Today has been an eventful one, weather wise. Early this morning, the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, issued a Potentially Dangerous Situation tornado watch for our entire area, with a big red bullseye painted right over the top of where I live. For those of you not from the South, that roughly translates to, “You’re all royally fucked, but have a nice day!”
So I spent the afternoon glued to streaming video out of KFOR in Oklahoma City watching storm after storm drop tornadoes all around my friends and family who live there and wishing I’d had the balls to tell a doctor that I really need medication for this anxiety problem I’ve got because, hey! I’m pretty fucking certain I’m having a panic attack and the thewallsareclosinginonme! Exclamation point!
In the grand tradition of my patented super-duper-compartmentalization-I’ll-deal-with-it-later technique, I pushed all my fear to the back of my mind and took a little trip to Wal-Mart. You know, retail therapy and all that. My grocery basket looked like a trip to prepare for the apocalypse: cheese and cheese-based products, imitation cheese, travel-sized soap, and beef jerky. Buying all that certainly made me feel better, but Lord knows what I’m going to do with a can of bacon-flavored cheese spray. It, um, sounded like a good idea at the time.
Then tonight while I was doing my OCD pre-bedtime scrub down of all the kitchen surfaces, I heard the faint wail of tornado sirens in the distance. If you’ve never experienced that sound, count yourself lucky. Every time it happens, my stomach attempts a hasty exit through my asshole and my heart goes into spasmodic fibrillations that would do a hummingbird proud. It took me about five seconds to scoop a still-sleeping Boo (along with an army of his stuffed animals) out of bed and get him situated in the bathtub of our guest bathroom.
Then the storm hit.
I don’t know if I’ve ever been more worried that the windows were going to be broken by flying debris. With my last shred of common sense, I turned the TV up as loud as it would go, grabbed my laptop, and sprinted to the bathroom. The power flickered once. Twice. Above the roar of the wind, I wondered what would happen if our roof got ripped away. Boo sat up from his nest and told me he was ‘skeered.’ I told him it was going to be okay. My voice was not convincing.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity but was probably more like five minutes, the roar of the wind faded away. Rain still pelted the windows, bouncing off the glass like bullets off pavement, but I could tell the worst was over. When the sirens wound down with an eery Doppler echo, I knew I could brave opening to front door to survey the destruction.
We escaped any damage as far as I can tell. Red said he saw places where dry wall and insulation had blown into the road, so other people here weren’t as lucky. Selfishly, I’m relieved we still have power, which means we still have internet access. All that, and after tonight some people don’t even have a place to call home.
Clearly, I’ve got my priorities in order.
I’ll just deal with it all tomorrow.