April Showers

Sometimes, it’s the little things that teach you life lessons. You just have to keep an eye out. For example, I never thought that the recurring floods of Hoboken would teach me to be less hasty.

Let’s rewind to a recent Tuesday morning before work. Sensing rain, I pulled on my rain boots and scampered out the door. In the past, my rain boots have made me feel invincible, and perfect for what I call “fording the river.”

No, this was not an attempt to cross the Hudson, but rather, I’m referring to what it feels like to cross a street when it rains in Hoboken, while using a term that stems from my childhood and playing the computer game, Oregon Trail.

Intended for educational purposes, Oregon Trail was to help teach kids about the days of pioneers and Conestoga wagons, although the most kids pretty much remember is which family member got a snakebite or dysentery.

Despite all that business, personally, I loved when it came time to cross a river. There were a few options as to how to move forward, dependant upon how much cargo was in your wagon and the depth of the water. Though a risk, I always chose to ford the river with my oxen, despite what my situation was in my wagon. In my haste, I usually lost half my cargo, and my patience with the game.

I never thought that Oregon Trail really taught me much, but I was dead wrong. Nowadays, I still find myself wondering if I should ford the river, aka, the flooded streets of Hoboken, because, well known to Hobokenites, our town becomes something of a Venice during heavy rains.

That Tuesday, the skies had not let up since the previous Sunday, and there was a call to arms for my rain boots. And yet again, about 20 years later, I still chose to ford the river, rather than taking a moment to weigh my options, like walking a block down to avoid the water. I stepped right into the rushing waters, thinking my rain boots would be all I needed.

It was then that I realized I still haven’t learned anything from my Oregon Trail days. In my haste, and because of one tiny hole in my left rain boot that crushed my false sense of security, I once again lost my precious cargo that day—my mind.

As it turns out, it didn’t take the consequence of losing a whole wagon-full of goods for me to amend my ways, but instead, a wet left sock. For the remainder of the day, my damp foot served as a reminder that I should perhaps take a few seconds to think before plunging into any risky situation.

Faced with the approaching April showers, I’m not quite sure what I’ve learned from reminiscing about Oregon Trail so much, but I do know that I will use the Hoboken floods as an opportunity to focus on my new decision making ways.


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