Water erupting from a broken hydrant

This just goes to show that it’s important to have your camera with you. So there I was, just sitting in my office in Los Alamitos, California, when I looked out the window and saw, well, a geyser rising up on the other side of the parking lot. I should point out that Los Alamitos, on the cusp of Orange and LA Counties in Southern California, is not widely known as a hotbed of hotsprings, and it is not normally the case that I see Old Faithful periodically erupting over my Prius.

Nonetheless, there it was: a fairly alarmingly high gusher of water, steaming in the morning sun and rapidly flooding Los Vaqueros Avenue.

Because in addition to being the Director of our publications (magazines, scholarly journals, and books), conference operations, certification and professional education, I am also in charge of maintaining the grandeur of our facility (I wear far too many hats for someone to whom fashion matters), I immediately Directed someone to call the fire department and let them know what was up. What was up, in addition to a great deal of water, was that a large truck had tried to turn around in the middle of the street and knocked over a fire hydrant, then sped off rapidly in shame.

While we waited for the Authorities to plug the hole, I took my camera outside and took, among others, this photo (you can see the original here, in my online gallery. I waded across LosVaqueros, which was by then under about two inches of water, to photograph the geyser with the sun behind it. I suspected that this would result in an interesting image, and I think I was right.

In the end, the hole was plugged by some wet employees of the Dept of Water, and all was restored to normalcy (I also had the opportunity to point out to my staff, who’d gathered around the geyser, that their jobs didn’t suck as much as the guys’ who had to wade into the maelstrom with a six-foot key to try to turn off an underground valve while they got pummeled with cold water, so that was nice). It got me thinking, though, about the huge amount of water that had been wasted in a part of the country that has been experiencing years of drought. That thought, sobering as it was, mostly made me thirsty, so I went back inside and got a drink.