Friday, May 02, 2008

Storm Warning

I had the realization yesterday morning that generally I don't get scared often in adult life. All of the irrational fears such as the dark are behind me, and I have achieved the willing suspension of belief that danger lurks all around, even in the economy.

That occurred to me while I was in the midst of being scared. We got reports that a tornado had touched down one town over and that more were possible in the band of thunderstorms sweeping in our direction.

I heard the weatherman
The weatherman--not the one who interrupted Lost though I'm sure he hated missing the chance to cut in on The View--announced swirling patterns in a small town northeast of us, and the clock ticked on. I IM'd with Wayne a while about the bad rains he was experiencing in Chicago. He was expecting his lights to go out but not a tornado.

Christine and I work down the hall from each other, so shortly we joined our co-workers in the nervous jokes while watching weather online or on a couple the TVs in the office.

Looming disaster came in stereo and people worried about hail damage, then loved ones, their children, their pets.

We all kept joking, but suddenly we were in one of those situations where something bad seemed possible and real.

You can always go da da downtown
Downtown is a couple of miles roughly north of us, and our town has an early-warning system. The grinding alert sound started near the television station, picked up apparently on the TV studio's sound system. Soon it was broadcast from all the TVs and computers and then outside as well.

Around that time security called and told us to take precautions.

My boss had gone earlier to our main building. His office shares an inside wall with the business next door, so we all went into his office, pulled up the live news webcast on his PC and waited.

A lot of people were around the office, so we had a crowd of people on cell phones telling loved ones to get under tables.

Bugs in the software flash the message something's out there
I readied the space under the desk in case a couple of us needed to crawl under there, and others were ready to go under a small meeting table even as we discussed the projectiles my boss's collection of knick nacks might become. I was thinking I'd hate to die with an Anna Nicole head-bobber embedded in my skull. A Darth Maul figure seemed somehow more...dignified.

The air raid sirens continued and we listed to rains and winds a while, and then the weather man started noting a swirling pattern roughly over my house south of town.

I reminded myself that TV news is a little more alarmist than reality, but I worried about our cats and dialed home. I didn't expect them to answer--the answering machine picked up suggesting at least the lights were still on.

In a few more minutes the weather man came on with warnings for the towns south of us and we started filing out of the boss's office and started getting back on track with the rest of the day.

The cats were sleeping when we came home at lunch to check things out, and life was suddenly not London during the blitz any longer.

It was just a few minutes of mild fear, but it made me think both of lands where people live in much more fear at every hour and of the old multiple timelines thought experiment.

Perhaps in another life a different Me is cleaning up debris is this morning, and in another there's a Me that didn't get to carry on.

C'est la vie


Charles Gramlich said...

We had Tornado watches around our place too, and I had to call home to Arkansas after 6 people were killed there in Tornadoes. Fortunately, my family was safe and we got nothing at our house but some hard ass rain. It is definitely scary, though.

Erik Donald France said...

Excellent. Tornado alley from South to Midwest.

On the flip end of the scale, have you seen the new ad campaign?

Ripped off from The Big Lewbowski "let's go bowling" quip, should be "LET'S" not "LETS."

But screw it, let's go invade another couuntry just for kicks!

Shauna Roberts said...

Glad you and your family are safe. A tornado badly damaged a neighboring town when I was in high school, so I have a healthy respect for tornadoes.

Anonymous said...

I was living near D.C. when the Beltway snipers were loose. There was that same nervous joking, "Make sure you duck and weave while you pump gas," but when the gauge was below empty and the red light was on, the jokes stopped and you realized just how bad things were.

I'm glad you and yours are safe.

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