Louder than a flock of teenage girls and more intrusive than an Amber Alert; sometimes our phones buzz like crazy and we receive warning of a flash flood. It happened recently and aside from some wet clothes and smelling Italian when I arrived home after walking through it, this storm was no big deal.
Flash flood warnings can be quite frightening. Text messages are already bad enough. Now imagine the text is from God and he’s threatening to drown you with little warning. That’s kind of what this is like.
Filipinos have a different take on flash floods. Their flash flood warnings are far more serious. They are the NPR to our Howard Stern.
As a nation surrounded by water, floods are not something Filipinos take lightly. The fact that they also have a rainy season instead of a winter clues us in on how different the flash flood mentality is. In the US, we maybe catch a cab or quit our jobs to avoid getting our hair wet. In the Philippines, they get on a damn boat then head to work with their favorite snorkel.
Filipinos are (generally) tougher than the average American. The reaction to rain is a prime example. Americans will hide beneath the liquor store overhang forever just to keep dry. Filipinos will embrace it even if the flood waters reach their thighs.
During the three total weeks I spent in the Philippines, I only remember experiencing the rain once. I was fortunate to avoid the downpour although my second trip there did give me the chance to experience a Filipino drought. Like the flash flood, droughts in the Philippines are a lot more anguishing. In the US, our droughts mean we can’t water our lawns which can embarrass us in front of the neighbors.
There’s nothing to really fear in the US when it comes to (most) flash flood warnings. Particularly in places where famous people live, you’re pretty darn safe.