Monsoon season arrived here late last week. The heavy rains started last Thursday, let up a bit on Friday, and began anew yesterday morning with a vengeance. The rain was especially heavy yesterday, mixed with booming, intermittent lightning and thunder interspersed throughout the day. I felt empathy for my next door neighbor, who rented a room-sized, inflatable children’s bounce chamber for his daughter’s birthday party. I hope he didn’t pay too much to rent it, because it’s still sitting outside unused, collecting water. It wasn’t safe to be outside yesterday. The longest lightning storm I’ve ever experienced continued virtually nonstop for half a day. The storm hovered over our area, dropping immense amounts of rain and casting cloud-to-cloud lightning across the sky in booming agitation. Beautiful, and potentially deadly.
I ventured outdoors with umbrella in hand, wading through puddles of rain water, to watch "X-men – The Last Stand" (a great movie, by the way), purchase gasoline for my car, and buy groceries. It’s a challenge getting anything done when you’re out in a torrential lightning storm. Sometimes it’s better to postpone them until the storm subsides. As I waited at the gas station, I heard thunder crackling uncomfortably close above me. It occurred to me that pumping gas during a lightning storm might not be the wisest thing to do. If I were hit by lightning, I would probably survive. However, if the gas station were hit by lightning, igniting highly flammable gasoline, the outcome wouldn’t be so certain. I finished quickly and breathed a heavy sigh of relief. Gas stations are not a place I think about during an electrical storm. I always remember not to walk outdoors and avoid wading through water (both of which I did yesterday), but I never think about avoiding gas stations. I will now.