Tornado Respect

On Saturday night, for some inexplicable reason, I felt an overwhelming sense of dread at an impending thunderstorm.  Enough that I opted to move immediately down to my parent’s room where I would be sure I’d hear the weather radio go off.  I’ve done this before.  Outside of my stint in Virginia, I’ve spent my entire life in tornado alley.  My elementary school had more tornado drills than fire drills.  I have a very, very healthy respect for mother nature during the spring.

The difference this time was that it wasn’t just respect.  I was really scared.  The paralyzing, irrationally stupid kind of scared like I haven’t been since I was 7 and would bring blankets and pillows and dolls and curl up in our hallway, pleading with the rest of the family to join me lest we all be ripped to shreds by a tornado.  This used to happen every time a thunderstorm came up, and batten down the hatches if that little cartoon tornado showed up in the lower part of the TV screen to indicated a “Tornado Watch.”  Complete Cammy melt down.  My fear of tornadoes was matched only by my fear of snakes, and that “bad guys” were destined to break into our home at night and use my bedroom window as the primary point of entry (honestly, it was the best option–accessible, yet not easily visible).

Some how, some way, after a lot of nights spent awake and terrified, I got a grip.  I still fear tornadoes, but all of those school drills and the visits from the local meteorologist  eventually paid off, and I feel I know how to handle it.  And moving back to this particularly active part of tornado alley has only improved things because, unlike in Texas, we have a basement (which we were all taught was the BEST place to be….but which didn’t exist anywhere in our Texas town except that half-basement under the Lutheran church).  I also have the most impressive meteorologists of any place I’ve ever lived before (Dallas/Ft. Worth might be a larger media market, but their weather forecasts are a total joke) who are not afraid to interrupt anything in prime time to show me that hook-echo on the map.

All this is to say, that while I’m still the first one in my family to heed the weather forecaster when she’s on TV berating anyone who is not taking cover in a tornado warning (yes, ladies and gentlemen, our weather forecasters scold us on live TV), I don’t melt down anymore.  And I don’t waste time worrying.

So it was doubly horrifying to have that feeling again, especially when there was nothing on the weather radio to justify it.

Of course, the next day, Joplin, Mo. got whacked.  A place I drove through repeatedly going to and from Dallas has been blitzed beyond recognition.

My irrational fear is feeling rationalized, and that’s not good.

I’m still maintaining some sense of logic.  I know that this tornado season seems scarier than usual since things are hitting population centers.  It’s not really any more tornadoes than usual, it’s just that they’re hitting the wrong places–towns instead of open corn fields, houses instead of empty hay-sheds.  I also know that while I use those fabulous weather casters as my safety net, some people have grown complacent.  With so much weather warning, they go numb and stop listening, so that when it’s really game-time, they’re not paying attention.

I also know that I have that basement, and that I’m not going to take those great warning systems for granted, and I sleep with shoes nearby (why shoes?  Do you want to be barefoot in the kind of debris you see post-tornado?).  I still have the kind of respect you need to have for this kind of weather.

But that’s not stopping me from two nights of fitful sleep interrupted by panic at the sound of thunder and heart-pounding at the thought of sleeping through the sirens, or not being able to find the cat in time to run downstairs.  I’ve found myself lying awake in bed, tense and waiting for the weather alarm to sound, and contemplating just picking up my pillows and blankets and the cat and going to sleep in the basement.

I’m all for reliving parts of my childhood, but this is not the part I wanted.

Top 5 Reasons I Am Scared of/Hate Facebook

5)  I have never felt like I completely understood all the security settings.  They keep jacking around with the toggles and switches and when the stupid games and shit first started I was never sure what I was saying okay to.  Obviously, the fact that I tweet, and write posts like this says I’m not totally scared of having a web presence, but I am a little particular about how I control it–and until I’m 100% confident in the facebook system, I will remain scared of it.

4) It’s…busy.  There’s just so much STUFF going on when you log in.  Friend requests, friend suggestions, messages, wall posts, updates, Farm shit….where do you even start?!?!?  I log in, get overwhelmed, and wind up logging out just as  fast as I can.

3) People throw shit and poke me.  I’ve been beaned by gnomes, poked until I’m black and blue and for some reason people keep “giving” me virtual plants and animals.  WTF?  Nothing says, “we’re buddies” like assault with virtual weapons.

