Friday, June 28, 2013

Running in the Rain with Lobsters

I’m the kind of person who gets caught in the rain a lot. I don’t know if it’s related to some sin I committed in a previous life, or perhaps a lack of proper obeisance or ritual in this one. All I know is, the weather gods are out to get me.
            So we’re in Denali National Park, AK, and we’re trying to get in a hike, but the weather is saying, “Dare ya.” it’s been thundering and grumbling all day, punctuated by brief bursts of fat raindrops. Our raingear is, of course, back in our room.
When we visit the park service’s sled dog kennels, the thunder intensifies. During the sled dog demo, the sky shakes loose enough raindrops to drive some viewers out of the stands. We hold our ground, but I’m convinced that we’ll be drenched before we get back to the bus.
            But, no. After a bit of bluster, the rain backs off again. So, finally, we head into the woods, but by now it’s getting late. After just a mile, we’re chased back to the Visitor’s Center by the threatening weather, the voracious mosquitoes, and the risk that we’ll miss the last bus.
            Back at the lodge, we decide to cross the road to buy provisions at the little grocery there. I worried, though, that, having made it through the day more or less dry, we were going to be caught in a downpour between the store and the lodge.  At least, that way, the suspense would be over.
            But, no. We make it back to the lodge unscathed. Still, I am uneasy. This is not the way things go for me. I can’t shake the notion that the weather gods are elbowing each other, snorting with suppressed glee. Wait till you see this!
            We go to the restaurant next door for dinner, and find there’s a forty-five minute wait. The hostess hands us one of those restaurant pagers, inexplicably shaped like a lobster. Who knew lobsters were native to Alaska?
I weigh the lobster in my hand. “If I go back to my room and do some work, will the pager work in there?” I ask.
The hostess nods, so I carry the lobster back to my room, accessed by an open-air second floor gallery. It’s a stiflingly hot night in Alaska, where air conditioning is non-existent. Many of my neighbors have their doors open. It resembles a big-city tenement in July, populated by confused tourists.
Lightning blazes, thunder crashes, and the skies finally open up. The rain comes down in torrents, and at that moment, the lobster goes off. In fact, it has a hissy fit.
Now, most of these restaurant pagers are content with flashing lights and vibration. This one does all that. Plus, It literally roars.
So I run out the door of my room, carrying the roaring lobster, and streak down the gallery, pelted by rain, past a dozen open doors. The occupants of the other rooms gape at me, an apparition drenched in rain, reeking of mosquito spray and sweat, clutching a roaring lobster. And the gods laughed.
Whatever it was I did, weather gods, I am so sorry.


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MaryWilburReed said...

That was such a wonderful payoff to a great set up. And it was just plain funny too. Now, if you lived in South Florida, this would be a "yeah, so? Happens every day" story, but the visual image of the conspiratorial gods made the story! Thanks for the smile. Is there another chapter describing your fellow diners as you arrived drenched, screaming lobster in hand?