2017-09-08 - Equifax

Equifax

Stalk The Comic:

September 8, 2017 - News Post

I didn’t want to do another news-related comic. But Equifax, one of the country’s top 3 credit agencies, went and had a major data whoopsie. Don’t worry, though, it impacts 143 million people. So if you live in the U.S. like me, you finally have something pleasant to talk about with friends and relatives besides politics.

Speaking of pleasant things to discuss, the last few weeks have been full of natural disasters. Between the earthquake in Mexico, Hurricane Harvey in Houston, wildfires out west, and Hurricane Irma plowing its way through the Carribbean, it hasn’t been a great run.

As of the time of this writing, I am not certain of the danger that lies ahead. The southeast is undergoing one of the largest evacuations I’ve ever seen. Irma is expected to hit Florida this weekend, continuing north from there. Florida was my home for many years, and I have a lot of friends and relatives I’m very worried about.

So without further ado, here’s Part II of my selfish little tale of a slightly bad rainstorm…

Part II of Jeff’s Weekend Tale:
(see Tuesday’s news for part I)

Shannon stared at me, stared at the water, then back at me.

The roaring river in our front yard had swallowed up a fire hydrant, and nearly reached the top my mailbox. Waist high waves shot up into the air where storm drain ditches met driveways.

Across the street, a neighbor who we had never met was shining a flashlight all around her house. Shannon and I threw on raincoats and went outside. We had only lived here for 6 months. We didn't know if this amount of water was typical for Nashville storms.

The lady across the street seemed to know what she was doing. She was checking her car and the gutters. After a while, she started shining it into the brand new river. Over the sound of the rain and the rushing waves, my wife shouted to her.

"What do we do?" Shannon asked.

The neighbors response was clear and concise. "What?" She said.

Shannon pointed to the water, and shouted even louder. “What do we do? Is this normal?"

"I can't hear you!" The neighbor replied.

I stepped up to the edge of the raging river, repeating Shannon’s words at the top of my lungs. “Is this normal?”

This clearly got through to the neighbor. She stood there for a moment, shined the flashlight at our eyes, then the water, then back to our eyes.

"Tell me later, I guess." She said, and then walked into her house.

This did little to help the situation. During the 20 second exchange, the water crept up our driveway, closer to the car.

Our next-door neighbor, a guy named Jeff (the best name I’ve ever heard) stepped out of the darkness. He and his family had lived here for about a year. The whole experience of standing in water immediately outside his front door seemed new to him. “Is this normal?” He asked.

I’m pretty sure neighbors asking neighbors if a situation is normal is a decent indicator that things are not.

His wife came outside and the four of us stared at the rising tides. After a few minutes, one of us remembered to look at the creek behind our houses. The creek, normally dried and empty, was deeper than I am tall (6’5” or about 2 meters). It had overflowed into our yards. This was bad.

I ran inside and checked on the basement. Since moving in, we had used the unfinished basement to store boxes, tools, food, dishes, furniture, bicycles, and laundry. All of these were soaking in 6 inches of water. Not bad, considering how much water was outside.

I rejoined my wife and the neighbors as they stared at the storm. We watched nervously for an hour as the water on both sides of the house grew deeper and deeper. The experience was surreal. I don't think I've seen any of my neighbors out past dark before. The water stopped just short of the houses, but who knew how long that could last?

In a situation like this, it was easy to feel helpless. So, the four of us did the only thing we could: we started playing with our phones. Despite the darkness on my street, many homes and cell phone towers never lost power. We texted people, took photos, and generally got our phones very wet. Between the darkness and the rain, very few photos out, but I emailed what I could to friends and family.

The situation was dangerous, scary, exciting, annoying, and devastating all at the same time. But one thing was becoming abundantly clear: there was no way I could work the next day.

In a small way, that made it all worthwhile.

To be concluded…

-Jeff