“What becomes commonplace in our life, we take for granted….most of the time”
Since I was a kid I have always been intrigued by weather, storms especially. I remember being an idiot at the age of 5 and dancing on the lawn in the eye of Hurricane Gloria. Then dashing my ass back into the house and watching from our picture windows as the trees began to bend to breaking point.
I remember being an idiot and swimming in our backyard during Hurricane Andrew (no, we did not have a pool, we just had three feet of water from flooding) until a tree cracked and almost landed on my head, coming very close to snuffing out my pathetic little life. Now granted, these Hurricanes were nothing major compared to Hurricanes that reach our southern shores. Both Gloria and Andrew had petered out compared to what they originally were once they reached us. Normally, living in Ma the fiercest storm we ever had to deal with on a yearly basis was blizzards. And you learn as a native that with those fuckers you just hole up inside, play card games and snack on s’mores you roast in your fireplace waiting for the generator to kick in. The next day you put on 23 different outfits at once, and stomp outside to make colossal snow forts, and snowballs packed with ice.
I have a love/hate relationship with lightning storms. When I was a kid our house was struck by lightning and the attic went up in flames. The firefighters of my small, backward town, decided the very best place to put us kids while they put the fire out, was in the middle of a giant open corral… during the lightning storm. Despite us being fairly small, we were still the largest standing objects in roughly 2 acres of field. I may have been young but I did remember learning in school that wasn’t very smart. And yet the adults dumped us there while they worked on the attic. Idiots.
I think it dates back to that time that I have always had some issue with lightning storms. I love to watch them and will sit staring avidly from my window as a storm blows by. But it took until I moved to NC and storms are so damn common, that I would actually venture from my house to the car during a storm. I remember a few times back in MA I would come home hours late from work, simply because a thunder storm was going on and I would refuse to step one foot outside until the thunder stopped rumbling.
Now because they are so commonplace, I’ve begun to take them for granted. Kind of. I can saunter from my door to the car with only a little hunch of my shoulders. I’ve even got past the “dashing” phase, where you make yourself up into the smallest target ever and run as fast as you can those 3 feet. I don’t look like a turtle on speed anymore.
There is one aspect that has totally changed and I lament the loss of my “ignorance”. In MA it was almost unheard of to have tornados. In fact, in the 28 years I lived there I never once had a watch or warning. Down in NC, watches are almost yawn worthy they happen so often. J and my mom can't even figure out which one to worry about. I keep getting asked which time "Which one is better?"
"I mean worse."
"You mean which ones should you keep in the back of your mind and which ones mean iminent danger?"
"Yeah... I think"
In case you also have this confusion, a watch means that it could happen. A warning is when you dash your ass to safety. With a mattress over your head if possible. Or blankets. And belts to tie your kids to you.
Granted, we’ve only dealt with two warnings (one a funnel cloud that never touched and another that hit less than 10 miles from our house but J and I were flying through that storm and holy crap that was scary). But even though it doesn’t happen often, I’ve now found myself glued to the computer or radio anytime a storm is overhead, waiting, listening for that shockingly loud MEHHHHHH! MEHHHHHHH! Sound to tell us to run our little asses into the nearest bathroom to take cover.
Gone are the days when I could pass out in bliss to the sound of a thunderstorm at night. Oh no. NOW I charge up my phone and find myself checking the weather radar (stupid smart phone) until its passed, or waiting for the local news station to call me and tell us we have a twister inc. I paid money for them to call me hoping that would make me sleep better at night. It’s now my form of a safety net for me and the kids. They know there is nothing to worry about unless Mommy’s phone rings at 2AM during a storm so go back to bed and let Mommy be anal watching the radar by herself!!!.
I can’t sleep anymore during a storm and I miss that. I used to have a CD that played a thunderstorm that put me to sleep in seconds, now I hear thunder and my mind is off racing wondering why I keep putting off making the damn emergency kit. What are you supposed to put in that anyways? I mean aside from a flashlight, a radio, and water. I keep thinking I should put useful things in there, like a set of clothes. I have this mental image of a tornado hitting our neighborhood in the dead of night and of course I don’t always sleep with granny PJs. Wouldn’t a set of clothes be a good idea? Or along with water, what about Brandy? Your house has been shattered by wind. Do you want to drink water, or help calm your nerves while celebrating your survival with a shot of Brandy? I woudl think Brandy would be a good thing to have in the emergency kit. Problem is I may find myself having a different emergency and the Brandy would need to be restocked. Multiple times.
I’m writing this as a severe thunderstorm is flashing all around me and I’ve got my headphones on constantly listening to the live weather radar, waiting to hear about a possible curl in the clouds that indicates a tornado. Fortunately it’s the middle of the day so I won’t miss out on sleep tonight. I should go charge my phone just in case.