Twist(er) and Shout

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


You can tell that this tornado is menacing because his eyebrows look so angry.

I've casually mentioned this on my blog before, but for those of you who don't know, I have recurring nightmares about tornadoes. On several occasions throughout the year, I jolt awake in a cold sweat, having just narrowly escaped a swirling, twirling funnel of black fury. The majority of my nightmare is spent running down flights of stairs and searching for personal belongings to keep with me in the basement, doing my best to avoid looking out any windows and risk seeing the twister as it roars towards me. A warning siren bellows forebodingly in the distance. It's ominous. It's creepy. There's a feeling of desperation and imminent doom.

Did I also mention I live in The Midwest?

Yeah, so spring is a super fun time for me.

Despite what the blanket of snow on the ground suggests, spring IS amongst us which means companies all over America's Heartland are starting to coordinate and implement tornado drills for their employees. You know, "just in case".

FYI: "Just in case" there's a tornado, I won't be following the proper protocol. I will not "calmly and swiftly" make my way to the lowest level of the building and away from glass windows. I'll be mowing down whatever poor sap has the misfortune of being in my way and locking myself in a janitor's closet while chanting The Lord's Prayer like a broken record.

Our campus had its annual spring tornado drill this morning and I was on pins and needles all morning, like a cat cautiously circling the edge of a bathtub. As soon as the alarm sounded, my hair raised and I scurried about our office, willing my co-workers with pleading eyes to hurry up so we could "calmly and swiftly" make our way the designated safe area.

None of the other students or staff members seemed too concerned and appeared to find the drill to be more of an inconvenience than anything (I'm apparently the only one who knows the true value of practice). I got swept up in the crowd that was slowly meandering down the staircase, averting my gaze from the large bay windows in case we were being punk'd and there actually was a tornado on its way.

Need I mention it's 34 degrees and sunny outside?

Anyway, once we all found our places in the hallway, everyone stared at their feet or tinkered on their smart phones until the "all clear" was issued by security. I made conversation with one of my co-workers and said, "I'm surprised they didn't ask us to put a book over our heads."

"What?" he looked at my quizzically.

"Remember? In grade school? They didn't make you take a textbook with you and put it over your head to protect against possible 'debris'?"

His "Noooooo....," was a little too drawn out and a bit too judgmental for my taste.

"Then I guess they didn't make you squat on our knees with your face against the wall and your butt sticking out either, did they?" I asked, wishing my mouth would soon pick up on my brains signal to stop talking.

"What kind of school did you go to!?" he exclaimed.

Apparently I went to some kind of sardonic high school run by a bunch of perverts. And now that I think about it, that was around the same time that Britney Spears single-handedly caused the low-rider jeans craze and a lot of teenage girls had their underwear peeking out every time they bent over, moved or blinked.

Gross.

"Well, I never died in a tornado while on school property, so I guess their method was effective," I answered lamely.

Come on, am I crazy? Surely I'm not the only kid that was forced to don a textbook as a hat and get up close and personal with a wall during a torando drill. They just wanted us safe, right?

RIGHT?!

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13 comments

  1. My school was hot and cold on the textbook issue. Sometimes you'd get demerits for not taking one, sometimes they really didn't care. But we definitely had to hunch down by the wall and cover our heads with our hands. Considering all of our lower hallways were constructed with cinder blocks, I always wondered how my little hands would protect my skull should one of those blocks topple onto my head....

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    1. I remember being lined up down the hallway with those same cinder block walls and thinking, "There's not way a tornado can blow through CINDER BLOCKS."

      I clearly did not know a lot about tornadoes.

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  2. We definitely did it, maybe it was a northern Indiana thing or something. They were always super strict about not getting up from the crouched position too during the drills. Still remember the day I spent in the boys locker room in middle school through a tornado warning, talk about gross.

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    1. Oh, that's sick! I remember having to go into the boys locker room for a drill once in seventh grade and was adamant about NOT putting my hands on the ground.

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  3. That's how we did our drills! Oh wait ... you and I went to the same school!

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  4. I lived in Georgia and Indiana during school and had to do it in both places! Your coworker must have been homeschooled!!!

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    1. I didn't know you grew up in Georgia! It's so pretty down there!

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  5. my school did the same thing.. we all had to go to the library and get under the tables with our biggest text book over our heads... if the tables were all taken you had to hunker along the wall... course now that i think aobut it... mayb the library wasnt the best option? wouldnt the books fly everywhere and hit people?

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    1. That's an excellent point, Jeni! Not to mention book shelves could EASILY fall over. Maybe they chose the library in case someone forgot their textbook and needed a spare? ha

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  6. We used to do that too! I remember when I was in grade school, I would strategically place myself in line behind the cutest boy in our class. That way when it was time to hunker down, our elbows would end up touching. Now that I think about it, I was pretty pathetic. :)

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    1. Oh my gosh, that's actually REALLY cute! I was always super paranoid about my underwear hanging out and spent the entire time in misery.

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  7. That's how we did drills, too! In fact, there was one afternoon in elementary school we spent four hours in the hallway with the books over our heads because of all the tornadoes in the area.

    Interestingly enough, I was PETRIFIED of tornadoes and storms, until we were hit by one. It was scary, but I now know kinda what to expect, if that makes any sense? It's still scary, but somehow I feel more prepared.

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