Around 6:15 a.m. Wednesday morning, I was slapped awake by the crackle and flash of a lightning bolt. Split seconds later, a sonic boom of thunder hit that rattled the glass of my bedroom window and set off a car alarm in the distance. When the generators blew, they gave off three quick snaps of gunfire. From the street below, I heard a man roar, “back up!” Then the sound of waves of heavy rain and wind that swayed and rustled the trees.
I peeled the blinds expecting to see a war zone. Instead, I saw a white Accord stuck in four feet of water in the middle of the intersection. I peeked my head out the window and looked down and quickly understood the building was now an island and the basement was undoubtedly filling with water. I snatched my keys off the table and ran towards the door and slammed my feet into shoes. I hurdled down the stairs two at a time and rushed out into the eerie morning gray. Thick, cold rain drops hit my shirt and stung my skin.
I pressed the unlock button on the key and mistook the beep and flash of the break lights on my car as a cry for help. I ran and hopped in and slammed the door and stabbed the key into the ignition. Then, like a Benny Hill skit, I circled the parking lot, first trying to escape, then trying to find the driest parking spot when I realized I was trapped. I settled on the area typically reserved as a loading zone, marked by yellow stripes that scream, “No parking!” But it’s every man for himself when disaster strikes.
As I stood under the overhang and willed the water away from my car, my neighbors started to filter outside in their pajamas. They seemed less concerned. Turns out, the same thing happened five years ago. They said the only thing I should be shocked by is the city’s reluctance to fix their drainage problem. Someone pulled up a weather app and said the radar looked “clean” and the rain would stop in 10-15 minutes. And it did. By 11:30, the water receded enough for me to get dressed and head to work.
After all of that, I still had to go to work.
And that was the second worst day I had this month. The winner of the worst day of June 2013 is Sunday, June 30th — the day the Cardinals blew a 5-2 lead in Oakland and fell two games behind the Pittsburgh motherlovin’ Pirates in the Central division. And good for them. Well deserved and nice ballpark and long time comin’… yadi yada. PUKE. And now that I’ve lived through both disasters, I can say without reservation that watching Ty Wigginton play baseball at age 35 is worse than watching flood water stalk my car. Unlike Johnny Mo, I had the comfort of knowing insurance money would pick up some of the tab of my underwater asset. Here’s hoping to something well north of .500 ball for Redbirds in July.