Saturday, June 10, 2006

I'm Wishing for a Hurricane

Okay, well maybe not a hurricane, but at least a tropical depression. Not a big, scary, destructive one, but just something that will dump a lot of rain on Central Florida. We should be in our rainy season right now, but the dry weather continues unabated. In addition to the low lakes and dried-out vegetation, we're facing a high threat of brush fires.

Hubby and I discovered the fire danger firsthand on our way to the barn this morning. 192, the Yellow Brick Road of tourism, was closed at the 429 toll road. We jumped on 429 and took it all the way out to 50. That was well out of our way, but we didn't feel like going all the way back to I-4, and we needed to stop at the Lake Louisa State Park ranger station anyway to purchase an annual membership. Since I board Figment, my horse, right across the street from the back entrance, the membership card will allow me to ride on their trails legally.

429 was shrouded in an eerie gray-black haze from the fire that burned not too far away, and the smell of blazing vegetation permeated the car. Thankfully, the fire didn't threaten any homes, but I'm sure it will have a big impact on the businesses located in the cordoned-off area.

We thought that the road might be open by the time we were done at the barn. No such luck....we whizzed down 192, thinking that we were safe because there were no signs or other warnings. But suddenly the sight of a patrol car loomed up out of nowhere, and we had to join the conga line of cars heading back towards 27. At the morning roadblock, there was a state trooper giving people instructions on potential alternate routes. This time around, there was no one.

We decided to take 27 to I-4, and since we hadn't had any breakfast or lunch and it was almost 2 p.m., we were hoping to grab a fast-food bite in the meantime. We couldn't really do a sit-down meal, since we were both covered with dirt and horse sweat, and I'm sure that we were scented with Eau de Manure.

There weren't many dining choices, so finally we opted for a Subway located inside of a gas station just before the I-4 interchange. The nearby fire should have warned me that we were close to the Gates of Hades, as we had stumbled on the Subway From Hell.

There were four people in front of us, each ordering multiple sandwiches. Normally that wouldn't be so bad, except that only one person was working and it was very apparent that he was paid by the hour, not by the sandwich. Actually, a second person was working too, but I use the term working very loosely. She made a few appearances, stared blankly at the line, and disppeared to some back area where her workday wouldn't be bothered by dealing with actual customers. At one point, she and the lone sandwich-maker did discuss where the kids meal toys were located, but it didn't seem to have much bearing since there were no children in the line. Of course, the people head of us might have been children when they first joined the queue, but if so, they had reached adulthood in the interminable wait.

One of the people in front of us stormed off in disgust, which probably saved us a good half hour of wait time. Since I had a lot of time to study my surroundings, I realized that we were in for a double dose of punishment. You get your sandwich at the Subway counter, but you pay for it at the gas register. I heard grumbles and groans that caused me to glance at the was surrounded by three puzzled cashiers who were staring at it blankly while it emitted a continuous high-pitched tone. Meanwhile, a line of customers snaked down the snack aisle and almost back to the cooler.

The people in the register line were definitely kicking up more of a fuss than those of us waiting for sandwiches. That's probably because the Subway customer wannabes all had become malnourished during the lengthy wait, while the people who had just stopped in for gas had probably eaten elsewhere and still had their strength. Even if it flagged, they could survive on snack food from the shelves among which they were forced to wait.

I noticed that when a person ordered a toasted sub, the sandwich maker apparently didn't realize that he could start on the next order while waiting for the sub to toast in the oven. Instead, he just stared blankly while each single sandwich cooked. Making two orders at once was beyond the boundaries of his limited comprehension.

My husband pointed out a plaque declaring that Subway a "Model Store." Just what it was a model of was not specified, but we both had some ideas. Oh well...eventually we got our order, passed the second gauntlet (the cashier line) and made it home to Celebration before too many months had passed.

Early in the evening we did get a nice, heavy rainstorm, although it didn't last too long. It might have been my imagination, but I thought I saw drinking straws poking up from the grass as the raindrops poured down on the parched brown lawns.

There is a tropical depression that is supposed to hit us early next week. Normally, I'm praying for the storm path to turn away, but this time around I'm doing a rain dance to attract it. It's not a destructive killer storm...sure, there will be some wind, but nothing worse than a typical nasty thunderstorm. The much-needed moisture will be well worth it. Storms aren't particularly pleasant, but fire is so much worse.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

if you're looking for a hurricane you might want to fill out your brackets first