So last night there was an event. At first I thought the rattling of the walls and the shaking of my bed meant that my childhood nightmares had finally come true: there was a poltergeist upon me. No one else seemed to be bothered, there was no ruckus outside, no War of the Worlds type of panic. I just lie there trying to adjust my eyes in the darkness, searching for some kind of demon perched atop the bedpost, all while thinking "this is just my fucking luck."
Turns out, it was an earthquake. My first California earthquake. And, true to my personality and observant-rather-than-active nature in times of panic, I did nothing. For this I blame tornados.
Here's the thing about growing up in the deep South: you get used to the soundtrack of tornado sirens (except on Wednesdays, "siren test days"), and you probably grew up spending a handful of afternoons or evenings ducking for cover in a bathtub. I never had the luxury of a basement, so yes; I have spent a percentage of my life hunkered down under pillows in a bathtub or closet. Enough of a percentage to make me just not give a damn.
The weather cries wolf a lot in the South. I used to have panic attacks about tornados, and there's that helpless feeling that settles into your guts like cement when you've been warned on the radio that It's Coming Right Towards You. But--it usually doesn't. As I aged, I started to realize that if a tornado does, indeed, rip and roar its way down my street, there's nothing I can do about it. Kind of like being in a plane crash. Magical thinking won't help.
So tornados have made me lazy. I'm way more likely to stand there, watching the pretty swirling mass of wind and debris than actually duck and cover. Similar to the thing that happened at the state fair with the crowd of people running away from some type of weaponed frenzy, I'm just getting too old for this shit. Same with the earthquake last night. Disasters of all kinds have made me jaded. And it's a lot more fun to think the earthquake was actually a poltergeist.