By Kenneth Justice
~ Yesterday, everything in my world seemed upside down. Record rainfalls for where I live here in the Midwest (akin to an average day in the Costa Rican rainforest) flooded my community. Having visited the Rain Forest of Central America a LOT of times I’m used to massive rain storms, however, area sewers and drains here in the Midwest weren’t built for prolonged rain (it fell from morning to night) and soon they were at capacity and draining back into the streets.
Within hours of the sewer overflow the water was as deep as 4 feet on area roads. I had been hanging out at the local library, only a 15 minute walk to the house, but was forced to leave my car in the library parking lot and make the long trek home after I saw the roof of a Corvette that had been abandoned in the middle of the road, the rest of the car entirely submerged beneath the raging water and I didn’t want to take the chance of losing my car.
It was a few minutes before I left the library that a friend of mine texted me the national news that was buzzing through social media; “Robin Williams dead, appears to be suicide”.
It was a surreal night as I made the long trek back to the house. It took nearly an hour and a half to walk the half mile because most of the roads were impassable and I kept backtracking until I found streets where the water only came up to my waste. Helicopters buzzed overhead, the constant ambulance, police, and fire sirens were going off incessantly. Later I would learn that nearly every single expressway was entirely flooded and shut down in the Metro Area.
After a shower and clean clothes (my house is on the highest piece of land in my neighborhood and was entirely unaffected by the flooding four houses down in every direction) I stepped outside to see a stream of cars with their red blinking emergency lights lined up in every direction through my neighborhood. Travelers were stranded miles upon miles from their homes with no way to get back and hundreds of people walked in circles talking on their phones to loved ones, trying to figure out what to do for the night. Thankfully, by 9 PM the rain had stopped and the people whose cars weren’t stuck or floating away could sleep in their cars until police figured out evacuation routes for everyone to return home.
It was quite an evening last night and in the midst of all of it I thought about Robin Williams. The NEWS this morning is citing various sources close to him who are reporting that he has been severely depressed in recent months. A friend of mine worked for Williams many years ago and often told me of the drugs that were par for the course at the parties they attended.
Drugs, depression, whatever might be the avenue which led him to suicide; it’s a strange world that surrounds us. For some of us, we are merely trying to get home to eat dinner and take a shower. For others, we are living in war torn areas of Africa or the Middle East, where we must be ready to run to bomb shelters at any given moment when we hear the sirens go off. And for Robin Williams, a man who had more money and more opportunity than nearly all of us will ever see in our lifetime; he was simply looking for peace and relief from the emotions that flooded his thoughts.
What does it all mean? I’m not really sure. Perhaps you know. I guess I’ll think about it some more as I slowly sip my coffee this morning,
Categories: Culture & Society