Whew! My heart-rate is just coming back to normal. I had a near-death experience this evening.
On a dark and stormy afternoon, I was in my work vehicle driving away to leave my day job and heading to my night job at the gym to teach a yoga class. My iPhone siren blared that the weather was threatening impending doom of flash floods and we were all in danger in the metropolitan area! I ignored it and kept on trucking, lest I be late for job #2.
Going up the hill to get onto the freeway, several cars ahead of me were stalled. My usual route was completely submerged in rainwater. I applied my foot to the gas pedal when suddenly an 18 wheeler came flying down the hill towards me, sending a rivulet towards my work car. An eddy whirled around and my car (which was already on the fritz and was deemed “totalled” last month) suddenly broke down. Water flooded the engine and an “!” red light lit up a warning.
It all came down to panic and drown, or swim out and survive. I tried to open my driver’s door of the Taurus, but water flooded into my seat. I opened the passenger side and lost all of my books and notes. I barely recovered my lunchbox, purse and empty bookbag. I managed to close the door, thus sweeping in more water. The windows were cracked because the A/C had gone out months ago. I’m sure rain flooded in the windows by now.
The inner mermaid of my soul arose and I swam to the sidewalk, thighs deep in black urban city water. At that moment, I dropped my iPhone underwater on the street. I took a deep breath and fished for it. (Hours later, it started working again, thanks to Mr. Otterbox!).
With my purse, lunchbox, and empty bookbag, I waded waistdeep to the nearest parking lot, full of public transportation buses. It was still pouring down torentially as I made this bold attempt to safety. Meanwhile, I was flailing my arms in the SOS position above my head, begging anyone to help. No boats were nearby, and that’s precisely what was needed. I tried not to blink too hard because my contacts were getting soaked and I almost lost them. I’m pretty blind as a bat without glasses or contacts.
Lightning flashed nearby and I thought, “Oh, my God! This is the end! I’m going to drown, get struck by lightning, or get hit by a truck.”
I started to climb into the abandoned public safety bus to wait out the storm. Just then, a man and his little daughter barely drove up to my rescue! I hitchhiked a ride with them back to my parents’ house nearby by way of the interstate. I prayed to God he wasn’t a serial killer or anything. I had my loaded gun just in case, but really he ended up being such a Good Samaritan! I even tried to pay him all the cash in my wallet, but he didn’t take it.
Once I made it to my parents’ house, I dried off, peeling off the wet clothes and putting on spares my mom keeps for me. They fed me and my family. My husband and son greeted me with open arms, and considering I was so shaken, I fell into them.
If I could’ve been a turtle, I would have taken the car with me, putting it on my back. But all I could muster were three measly bags of possessions. Even that was too much! I lost my journal in the flood and several notebooks full of important information. The trunk had popped open so I’m sure someone got all of my clothes and my 2 yoga mats out of the back.
I called a supervisor from my parents’ house and explained the emergency. He was still stuck downtown and drove up to the street nearby with two other stragglers from the office. They saw the Taurus and said it was still very much under water and unable to be towed. I begged the supervisor to salvage my journal and notebooks if he could.
This whole experience taught me a few valuable lessons. For one, don’t have too much to carry, especially in a crisis situation. Two, possessions aren’t people and can be replaced. Three, listen to your dreams. More on that in a sec. And four, it’s ok to rely on strangers for help. And don’t forget to pay it forward yourself!
I awoke from a lucid, horrible nightmare at 4 AM this morning. I had escaped two violent tornadoes and was hiding from both of them in different places. Maybe my dream was a psychic intuitive premonition that something weather-related and awful was about to occur today. I left a cryptic message on my gym’s Facebook page about why yoga was cancelled tonight.
I’m making peace with the fact that my clothes in the trunk, yoga mats, and notebooks (including my sacred journal) are now gone with the flood! I’m also making peace with not having a work-assigned take-home vehicle. I guess I’ll be shelling out my own gas money four days a week for a while.
Moreover, I made peace with God during the emergency. Somewhere between swimming on the streets, avoiding lightning striking nearby, and hitchhiking, my adrenaline skyrocketed! God protected me after all.
“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”- Henry David Thorough, Walden