As anyone who's been in Middle Tennessee over the past few days knows, we had some of the most monstrous flooding on record, nearly doubling our previous record 48-hour precipitation rate. To preface this, Little Spoon and I are fine. We had a tiny bit of water leak into our garage, a dribble from one corner of one window that a towel shoved up in the blinds took care of, and some waterlogged soil. That's it. And for that, we're very, very thankful.
But our city is devastated now. And I can't think straight to work. Both because of sadness and a roiling anger at some of my fellow citizens.
One of the two water treatment pumps is out. The other one would have gone under if the waters had risen less than two-thirds of a foot more. The mayor has requested that we curtail our water usage by at least half - using water for drinking and food preparation only. Our water reserves are down 15%. And yet, car washes remain open (with some people doing it themselves), apartments leave their sprinkler systems on, and people continue about blithely as if water is not a scarce resource.
Grow. The Fuck. Up. People.
We are all in this together. We must make these small individual sacrifices so that everyone can have the resources we all need. Yes, it seems like a joke about running out of water in the middle of a flood, but it's not. This is part of your duty as a citizen. Yeah, we might be a stinky people for a few days by forgoing showers; we may have dishwashers chock-full of food-encrusted wares for a while before turning to disposable plates, cups, and cutlery; and our laundry could get a bit funky waiting to get done.
But that smell around you? That's the smell of banding together in a time of crisis. Wear it with pride. It's a pungent badge of honor.
As I watched the torrents pour ever faster down the street in front of the house Sunday, I grew frightened. I thought that an earthquake was the disaster I'd least like to experience. But the slow, sneaky, relentless onslaught of the flood waters made me think otherwise. It wore away at the levees. It overflowed the banks of the Cumberland and other rivers. It sent silt down into the basements and first floors of landmarks, businesses, restaurants, tourist attractions, and other spaces, threatening to overwhelm our water treatment capacity.
Are we going to let our ignorance finish off what the flood began?
C'mon, people. Better to be unpretty than to be parched in the midst of a lake.