Joseph Abbott (faxpaladin) wrote,
Joseph Abbott

Powerless (Tornado, Part 3)

For most of us, it's fairly easy to thumb your nose at the weather. You're inside, nice and dry. The air is the temperature you want it to be, you have lights, you have the Internet, you have TV -- you have power. Life is good.

You have power. All that air sitting on top of you has more power, but as long as that power isn't focused in your direction, it's easy to forget just how unbalanced the equation actually is. It's easy to maintain the illusion that your power is greater.

Until the lights go out.

They flickered, stayed on a moment, went out. I fumbled in the dark for the radio (a flashlight! Why hadn't I brought a flashlight? There was one on the sink, I knew, but a very weak one), tried tuning stations again, both bands -- no luck. A couple of minutes later, the lights came back on, and I somewhat foolishly vetured out of the bathroom just far enough to turn the TV back on. Snow -- the station was off the air. I didn't feel like waiting around long enough to flip channels -- I turned the TV off and headed back to the bathroom. Just about then the power went out again, and this time stayed off.

When you have lights on, you don't notice the lightning so much. When you have the TV turned up full blast, you don't notice the thunder. When you have neither, and you're huddled with a cat under sofa cushions in the bathtub (will they be enough? Should I have tried to get the mattress in after all? Will I only crack my head like an eggshell against the porcelain?) -- you notice. I could hear the hail thudding against the roof, I could hear the rain crackling against the windows, I could hear the wind pounding everything. (Call up audio memory of freight train, compare: Does it sound like that yet?) I could see lightning, and lightning, and lightning, in slivers -- framed top-and-bottom by the cushions and the bathtub, left-and-right by the bathroom door. There was too much else going on for me to hear the thunder much...

I could hear the weather radio going off in the bedroom (why hadn't I brought that in with me? Hell, what's there left for it to warn me about?) It was hot under the cushions; sweat was starting to pour off me. Dinsdale wormed out from behind my knees, to in front of my chest (I'd gone into as much of a fetal position as I could assume while in the bathtub) and poked his head out -- still calm, just curious. I pulled him back, stroked him, more to calm myself than him.

I was in the tub -- 15 minutes? 20? At some point it just got too uncomfortable under the cushions and I sat up, finally letting Dinsdale jump out. The wind had gone down some. Enough? Did that sound like what a thunderstorm would normally sound like if the power weren't out? My normal all-clear would be the power coming back on, but the power wasn't coming back on. Eventually I decided to risk it.

(I don't have to go anywhere this time, and I'm immediately starting the next bit -- this just seems like a good stopping-and-posting place, and I also need to go fetch laundry...)
Tags: 5/06 tornado, weather

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