Wednesday, August 31, 2005

So Hurricane Katrina--no longer a hurricane, thankfully--is headed towards Ithaca. Torrential rains expected, says, and possibly tornadoes.
And. possibly. tornadoes.
I can't really describe the twitchiness that sentence imparted to me. As a person born and raised in the middle of Tornado Alley, the "t-word" is not something I like to see thrown around carelessly. "Showers and tornadoes possible" seems terribly nonchalant to someone accustomed to the sight of F4 tornadoes raging across neighboring counties, sucking up cows and barns and in some cases roads. That's right; a strong tornado can pick up an asphalt road. No Oz jokes, please. Tornado warning were common enough in my youth; I, being a nervous child, would gather my things in a duffel bag and wait at the top of the basement stairs for the sirens or television to recommend descent. My parents, on the other hand, never wanted to go into the basement. They wanted, it seemed, to wait until the tornado came skipping down our very street and knocked on our door. Even when the sirens went off, my parents' motto remained: if we can't see it or hear it, it's not close enough to worry about. To which I responded, though not in these words, that by the time one can see and/or hear a tornado, it's probably too late to be "worried" and it might be more apropos to spend that time "running for the basement" or "wetting oneself."
Apparently East Coast tornadoes are not the mile-wide monsters I know, capable of picking up houses and tearing buildings off their foundations. These tornadoes are milder, even vaguely friendly, as I've heard them described. Like ponies. We'll see. Well, I won't see; I'll be in the basement.

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