Fake Lake

[Image: A satellite view of the corporate water feature become roadway hazard thanks to a landscaping crew in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania].

Out in the suburbs, where we’ve temporarily taken up shop on our way to New York City, the damage of Hurricane Irene has mostly been limited to large fallen branches on wooded roads, with the necessary but unexpected orange cones, caution tape, wrongway turns, and over-hill detours associated with such minor obstacles.

Is there an oral history of road detours—the friends met, the appointments missed, the geographies discovered—and, if not, should one be written?

But I was thrilled by the oddly Ballardian experience today of driving around on a spectacular and cloudless post-storm evening to see that two landscapers working overtime had begun to pump the flooded excess from an artificial corporate lake—a kind of ornamental moat surrounding an office complex in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania—directly onto the street.

Cars were braking and swerving out of their lanes as the roadway flooded, and this doubly-fake water feature visibly bloated, engulfing two lanes of traffic, even as the artificial lake from whence it came seemed to recede, deflating back to preplanned limits amidst the sculpted hills and parking lots.

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