2) Every friggin person I love and loathe is there.  Relatives I haven’t laid eyes on since I was in kindergarten.  Classmates from my old high schools.  People from work.  Some of them it’s interesting to hear from, some of them I don’t care, and some of them I never wanted to think of again and would prefer to deny knowing.  And for a lot of them, I know they don’t want to reconnect–they want be creepy busy bodies who satisfy their voyeuristic tendencies by looking up people they used to know.

1) The number one thing I hate?  It’s expected.  There are people I literally cannot get a hold of any way BUT facebook.  This is a major piss off.  I’m stuck having to log into this crappy-ass system because their asses are too lazy to communicate via anything outside of facebook.  Would it kill your ass to write a fucking e-mail once in a while?

The Five People I’d Least Like to Run into in a Darkened Alley

Once again, I’m speaking for me, not MTVMPB as a whole.  I’m sure Cammy’s scared of a slightly different list of people.  Most of whom she’d sacrifice me to if it facilitated her escape.

5.  Vladimir Putin. I’m not sure how much this, or any one on this list, requires an explanation.  I mean, the guy worked for the KGB, then went into politics because it gave him the opportunity to be more underhanded and duplicitous.  Then after running one of the most powerful (at least in terms of nuclear arsenals, if not in economic terms any longer) nations for a while decided to step aside and continue running said superpower from a different office.  But there’s so much more to it than that.  There’s the fact that he’s an expert in martial arts, which ensures that even at nearly 60 years of age he could most certainly kick my ass.  The fact that when he clears brush on vacation he does so shirtless just to prove he’s still ripped.  And there’s the undeniable creep factor.  Just look at him.  He oozes, “I’m up to many dark and underhanded things you don’t even want to dream about.”  Speaking of dreaming…

4.  This Guy. Well setting aside for the moment the fact that he looks beyond creepy, the man appears in the dreams of people all over the world who have no real connection.  Let’s say that again.  The man appears in the dreams of people all over the world.  People who have no connection to each other or the super creepy man they’re all dreaming about.  And if I run into him in a dark alley, that means he’s real, not some bizarre part of the universal unconscious (also a bizarre part of the universal unconscious?  Little Richard.)  And if he’s real, that means that there’s a man out there with the ability to enter the dreams of all sorts of random people.  And yet, he’s in a dark alley, running into me.  Which can’t mean anything good.

3.  Yelena Produnova. I’m fairly certain that at this moment at least half of you went, “Who?”  Wikipedia it.  Or better?  YouTube it.  No, I’m not afraid of Russians in general; it’s pure coincidence that two of them made my list.   Please note that I find the under five foot tall, 85 pound chick scarier than the former KGB operative.  But we’re talking about a woman who could basically walk into a double front flip.  Like for serious.  Add to that an incredible bitch face.  And because apparently that wasn’t enough, she shaved stripes into her eyebrows to make herself look more like a warrior.  And I have a totally unsubstantiated thought that being from Rostov-on-Don makes her even more of a badass, but I’m not sure why.  If you are still not convinced, track down the footage of her taking off her silver medal in disgust after the team medal ceremony in Sydney.  Unsportswomanlike?  Perhaps.  But watch that and tell me you wouldn’t soil yourself if you saw that expression coming towards you in a darkened alley.

2.  Edward James Olmos. So yeah, we touched on this one already.  Here it’s much less biographical and really just a matter of the aura he conveys.  The pitted complexion, the smoky eyes.  The raspy voice.  The posture.  I love the man and yet I find him more than a little terrifying.  Can’t help it.  Perhaps we can work this out over the aforementioned cup of coffee.

1.  Christopher Lee. Um… are you kidding me?  If you need me to explain this one, it is clearly because you don’t know who Christopher Lee is.  It used to be like EJO, he just scared me because of his intimidating aura.  The deep, accented voice.  The gnarled fingers.  The CRAZY eyes!  And then I watched the extras on the Lord of the Rings DVDs.  And found out he has intimate knowledge of the way people react when stabbed in the back.  For reasons he chose not to elaborate on.  I don’t give a damn what the reasons are:  there are no reasons for knowing what a person does when stabbed in the back that would make me more okay with the idea of running into this man in a darkened alley.  None at all.  And the fact that he is almost 90 doesn’t make me feel better in the slightest.  I just hope that if I ever do run into him, I’m with Edward James Olmos or Yelena Produnova and they’re on my side.