All night it rained. And rained. And rained. And just when I thought it might stop, it rained some more.
The thunder was magnificent, loud, and consistent, pounding the sky. It was as if the heavens decided it was time for some sort of nocturnal Taiko drumming exhibition. Each clap vibrated through the walls, set off car alarms in the lot outside my window, and kept a good night of sleep seemingly just a couple of inches from my grasp.
Since I arrived in Tempe in mid-August, it has been scorcher after scorcher. Tempe brings the kind of heat that makes simple tasks, like walking to the grocery store or going to the leasing office to sort out a maintenance request, a hellish ordeal (pun intended). To look down and see anything less than triple digits on my weather app is a cause for celebration.
So the rain, while glorious, while massive, while record-breaking, was sort of a confusing ordeal.
A cold and rainy Tempe?
It was just so weird. Throughout the morning, the drops continued to make their way down our walls and windows. The news filled up with images of flooded neighborhoods and highways. Governor Brewer declared “a state of emergency” as the valley continued to flood.
“Wow,” I thought to myself. “I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere that’s in a state of emergency.”
Schools were evacuated, classes (for the fortunate few) were canceled, and temporary shelters were set up. National and international news organizations began posting about the massive flooding.
For my first few weeks as a full-time Tempe resident, the weather often resembled a Corona commercial with the thermostat turned up. The world was one big tanning bed and it was a failed day if you didn’t spend some of your time in a pool. Thank God for air conditioning.
But now, with the city less than equipped to handle the storms, Tempe looked like an episode of Spongebob Squarepants.
Rainy days produce idyl time. So my roommates and I did the usual rainy day routine: soup, video games, and TV, mixed in with a fair bit of daydreaming.
Eventually, the rain faded and my buddies left for class.
Tired of spanish homework and re-runs of HBO Hard Knocks, I ventured out onto our porch.
Our view, usually of a nice park full of frisbees, cricket bats, and the jubilant shrieks of people at play, had turned into this:
The panorama shot makes it tougher to see, but basically we were now the owners of waterfront property. A massive body of water had formed thanks to the large quantity of rainfall, the odd shape of the park, and lack of drainage within it. It was a staggering site.
A couple of nights before, we’d tossed the frisbee around right in the middle of where all that water stood.
“If we were to do that right now,” I thought, “I’d need a snorkel.”
The park was barren and empty. Trees and light poles were partially submerged and their reflections shined in the water.
The sun peeked its head through the clouds and inspiration struck. It was time to capture the state of Tempe.
Scotty Bara (my roommate and fellow northern California native) and I hatched a plan. I spent the next hour (yes, an hour) inflating a raft and brainstorming. When Scotty came home, we worked out some of the details and headed down the steps.
With idiotic grins on our faces, a yellow raft, some props and a go-pro camera, this is what we came up with:
It was a fun time. While I have yet to walk on water, I can now say I’ve floated on rain. Scotty and I sat atop the monsoon for a solid 10-15 minutes, gathered our thoughts and worked on our tans (which clearly could use some work).
We eventually packed our stuff up and headed up to our place. A couple of minutes later, we posted our pictures (big shout @ASUConfessions) and were off to class.
Just another day in Tempe, I guess.