Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Message in a Flooded Parking Lot

When I left work on Monday, the parking lot was flooded, and I waded through ankle deep water to get to my car.  But that's not unusual for a day the kind of rain that we had for a few hours in the afternoon, the kind of rain that comes in slanting sheets.  I drove home through flooded streets, and the only thing that seemed curious is that when I got to a point on my drive east, the streets were completely dry.

I got to work yesterday morning to find the parking lot still flooded, and even more strange, the second floor of the parking garage still had several inches of water.  Someone closed the gate to the upper level, and I went down to close it again when someone opened it.  I did a bit of traffic directing to the part of the parking lot that almost no one knows is there, and then I made a poster for the gate, so that people would know why the lot was closed.

I asked the other people in the building if we could use their reserved spaces, and they graciously said yes.  But that only solved the problem for a bit.

As I tromped back and forth between offices and flooded parking lot, I thought about grad school and my professional life, how in some ways I never envisioned that my duties might include this, but in other ways, I'm just doing what I've always done:  looking out for students, trying to keep them safe, showing them directions, hoping for the best.

And there's the tough part:  at one point, we ran out of dry parking spaces. I had to leave late arriving students to make their best choices for them and their vehicles.  Some parked further away and walked.  Some parked in the flooded spaces and waded to the building.

I said nothing, although part of me wanted to say, "If you had gotten to class a few minutes early, you'd have had a dry space."  But I didn't.

As with much of my teaching and professional life, I realized that I couldn't fix everything--and people would make their own way or they wouldn't.

I had a full morning of meetings and the catching up of work that comes with a morning of meetings.  By the time I left in the early evening, a team had arrived with a rootering type of device to try to fix the clogged drainage in the parking lot. Long after the streets dried, we still had lakes of water instead of parking areas, so clearly something is wrong.  Hopefully it will be fixed.

We know that the rains will come.  We know that there may be flooding.  This is a week that in ways big and small, we know that we need to help each other--both locally and nationally.

No comments: