Late last Friday afternoon, almost all of St. Louis was under a severe thunderstorm warning, with a chance for tornadoes to develop. I was worried that my daughter and son-in-law wouldn’t make it to the daycare center in time to get my grandson, so I offered to pick him up. We all met at my house just before the storm broke. Thankfully, we didn’t get any tornadoes, but we got a lot of rain in a very short amount of time.
At first it was sort of fun to stand on our front porch and watch the rain come down, once we were sure it was safe to do so. But then we noticed that the water was steadily rising, and that some of the neighbor’s recycling bins were floating down the street. Soon the water was up to the hubcap’s of my daughter’s car, which was parked in front of our house. Our drive-way looked like a river, and we watched, fascinated, as several plastic drainage pipes floated down our driveway, followed by small branches and what looked like an Amazon Prime package. As my one-year old grandson so eloquently put it, “Oh, no!”
We’ve lived in our house for over twenty-five years and this is only the second time I’ve seen this type of flooding. When the rain finally let up and the water began to recede, my husband went around back to see if our garage had been flooded.
The good news was that the inside of our garage was dry. The bad news was that the mother of our new neighbor behind us was out in her daughter’s yard, inspecting the damage. And she was, to put it mildly, a little out of sorts. She didn’t understand how so much water ended up in her daughter’s back yard. She shared her opinion that the three skinny bushes we had planted between our yards must have caused all that water to back up onto her daughter’s property, and wanted to know what kind of idiot would plant bushes there. The situation was, she kept repeating, “unacceptable.”
My husband is normally a patient man. He listened to her complaints, then pointed out that our houses sit at the bottom of our street and that the water from the top of our street flows downhill towards us. And that the three scraggly bushes did nothing to prevent the thousands of gallons of water from pouring down our driveway, so they’d hardly cause a flood in her daughter’s yard. But eventually he’d had enough, and came back inside, shaking his head at her behavior. My guess is that this woman has never been nominated for neighbor of the year.
The thing is, I understood why she was upset. Her daughter had recently moved into the house, and I’m sure it was very concerning for her to see the kind of flooding we experienced last Friday. But what I can’t excuse is how determined she was to find someone to blame, and how she took her anger out on my husband. That, in my opinion, is what’s truly “unacceptable.” We don’t always get to control our emotions, but we most certainly can control how we express them. And from a purely practical standpoint, it’s never a good idea to alienate the people who live next to you.
Luckily, the young woman who actually lives in the house is very nice, and doesn’t seem to be angry at all. Which means that I think she will be a nice neighbor, and who knows? We might even be able to work together to figure out a way to redirect at least some of the water from heavy rains.
But meanwhile, I have to say that I’m hoping that her mother doesn’t visit very often……