Wednesday, July 09, 2008

How Ducks Must Feel

I got soaked last night.

We were watching Richard III at Shakespeare In The Park, sitting on a park bench at the back with all our gear in front of us. Radios, Oxygen Bag, Trauma Bag, Defibrillator, our bags, the usual gear. I didn't bring an ambulance this time to save on all the hassle of picking one up.

Then the thunder and lightning started. No rain. Each flash was bright, each crack was loud. We eventually turned around and watched it rather than the play.

Next we saw two freaky cloud formations swirl towards us, from the South and South West. They seemed to be UNDER the thunderheads. Then the wind picked up. Then the wind REALLY picked up. It was blowing the mesh curtains at the back of the stage around. Finally it knocked an actors hat off. They announced a break and told all the actors to head under the stage.

Then the rain started. Wow. So much rain. We ran to cover, grabbing as much of our stuff as we could. We threw the gear under an overhang but the wind was blowing the rain into the amphitheater so we moved deeper in. The rain then turned to hail. I put my partner into my car and turned back to deal with the situation. This way, at least only one of us would be wet.

Everyone was fully under the huge amphitheater awning now. Many were standing on the stage. The staff had pulled open all the drains and were sweeping as much of the torrents of water into them as possible. The noise was insane, and the hail was falling directly on all of our stuff. As I looked up I also realised the downpour was hitting the roof and sliding to the edge until it built up critical mass, then it would fall down in sheets. I had to go under this to get the gear, and each time I did it was like stepping into a shower of ice pellets. Mainly because it was a shower of ice pellets.

I managed to grab everything, including our hi-vis vests. It took about five trips, the last one to grab my partners cell phone which was covered with hail and rain - and still works! After that, I shook myself off and made sure everyone was okay by patrolling around the edges of the auditorium.

A little while later it stopped and the skies were blue. Everything started steaming slightly, including me. The staff swished out the last of the hail and water, and started wiping down the stage. Everyone moved back to their seats - but some went home as they were so wet.

I made sure my partner was okay and sat in the car to warm up for a bit. Soon the windows were steamed up. When I got out to look around, there was steam everywhere - a fog had risen from the ground across the lake, and all the open grass areas. The twilight was shrouded in mist, but the sky was as clear as can be.

We eventually left at around 11. I had started to shiver by then and needed a warm shower. Every part of me was soaked. We drove once around the park to look at the mist swirling around then drove up out of the river valley and into clear night-scented air.

This morning I checked my wallet and all my cash is soggy. What an awesome night!