Friday, April 19, 2013

When it comes to this week’s heavy rains, let’s keep a sense of perspective

Learning that Gov. Pat Quinn was traveling across the Chicago area on Thursday to survey flood damage, and also held meetings in Springfield with high-ranking officials before declaring a “state of emergency” for all of Illinois, you’d think we suffered something of historic proportions.

Gov. Pat Quinn and Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director Jonathan Monken discussing Thursday's weather predicament makes things seem more ominous than they really are for most people. Photograph provided by State of Illinois
But let’s be honest. I really suspect that the bulk of us had our days tampered with much less than those individuals of West, Texas – the rural town near Waco where some fertilizer ignited and exploded.

THE END RESULT killed or maimed a significant portion of that town of some 2,400 people.

Most of us just had our lives inconvenienced by the rain – although I couldn’t help but notice that The Weather Channel Thursday morning gave equal play to both the Texas explosion AND heavy rains hitting DuPage County.

Some of us may have got stuck on the interstate for a couple of hours – turning their typical half-hour commute into an ordeal.

Others may have had their basements soaked. Although for many, that happens whenever there is a heavy rainfall. It’s not the end of the world as we know it!

IN MY CASE, I have a stinky bathroom. Or perhaps I should say, a stinkier-than-usual bathroom.

For it seems that the creek that runs right by my residence did rise to higher-than-usual levels due to the steady rainfall that began Wednesday afternoon and was still ongoing as I write this commentary on Thursday. Weather forecasts are predicting that Mother Nature’s waterworks will come to an end early Friday.

Whenever that creek level gets high, it interferes with the sewage lines in my neighborhood. In my case, the other end of the block gets hit with flooding.

My place usually sees the toilet bowl water levels fluctuate.

IN THIS CASE, I woke up to the feel of cold toilet water all over the bathroom floor. It seems the bowl overflowed sometime during the overnight hours.

My day started out with me having to mop up the bathroom floor. A couple of other times, I had to re-mop as more water came.

Yet we’re not talking about large amounts of water. It does not seem to be spreading to any other part of my humble abode. I have a smelly bathroom that I’m probably going to have to get down on my hands and knees and scrub clean before I’ll feel truly comfortable using again.

But that is do-able. It is not tragedy.

SOMEHOW, I SUSPECT my story is closer to the real-life impact – a minor inconvenience – of Thursday’s “state of emergency” than any images people would create in their minds.

Now if, by chance, someone out there reading this is suffering a major calamity, I feel for you. But it would be wrong to think that everybody is in that situation. Which is what I remember from the date Sept. 11, 2001 – which for many of us was merely a date on which we had to go home early from work when city officials evacuated the Loop – “just in case” something was plotted for Chicago too.

It wasn’t!

PERRY: Oh, be quiet!!!
The true disaster is that aforementioned incident in West, where as I write this some three people are dead and about 170 suffered some form of injuries. And about 50 homes were destroyed by the explosion – which some have said had the physical impact of the kind of bomb the military might drop on an enemy in wartime!

WHICH OUGHT TO be the focus of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s attention these days – helping those people in their time of need.

Instead of trying to defend those tacky radio ads his state is spending precious tax dollars to make ludicrous claims that the Lone Star State is a preferable place to the Land of Lincoln in any aspect!


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