I live in Texas and as some of you may have heard half of us are about to get obliterated by Hurricane Harvey. Cities are being evacuated, people are flooding grocery stores for extra provisions, major highways are being shut down, the first day of school has been cancelled – all while Doomsday Preppers watch in amusement, comfortably from their bunkers.
Yes, according to every local meteorologist it’s the end of times and if you’re not one of the many being evacuated than you’re one of the other many who will be prisoners in their homes for the weekend. That’s right, do not – DO NOT – drive anywhere, which is a bummer because I was planning on visiting family this weekend. Not everyone will listen, of course, and the proof will be visible after the storm passes and various areas emerge as graveyards for cars. Idiots will trudge on believing their vehicles are capable of the impossible and risk their safety to make it to, oh I don’t know, the airport. How do I know? Because, dear readers, 2 years ago I was that idiot.
The day started out like any other day that starts out with thunder, lightening, rain and darkness. I’m not the most optimistic person but I was flying to Vegas so my inner monologue was “we can still fly in this”. So I turn on the news to get a professional assessment of the weather only to hear the meteorologist say that there were two tornadoes, Doplar radar couldn’t pick up their exact location but if you see one hide and also let him know where it’s at, please and thank you. I’ve seen better weather reports. This still wasn’t enough to make me worry, though, because my flight wasn’t scheduled to leave until 3:30PM and I was sure that the tornadoes would have destroyed everything but the airport way before then.
Cut to about 12:30pm: I begin my hour long trek to the airport, but because part of the highway was underwater I had to take the toll road. On any other day the toll road is great – it takes you about 50 miles out of your way and costs up to $10 one way, but the speed limit is 85MPH which means I can actually go 88MPH and Doc and McFly would be proud. However, on this particular day the sane speed to drive was 50MPH. As I drove down the toll road I was blown away by the amount of overturned cars that were strewn across the grassy median, and by how many drivers did not view this as a warning and continued on at a speed of 85+MPH. I was Ricky Bobby after his accident, petrified of how fast everyone else was driving.
After about an hour of driving in shit weather I arrived at my exit only to make it 10 seconds down the road before coming to a complete stand still. I had no food and no alcohol; I was in no way prepared to be stuck on the highway for the next 6 hours. Just when I was about to get out of my car and have a cry a wave of determination came over me: I was not missing that flight. Before I could get boxed in with everyone else I began to back up and turn around. Then, as though we had all telekinetically banned together to make it out, other drivers started turning around and we formed a line back to the highway. At one point a sheriffs deputy drove past us and the look on his face was “fuck it, just do whatever.” Which we did. We made it out. Triumphantly I continued on.
I miraculously arrived at the airport only to walk into a scene that could only be out of a movie: shit tons of people in line waiting to yell at the people who take your luggage. I looked up at the flight board and one by one, flights were being cancelled. I had checked the airport website as well as the American Airlines website prior to my journey and both confirmed my flight was still scheduled. I was flying to Vegas for Christ’s sake, surely MY flight wasn’t cancelled. I called American Airlines and once it was confirmed that indeed I was shit out of luck, I yelled at a lady who had nothing to do with my flight being cancelled. Did I mention I’m horrible? After being put on a flight scheduled for the next day and feeling completely defeated, I began my drive back home in the apocalypse.
By the time I was back on the toll road the north bound lanes were completely congested. Halfway through my journey home I noticed people started trying to drive through the grassy median to get to our not-as-congested southbound lane, which didn’t make sense to me. Was there some portal at the end of the toll road that shoots you out to the end of the northbound lane that I didn’t know about? What also didn’t make sense to me was how people thought that they’d be able to traverse the grassy median AFTER IT HAD JUST FINISHED RAINING. I guess when you’ve lost your mind you forget what’s underneath the extremely saturated grass: mud. I saw one guy trying to shake his truck loose by violently rocking it back and forth – that barely works when you’re trying to get your stuck Milky Way out of a vending machine. Next up, a car stuck to the back of an 18-wheeler, the result of obeying the speed limit. It was chaos.
2 hours and a Taco Bell run later I was home. My point is, everyone is an idiot and loses their mind in inclement weather and you don’t need to worry about me because been there, done that. I’ll survive. Suck on that, Doomsday Preppers.