It almost never rains during our senior writer’s photo shoots, but it always pours the day after he’s washed and waxed his car.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

It almost never rains during our senior writer’s photo shoots, but it always pours the day after he’s washed and waxed his car.

<b>PHOTO</b> 123RF.COM
<b>PHOTO</b> 123RF.COM

Because the weather is forever fickle, I have learned never to rely on forecasts.

In my book, there’s always a 50-50 chance of rain. It doesn’t matter if we’re going through an extended hot and dry spell.

The weather is a major player when it comes to Torque’s production. It can delay photo shoots, which in turn affects story deadlines.

And deadlines that need to be brought forward or pushed back determine whether the team gets a gentle reminder or a firm lecture from our group editor.

In fact, even deadlines that were met still resulted in questions being asked.

Years ago, a prolonged wet spell forced us to shoot inside sheltered carparks for an entire week. After the issue with those reviews was published, our group editor asked why all the cars were shot in such dim locations.

Luckily, we were let off the hook when we reminded him that it had been raining non-stop during the production period.

Yet, despite bad experiences with the weather, I’ve never cursed it. This is because for the past three years, I’ve had amazing luck with it during photo shoots.

I’ve lost count of the number of times that our editor, David, told me that rain was forecast and that I might have to reschedule a shoot for another day, only for me to return to the office and triumphantly proclaim that the shoot had gone exceedingly well because not a single drop had fallen from the sky.

I’ve even completed photo shoots with dark clouds literally hanging over our heads the entire time. For added drama, the heavens would only open as we left the shoot location.

One morning, I mentioned to Auntie Mas, who runs our canteen’s Malay stall, that I was buying a big breakfast because I needed energy for a big photo shoot.

She gestured to the darkening sky outside and said thunderstorms were likely. I confidently replied that it never rains during my photo shoots. “Are you sure? We’ll see!” she said.

The next day, I told her that my luck had held and that it hadn’t rained at all. She smiled and said: “Looks like you have a hotline to heaven.”

Since then, anyone who’s told me that it was likely to rain during my photo shoot has heard me say: “Don’t worry. I have a hotline to heaven.”

Such has been my fortune that a car dealer’s marketing manager once asked me to attend her outdoor roadshow just to ensure fair weather.

Even our art director mentions my “hotline” to reassure photographers worried about incoming showers.

But it seems like I’ve used up all my luck for professional purposes, because it always rains after I’ve carefully washed, dried and waxed my car.

And the rain won’t even be a cleansing heavy downpour. It’ll be the annoying drizzle that leaves your car caked in a mixture of mud and dust. After that, the sun always reappears to “bake” the contaminants onto my vehicle.

Each time this happens, I tell myself I’m lucky that I’ve put a layer of protection on my paintwork. But I’m also frustrated that I cannot even enjoy/admire my clean and shiny ride for at least a day.

To annoy me, our senior designer taunts me with lines such as: “Didn’t you wash your car?” and “Why didn’t you call your hotline?”

Well, perhaps like our workweek, the “hotline” is only available Mondays to Fridays.

All I can do is remind myself not to curse the weather, while remembering all the times that the clouds held back their contents and enabled us to finish our shoot.

Of course, none of that works. As sure as the sun rises in the east, a thunderstorm will manifest the day after I’ve groomed my ride.