The tornado sirens were going off as I left work yesterday. It was my last day at the boring temp job with really nice people and I had said my goodbyes and was already out the door, no time to turn back.
This is my first time to live in a tornado zone so I didn't know the protocol. I had left my cell phone at home so I thought I thought it best to just leg-it home. At this point it was just a bit gusty with a light mist, and I thought I could easily get to my cell phone where I would then be in a position to call someone and ask them what to do. I also had this vague notion, a sort of background program running in my head, like Linux or OSX Panther, that had installed the idea that because I live in a posh part of town we would not be having any tornadoes. I'm not sure what kind of deal the neighborhood struck up with the Entity that controls global storm systems. But, hey, they have their own police force that is separate from the Oklahoma City police force, so I kinda figured they had worked something out.
So I get in the car and turn on the radio and find a station that is following the storm like some kind of major sports event, using terminology that I did not understand, like some kind of major sports event. The announcer is giving a street-by-street commentary of where the storm is going, like some kind of major sports event. I get the feeling that worrying is something that I should be doing, so I start to worry and look out the car to see what the other drivers are doing, except all of a sudden it's raining so hard I can't really see the other drivers. I notice a few car-shaped blobs pulled to the side taking shelter under the over-passes. But they probably have cell phones. And you don't want to be pulled over on the side of the road without a cell phone. I mean, what's the point?
I decide I need to get off the freeway and as I do this I start listening to the radio again as opposed to just hearing it. My windscreen wipers are doing their thing at breakneck speed but it looks like I'm actually floating in water, and as my brain starts to tune in more to the sports announcer guy I get the sense that I am driving INTO the storm and not AWAY from it.
By now my legs are so tense I can hardly feel them so I pull into a gas station, switch off the car and run in to the little store, but when I get there the door is locked and the people on the inside are saying "We're closed." Or that's what I think they are saying because it's so windy and I'm being pelted with rain from every angle that I can't hear.
Then it dawns on me that if a twister were to pass this way it might not be a good idea to be loitering over a reservoir of 50,000 gallons of flammable liquids. But then again, at these gas prices it could be worth my while to stick around in case the opportunity to loot becomes available. I didn't think of that then, but in hindsight it could have worked in my favor. Although, come to think of it, it would have been foolish: I still had half a tank, so it would not have had enough of an up-side to warrant the risk.
Right. So back to the car through more pelting, blowing rain, that felt more like moving through currents of solid water; I had to cover my face to breathe. Now I'm back in the car and back to plan A with a vengeance. I need to A.) get home and B.) get my cell phone. So I crawl along the road watching torrents of water eddy and swirl down from the lawns and driveways into the gutters of the streets. There are a few flooded low spots on the road, but I am determined and gun my way through knowing that if I can just get my damned cell phone I'll be okay. I pass my mom's place that has a really swell underground tornado shelter, but my cell phone is not there, so I bravely press on the quarter mile to my place.
What is that sound? I'm in Chariots of Fire, Vangellis is playing in my head as I turn into the drive, park my car (see Blue Rinse Post) and sprint to the front door. Da-da-da-da-daaa-da, da-da-da-da-daaa, da-da-da-da-daaa-da, da-da-da-da-daaa. Pause. Daaaa-da-da-dada-da-da-dee-da...& etc. I burst through the door carried on a gust of wind and there it is, my cell phone. My God, I've got my cell phone! And there are four messages waiting for me like a faithful dog. FOUR messages!
But I am so pumped full of adrenaline that I can't feel the the triumph and relief that this little vignette promised me.