from work for the last week. From a purely selfish perspective it’s nice as I’m not a fan of driving in general, but I do recognize that my parents are making a sacrifice here, and I’m grateful for it. It’s just one of those things that can’t be helped.

So that was my adventure for the week. Let’s hope this week is a little less eventful eh?

A True Story

A 72 year old man went to a casino to gamble away his pension. He was playing a slot machine when suddenly he had a heart attack and collapsed. His heart actually stopped for a while, but thanks to the number of defibrillators they keep in casinos nowadays they were able to resuscitate him. After a hospital stay he was able to return home and resume his life.

Three months later, he returned to that same casino, and sat in front of the very same slot machine. He pulled the lever once, and died from a second heart attack.

That’s a true story. Take whatever lesson from it that you will, or none at all.