Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Afternoon in the Basement

I can recall only two times in my life that I have had to take serious precautions due to the threat of a tornado. The first occurred in the middle of some random night, when a torrential storm sent my family to the downstairs closet to wait out the possible twister. It never came and we went back to bed.

The second time was a little more traumatic. We were on our way to Lexington, Kentucky when we hit a horrible storm. My dad, who had been listening to the radio and learned that an actual tornado was somewhere between the exit we had just passed and the upcoming one, pulled off into a hotel parking lot and we went inside the lobby. Even my mom was crying. I was scarred for life.

Well, today I added a third basement trip to my memory. Only this time, I was at the preschool when it happened, and the adventure included 20-something small children (who were actually surprisingly calm and chipper through the whole event). The threat was rather minimal and we were out unscathed in less than an hour, but still, I'll admit my legs shook the whole time and I checked my phone for the updated radar every 2-3 minutes.

I've been a weather-worrier all my life. I have gotten considerably better since I hit puberty, but I still get butterflies at the sound of thunder. I'm already concerned for my own future children and just really hope they don't share my outlook, because let's face it, mommy won't be much comfort when severe thunderstorm warnings roll across the screen.

At some point during childhood, my worry was somehow supplemented by my love for the weather. I literally watched nothing but The Weather Channel. Ever. Seriously. I knew every person's face and name and could probably even tell you their weekly shift schedule. Jim Cantore was (and remains) my all-time favorite, and it brings me a strange joy to know that the station rewarded him with his own show.

I used to put the tv on my favorite channel, mute it, and then stand next to it and put on my own performance. And I'm not even gonna lie, I was darn good at it too. I was especially stoked when we got our new, huge (at the time) 48" tv for the upstairs bonus room because my maps would be closer to actual size.

Wow. Loser. I know.

Anyways, my certain future as a meteorologist unfortunately died when I realized how much I hated science (and when mom informed me that Todd Howell really didn't make that much money despite his local channel fame), but my obsession with all things weather (especially those that were televised) still offers several swell childhood memories and at least served me well in terms of learning my states and capitals.

I consider myself fortunate to live just east of a plateau that pretty much destroys any form of severe weather that comes its way, meaning I rarely have to fear what is coming from the sky. However, the general East Tennessee population must not quite understand that, because this area responds to bad weather like it is literally the most dangerous threat on this earth. The bread and milk shelves of grocery stores are completely bare when even a flurry is in the forecast. Schools are closed if six inches of road are iced or flooded. Oh, and tonight, a whole slew of college classes and other events were canceled because we were under a tornado watch. It's really rather hysterical in my opinion.

But I can't laugh too much. Because I'll be the first to say it: I'm a slightly obsessed scaredy cat when it comes to the weather, and it comforts me to know someone else out there cares too.

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