A short clip from a local television news station in Memphis went viral yesterday after a visibly upset woman shouted into the microphone that this was the fifth time "this motherfucker" has flooded. Later that afternoon, that same station allowed her more airtime to tell her full story.
She moved into her rental home on Mountain Terrace in 2003. She says the flood water that raged through her neighborhood Thursday morning marked the fifth time her home has flooded since she's lived there.
"Last time, I bleached the whole place, floor to ceiling," she told me.
"Been a tough morning," I stated the obvious.
The news often shows the damage and destruction wrought by bad storms, but the emotional toll of that damage is rarely given the airtime it deserves. Priscilla Lester's emotional outburst on live television yesterday is funny without context—especially since they cut her off mid-sentence—but it was the overflow of pure frustration felt by Lester as her home flooded for the fifth time in eleven years.
Internet commenters' cries of "why don't you just move!" are the epitome of privilege, as it's hard enough for people who are well-off to just up and move to an area less at risk for that region's native natural disasters, let alone folks who survive paycheck-to-paycheck or on even less than that.
Lester's story completely excuses (hell, even justifies) her outburst on television yesterday. If my house flooded every other year with rainwater and sewage, the city cut off my power, and I was worried about people breaking in and looting my already-damaged belongings, I'd shout about this motherfucking place getting flooded, too.
Good on WMC for going back and letting Lester tell her story. Even if the authorities can't/won't remedy the flooding issues in her neighborhood, hopefully someone in the area is able to help her with the cleanup.