I drove home Wednesday morning in a Biblical downpour. I got off work at 2:30, and there was a menacing feel in the air; everything was dead still, and it smelled like ocean.
And almost as soon as I merged onto the interstate, to begin my 35 mile journey home, it started raining dogs and UPS drivers. I mean, this was like Georgia rain, or Mississippi rain, or something along those lines. And it just wouldn’t stop. Usually you can drive out of it, but this storm was either extra-large, or following me up I-81 – just to be a smart-ass.
There wasn’t much traffic at that time of the morning, but the few unfortunates on the road were moving cautiously, at no faster than 50 mph. I had my wipers on the highest setting, possibly for the first time ever, and was afraid they were going to fly off and go sailing into the woods.
That shit was whippin’.
A few people lost their nerve and pulled off the road with their emergency flashers going. I imagined them inside their vehicles having a good cry, then calling their wives to bring them fresh underwear and ointment.
But I soldiered on. Like in snowstorms I fell in behind a tractor trailer, and used it as a guide. If there’s nobody in front of me, I’m always concerned I’ll drive straight off the highway in such situations. I figure those guys know what they’re doing, and are fully awake on coffee and goofballs.
The rain was hammering the top of my car, and running like a thousand creeks across the roadway. A couple of times I hydroplaned, and I’m not really a fan of it. When all four of your wheels are pointed in a certain direction, yet the car is moving in a different direction, it’s not good. It’s not good at all.
If I don’t stop at McDonald’s (which I do half the time), I always pull into our driveway at 3:07, 3:08, or 3:09. It’s amazingly consistent. But on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, it was 3:27 as I exited the interstate. Driving with your sphincter all cinched-up apparently requires a little extra time.
I decided to pay our all-night McDonald’s a visit, and the cashier and I did our standard dance.
“Can I take your order?”
“Yeah, I’ll have a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit.”
“Sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit!”
“We’re not accepting credit cards.”
WTF? “That’s OK, I’ve got cash.” (And who buys a single biscuit on time?)
“So, that’s one sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit?”
“Yeah!” …just to confirm it once again.
“Drive forward to the second window.”
And when I get up there she always says, “Oh, it’s only you.” That really makes a person feel good, ya know? For one thing, I’m a recognized middle-of-the-night regular at a McDonald’s in northeastern Pennsylvania (how did it happen??). And what does she mean, only you?
I scarfed down my cannonball of fat, while driving through the rain to our house.
I usually let Andy out when I get home, but he was having none of it. I guess it had been thundering, and our hound was staying low to the ground, like a bear rug. I held the front door open, as an offer of good will, but he just turned his back to it. Funk dat, I thought I heard him say.
I went downstairs and plugged in my cell phone and my iPod, popped open a Yuengling lager (then another), and monkeyed around on the internet for forty-five minutes with George Noory playing in the background.
After I’d had enough of that excitement, I made my way up to the dormancy chamber, and noticed it wasn’t raining anymore. I climbed atop the platform, Toney rolled over irritably, and I heard birds chirping outside the window.
And that’s one of the weirdest things about working my freaky hours: going to sleep as the birds are waking up.