Friday, December 28, 2012

Toto? When Did We Move to Kansas?

So, how was everyone's Christmas? Mine was lovely, thank you, save for the tornadoes. We had steak at Mom's house, and the puppies played, and I think everyone in the family (including the puppy) got new fluffy robes, and...what? Oh, that? The tornadoes? Yeah, about that...

I live, as you probably know, in the very Deep South. We don't get tornadoes. We get hurricanes, yes, but I don't think we've ever had tornadoes before. Certainly not in my lifetime. I remember being a kid and doing tornado drills at school, all the while wondering why we were bothering. It's always been very simple: the Midwest gets tornadoes, the East Coast gets blizzards, the West Coast gets earthquakes, and we get hurricanes. That's the way it's always been, and it's the way we like it, thank you.

Down here, we like our long as they stay out in the water where they belong. We name them, for crying out loud (and woe to you, if you happen to share a name with the current storm. You will be mocked mercilessly, as though it were you out in the Gulf wreaking havoc). We Southerners look at Hurricane Season the way the rest of the world looks at football or hockey. Before the season begins, we all get our hurricane tracking charts, courtesy of WKRG News 5 and [insert name of highest bidding home improvement store]. Then, from June through November, we diligently plot each storm's path until one looks like it might cause a problem. That gives everyone a couple of days to nail up their plywood shutters, test out their generators, and get to the liquor grocery store for provisions. We gas up our cars, make travel arrangements, pay a visit to the ATM, and hunker down to pray that the darn thing makes landfall somewhere else. See, we don't want one to actually happen. Oh, no, not at all. Anyone who actually wants one to hit is an idiot. Hurricanes are horrendous, and not at all fun to ride out or evacuate from. The point is: we know and understand the hurricane; the tornado...not so much.

Here, some houses have metal hurricane shutters built right into them, ready to roll out or pull down at a moment's notice. That's kind of the exact opposite of what you want in a tornado. Just think of all the pressure that would build up! Also, our houses come with attics, but not basements. We don't have storm shelters. We're prepared for torrential rains and flooding--not for the high-velocity swirling winds of a tornado. You show me a house with a basement, and I'll show you a house with an indoor pool. We have trees, for Pete's sake! The area that was hardest hit has oak-lined streets! For this reason alone, it's a Christmas Miracle that we didn't suffer a single injury on Christmas Day. Actually, Christmas Day or the Thursday before. That's right, there were tornadoes five days earlier, as well. They didn't just make the news, they were the news that day. Thomas couldn't go to work. Streets closed. At least two business were almost completely destroyed. One house fell to pieces. We had no idea what to do, and then it turned around and happened again. Folks, we're not dealing with a lack of preparation. Weather has just never worked this way before. We're very well prepared...for a different weather phenomenon.

On Christmas Day, we suffered serious damage to one of the most beautiful churches in town. The historic high school that most of my friends went to is in such bad shape that the students are going to be sent to another school for an unforseeable amount of time. It's a large campus, and there's barely an inch that didn't see some sort of damage. My sweet community theatre was hit hard. Several businesses--drugstores, salons, photography studios, fast food places, gyms, (ironically) home improvement stores--suffered greatly. Jim freaking Cantore came down here. We normally don't see him this time of year, so I hope someone brought him a fruitcake before riding him out of town on a rail. No offense to the man, but it's never a good thing to see him drive up.

So, what is my point in writing this? I have no idea. It was just a very traumatic week, and I hope that it's not a sign of things to come. We already get hurricanes; we don't need tornadoes, too. Honestly, I have no point. I just needed to write, and this is my blog, so why not write it here? Thanks for bearing with me. I'll be back with more fun stuff soon. In fact, I have two of the new MAC Apres Chic eyeshadows to review for you in the next few days. Until then, stay safe, and never write off catastrophe just because you don't think it could happen to you. Be prepared. Love you much!

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