Thursday, November 29, 2007

Crazy Storm

There are two situations in which I am most grateful for my car. Both of those situations occurred yesterday. The first is driving to a faraway location only to discover it is closed for renovation. You'd be surprised how often this happens. Our venue of choice this time was the Reptile Park. Normally I'm frustrated by this, but the Reptile Park was long overdue for a tune up. I'm thankful for my car, because I fool myself into believing that it didn't cost me anything to drive that far and be turned away, even if gas is $5 a gallon right now. I know that's not true, but it feels true.

We decided instead to go to IKEA. I wanted to find a Swedish Christmas tree (if you don't know what that is, google it). Where else but IKEA? Yet they disappointed me. Only real trees with sparse branches. Upon leaving IKEA, we encountered my second great-reason-to-have-a-car: torrential downpour.

We planned to drive down Jalan Bukit Merah to get to the Central Expressway. Theoretically IKEA to our house should take us about 25 minutes. After waiting at a light for 15 minutes before the CTE, I started thinking something was up. Ethan said, "Hey! Look at the flood!" Sure enough the ditch to our left was flowing with several feet of brown water. Then he said, "Hey! Look at Megan's side!" On our right, the water on the other side of the road was level with the median. The kids were thrilled, but I thought, "This might not be the best place to stay right now." Thinking that the stall probably meant deeper waters ahead, I turned the corner . . . only to find two of the four lanes completely submerged! I hadn't been there more than a minute when we were forced into one lane. The kids continued to think it was fascinating until I suggested we pray that God protect us and get us out of there. I took the next corner and realized that although I was out of the worst, I had no idea where I was.

I navigated back to familiar territory, but that meant I was downtown, nowhere near a fast street. I found myself stuck at another stop light because of a blinking light and what looked like three buses in an accident. After sitting there for 20 minutes, I took a left to what I hope was a faster way (still had to wait for the light to change 5 times). Of course to make the story more interesting, my gas light came on while waiting for the first stoplight. I know we can drive for awhile with the light on, but I wasn't sure how long my car could be running, sucking down that precious petrol, before we became another casualty of the rain.

It reminded me of driving through snowstorms in Minnesota - the same number of stalled cars and accidents, the same slight feeling of "I really shouldn't be driving in this." Yet as I drove by the 30 people long taxi queues at every store, I was still thankful for our car.

Altogether it took us an hour and a half to get home. You're hard pressed in Singapore to drive anywhere for an hour and a half. On a good day, I could be a fair bit into Malaysia with that amount of time. But to drive in one direction in Singapore for that long? Hopefully that will never happen again.

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