On Wednesday, I returned from my usual lunch out in the sun, and about thirty minutes later heard a *whoosh* as if a bucket had been perched over a half-open door, but instead it was the sky falling. A hundred million buckets, all at once, drenched the Coop parking lot, managing to flood uphill under the backdoor, down two flights of stairs, etc. Lights flickered but the registers didn't go out, so we stayed open while refugees came in, soaking wet, to drink our Fair Trade organic coffee and wait for the deluge to pass.
When lightning started cracking across the sky, and the radio began to say things like "tornado watch", I resigned myself to not going swimming after work, and consoled myself that I still had meditation class and then dinner with my godmother, who was in town for a conference.
I made it downtown, finally, and was soaked up to my knees immediately. The streets were more like rivers and there were downed trees everywhere so traffic was all snarled up, visibility virtually nil. There was a sign on the door at the Buddhist Center: "Class is cancelled; my basement is flooded." Ah well; 'samsara sucks'.
I looked up my godmother's hotel and braved traffic and rain-soaked embassies to get there. Parked in front of the Embassy of Cameroon (v. pretty), I waited for the rain to let up a little then dashed a few blocks to a v. nice hotel where they said she hadn't checked in yet, but feel free to wait in our sitting room, and do please try our coffee. A surreal smear against the elegance: an issue of Cosmo on the table next to the ornate fireplace, so I read about a man's g-spot and how to have gorgeous summer hair and Carmen Electra's advice on getting guys ("be me"). And waited. And waited.
Because of course her plane couldn't land because of the thunderstorm.
We finally did make it to dinner, though, which was heavenly, and had a thoroughly good time, and had a thoroughly good key lime pie, and I was happy-fuzzy driving home through scattered showers, when I got a call from an unlisted number. It being 11-something, I figured it was a wrong number but answered anyway. It was my boss, letting me know that the power had gone out shortly after I'd left, that it was still out and was expected to be for quite some time, and tomorrow we'd be busy putting the entire refrigerated section into the dumpster.
Refrigerated is my section, and I keep it well-stocked, and today we had to throw out sandwiches, hummus, our entire cheese case, pie, yogurt galore, tofu, orange juice, fresh meat, and gallon upon gallon upon gallon of milk. I almost cried as I was chucking those $19-a-pound grass-fed organic steaks away. And my boss had tried calling shelters, but no one wanted to come pick up ten grand's worth of high-end organic dairy, and by the time I'd heard about it (one of two staff members with a car--we both make a lot of trips to the food bank) it was too late, everyone was closed for the night and it would all be spoiled by morning.
It was a painful, painful day. Cheese I'd sliced and wrapped at 4:30 yesterday I had to throw out today because at 5:30 the power went out. I had to count the individual yogurts by hand as I threw them in trashbags. The dumpster was overflowing; a dumpster-diver's dream. All the specialty raw foods, the sliced organic meats that cost $7 for six ounces; all these things I can't afford and would love to be able to, and I had to throw them out. Me. The person who was raised to respect food and never, ever waste it because the people who put it on the table had gone through some times that were pretty near to starvation, and taught me that we were damn lucky to have anything.
It was the 5th of the month, the Coop's Member Appreciation Day. We didn't open until 1 pm, and as I left the next shift was tackling the backstock milk downstairs. The shelves are completely bare, and I have to stock those empty shelves tomorrow when my replacement order arrives. I don't think I'll make it to the pool tomorrow, either.