Monday, October 3, 2011


I want to see a tornado. Not up close and personal. More like, distant and anonymous. The last thing I want to do is tick off a maniacal funnel of blustery wind and have it chase me down.

I’m already on the run from a few people like that.

No, I want to get in a truck with my darlin’ (cuz he’s not afraid of much of anything) and drive due – whatever – towards some big black cloud in the distance, as long as it’s spewing hail and rain and lightning and thunder. You know, like the one Dorothy enjoyed.

My closest friends can’t believe it when I tell them I want to see a twister. “You?!” they say incredulously. “You’re afraid of being afraid! Why would you want to run after something that could tear you to pieces? On purpose?!” Well, I don’t WANT it to tear me to pieces.

I just want it to pose nicely while I take its picture.

I don’t know WHY. Maybe chasing a tornado is my version of thrill seeking. It’s not like I want to bungee jump or anything. You could die of a stroke doing that. And I don’t want to see a tornado destroy lives or property. I just want to see one drop down out of a distant lightening-lit cloud, spin around threateningly in the middle of nowhere, and then close up shop and go home.

You know, a little floor show with gusto.

It’s inevitable that my passion for rain would come to this. You can’t adore the wet stuff as much as I do while living for thirty years in the desert like I have and not have something snap. Look what happened to poor Moses. He ended up leading three million people into a raging river after spending that much time staring at cactus. Dehydration can do funny things to you.

Maybe if I get to see a tornado in person I’ll get over wanting to see one ever again. It would be a kind of shock therapy for the naive. And, I’d like to point out, it’s not my fault that I have this obsession. If TNT would quit showing “Twister” once a week while I’m channel surfing and play “The Sound of Music” instead, I might decide that singing while running away from blood-thirsty Nazis is a lot more fun than running towards a cyclone.

Probably not, but maybe.

My sister took up scuba diving for fun once. She wanted to stare deadly ocean animals in the face while she invaded their natural habitat. Nobody called HER crazy. They all admired her love of the outdoors. Later she strapped herself to a stranger who hurled her out of an airplane at 13,000 feet so she could feel the wind in her face. She bought the video tape and the whole family applauded when they watched it. “You’re so courageous!” they gushed. My husband spent thirty-eight years bringing home a regular paycheck because he crawled into blazing infernos armed only with a combustible oxygen tank and a water hose. Everyone called him a hero.

So the least people can do is admire my fascination with deviant weather anomalies and tell me to take an umbrella. It worked for Mary Poppins.

And she’s practically perfect in every way.

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