The Aftermath

The promised tornadoes did not make an appearance last night. I was ready for them. I had a blanket and a bag full of bagels and peanut butter in the basement. And water. I don’t drink a lot of water, but I imagine if my house fell down and I was trapped in the basement, I’d suddenly realize that I was thirsty. There’s the wine cellar, of course, but I don’t think we keep a corkscrew in the basement. (Note to self: put extra corkscrew next to wine rack.)

I know the weather people are very disappointed; today they have little to talk about. They will show us some big hail stones that somebody took a picture of, and reporters will be sent out to check on tree limbs that fell on cars, but nobody really cares.

Last night they had us glued to the set, watching that yellow-orange amoeba creep across the map towards us. Even when the tornado watch expired, they didn’t give up. “We may still experience some severe weather,” they warned us. “Stay tuned.”

But I went to bed instead. There was no fun in it anymore.

Ever since Ike came through here a couple years ago, we’ve been pretty hard to impress. Ike took down the entire city for almost a week. The weather people were elated; usually they don’t get top billing unless there’s a blizzard. I can only guess what they reported on, since we had no power the entire time.

I live in an old neighborhood where all the power lines are above ground. We have (or had) a lot of big, old trees. Our electricity goes out nearly every time it storms. Usually the power company just has to repair a  couple of lines to get things going again. After Ike they practically had to go door to door, fixing lines in every backyard.

We woke up the morning after the storm and still didn’t have electricity. No problem. The gas still worked, so hot showers were still possible, if we didn’t mind showering by candlelight.

I got up and went to work. I didn’t even turn on the radio, since usually outages affect only a few neighborhoods. As I drove, I began noticing that every other traffic light wasn’t working, which caused some confusion. By the time I got to school, I could see that the entire neighborhood was dark. Finally I turned on my radio and heard the news.

On the way home I stopped for batteries. Already the shelves were bare. –no batteries, no oil for lamps. Someone said they’d heard Target still had some D batteries and everyone ran for their cars. Picturing a riot in the Small Electronics Department, I bought some coffee and went home.

It was a long week. A dark and boring week. What fun is it to stay home from school when everything you want to do requires electricity? I saw kids riding bikes, a thing that never has happened since the advent of video games.

Now I have a drawer full of D batteries, extra flashlights, several oil lamps, candles, and a wind-up radio. This is why I knew that there wasn’t going to be any tornado last night. When you’re ready for them, they never show. Have you ever heard of a tornado hitting a school during school hours? That’s because we have monthly drills.

For the weather people, it’s win-win. Regardless of how small the threat, they talk it up. And we watch, knowing that if we don’t pay attention to all of their hype, it’ll be Ike all over again.

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