Waiting on that F5 tornado

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 3, 2004

I'm man enough to admit that severe weather terrifies me.

I don't deal well with blackened, purplish clouds swirling overhead and I do know that lightning is not our friend.

Years ago, I was helping my uncle put up a new television antenna on a partly cloudy day.

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The sun was shining when out of nowhere a loud crack of thunder hit and I felt electricity surge through me.

My hair stood on end and I was pretty sure I had just been deep fried.

That wasn't the case.

I can remember sitting with my mom in the hallway with her little lap dogs during Hurricane Opal and wishing I had stayed in Troy in one of TSU's huge buildings.

On Wednesday of this week, we were going about our normal routine here when the wind picked up.

We heard a loud thud and Adam Prestridge went to the backdoor to see what was going on.

Our big green garbage cans had been hit by the wind.

A few moments later, while standing in the lobby, we heard the sound of metal scraping and looking out the door, I watched as the roof up the street fell the pavement on the other side of Commerce Street.

Now folks, that was scary.

On more than one occasion, I've spent a restless night in my hallway waiting for that tornado to rush through and swoop me away to Oz.

I have come up with ways to occupy my time during these long nights and I do mean long.

Have you ever noticed that very rarely will a tornado touch down in this area during the day?

It always seems to be just before dawn when people can't see it coming.

I've spent time waiting for a tornado go ing through old clothes. Trying to decided if some of the things will ever come back in style.

At the height of the storm, I've been one of those to make the promise to attend church every Sunday until.

"Just give me one more Sunday…that's all I need."

I've spent time berating myself for not buying a new computer battery for my laptop so that I can monitor the National Weather Service.

Or why I haven't replaced my Palm Pilot I lost in San Francisco so that I can scan the weather.

Another thought that I had once while waiting for the twister was how much like an ostrich I actually was.

You know, they shove their head underground and if I had a hole to burrow in, I'd be there as well.

When I lived in Montgomery, I often would wait until the height of the storm and call Steak-Out or better yet, Domino's.

The looks those delivery people gave me when I answered the door was always one of "You stupid fool, the world's ending and you want a baked potato!"

Another way I've used my tornado watch time is cussing the fact the storm has interrupted my favorite TV program.

Sometimes I want to call a station and beg them to repeat it so that those of us hiding the hallway can see what happened.

However, that is providing that we made it through the big blow.

I've also been in the situation where I realized I forgot to pay my insurance and then I really panic.

I've been on the phone with GEICO before doing a check by phone to make sure I'm covered.

Hey, I don't want to be faced with nothing for the pain and suffering I'll go through.

Finally, I've spent some time wondering what I'd say after the total destruction to the TV camera that some dimwit would surely shove in my face.

Well my friends know what I would say.

I would quickly blacken out a tooth, put on my best trucker cap (providing I could find it in the rubble) and say…."It was complete pandelirium!"

Hey, why break stereotypes?

Jay Thomas is managing editor of The Greenville Advocate and can be reached at 383-9203, ext. 136 or via email at jay.thomas@greenvilleadvocate.com.