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Cheaper Than a Movie

June 13, 2008 - Wes Burns
To the wide international audience that reads "A Stranger's Opinion" I'm just going to say that there is a lot of water. Everywhere. And a few thousands gallons is sitting over highway 14 on the north side of Marshalltown. Needless to say this required investigation.

While not originally my idea for how to spend a Tuesday evening I was convinced by a friend of mine that this would be fun, if for nothing else than on an ironic level. With consensus reached we proceeded to the floodplain.

What I saw next is a bit hard to explain. We turned onto 14, apprehensive at the notion that we would have to maneuver around local law enforcement to get closer to the water; an absolute necessity for optimum viewing. What we were greeted with wasn't police, but rather a line of cars. A long line. We parked in the near block length series of autos and started to walk down the highway to where the floodplain crests.

All I could think at this time was the image from the TV mini-series "The Stand". Walking down the wrong side of a highway is a mildly jarring experience, its just kind of unnatural. The wildly jarring experience was the crowd that gathered at the water's edge.

People. A dizzying array of people. And there they were. Starring off into the mirrored surface of our highway, all commenting that there was, indeed, quite a bit of water out there. Children screamed, unable to understand that not ever body of water is an inviting pool while older folks compared notes on depth and duration of the flood and its relative power to the past floods.

This is what people have chosen to do with their time? Stand and gawk at the mere presence of a substance which covers 70% of the Earth's surface? And yet, here I am, among the gawkers. I can't say I'm proud but I will admit to it.

So you have a little gawk. Its not a problem, thankfully these kinds of floods are rare so of course you're going to want to see them. Just stay out of the way if people are trying to help. And don't be the first guy to buy the "Flood of '08" t-shirt. Just don't do it.


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