Sunday, August 28, 2011

In the Midst of the Storm

By late morning I heard wheels spinning out in the front yard and then felt my building shake for a few seconds. I bent down to look out my kitchen window and saw a rather tall, middle aged man trying to push his truck out of the mud. He was driving across the lawn and got stuck. "Why is he driving across the lawn?" I wondered aloud. The curiosity drove me to investigate closer. So I grabbed my keys, slipped on my pink crocs and headed down and out into Hurricane Irene. I walked down and to the left and saw almost two feet of water covering the parking lot. "Agh!! Oh, my God!" I gasped. The parking lot was quickly filling. I rushed over, got inside and started my Escape hoping I could some how drive it out before it got worse. There was a black sedan to the left of me, so I could not turn left to pull up onto the pavement and drive over the lawn as the truck did.

By this time the man from the truck and our superintendent were out there. The young girl from upstairs came down to get her vehicle out as well. They began to push her silver toyota up onto the black top path while she steered. They saw me backing up and one called to me, "Don't back up, the exhaust will go under." I stopped. Again and again I blurted aloud, God help me! I don't know what to do!" The guys were able to push the toyota all the way up and the young girl drove across the lawn. I slightly hit the gas and my Escape pulled forward and along side the building as I steered right. All I could see was water surrounding everything. I paused for a second wondering if I should park there as the water was not as deep, but I needed to get out of the parking lot. There was no telling when the water would stop rising or the rain would let up. I continued to steer right hoping to drive up the hill and get out. It stalled and I began to sense the water moving the vehicle. It began to seep in through the edges of the doors and fill the bottom. I was stuck. My vehicle was stuck and I was trapped! "Jesus help me!" I screamed over and over with tears streaming down my face as I panicked. I pushed on my door and it would not open. I began to grab what I could-CD's, first aid kit and insurance papers. The water was now up to my ankles. I rolled down the passenger side window and yelled to the guys on the path, "Help me! I need help." They waded across the three feet of water. When they reached me, the taller guy said, "Put it in neutral." I grabbed the shift and began to pull hard, but it would not move. "I don't know what to do!" I blurted aloud. By now he could see it was in park and said, "Leave it." I pushed on the passenger's side door and it opened. More water came flooding in. With a few items clutched in my left arm, the superintendent reached out his hand to grab my right one and helped me step out. The cold water began to soak the bottom of my gray gym shorts. I stepped away from the vehicle while pushing the door closed.
Pushing one foot in front of the other, I followed the two men as we waded through the flooded parking lot onto the blacktop path. "Thank you for helping," I cried.

The rain continued to pour down drenching my black t-shirt and hair. I began to shiver from the cold air and sheer terror of being engulfed by so much water. I gazed in disbelief at my white escape submerged by more than three feet of water. This was the kind of stuff I've seen on television so many times, not in my own parking lot. I turned away and stammered up to my apartment. What else could I do?

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