Thursday, September 22, 2016

On Thursday Evening, My Street Became a Torrent for Ten Minutes.

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I like the street where I have lived for two years and a half. The street has grown intimate to me and yet has secrets. Tonight, as I cycled home from the class at the art museum, the gutters of Seventh Street gushed with water. Yet, no deluge fell from the skies. The sky appeared clear and blue, a classic September sky for the first day of Fall. The two men who sell Felt bicycles and fix bicycles for the neighborhood children got curious. I was sitting on my stoop and the pair marched up Seventh Street hill to investigate. I had noticed the roostertail of water at the hill's top and drew my own conclusion. The two wanted to talk to the man by the white City of Muskegon truck. The mechanic with the glasses pointed to the corner with just a touch of glee, "Look at it. Look at it go around the corner. Drains can't keep up with it". Yes, a puddle was growing at the corner of Seventh and Clay. The two continued up the hill and the water slowed.

On the way back, I waylaid the mechanic. He keeps an eye on bicycles that pass the corner where the CityHub store stands. He stands on the concrete porch of the two story brick building that once housed Carlson's Grocery in the last century. He can diagnose a bike's problems as it rolls on by his station. 

A few days before, he called out to me, "Your rear tire has a slow leak". 

I stopped and protested, "Naw, that tire still had air after the winter". 

"Let's find out" and he produced a bike pump and attached it to the nozzle. 

"See! It's twenty pounds. You have a slow leak". 

"I don't think so. I did a bad job of filling the tire earlier". 

"Fair enough. Tire is at sixty pounds. Keep an eye on it".

So I had to report when he walked back down the hill after talking to the man by the hydrant. "Hey, that tire is still rolling nicely". 

"Okay, so it's not a slow leak. But you got to add air every week".

"Okay okay okay okay. So did you want to run and play in the gush of water from that fire hydrant".

"No way. The maintenance guy was flushing the system. That hydrant was spewing twelve thousand gallons of water a minute".

"It would knock me flat", I concluded.

"And no bike helmet to protect your head".

"Good point".

The flood had become nothing more than a wet street glistening in early fall early evening sunshine.

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