Monday, March 13, 2006

Touched by a tornado

I was talking to my friend Brat last night via MSN Messenger. In the background I could hear the TV newscaster talking about a tornado warning in her part of the country. As the storm got more severe in her area, her dog was freaking out and she seemed a bit nervous too.

At first I didn't think much about it. I grew up in the Midwest, where tornado warnings were common. We had tornado drills at school, the 1970s equivalent of the old nuclear attack "duck and cover" drills. When the drill began we would all go out into the call, sit down on the floor against the brick wall, and assume the "kiss-your-ass-goodbye" position. Tornado watches and warning were regular occurrences and usually led to nothing.

But it soon became apparent, even from two time zones away, that this one might be the real deal.

I did my best to keep a level speaking voice and act nonchalant, talking about other things to not add to the anxiety. It was obvious she was prepared for the storm, with some emergency supplies gathered, and she had moved to what she estimated to be the safest part of the house.

But during our conversation, the conversation went dead. Now, we often have some technology snafus during our discussions, but given the severe weather warnings in her area, I suspected this one might be different.

I sent her a text message to her cell phone to see if I could reach her that way, asking if she had lost power. But when I didn't hear back from her after several minutes, I decided to give her a call. I suspected I might get her voice mail, but I wanted to call anyway. To my pleasant surprise, she answered and I learned that the power had in fact gone out, but fortunately cell phones were still working.

We talked for a while while she surveyed the area. It sounded like there was some damage caused, either by the actual tornado, or high winds associated with the storm. Shingles and siding were off the house, tree limb were down, power was out in the neighborhood and a police car was in the neighborhood.

We didn't talk for too long in order to leave her with battery power for later if needed. And she needed to call her mother, who had already called once because of the news reports of how close the twister way to her community.

Normally, on a Sunday night, we talk until one or the other, or both, of us needs to get to bed. So the evening was eerily quiet. Even when I went to bed, I was restless, wondering what was happening several states away? Had power been restored? Was she still OK?

Getting back up out of bed and searching the Internet for news didn't help ease a restless mind. A second storm had quite literally blown through several hours later.

I'm not sure which is worse, having life disrupted by a storm like this, or waiting for word from someone who is in an area hit by some sort of natural or man-made disaster.

1 comment:

Brat said...

I am glad you were there to keep me calm. I was in shock I think. My blanket and pillow are still in the bath tub, just in case I need them again! Thanks again for thinking about me and checking up on me.

Oh and by the way, I think I was winning before the power went out!

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