Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I can't stand the rain...

Today I was properly scared for the first time in a long time. Sure, the odd spider crossing my desk puts a shiver up my spine once in a while, and I'm not too great when it comes to heights, but today... For about 25 minutes, today was absolutely horrible.

A little scene setting, if you please. I've never learnt to drive a car, mainly as I've never had to. Always lived in places with a good public transport set-up (London, Manchester, Sydney, etc.), but then I moved to Woburn Sands, a small town in Buckinghamshire. There are 4 buses a day, and a hideously overpriced and overcomplicated train station - that's it - and after relying on them for nearly a year (and them not aften appearing), I took matters into my own hands... and bought me a little scooter.

Sure, it's not exactly the most masculine thing in the world, but it's mine, and it gets me around. It's a 125cc Suzuki, and is affectionately known as The Pig - mainly as it squeals like one when going up a steep hill. I learnt how to ride it safely, took my lessons, and now love pootling off around on it. Great. Apart from when, of course, it rains...

Now, around last September, I got caught in a terrible storm. One of those where you just become saturated, and you seriously believe that there's no way you can get any wetter. Then you shift your position ever so slightly, revealing a previously hidden fragment of dry cloth to the elements which immediately shlurps up another three litres of rain. To add insult to injury, it had been a lovely morning, with no sign of rain, so I was wearing no waterproof gear at all. Add on top of that the fact that I was on my way to work, and had to spend the day in sopping wet clothes and... well, again, great. That wasn't the worst thing though. Oh no. The gods thought it would be a lovely time to have michael involved with his first bike accident!

Cheers lads. Ta. No, seriously. Thanks very much.

It wasn't bad at all, to be honest. Wasn't seriously hurt, and I insist I was being careful anyway. I was going slowly round a corner when, all of a sudden, I hit a patch of water and the back wheel went whoomph from under me, swiftly followed by the rest of the bike. The first I knew about it was waking up laying face down in a puddle, looking up and seeing the bike about thirty feet away with the wheels still spinning... I scrambled to my feet, picked the bike up and rode the remaining couple of miles to work, and had a crappy day explaining to idiots that yes, I got caught in the storm, and I had a ripped shirt and couldn't walk straight because I'd fallen off the bike.

Anyway, that was the first and only time I've come off. But today, about 4pm (while I was actually doing some work for once...) the rains returned. In style. I was - of course - hoping it would pass quickly, but come hometime there was no sign of it abating. And there's no way that I was going to stay in the office a minute longer than necessary, so I decided to take a chance of go for it.

Got my jacket, helmet and gloves on, popped one headphone of the iPod in, stepped outside and immediately became 99.4% water. I fiddled for my keys in my pocket, started the bike and set off home - straight into the first thunder and lightning storm of the year. And there were only two things I could think of:

1. PleasepleasepleaseGODdon'tletmybackwheelgoagainIdon'twanttofalloffanddie......
2. I wonder if the lightning will be attracted to me more because I've got my iPod on?

Obviously I can probably warrant number one as I'd fallen of previously in similar conditions, but with regards point two... it strikes me that I was possibly the wettest thing on earth at that point, and I was sitting on a big lump of metal; a combination that would be reasonably good at conducting electricity. Honestly, sometimes I'm a total muppet. Anyhow, through the storm I rode, trying to be safe, attempting to not pay attention to the lightning striking all around. You know that thing when you see the flash and you start counting until you hear the rumble, so you can work out how many mile away it is? Mine went like...

michael: "On..."

Put the fear in me. I love thunder and lightning - it's one of nature's greatest showpieces - but I would much prefer to be inside, with a cup of tea and a biscuit. Not sitting in soaking clothes atop a super-conductive lump of metal while riding around the hilly countryside. But anyway, the upshot is, I made it home in one piece, and conquered another small fear. I think there'll always be a spot of mild trepidation if I have to venture out again in weather like that (and it'll happen again before the summer's out, I'm sure of it), but now I've managed to get through a journey in it without coming off, it's another mark in the "well done michael" column. Now, excuse me, I'm just off to investigate how much it'll cost if I wanted to learn to drive...


  • You do know that being on rubber is probably the best place to be in a thunderstorm, don't you? Due to its famous lack of conductivity? And those spinning things on your scooter, there made from...? Ergo, chances of being hit by lightening, which actually wants to reach the ground, close to zero. Unless of course you were so extremely wet that a bridge formed from metal block to floor. Well, then, if that happened, say if you ran trhough a deep puddle, your doomed. Hope this helps!


    Muffin from Unforums aka Stephen H

    (Found your blog via Duckiemonsters for some reason - really need to get my own blog!)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 12:43 PM  

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