Knees and noises

During floods there is a positive side for those directly affected. You start doing unusual things such as talking to the neighbours. You might even see your neighbour’s knees for the first time. I’ve seen a lot of neighbours’ knees over the years — not always a pleasant sight, I might add. However, you also see the neighbours’ maids knees. Now that’s a different story.
The floods also bring a different array of noises. The normal sound of pile-drivers thumping away early in the morning gives way to rattling water pumps, buckets bailing out, gurgling exhausts and frenzied whines from drowning vehicles in their death throes.
Nothing to sniff at
The dogs were not amused. All their regular snifferies were under water. Of course, they knew whose fault it was — mine. Why was I depriving them of their regular sniff? Why didn’t I make the water go away?
One of them even began barking at the water and seemed most put out it didn’t immediately beat a hasty retreat like next door’s cat. But I suppose that is no more a futile gesture than the neighbours all frantically pumping water out of their compounds into the soi. There’s nowhere for the water to drain from the soi and it simply pours back into their homes.
Water on the brain
One of Crutch’s less inspired decisions in recent years was to move to a house in what must be the lowest-lying square kilometre of Bangkok. This means that every time there’s a major storm, it’s a case of Wet Feet (Footus Bangkokus.)
It’s a Friday morning. 1 a.m. The rain was lashing down and I was in the middle of nowhere (well, okay, about 50 yards from Fatpong). Suspecting a taxi would not be able to negotiate the watery depths of my soi, I settled for a samlor. Not a sensible move. Judging from the route the driver took, he had been in Bangkok approximately 48 hours and his only previous driving experience was aboard a buffalo. A rain-sodden hour later, when the wretched sam/or threat ened to expire about a kilometre from my home, the driver decided the 50 baht fare had now become 100 baht. The storm and subsequent floods were apparently all my fault. When I protested he called me a lizard … a monitor lizard, to be precise. That’s when I got out and waded off in the driving rain. I also suddenly remembered our household’s pet rabbit, which was likely to be a drowned rabbit unless it had learned the breast stroke.
While wading down the soi on this important rescue mission I was swamped by a tidal wave from a large limousine. To my delight, a few seconds later the engine gurgled to a halt in deep water. My initial reaction was to give the driver a lecture on the etiquette of driving in floods — in short, stuff anyone else. But being drenched anyway, I decided to give him a helpful push and make a bit of merit. So there I was at 2 a.m. down this dark soi in driving rain, water above my knees, waving my arms about at the driver and making pushing gestures. By the look on his face and that of his lady friend they thought I was either a mugger, lunatic or some kind of ghost. Admittedly, it could not have been a pretty sight.
Anyway they refused to wind down the window, so I tottered off to rescue the drowning rabbit. Fortunately the thing had found a little perch inches above the floodwaters, but another half an hour and it would have been rabbit pie for supper.
It’s a pity we don’t have any English-style tabloid newspapers in Bangkok here or I might have sold my story to the newspaper with a headline like: