Is there such a thing as “disaster etiquette”?

I live in Nashville, where we’ve been suffering the duress of major flooding, ever since this past weekend.

The theory is that, as the water level rises, everybody rises to the occasion, and everybody’s best behavior rises to the surface. (At least that’s what we see on CNN, when a dog is trapped on the roof of an SUV.)

I fear that is not alway so.

This past Sunday, fellow homeowners and I devoted three full hours to mopping out and swabbing up the muck in the lobby of the condo building where we live. Throughout the process, another homeowner strolled amongst the mix of us, talking on her cell phone. (The legend was that she was maintaining contact with our building’s Maintenance Engineer.)

Once the initial cleaning was done, and once the swabbing/mopping team had decided it was time to hose down the entryways, the homeowner-on-her-cell-phone stepped in and said, “You know, I’m not truly comfortable with what you’re doing, right now.”

To which my response, looking up through the spray of my hose, was, “Go home.”  And so she went.

Even a gentleman, mop-in-hand, has his limits.

Did I do the right thing? (Of course, I did.)

Even when sandbags are being hoisted, hand to hand, it is never wrong to say, “Thank you,” even if a grunt gets in the mix.

— John/