Thursday, January 31, 2013

And the Rain Came Down

You ever have one of those days where you sit back and look at the power of the world around you and realize just how small and insignificant you really are? I kind of felt that way as I drove home last night.

I knew the weather people were predicting rain for yesterday. In fact, I knew that rain was coming. That last part, the part about my own knowledge, came from the fact that I looked outside before driving to work yesterday morning and saw that it was raining. It wasn't much, but water was falling from the sky.

My plan for the day was to go to work, as I normally would, then drive into Roanoke for the afternoon and/or evening. I had things that needed to be done. The trip yesterday really revolved around the fact that I needed to get the oil changed in my car. I'm sorry to say that I was about 4500 miles overdue. If you know anything about cars, you're probably facepalming right now and shaking your head in disgust in my general direction. I know, I've been doing the same thing to myself since about 4000 miles ago.

But oil changes are funny things. In order to have them done, you have to be willing to pay for them. Beyond that, you have to be able to pay for them. Unless you know how to do it yourself, and even then you have to buy the oil and the drip pan and some other car related doohickeys of which I have little to no knowledge. Finally having a little bit of extra disposable income afforded me the ability to take care of my car. A little. Of course I wouldn't be able to fix the other problems that the maintenance guys would inevitably find. But this isn't even supposed to be a post about my oil change or the other random problems with my car. This is about the weather.

I know, interesting people are not supposed to talk about the weather. The weather is a topic that exists for boring people and the elderly. They are also known to discuss random health problems. But I've never claimed to be interesting. I mean, I am... but that's beside the point. I'm trying to make the point that I was kind of in awe of nature last night. Would you let me finish!?

So I'm sitting at the dealership waiting for my car. And it had been raining. It still hadn't been much, but it was a light, steady rain that lasted most of the day. And then the heavens opened up and dumped both cats and dogs upon southwest Virginia. I would later find out that the system tossing out those cats and dogs did some serious damage all up and down the eastern seaboard. It's not often that you hear about tornadic activity in late January.

I didn't particularly feel like driving back to Radford in the deluge. Not without having prepared by building a large ark out of gopher wood, anyway. And that extra disposable income that I had leftover after the oil change afforded me the chance to do something else that was long overdue. I went and got my hair cut.

But the haircutting did not take as long as I had hoped. Well, I wasn't hoping for a haircut that would take up the rest of my night. I was just hoping it would outlast the passing storm. But this was a big friggin' storm. Between the beginning of my haircut and the ending of the shampooing that occurred, the rain did not let up. Not even a little bit.

So I made the long drive back to Radford. Typically, the drive between Roanoke and Radford really isn't that long. But in a torrential downpour, it becomes kind of long. I've driven in storms before. And I've driven like I did last night before. You know how when you drive into a storm while the storm is traveling in the opposite direction and you kind of expect to come out of it at some point? Yeah, that never happened. That rain kept falling just as heavily with each passing mile.

I heard the warnings, that flooding would be a real issue. Duh. Any idiot would know that, simply by using one of their five senses to experience the sheer volume of rain that we received. When I woke up this morning, I got a chance to see some of the flooding first hand.
This little scene is about 20 or 25 yards from where my car was parked all night.

There's supposed to be a greenway under that water. It might be there again in a few days. I hope it is, I'm supposed to be training for a 10k.

Just to help with the perspective a little, the edge of the flood water is in the foreground. The building where I live is in the background.

I realize that flooding is a lot worse in a lot of other areas. I do consider myself very lucky to have avoided the river's fury. But I was a little concerned about the common sense of some of my neighbors.

Most of these neighbors are college students. Okay, there's a good chance that all of my neighbors are college students. They don't have a lot of the real life experience that one may gain after being out of college for 10 years. So when the university sent everyone a message warning them to move their cars out of our apartment complex's parking lots, the panic set in. I've never seen so many cars move out of here at one time. There was an actual traffic jam on our very small, rarely traveled road.

I think when the university sent out those messages, they painted a picture of a tsunami in a lot of kids' heads. Yes, there was some concern over a dam in Wythe County breaking. As far as I know, that did not happen. Though I'm not entirely sure, I haven't seen any news about it since this afternoon. But even if that had happened, I don't think the water from said dam burst would come down the New River Valley and wipe Radford off the map.

I left my car right where it had been all day. And you know what? It's still there. I'm comfortable with my decision.

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