I Think I’m Afraid to Flush, Way Too Much Rain, and All Points Converge Here

A peculiar quirk here in Central Ohio during the Monsoon Season (the two months – give or take a week or two- between the seasons of Snowbooger Grey and Stygian Heat, usually from mid-March to late May) is that occasionally storm drains overflow into the sanitary sewers, making it possible for effluvia rinsed down sinks, flushed down commodes, etc. to go the opposite direction than the one intended.  Low elevation, painfully flat landscapes, clay soil and torrential rains do not make for an optimum environment for natural drainage.

During the monsoon episodes, should one need to relieve oneself, in a good part of Central Ohio, you get to play a rousing game of “toilet roulette.”

Should I flush?  If it’s yellow, let it mellow?  If it’s brown, will it actually flush down?  What are the odds of ending up with a floor full of unspeakable mess?

At home I am not too averse to waiting to flush until the storm subsides, and I can see that the storm sewer grate is clear outside, as I really don’t want a backflow situation in my own bathroom.  But in public places it is extremely rude to leave your leavings without giving them their final send off, or at least making the attempt.

So far so good today.  For now.  Hopefully the deluge will take a break for an hour or two and let the storm sewers clear out some more.

I am glad it wasn’t raining like this yesterday when I was up in Marion.  It actually was a pretty good day. Steve-o got his hair cut and got some shades he wanted.

Dad had mentioned something intriguing when I was up there that I had some peripheral background on, but had not really taken a whole lot of notice.  I grew up not even really noticing the trains because trains went through town constantly and they still do.  You don’t notice them until you leave, and it either seems oddly quiet, or the trains are replaced with another background noise, which in my case today is the airport.  I live less than half a mile from Port Columbus.  I don’t notice the planes unless I make it a point to pay attention to them, but I certainly did notice the silence on 9/11 and the days following.  Passenger aircraft constantly taking off and landing, and F15s flying over have vastly different sounds.

In the early 20th century there were five different railroads that converged in Marion- from all points across the country.  Only two of those rail lines remain- the trains still go through pretty much constantly, with their endless cargos of coal, but the trains haven’t actually stopped in Marion since the early 1970’s.  If one looks close enough one can see where these rail lines once intersected which is sort of interesting.

At one time there were a lot of people going everywhere and nowhere.  Of course people are still going everywhere and nowhere, but the ride is a lot less scenic and usually is taken up with either phone conversations, electronic gadgetry, and the endless monotone of  flat, straight Interstate.  I enjoy a road trip (and even more if I make it a point to take a less traveled road) but I think something might be lost in the autonomy one has when you drive.  The train journey leaves your whereabouts at the mercy of another force, but paradoxically it also gives you the freedom to drift off into that void between everywhere and nowhere.   Sleeping (or even that delightful realm of half-sleep) and driving don’t mix.

The ghosts are restless at those convergence points.  It’s easy to imagine them at the train station even though trains don’t stop there anymore and only part of the train station remains.  Someone waiting for the next train.  Someone running down the platform.  Someone looking for someone who will never return.

I’m haunted by those stories, especially those of the troop trains.

Everywhere and nowhere.

Eventually the rain will stop, and I will get beyond my little melancholy foray into a past I don’t really understand.

On a lighter note, there are seasons here in Central Ohio. We have five.   That’s why the people who live here part of the year, but go to Florida part of the year, go down there for most of them.

Winter.  Begins right after Halloween, lasts until mid-February or so.  Best described as, “The Brass Balls Have Frozen off the Brass Monkey.”  Lots of precipitation. Dark most of the time.  Freezing rain, snow, ice, etc.

Snowbooger Grey. Mid-February or so until mid-late March.  Like winter, but with temperatures hovering right around freezing, so the snow all melts and the landscape everywhere looks like those snowboogers that accumulate in the splash guards and wheel wells of cars.  Since it’s slightly warmer than winter there’s more rain, and a bit more daylight, if you can notice through the overcast, grey haze that hangs over everything.  Dismal.

Monsoon.  Mid-late March-mid-late May.  Or so.  Just rain.  Constantly.

Stygian Heat.  100% humidity.  100% bugs.  Late May-mid-September. Plenty of rain.

Fall Monsoon. Mid-September-Halloween. Do you like rain? 🙂

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