Thursday, July 27, 2006

ok, that's enough of that.

so when i got off the El at belmont, the sky was overcast. but as i turned north onto halsted, it became a shade closer to ominous. the grayish-bluish-greenish tinge seemed fairly far off in the distance, though, so i ambled along on my merry way, ipod humming.

within a few blocks, though, the storm seemed quite close - you know that way in which the air can turn almost imperceptibly from normal to stormy? it's kind of amazing when that moment flips over right in front of you, all around you. it's suddenly a darkened version of day, and entire trees are swaying in synchronicity. everything is in movement, and yet it feels very, very still.

as i walked the final half block to my apartment building, i was thinking how it was a rare and enjoyable experience to be walking into a storm. it seemed like at any moment the sky could open up - a flash of lightening or rumble of thunder was imminent. there's a delicious anticipation to it, and my eyes scanned the swirling treetops and thick, cloudy sky for signs of the coming deluge.

then my phone rang. it was BoyCat.

i picked up just as i was coming into the courtyard, and he asked "where are you?" i said, "the courtyard. why?" he said "good. well, you should get inside." the wind made an insistent whooshing sound in between my ear and the edge of the phone. "ok. why, are you seeing the sky out the window? dark, huh?" then he said something that will send a chill down any new englander's spine:

"there's a tornado warning."

i'll tell you what, my romantic musings about the advent of a storm evaporated as i hauled ass inside. i only had about 1500 feet between me and the apartment door, but i could not have gotten there fast enough!

thunderstorms = lovely and ripe for pondering. tornados = terrifying and ripe for provoking me to drink.

8 comments:

Roni said...

Chica, I can't recall the last time a tornado hit the city. So the next time you want to do "Singing in the Rain," don't worry. OK, maybe about the lightening...;)

Ella had me get her outside before the rain. But we didn't really get any. Just enough that I felt I HAD to get her inside for dinner.

Toast said...

I sooooooo want to see a tornado someday.

Sarah said...

tornados scare the bejesus out of me. i used to go to summer camp in the Berkshires and one summer we had like 5 tornado warnings in one week. and every time there was a tornado warning the entire camp had to hunker down in the dining hall for HOURS until it was over. scariest week ever.

kate.d. said...

yeah roni, i know, but to me, that just means that we're due! :)

and i read that all that stuff about the lake and the tall buildings and the blahyadablah protecting us, that's not true! it's just dumb luck that one has never hit chicago.

but soon i'll be back east, right, where my biggest worries are nor'easters and snow measured in feet instead of inches...

kate.d. said...

oh and sarah, there was a tornado in my grandparents town in the berkshires back in the late 90s...it tore up the fairground and a ton of hillside, but luckily no one was hurt.

i remember being like, a tornado? in massachusetts? humina-whaaaa?

e$ said...

There is nothing in the world that scares me more than tornadoes. I would have had a panic attack and probably died if I were in your shoes.

Cinnamon said...

When I was 10 a tornado hit where we lived. It collapsed our chicken coop (very rural Ohio) and our garage. In both cases it looked like someone had picked the roof off, waited for the walls to fall in, and then set the roof back down. We had sycamore trees that were too big for my brothers and I to be able to hold hands around the base of them ripped up from the ground and tossed about like Tinkertoys. The top of one of them landed in dining room while my brothers and I hunkered under the stairs for safety. We had the door open and my brothers and I were watching the sky go from dark gray to an ominous and luminescent green and before we actually saw the tornado go by, we saw cows and swingsets and toys and drying lines with clothes still attached flying through the air. It was scary, but far worse than the adrenaline of the immediate fear was having our lives disrupted for months whil ethe house was repaired enough for my brothers ans I to move back home with our parents.

So, I understand your fear, but I wouldn't worry too much about it. Considering the 30 or so years I've lived in the Midwest I'm the only person I know who has seen a tornado. They're pretty rare. Much more common in the large flat areas where the conditions are right.

Heather said...

They're not uncommon in the Chicago area, but they rarely hit Chicago, and in my lifetime they've never done damage in the city. Now when I was in high school, a tornado leveled most of Plainfield, and when I was 12 a tornado took part of the roof off my Dad's business in Downers Grove while we were there. But it's more likely to be a water spout on the lake than a tornado hitting Chicago.