Well kids, Tornado Season is upon us. Every year it seems to come earlier and earlier - when I was little I associated it with Spring Break and Sister's biffday (which is in April), and now I've come to register it with Valentine's Day and my biffday (which was 3 days ago...spitspit). I tell you, God's messing with us. I think he's sick and tired of the cockiness and the "I dare a tornado to suck me up" attitude most Oklahomans have adopted. He is a god to be feared and respected, and if massive tornado-storms with hail and sideways rain every spring won't do it, he'll keep us in a state of constant wariness by dropping his Twisters of Torment whene'er he pleases. It's a good plan in theory; people generally dislike unforeseen disasters, and having rainwrapped cyclones pop out of the clouds mid-February certainly qualifies as an unexpected act of Godly fury. However, this is Oklahoma. You drop a tornado on us unawares and (assuming we survive) we'll stand on our porches, watch that sucker evaporate back into the sky, and shake our fists at it in the most obnoxious "you can't get me that easy, Jesus" fashion we can muster. God underestimates our stubbornness.
Yesterday marked the first day in 2009 of widespread OMIGAWD THE SKY IS FALLING weather reporting on Oklahoma's fantastically sensational local news stations. The only reason I know this is because I accidentally unplugged my DVD player (by tripping over it, which hurt), and my personal marathon of Arrested Development episodes was rudely interrupted by a weatherguy exclaiming "THE TORNADO'S GONNA HIT QUAIL SPRINGS MALL." At first I was merely perturbed, as I A) didn't believe him and B) couldn't figure out how to get my DVD to start up again. But then a snippet of a phone conversation came trickling back into my brain....my mother had called earlier, and was blustering about getting ready for something....what was it?? And then I remembered; she was going to the movies. At AMC. In Quail Springs Mall.
You might assume that this prompted a Freak Out on my part; frantic texting and dialing and skyping Sister in Virginia to tell her our mother was woefully following in the footsteps of her favorite movie character, Dorothy Gale. But on the contrary. I called my father to say "uhh, so about Mom...." and once he assured me that all weathermen lie I pushed my concerns aside and cozied back into my couch for more TV marathoning.
(Well that's not entirely true. I did call Sister and leave a message detailing the aforementioned Wizard of Oz scenario - but that was merely to pay her back for ignoring my phone call, and thus she deserved it. You kids are aware that people can tell when you've clicked "ignore" on an incoming call, yes? Okay, then...stop doing it.)
And so a few hours later, after peeking out the window every now and again to assure my house was still firmly attached to the ground, I talked to Mother once more on the phone. Yes, there had been tornados all around her and yes, the entire mall was shut down due to the impending doom, but she got to see the conclusion of Slumdog Millionaire so she was in a chipper mood. No harm, no foul.
Point is, Oklahomans cannot be swayed in their defiant disrespect for Mother Nature. We've heard the "you're going to die if you don't climb in the bathtub with a mattress over your head" song and dance too many times, only to resurface 30 minutes later with mussed hair and a sneaking suspicion that somewhere, Gary England is laughing at us. Those weatherpeople get off making us act like douchetards, I swear it.
So, now that I live in a stamp-of-a-house that doesn't seem all too securely fastened to Earth, I am embracing my midwestern instincts to Fear Not the Weather (even when it's logically the smart thing to do). I don't have a central room, and I certainly don't have a cellar (and even if I did, I bet you it'd be 20 times worse than The Spider Room...and I'd rather try my hand at involuntary windsurfing than submerge myself into such a Pit of Despair). No, this Tornado Season it's just me, my 89-year-old bungalow and my innate Oklahoma ignorance against the wrath of God. I really don't think it'll be that bad. If my teenage self was able to survive my mother's fury after slamming one too many doors in her face (she single-handedly removed my bedroom door from its hinges in a fit of rage and stole it away to A Place Unknown)....well then, I can survive most anything. I hope you kids are ready too; just put on your best "I ain't scurred" face and keep one eye on the sky. And if you hear the chaotic howl of a westerly wind or the ominous call of tornado sirens, remember; that's your cue to walk outside and look up. Afterall, you're not in Kansas anymore, my friends...
You're in Oklahoma now.