My biggest fear? Tornadoes, man. They are terrifying. They come out of nowhere, throw huge chunks of ice at you, tear up your home and I'm pretty sure they occasionally toss cows around.
Do you remember that movie The Day After Tomorrow? It's about an apocalyptic weather system, centered around three humongous supercell thunderstorms that pretty much take out the entire northern hemisphere. Chris can vouch that I watched that entire movie through my fingers and near tears. It is the scariest movie I have ever seen, worse than every horror movie I've watched because it so precisely hit on almost all of my nightmares.
I live in north Texas, which can be a tornado-prone area but in the six years I've lived here I've somehow been out of the way of every dangerous storm -- until last night.
My apartment is on the third floor, the top floor, of the building, and the hallways are open air, which is not exactly an ideal location to wait out a severe weather event, but I know that bathrooms are the safest place so I was prepared. When the sirens went off, I grabbed pillows, grabbed the cats, grabbed my phone and the iPad and sat down in the bathtub. The plan was to wait it out in the tub watching netflix and keeping an eye on the weather channel on the iPad. But I did not plan on the total panic attack I had sitting there listening to the sirens. My parents know me better than that, though! My dad called, saying he could feel me freaking out from Georgia. He convinced me to act on what I already knew, that bathtub or not, the third floor is not a safe place to be.
I stuffed one cat into his carrier, and tried to get the other in hers, but she would have none of it. I am a crazy cat lady, but I am not an insane cat lady. I thought I was headed off to Oz any minute so I wished her good luck, grabbed the first cat and ran to the first floor.
My poor neighbor, with whom I have had plenty of pleasant interactions on the way to my car but really I hardly know him, opened his door to find me standing there with a cat in a bag and terror in my eyes. (He said he wished he'd had a picture of my face.) I could barely form a sentence but I think he got the gist of what I was asking. And he and his wife kindly let me into their living room with my cat, where I sat for the next two hours and waited out the storm. They even gave me cookies and ice cream! They couldn't have been less concerned about the imminent death waiting outside the windows, and were far more interested in who was about to win Dancing With the Stars. It was a perfect place for me to be. I remained on high alert -- at one point the air conditioner kicked on outside their window and I was halfway to their bathroom before they even heard it -- but they kept me calm. In the end, everything passed around us and other than some (pretty large!) hail and lots of wind, we were fine.
Three thousand cheers to Fred and Beverly, who let a wildly panicked girl and her cat sit in their house all evening, and to my parents, who stayed up watching the weather channel and texting me every five minutes to calm me down.
I have seen so many images of the heartbreaking destruction in Missouri, Mississippi, and Alabama, and there was lots of damage throughout north Texas and Oklahoma last night. I know how blessed and lucky I am not to have experienced that, and I am so, so grateful.
(Whew! That was long. High five if you made it all the way to the end!)