On Waiting For the Flood That Never Came

The sky is falling. The sky is falling.

I’m no chicken little, but even I bought into the hype that hurricane Florence was gonna knock down my house. Living in Columbia, SC, we get about 4 to 5 warnings a year and 90% of the time it has turned out bogus or just a heavy rain. Granted the last time it actually hit, I was caught completely off guard, but this time it was the complete opposite.

Hurricane Florence was on the warpath and the price of coffins was gonna rise! – to paraphrase Mark Twain. To listen to the news all of the other floods and hurricanes would be a glob of spit in the ocean, compared to this event, it was a typhoon, locked in a box of tsunamis, covered in explosive diarrhea. I was urged from all sides to batten down the hatches and squirrel away enough food to last the apocalypse.

I had one thing going for me. My live-in girlfriend was off on a cruise around the Caribbean with friends of her, this reducing my need to bring in enough supplies for two. My cat, Boo Radley, would be out of luck, as I refuse to pack in more food for the little glutton. If supplies ran low, he would have to make do stealing scraps from my plate. An activity he is already well versed in.

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What was happening elsewhere

To add to the hysteria, schools began closing with an alarming rate. Not just public schools, but private ones like my own institution, which is prone to staying open until the first meteor hits the ground. All of these closed rather rapidly on advice of the State’s governor. The state militia was then called out and a general state of panic set in. The I-26 was shut down for traffic to the coast and turned into a lanes heading west for the refugees to escape the assault.

Having learned from my previous mistake, I went on all gut-busting adventure to find food to horde when God’s wrath finally materialized in my little town. Bottled water had already been drained from the local supermarkets, even the dollar stores and gas stations were empty. The stereotype of the slow-moving southerner didn’t play out here, they most damn fast when the smell disaster in the air.

Thus I concentrated on grabbing what I could from the closest store to my house and bunkering down for the duration. The problem, of course, is that a lot of non-perishable foods are all dehydrated and terrible or packed with preservatives or canned in some syrupy solution, so I got some snacks to go along with it. Actually it was a lot of snacks, salty and sweet. All the goodness of the corn-syrupy  rainbow. There was some fruit and stuff, but that might go bad and there was a chance I could be stuck alone in my home for awhile.

The time came. The dread rainfall was imminent and then… nothing. Nothing but some grey clouds and a light sprinkling of rain. The next day, nada again. New reports showed devistations all along the coast, but it was the brightest day of the year in my town. The day after that, bright skies and happiness. I settled down for several days of  an unexpected pleasant vacation, spending the time reading, writing, eating junk food, watching films, looking at the devastation elsewhere and playing video games. It was great. Little did I know a storm of a different nature was on the horizon.

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What I actually saw

The problems came when my girlfriend reemerged on the scene. Our agreement was that if the city was wrapped in the throes of a tidal wave, then she and her friends would remain down in Florida until the storm blew over. When the roads proved to be clear, she showed up at my doorstep, where I was parked on the couch, surrounded by fast-food wrappers, and replaying Fallout 4.

“Where’s all the water?” she asked.

“I got Mountain Dew.”

“I don’t like Mountain Dew.”

“More for me then, huh?”

“Why didn’t you get water?”

“Everyplace was out of water.”

“But you should have gotten some for me?”

“Why?”

“In case we got flooded in.”

“If we were gonna get flooded in, you were supposed to stay away.”

“That’s not the point. You should’ve been prepared if I did come through.”

“Why the hell would you drive into a hurricane?”

“But what if I did? Don’t you care about me?”

“Sure, but I thought you were smart enough to stay out of the rain.”

“So you’re saying I’m stupid?”

“If you deliberately drove into that fucking hurricane you were.”

“But I didn’t.”

“I guess not.”

“So you still should’ve gotten prepared in case I did.”

“Why?”

“Because it would’ve been nice to know you cared.”

“Ah, shut up!”

And on and on it went like this, like a record skipping back on itself.  She insists that she was right, that some mythical what-if scenario is more important that the cold hard reality that stocking up on extra food her was unnecessary. What is with people? If a person need reassurance, how about me just being happy to see them being enough. Do you really need all sorts of useless physical tokens to believe?

I guess so.

 

For more fun try books by Rex Hurst


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