My house was ‘destroyed’ as one guest so delicately put it just before leaving on Sunday. We’d hosted a Super Bowl viewing party and toys and chips ground into a fine dust under a stampede of little feet covered the floors. My memory from the time we used to host this party before children is foggy, but at times like these, I wonder if the mess was once easier to clean up when it consisted of only left-over red plastic cups and the occasional “party-foul” carpet spots.
The following day was a struggle. Why, oh why, isn’t the Super Bowl on a Saturday? I complained to everyone and no one in particular. Silly Allie. Do you really think an organization accused of minimizing studies on the impact of concussions on its employees really cares that you have to work with a potential hangover the next day? The question you should be asking is, were you not entertained?
The party had been fun for the most part, even if the team I was rooting for lost. Snacks were warm, beverages, cold, and the chairs were full of friends and family. In fact, the only thing, shy of the loss, I hadn’t enjoyed was a string of commercials about children born nine months after the Super Bowl. Eww. Sorry, that was a song no parent should be comfortable watching their child sing, especially not in front of such a big audience.
But, my hostess duties prevented me from watching it all, and apparently others saw something in the program that I missed. Oh my gosh. Did you see what Beyoncé was wearing during the halftime show? I couldn’t believe it either. All that money and she can’t find pants that fit. No, it’s not that. I hear she hates pants. She’s so anti-pants she won’t even so much as wear a skirt. That’s how much she hates pants. Maybe she’s just really proud of her legs? If I had legs like that, I’d promote them too and why aren’t you talking about Flint? Flint, as in Michigan? What does Flint have to do with Beyoncé or her pants?
Well, since you brought it up, let’s talk about Flint. When I hear the word Flint, I don’t instantly think crisis, although the thought quickly follows. Flint, to me, is a house a short distance from an automotive plant with a basement that was once stocked with carpentry tools, a sunroom that opens to cool summer breezes as no other artificial air conditioning is needed, and an older couple who once choose to raise a family there rather than in another town just up the road. The same couple who now stubbornly refuse to come south no matter how much my mom begs.
I started to pay attention to the water crisis when I learned that my brother-in-law arranged for bottled water to be sent from states away to my grandparents’ home before he would bring his daughters to visit. He wasn’t the last either. A cousin sounded the alarm, well before the current media storm, across all her social media. Her friends, anxious to do anything at all to help, but at a loss as to exactly how, sent bottles upon bottles more. It is a truly sweet gesture, and I for one appreciate the thought as well as their generosity, but just as the decision to switch Flint’s water from Detroit was likely made with best intentions (but not enough homework), the quick solution wound up creating a different sort of problem. Water is heavy, and once delivered, is difficult for my grandparents to move to where it can actually be used. So the bottles sit.
Now it is winter again, bringing its weather with it. A few years ago, homes near my grandparents lost their roofs under the weight of the unrelenting snow. My grandfather bought a snowthrower, only to have it stolen away. Flint is not new to problems. It is only the scale of the public’s attention that has changed. And yet for all its problems, there are those who continue to call it home for any number of reasons. People like my grandparents who refuse to give up and leave. People like my grandparents’ neighbor who shovels snow-covered sidewalks well beyond his own property line for nothing more than thanks. People who remember the Flint that was and people who still dream of the Flint that could be. People who simply want to drink a glass of water unafraid.
So no. This isn’t a story about pants, or football, or even my house (that rest assured is no longer in ruins). It is a story about people. No matter what team we root for or whether we wear trousers, kilt, or body suit straight out of the nineties, it is good to remember we are all made of water. So let’s try to keep it clean.
And no, in this, I am not entertained.
- Frequently asked questions about the Flint water crisis
- How you can help the people of Flint
- Flint Water Study Results