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Last night I had a very vivid dream about a huge tornado hitting San Francisco. I watched as it tore apart Angle Island and moved across the bay towards the city. It was the kind that when it touched down it it became wide at the base and ripped the earth up- a dark slow moving monster. I haven’t seen a tornado in years. I saw them all the time as a child. I lived in Centerville Ohio and have a very detailed memory of being woken up in the middle of the night and carried with my brother to a neighbors basement and being left in an empty kiddie pool. On the way to the neighbors I remember leaves flying past and the sky being darker than moonless nights in the desert. Scared and confused about what was going on I sat in the pool staring at the other kids I had never seen before. Why did my parents leave? I still don’t know. I will have to ask them.

I never saw the tornado but it apparently came very close to our neighborhood. The only tornado i've seen close up and it really didn’t scare me as much as it should have. My dad used to work for NCR (national Cash register) and their training center was outside of Dayton Ohio. The training lasted 6 months and my dad was sent to Ohio twice. The second time my family moved to Centerville I would wake up in my parents white Ford van in the morning ride all day and fall asleep in the evening just to wake up in the van the next morning, my parents still driving. I didn’t know they were stopping at hotels after I had fallen asleep, carrying my little body to bed and then back to the car before I woke up the next morning. It took three days to drive from Long Beach to Ohio.

On one day my dad decided to stop at a Holiday Inn to let my brother and I have some fun and for my parents to get some out of the car time. Mike and I were enjoying playing in the pool but we weren’t there more than an hour before my mom started to get antsy. She became more and more set on leaving until my dad finally agreed to get back on the road. We walked outside mopping as we headed from the wonderland that was in my mind, the Taj Mahal of Kansas Holiday Inn Playgrounds, towards the prison van. The weather had changed quite a bit in that hour. Inside the hotel there was no sign of the nastiness we were walking out into. I believe my parents probably said something about the weather changing so rapidly but no one thought much about it.

After we were on the road for about ten minutes my dad noticed something in the rear view mirror, dark, looming and getting larger and larger. The tornado seemed to have lined itself along the path of the road and was moving quickly towards us. The weather around us started to get really bad. I quickly lost my fear of the tornado because of all the lightening. In California we get lightning maybe once a year and normally you will see about ten strikes of lightning. On this day there were about 20 at any given time and they were all around us. I was terrified that one would hit the metal box we were in and fry us all to a crisp. I didn't really understand how the tornado could hurt us but I understood lightning very well. My brother tried to convince me that the rubber tires would protect us... But I knew my rubber sneakers didn’t protect me from electrical outlets so I didn’t buy it. We were doomed for sure... Plus the Tornado see to be gaining on us.

My dad could barely see thought he windshield, the downpour of rain and the constant lightning flashes had my mom in a panic. Luckily a 18 wheeler started to blast past us... Slowed a little, flashed his light and then started to take off at full speed again. My dad got the driver’s message and put his foot to the floor and followed the rig who knew the roads following his lights. The Tornado chase our little caravan through four states. My dad still says to this day that when my mom gets really agitated for no reason, he just thinks about that day and how he wishes he knew what happened to to people playing in the pool of a Kansas Holiday Inn. Maybe my mom is psychic.

To this day I one of my greatest fears is being electrocuted, I like lightning though... as long as I'm safely in a house!



Calling You (Edit) - Javetta Steele - Bagdad Cafe

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
write_like_krzy
May. 18th, 2006 02:54 am (UTC)
I lived in the Midwest for many years and tornadoes swept through pretty often. For the most part, I remember being woken up (or being awake) and being ushered into closets or rooms with no windows. I always felt safe, for whatever reason, because my dad is a meteorologist and we were at home.

Of course, there's always that moment. We got caught in one in a hotel in Kansas. It was multiple stories and we were in one of the higher ones. I didn't feel the safety of home, I didn't feel the safety of my father. It was a grin, bear, and get through it kinda thing.

Maybe the weather knew I was a friend of Dorothy, 'cause the hotel was spared.
artkouros
May. 18th, 2006 12:43 pm (UTC)
A car is the worst place to be in a tornado, but it's a safe place to be in a lightning storm. It's not the rubber tires that save you -- a lightning bolt that's traveled thousands of feet through air will have no problem jumping that last 6 inches of rubber -- but the metal frame of the car acts as a Faraday cage, conducting the electricity on the outside surface of the car and into the ground.

I've never tried it, but that's what I learned in engineer school.
_kaiser_
May. 18th, 2006 05:28 pm (UTC)
thank you, i've been needing one of these.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )