Thursday, September 22, 2005

I Can't Find Auntie Em!

Ok, seriously: Last night sucked. Between the storms and my situations there in, it was a bad night. Was my house destroyed? Thankfully no, but it still amazes me how stupid people can be...including myself. So, kids, it's story time with Uncle Leab.
Last night, I took my wife's car to the dealership to have it's warranty-covered work done. Yes, I could do my own oil change, but it's covered by warranty and such, so if it's free...go for it.
Anyway, I'm sitting in the waiting area (this is Iten Chevrolet off of 694/94 West in Brooklyn Center (or is it Park?) when the sky goes black. Not a good sign. First things first, the wind picks up. Then the rain comes and starts to go horizontal. Well it looks like we're going to be hit hard. Hooray! One of the women sitting next to me forgot her child's diaper bag, and the kid is only 6 months old. Like a brave idiot (or just an idiot) I say, "I'll get it, where's the bag?" It turns out that the bag is in her minivan...which is across the parking lot. I count it off. It's 22 cars away from the door I have to run out of. So, I book it.
The first thing I notice is that the wind is really strong, and the rain is making it hard to see. I make it to the card, but I have this funny feeling like I'm being tugged. It's weird. Imagine someone has thrown a lasso over your mid section and is pulling. That's what I felt. I grab the bag, lock the car and start back to the door. Right as I get about a two feet from the door that tugging feeling gets MUCH stronger. In fact, I am now having a hard time moving. It could be the 60-80 mph winds, or maybe I was stuck with a petrifying ray (I choose the former). Luckily, one of the Iten guys saw me and grabbed my arm. Once inside, I handed the bag over. Now, I've just done this woman a favor and gone through a natural car wash as it were with the spinning and the pushing and such, and the first thing out of her mouth isn't thank you, but, "Where are my keys? Give me my keys!" Maybe she was panicked, but oy vey! I still didn't even have my bearings yet. Now comes the stupid people part.
What are you supposed to do in a storm such as a tornado? Move to a safe spot, right? Well, the people there wanted to watch the storm, so they stood in front of the glass! That's right: With a wicked storm hitting the area, they are going to stand in front of the glass windows to watch. Come on people!
The teacher in me (or maybe the annoying know it all) started barking orders at people. No one knew what to do. How do you not know what to do in a storm? I grew up in a city where we didn't have tornados or crap like that, yet I know what to do. I made everyone move to the back where the employee bathrooms were. Thankfully, the manager of the place knew what to do as well, so together we chained the doors and then moved to the back. Still, one guy refused to go. He didn't want to miss a TV program and decided he would sit and wait. Not on my watch, Buster. There was a TV in the back (it was the manager's, but he shared). It was at this point, that the corner of the roof started to rattle. At first it sounded like hail, so no biggie, but then there was a little peek of something. The roof pulled back ever so slightly. It wasn't major, not like Carol House Furniture when I lived in St. Louis (the entire roof of the warehouse was lost in a tornado). Then the lights went out. Luckily the interior of the dealership has a generator. But the second stupid person then came in and said, "I want to watch," and he attempted to open the now chained door to get a better view.
What's even better was that as others were panicking, one of the workers finished my car. So, as the storm died down a little (just before the second one hit), I left. I drove home in the dark (a lot of power out). I saw trees down, cars crashed, buses pulled over that were filled with people. It was crazy. When I got home, my cats were scared, but they were in the basement. I raised them well. The second storm then hit.
This morning I still don't have power (I'm writing this at school.) I didn't sleep well, because I had three furry cats huddled on me thus making it very warm. Great in the winter, not before then. Alot of places still don't have power (like my whole neighborhood for one). Still, so far only one person died, which is, though sad, very lucky. Hit was hit by a tree branch.
All of this, however, has made me think about Katrina and such. Were there people who said, "Oh I have to see this, " and went outside during the storm, only to be swept away? Is that a form of Natural Selection then, or is it just plain stupidity manifested?
If you don't know, I implore you to learn what you are supposed to do in a storm. It's necessary and it can save lives. I didn't save anyone's life yesterday, but they all calmed down when they were someplace safe. Learn what you need to do folks.
Of course, what do I know? I was the guy in the silver Impala racing home at 80 mph in the dark.


Admin Worm said...

It was chivalrous of you to fetch that woman's diaper bag, and I wish she'd have been more appreciative.

Regarding people's inclination to gawk at storms rather than run, multiply that times several thousand and you've got Hurricane Katrina.

The tornado sirens have gone off in Woodbury at least five times this year, and each time my wife and I sat in our second floor living room in front of a large window and watched the forecast. I haven't run for cover since I was a child.

You're not alone. tb

Boozhoo said...

I remember this storm...I was living in Brooklyn Park at that time...we had no power for a week!