[NetBehaviour] My Life in the Violence of Water

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Fri Feb 14 04:45:01 CET 2014

My Life in the Violence of Water

1950s In camp swimming underwater in a lake and almost drowning.
1950s There was also Hurricane Hazel and I went out and walked
around in it with a lantern I had found while waiting outside
the gradeschool grounds for footballs to show up so I could
throw them back to the team and the rest of the time I did
nothing but think about things. This was my first hurricane and
I was with my father, one of the few good times I remember with
1959 The Knox Coalmine disaster, the Susquehanna flooding
the mines, people dying, surface cave-ins, our house cracked
Then skip to 1960s and my instruments in Teri Wellman's closet
soaked when a pipe broke, lost then all.
1972 and Hurricane Agnes flooding my parents' house, I lost
everything from my childhood as well. I was in Halifax at the
time and didn't know whether they survived. What a mess. We got
down later. President Nixon came secretly to assess the damage
and I filmed him from a distance of eight inches, making a piece
that was shown at the Paris Biennale, called The Assassination
of President Nixon because it looked like that and I hated the
Vietnam War.
1973 or so feel into the ocean at Peggy's Cove in Nova Scotia,
in the winter, and almost drowned. There you are.
1980 body surfing at Kitty Hawk and a wave caught me and slammed
me into the ocean floor and I broke my nose and almost passed
out permanently because without glasses I couldn't see its
height which was something I should not have been body-surfing
1983 or so returning from Tasmania and later opening my freight
container in Los Angeles, finding it soaked due to a roof leak
and I lost almost everything as did my wife at the time.
I forgot sometime in the early 1980s my girlfriend and I almost
- another almost - got caught in a flash flood in Death Valley.
Water is my enemy.
1992 Moved to Brooklyn and my ceiling heavily leaked onto the
bed and the shower gave out and water went everywhere.
1998 Or so and the outer wall of our building had to be replaced
because it was falling down and the new mortar leaked and
everyone's place flooded more or less and it went on like this
all the way to around 2009 or so.
Then there was Hurricane Irene and our place flooded and Azure
and I had to put buckets everywhere and then go onto the roof
and repair it with duct tape, bungee cords, and shower curtains.
Then there was Sandy and I went outside and videotaped and I had
done this in Irene as well, and between them there was a tornado
and I went out and stood under the tornado and made a videotape
of it from below and you can hear the windshear and everything.
2011 and my father died almost to the day that the waters rose
higher in the Susquehanna than ever before and my brother and
sister-in-law had to seek higher ground and Azure and I came
down later and found a lot of milder in the house and later my
brother and I went to look at the damage in the neighboring
towns where Azure's cousin's house had been flooded out but she
had died beforehand and an angry homeowner tried to hit me with
some sort of iron tool I saw while running away.
Water is my enemy, water is my enemy, I shall not drink water.
2013 and there was new flooding in our space and there was some
flooding in the basement as well because the new owners weren't
taking care of anything because they wanted us out.
2014 and I went back to see our old place in Brooklyn, and the
windows were open and rain had to be streaming in there and the
roof damage had to increase because we had to repair the bungee
cord arrangement before any serious rain or snowstorm, and it
was clear no one was doing that and so the place was most likely
flooding again.
Now I hate water more than ever and know in my heart that it
will kill me in the end, it as tried so many times, and has
destroyed so much, and it will continue until it succeeds and I
will be washed away.

Historical Floods: Susquehanna River at Wilkes-Barre
Period of Record: 1786-Present
Flood Stage: 22 ft Number of Floods: 94
Latitude: 41.251 Longitude: -75.881
Last Flood: 9/8/2011

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