I work in a produce stand. The produce stand is in an old barn. Not exactly the warmest place on cold days, and absolutely not the coolest place on hot days. However, the problems with temperature regulation pale in comparison to the little matter of sturdiness in the face of spring storms.
I work very close to the area in the DFW metroplex that keeps getting those freak hailstorms that involve softball sized hail, so I’ve always been a bit anxious whenever severe weather is possible while I’m at work. That kind of hail would go through the roof like the roof was paper, and even the walk-in cooler wouldn’t offer any REAL protection.
Well, yesterday, I was reminded that I live at the intersection of “Tornado Alley” (the plains states considered the epicenter of tornado activity) and “Dixie Alley” (the southern states that have been hammered by some EF4 & EF5 monsters for the last number of years).
The boss was out on a delivery. He called me to let me know a major thunderstorm was headed my way. At this point, my anxiety decides it’s time to freak the fuck out. My boss is a real chill kind of guy who doesn’t let the big stuff rattle him. So for him to call and warn me a storm was coming was something.
I still didn’t think that much of it until I really thought about where I was. I wasn’t home with an underground storm shelter and an aboveground safe room. I was in a fucking barn with no really good place to hide.
At this point, anxiety kicks in and I start to struggle to breathe. I grabbed my phone, tablet, and vape mod (e-cigarette), and stuffed them into my purse with some snacks, and I headed next door to the bakery (which is in a house with brick veneer). I was anxious (I’ve lived through one tornado, I don’t care for repeating the experience); but mostly I was not falling to pieces..
Until I heard phones start going off. I didn’t even have to look at any of the phones. I knew. The robotic sound of Siri reading the warning to all within earshot confirmed my fear. We were being warned to seek shelter now.
Well, you might as well have put an elephant on my chest at that point because I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t pull up radar on my phone, either. As I thought about the layout of the house that is the bakery, I realized there was no interior room, and the bathroom was on an outside wall. I didn’t let this freak me out too much, since I have survived a very similar situation before. I just told everyone that, if we heard it coming, the hallway was our best bet.
Ultimately, the worst of it passed just to the south of us. My idiot boss drove through it on his way back from some firewood deliveries, which makes something in me want to read him the riot act for being an idiot but I was in too big of a hurry–I wanted to get home where we have real options for surviving a tornado.
The worst of the weather completely bypassed home, so all I had to worry about was covering my herb plants to keep them from freezing overnight.
In an effort to focus on the positive, I’ll give myself credit for holding myself together; in spite of the wind and rain and thunder and phones that were screeching at us to stick our heads between our knees and kiss our asses goodbye. That’s got to count for something, right?
Its gonna be a long storm season, ain’t it?