We all have close calls once in a while. We even joke afterwards that we've just burned up one of our nine lives, as if we were cats. As if that were true of cats.
Cats have one life. Humans have one life. Dave could have easily lost his this morning.
At about 6:15 a.m. my good friend Dave left his house in the darkness. The wind was still howling as it had been all night. The rain was finally starting to abate, though it had been heavy at times through the night. Dave's car was packed with windsurfing gear, ready for an early morning session on the turbulent Bay of Fundy, but it was not meant to be.
Dave swung into my driveway around 6:30 a.m., but seeing no lights in my house he turned around and carried on toward the coast. I was lying awake in my bedroom but with the wind swirling in the trees, I never heard the rumble of his diesel Jetta. I got up around 6:45 a.m. and checked the weather on-line. Fredericton was registering a paltry south 17 km/h of wind. Saint John was getting whipped by west-southwest winds of 61 km/h with gusts to 84 km/h. Anything over 70 km/h riles up the Bay and she likes to slap down those who dare ride on her back.
At 7:13 a.m. my phone rang. I fumbled for the phone in my still dark kitchen. Caller ID told me that D LeBlanc was trying to reach me. I didn't know anyone called D LeBlanc, unless it was Dominic LeBlanc, the politician, who I still didn't know. I thought about croaking out a good morning 'oui, allo' which surely would have won me Brownie points and aided in my run for the federal Liberal leadership, but opted for 'hello' instead. It was Dave. He said that he had a small mishap on the way to Saint John. The road had washed out at Cashol Brook and Dave and his car narrowly escaped a one way trip to the land six feet under...almost literally. He asked if I could go to his house and grab a spare tire and a jack.
Oh, Dave has a flat tire, I surmised.
Next time you plan a casual 'Sunday drive', think about Dave. As he was driving down the dark, wet and foggy road, in an 80 km/h zone, he narrowly escaped what could have been a disaster. Dave's front wheel smacked the hole, make that crater, make that swimming pool which had become a gravel pit. The tire immediately exploded upon impact. It was only his poor driving habit, that of hugging the middle of lonely country roads, that saved him some serious grief.
Oh well, it was time to put the winter tires on anyway.
Dave went back and inspected the hole in the road, not believing what he had just witnessed. In fact, all but three feet of his lane was missing. Gone. Downstream. He left his car by the crater, flashers on, to warn other passing cars, and wandered to the home of D LeBlanc. Fortunately for Dave the lights were on as there was someone home. Even more fortunate for Dave was that the LeBlanc's rather large and aggressive dog didn't hear him. It really wouldn't be much fun to have survived the washed out road only to have a German Shepherd gnaw off your knee cap and nuts.
So, Dave has two less cats in his nine lives (no one's quite sure what the current count is, but it's not seven). When Dave finally made it to the Bay of Fundy around 10 a.m., there was no wind at all.
But what about all the wind that was forecast?
Somewhere out there is a meteorologist with one cat left. That cat had better be nervous.