Monday, September 24, 2012

I am Sewer Mom

Recently, I went swimming in sewage. Even for those who enjoy extreme spots, I don't recommend it. Sewage stinks. It is very unpleasant to swim in it.

It was a few weeks ago at the tail end of summer and the kids were still in summer camp. Just before pickup, my grandmother called me, as she likes to do, to tell me it was raining. I blew off her warnings, as I like to do, demising them as the wild ravings of a neurotic woman.

"I'm not going to MELT in the WATER," I assured her, "I'll be fine."

"Leave de baby wit me," she pleaded.

"Fine," I conceded, doing her a big favor and letting her babysit.

It was pouring buckets when I picked up Seconda from camp, and the thunder and lightning was so intense and cataclysmic that I actually jumped a few times. I really didn't want to get hit by lightning. Life's hard enough with all my wits intact. When the rain didn't let up after I'd gotten Sec, I thought maybe I should bring her by my grandmother's house and go get Primo myself. Her place was on the way after all.

By the time we got to my grandmother's, I was soaked through. Wringing wet. I popped upstairs, put on a hoodie which I had some naive idea would protect me from further saturation, grabbed an umbrella for Primo, then promptly set on my way. It was true that the super-cool engineering camp I'd sent him to for the week offered after school care by the half hour, but I didn't want to pay the extra $5 for another 30 minutes. Besides, a little rain couldn't hurt me.

A little hail, on the other hand, could. And did. Two blocks into my walk and I was being assaulted by hail, enough that I was muttering "What the fuck?" over and over, out loud to myself. A little like a crazy person. The hail got so hard I ducked into a hair salon for cover.

When it was clear that the hailstorm wasn't about to let up anytime soon, I figured I might as well just get it over with and rushed out into the thunder and lightning again. When I got to Fourth Avenue and First Street, I was stopped short at the intersection because the curb was flooded in sewage. The manhole had popped off and a geyser of sewage was spewing into the street. The stench was pretty damn revolting.

There is no way I am wading through that, I thought, But on the other hand, I have no choice.

I trudged through the mammoth puddle, which reached my mid-calf. It was nasty and full of floating pieces of garbage but it was over fast  -- until I got to the next intersection where the water level was even higher.

Fuck me, I thought, grimacing.

But I was nearly to Primo's camp so I screwed my courage to the sticking place and stepped in. This puddle reached my knee, dragging the bottom of my skirt down.

Now I stunk, really stunk. The thunder and lightning intensified, as did my shouting expletives.

Well, at least I've only got one more street to cross, I figured, The worst is over.

I was only halfway down the street -- in between Garfield and Carroll -- when I realized the worst was definitely not over. I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk because the water was already up to my ankle and I hadn't even made it to the intersection yet. The sewage water was LAPPING in waves over the sidewalk back and forth, back and forth. On the street, the water was up to the level of the car bumpers. Huge black garbage bags were floating down Fourth Avenue, as if it were a river. I couldn't even see the intersection, there was so much water,

At that point, I climbed up a small ledge in front of a new condo development so that I'd be out of the sewage water and called David.

"What the hell am I supposed to do?" I asked him, "I can't go home without Promo and even if I could, I'd have to trudge back through the massive sewage puddles I crossed already. But I can't cross Fourth Avenue. I just can't. It is an actual river of sewage. Seriously."

A clap of thunder erupted directly over my head.

"I also can't stand here and wait," I told him, "Or I am going to get struck by lightning."

"You better just get it over with and get that boy," David concluded. He's not much in the pep talk department.

So I jammed my cell phone deep in my purse, took a deep breath and just went for it. It was nasty getting to the intersection and then jumping off the curb was a real leap of faith because I couldn't even see the asphalt under the sewage water. It was as gross as I'd feared, sewage up to my knees.

"Ugh eh fuck bleh ugh meh fuck,"I moaned.

I was close to gagging when I got to the other side of Fourth Avenue, but at leas, it was over. I could rest easy now. I was done trudging through sewage.