Earlier this week, my area of Metro Detroit got hit with the worst rain we’ve ever had. Literally. We doubled our prior record for total rainfall in one day and in turn, increased our collective trash output tenfold. If you live in or around the Motor City area, there’s a 50% percent chance your basement flooded and you had to throw away everything in it.
A friend of mine recently refinished his older basement, drywalling everything himself and adding in new flooring, all in hopes of being ready for his daughter’s first birthday party this weekend. That got ruined two hours after the base molding was installed.
Another buddy of mine and her boyfriend just moved into their first new house last weekend. While they were waiting on getting their new hardwood floors installed upstairs, they stored their belongings in the basement. A few days later, there was two feet of water in their basement and everything they own had to be thrown away.
On a more broad scale, damages were way more serious. Two of the major freeways flooded in peak areas, and were shut down completely. Cars were floating. There were a few casualties. Things got real, seemingly out of nowhere.
Personally, I got lucky. When waves from the street disregarded the front lawn and started hitting my front porch, I realized things were about to go awry and quickly removed everything of minor importance from my basement as the water slowly trickled in from the corners. My rented basement isn’t finished and we don’t use it for much, so the task wasn’t too hefty. However, by the time I was going to bed, there was a good two inches of sewage water covering my relatively big basement and two more in the morning.
The next day, my wife and I embarked on the clean-up mission. The water was past my ankles, but our determination was strong. While my lady struggled to figure out the borrowed sump-pump that wasn’t working, I was moving buckets of poop water upstairs and outdoors to my swamp of a backyard, which sloshed all over me with each and every step. I was frustrated, to say the very least.
Hours later, when the water was mostly outdoors where it should be, I had a moment of clarity while mopping the floors with bleach. As “It Is What Is” from Blood Orange blared from our portable JBL Charge speaker, I soaked in the reality the song was omitting and realized I was in paradise compared to many folks outside my small plot of land.
Although the relationship-themed lyrics lacing this vibey gem from the NY producer’s quite incredible Cupid Deluxe album didn’t truly fit my situation, the cool, refreshing, general positive reinforcement gave me the perspective I needed. Why should I be stressing, when I know half my friends lost irreplaceable belongings? Why should I be stressing when the damages to places like New Orleans, New Jersey and Hurricane Alley were 100% worse? My situation was a breeze.
In hindsight, everything could always be worse. Even though that’s not always easy to realize under duress, keeping a reality check in your back pocket will always make life seem better.
Here’s to hoping I’m not the only one who had the same realization.