Sunday, October 09, 2005
Providence at 1:30 am
After the dance, I hooked up with some Boston people and we went out to downtown Providence for a late-night bite to eat (always necessary after an evening of dancing that goes late). The rain, by this point was coming down pretty steadily, so we huddled under rain jackets and umbrellas and walked quickly to the first place we found that was open: a Johnny Rockets. That looks like the funnest job in the world late-night Saturday night/early Sunday morning! The servers were dancing and singing to the oldies they play there, the customers were getting into the energy-charged atmosphere of the place. It was totally cool. Sippin' my hot chocolate, eating fries with way too much ketchup...a great way to end my evening of dancing in Providence.
But wait...it's not over yet! Oh no. People started making crazy comments about the weather and peering out the windows. From our booth, we couldn't see the streets, but could see the rain coming down as hard as ever through our window. So we didn't really think much of the exclamations about the weather. Hell, we'd walked through it, we didn't need to stare at it anymore. When we had paid and finally got up to go, we did catch a glimpse of the street through the window.
Oh dear God.
I'm sorry, did I say street? Heh. I meant RIVER!!! The street had flooded and the water was pouring down the hill of the street...water halfway up to our knees in some places, other places merely up to our ankles. People were huddled on sidewalk corners holding umbrellas looking like flimsy excuses for shelter from the rain still beating down, their faces screwed in disbelief at the sudden transformation of downtown Providence into a mockery of downtown Venice.
And we had to cross that giant river of too much rainwater to get to our car...
We set out trying to find a way across. To no avail. Since we were on a hill, everywhere we turned to try and head off the river, it turned with us on its way down the hill. We were already soaked just from walking out into the rain, shivering because the temperature had dropped and the rain was cold. We finally just sort of sucked it up and started jumping "over" the puddles to get across. Heh. I say it like that because "jumping over" consistsed of a vain attempt to miss the 1/2-way to knee-deep water puddles that landed us in the puddle, getting us to the other side of the street-river with shoes not merely 'wet', not 'soaked', not even 'squishy', but the sloshing feeling of water trapped in our shoes, our socks drowning in the small sea that were once our nice, dry shoes.
We had to do that 3 times.
Making it to the car, turning on the heat, stripping our feet out of the drenched socks, pouring out the excess water from our shoes...that was the best moment of our lives that evening. I got home still damp (after a 1/5 hour drive to Boston from Providence since the highway was drenched and the rain was still coming down as hard as ever) and felt akin to those marooned at sea. I walked through my door, locked it behind me, and literally shouted "LAND!!!" Good thing my roommate wasn't home or I would have woken her up with my exclamations of joy at being in a dry place once again. I immediately donned my bathrobe (after putting it in the dryer for a couple minutes to make it warm). And sat, it now being about 3:30 am, relishing the feeling of being warm and dry before heading to bed and drifting off to sleep to the sound of rain pouring down outside my window.
A last note:
My trips to Providence, I'm coming to realize, are never boring. They always become some sort of crazy adventure into the realm of the unknown (and completely absurd at times). I have a friend who's a grad student at Brown who claims that Providence sucks and that it's dull and lame and all that, and while I tend to agree when we compare Providence to Boston (I'd much prefer Boston over Providence!), I think back to my experience with Providence and realize that it is anything but dull or boring or lame when I'm there. I always come back from Providence with an almost-too-absurd-to-believe story to tell.
I'm hoping to talk to you about linking to your blog on Boston.com. Please shoot me an email if you're interested at firstname.lastname@example.org.