Thursday, July 22, 2010
A little rain, a little lightning
Sorry for the delay in posting, but last night was filled with thunderboomers, which meant no computer time for me. After having one computer fried by lightning, I take storms VERY seriously.
And maybe I'm a little phobic about bad weather. When I was kid, I never minded the storms, but my mom made a huge deal out of them. We'd sit in the dark when the power went off (as it frequently did out in the country), heating to death because of the summer's swelter, talking and worrying about how long the storm would last. I always thought it was much ado about nothing.
But then, when I was a freshman in high school, one afternoon the sky turned the weirdest green-orange I'd ever seen. Our gym was in a separate building, and I got soaked to the skin going through the rain. Me hating gym, I thought the logical thing for me to do was call my mom to come and get me. So I went to the office wing of the school to make a pleading phone call -- and the tornado alarm went off.
A tornado had destroyed a mobile home park about a mile or so down the road, and there were other reports of tornado warnings as well. I found that out as I sat huddled with other students in the hallways, listening to the worried and anxious whispers of teachers and staff.
It felt like forever we sat there -- and one reason it felt like an eternity to me was the guy that I was sitting next to. He already had the strapping frame of a Nebraska line-backer stuffed into a pair of faded-to-blue-white overalls. I know somewhere in this world he has grown up to be an avid watcher of The Weather Channel's Storm Stories, because he would NOT shut up about all the really bad tornado stories he knew.
Boy, did he know a lot of 'em, stories about pine needles buried into telephone poles, houses leveled to the foundation, people jerked up and relocated a mile down the road.
About the time I thought I would go insane if he didn't shut up, the principal stuck his head out into the hall and told me my parents had come for me.
My parents? I hadn't even been able to make the telephone call. They'd heard about the bad weather and had jumped into our little powder-blue '72 Vega to fetch me.
My relief at deliverance was short-lived. Our little powder-blue '72 Vega died on us, in the middle of a monsoon, about two miles from the school.
A mechanic rescued us -- a mechanic who had a knife as big as a small machete laid out on his front seat. He said he kept it there in case he encountered "trouble" on the road.
Between the spine-tingling storm stories of the Nebraska-line-backer-weather-channel addict, the stalled out car in the middle of the storm, and the scary mechanic, something clicked in me, and I've been more than a little nervous about storm ever since.