Thursday, February 11, 2010


Wind. I’ve never been a fan of it for as long as I can recall. Most likely because when it is windy, especially very windy, it brings to mind a time in West Lafayette, Indiana, when me, mom and Ann went fleeing down the street from our house, attempting to out run a tornado, to the only neighbor in the area who had a basement. Mom had us both by the hand and I do believe I was literally flying; both feet off the ground. I don’t remember anything other than this about the event, though. Obviously, we made it to safety; that, or the tornado, (ever fickle as to where they land), chose to go elsewhere.

When I lived in Anaheim Hills in California, we’d get these super-duper winds known as “Santa Ana Winds”. They’d blow and blow; causing the vent in the kitchen (which went outside) to flip and flap on end. Despite the fact the house was securely built, it did, at times, feel as though it would simply crumple. The winds would keep up all day and pretty much all night. I was always thankful then I didn’t have to walk a dog early in the morning or late in the evening as the winds were dreadfully cold in the winter (or, what passes for winter in Southern California).

Physical reasons why I loathe wind: Being relatively small, wind typically will blow me in whatever direction I’m headed; sort of like a rough push on my back. A rude shove. And, how about that annoying act of it blowing one’s umbrella inside out during a windy rain storm or flipping one’s skirt up over one’s head while walking across a parking lot? Or, if you wear contact lenses, having to deal with the grit that the wind deposits in your eyes. No fun. No thanks.

Regardless, I just can’t seem to escape wind. It was also quite windy in Colorado Springs. They had a special term for the winds there which now I cannot remember. It seemed to me, in hindsight, that the winds there were a bit friendlier there; gentler. And, it was windy in the summer more than it was windy in the winter, which was a good thing as windy weather would tend to blow one off the road and into a ditch in snowy, icy conditions.

Several years ago, I went to the Indianapolis 500 race with my family. Throughout the entire race, there was the threat of a tornado. At one point, towards the end, they called the race, concerned about hundreds of thousands of fans getting electrocuted in the metal stands should a lighting storm arrive. We left the speedway in rainy conditions, the wind blowing up a storm. I was walking with mom when we heard a loud siren. “What’s that?” I inquired. “Oh, that’s just the tornado alarm. We’d better hurry, now.” Needless to say, we scrambled!

SHE was calm; I was sort of freaked. When we got back to mom and dad’s RV, dad was seated in front of the TV, intently watching the weather. My brother and his wife were huddled together on one of the couches looking decidedly uneasy. My mom started bustling around the RV, handing out throw pillows. “Now, if the tornado hits, put these over your head. Ok, then, who is hungry? Anyone for some meatloaf?”

Now, here I am in Durham, North Carolina; where it is not uncommon to get tornado watches and warnings (the two “w’s” which I always get confused as to which one is worse) in December and high wind advisories just about any time throughout the year. We’ve got one going this morning; and, yeah, it’s howling out there. One of our neighbors didn’t secure their garbage can and it fell over so now their trash is floating around our back yard, causing our cats (who insist on hanging out in the sun room despite all the banging going on) to run from one side of the room to the other in a futile attempt to catch flying paper plates, newspapers and what looks suspiciously like a dirty diaper.

As I type this, I can hear the kitchen vent flipping and flapping behind me so, for a moment, it’s almost as though I’m back in another house, in another state, in another marriage.

Blow THAT off!



Analee said...

days like yesterday make me wish i had a blood pressure meter at home. i'd love to "track" my anxiety with that.

Margot said...

I find wind exciting! We kids were thrilled by "tail end of hurricanes in Northern VA" in the early 50's. Ditto the roar of nearby tornados & hooting of sirens in Lafayette in the late 60s & early 70s.

If we get a real live hurricane this fall, I may change my tune!

Father said that he remembered your flight to a neighbor's basement. He was working at TRW plant at the time.