Let me just say now, for any MTV, MPB readers out there who may not fully appreciate this, that whenever Cammy reads this she will be intermittently rolling her eyes at me and yelling cross country at me for my stupidity and lack of self-preservation instinct. And when Cammy gets mad her Texas twang gets stronger, so let that amusing image warm your heart.
As previously mentioned, I’m a military brat. I grew up a little bit of everywhere, but mostly on the east coast. A childhood in Florida gave me a more than healthy fear of alligators and crocodiles (I know there’s a difference, but if one is close enough to me for me to care, I’m not taking the time to analyze snout shape). I have a healthy respect for hurricanes. But tornados? Not really part of my world.
Yes, they happened every once in a while. Yes, I know that they’re devastating. No, I would never be one of those idiots on the weather channel deliberately parking my car in the path of one. But mostly we made fun of my father (who grew up in West Texas) for going out on the porch during storms and watching the sky. Somewhere between becoming a mother and evacuating a roller coaster in a thunderstorm my sister became afraid of tornados. When I told her I was considering a university in Missouri she looked at me in shock and said, “But it’s in tornado alley.” In her mind, that should have absolutely ruled out going to school there. This has naturally resulted in my mocking my sister a bit.
I moved to southern Indiana instead of Missouri. My current town of residence sits at the bottom or a bowl so we rarely get tornados. Or so the old timers tell me. And so I tell my mom. Who bugs me constantly about buying a weather alarm. My stance is, I live in a second floor apartment, what the heck am I going to do even if I know there’s a tornado? (Yes, yes, Cammy, I know, hug the toilet).
If you needed further evidence about my lack of healthy fear of tornados: I saw my first funnel cloud this summer. I was driving home from Indianapolis when I got hit with a nasty thunderstorm. Suddenly, I looked across a field and way over there was a funnel cloud. It wasn’t on the ground and it wasn’t moving towards me. Still, my reaction? Nearly crash my car going, “Dude! How cool is that? It’s a funnel cloud!” Whereas I’m reasonably sure most of my new Midwestern friends would have gone, “Oh shit! Oh shit! Oh shit!”
This morning I thought, “Oh shit!” Right after discovering I was under a tornado warning. But it wasn’t because I was afraid of dying. It was because I was about to catch the bus because I wanted to get to campus early to finish my Middle English reading assignment. (Margery Kempe’s autobiography. Summary: She talks to God. She cries. People are mean to her. She cries. She talks to God.) I’m having a crazy semester and there is no room in my day planner for a tornado warning. It’s not like they cancel classes for this crap, so there’s no benefit to this. Just an annoyance.
So what it meant in the long run was I caught the 10:15 bus instead of the 9:55 bus. (I got the all clear text message as I was locking my door). I faked my way through the end of Margery Kempe. And I realized that I may never be a good Midwesterner.