Saturday, August 27, 2011

4 Things the Midwest Taught Me About Surviving Earthquakes and Hurricanes

Future Mrs. Love Bird at 7 years old
When I was a kid growing up in Ohio, I was obsessed with tornadoes. In the summer it was both exhilarating and terrifying to know that any minute a twister could swoop down and destroy everything around me, quite possibly even lifting me up into its eye like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

I would watch the skies for any sudden formation of funnel clouds while playing on my swingset and keep a trained ear out for the sound of the tornado warnings. I can still smell the air before a tornado warning. My dad would be caught up in the excitement and would stand outside looking at the threatening sky through the screened back door, and I would stare from behind him fascinated yet wanting to run for my life!

Now that I'm in my 30s, I still have that same reverence for "acts of nature" and this week's events - the earthquake on Tuesday and now the oncoming of hurricane Irene - has reawakened some of the important lessons I learned during those Midwest summers:

  1. Being surrounded by loved ones makes a natural event more fun.
    Granted Mr. Love Bird didn't even notice the rumbling I felt on Tuesday while we were on the 12fl of the Nigerian consulate, but still we were together (with our little Love Bird too!) and that's all that mattered. When I was a kid and the tornado warnings would start or the power would go out, it meant it was time to turn on the flashlights and cool down by sleeping on the floor or going into the basement. It was like a little family powow.
  2. Natural events let you break rules (within reason!). As a kid, this meant staying up all night until the warnings ended. I love sleeping on the floor at the base of my parents bed. They had a special fluffy blanket that I would lay on and it as so comforting to know they were so close. Now with the impending hurricane the rules I break are along the lines of healthy eating: I need a little bit of comfort and have already devoured a Kit Kat which is making me feel slightly better about what may go down in NYC.
  3. Natural events build a sense of community. Growing up we would check on our neighbors before and after a storm and while that's not quite the same here in NYC, the panic-induced state that you join when shopping at Pathmark pre-storm seems to create an awkward sense of camaraderie. Although I haven't joined in, it is very entertaining to witness as people rush about in a frenzied state stockpiling cans of tuna and rolls of toilet paper.
  4. Going retro is cool byproduct of natural events. I was the nerdy girl who ADORED Little House on the Prairie growing up and any chance to break out candles homestead-style made me so excited! I thought I was the black version of Laura Ingalls Wilder and this was further enhanced by my obsession with the Oregon Trail (I could seriously go on a tangent here about it!). Anyway, I like that the possibility of the power going out will take us back to a time before there was social media, iPhones and DVRs. Perhaps Mr. Love Bird and I will break out our Scrabble!
Do you see a silver lining in the storm clouds ahead too?

1 comment:

  1. I can see the silver lining as having my husband an son here during the hurricane. Although, I don't like to be without power and my connections to the world.....I don't see that being my focus as the hurricane heads our way here in New England.
    You are correct about breaking the rules, because we even may let our son sleep in our room if it gets really bad. And that never happens!
    Be safe!

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