It’s sort of ridiculous. Not that I have it, but that we don’t all have it, really. It’s ridiculous how many times I’ve had to face my phobias – through earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes – but some phobias are fun to meet and beat, and others probably never will be. Unless the success of NOT having a panic attack is fun for you. It’s always fun for me to overcome.
I have quivered my way through my share of disasters, and I have slept through some too. I guess it depends. When you’re me, and you’re already working through so many issues and fears within the frame of your own life, it’s sort of staggering to work through your own issues against the backdrop of uncertainty and enormity. You know what I always do, though? I rise to meet and beat and defeat. And when it’s so much bigger than me, and it’s always bigger than me, I’ll never stop trying.
There are reasons I live in New England.
2. Real maple syrup
4. Vermont Cheddar Cheese
5. Feeling somewhat safe from the apocalypse
We have proven over the last few months that we do get tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes, and sometimes all of the above around the same time. And I’ve probably proven to you that I’m an anxious person. I do fairly ok in these situations.
I’ve been through four earthquakes, that I know about. I didn’t even notice last week’s 5.8er but I probably would have had I not been distracted. Before that I slept through one in San Francisco that Cassidy noticed. Before that I experienced one at work in San Francisco, staring dizzily at my fork clinking on my plate of quiche, not quite realizing it was an earthquake until after it had passed. And before that, there was a minor, minor one in Jersey when I was in college and I woke up with a start at 3:00 am and watched my old clay figurines shake on my desk. Why I woke up with a start to the most minor earthquake of my existence yet slept/distracted myself through three bigger ones? Who knows.
I’ve been through a rare New Jersey tornado, huddled in my grandparents’ basement.
I’ve been through a strange tropical storm in New Brunswick, NJ that canceled two days of classes, when not even snow had ever canceled college classes. Only September 11th and this strange tropical storm canceled classes.
I’ve been through a few major blizzards, but they never seemed strange because they always happened in places that expect to get blizzards. Blizzards are probably more deadly than anything else I’ve been through, but I was the least scared.
I’ve been through the nearby explosion of a gunpowder plant – a deadly explosion that took place on a painfully sunny day in the summer. This was way before the days of internet, cell phones, and social media, and no one knew what had happened for over a day. The rumor was that it was a sonic boom, which we all took at face value until we learned the truth.
Now in our age of over-information, we sat glued to the news, Facebook and Twitter for the last several days. We bought bottled water, filled the bathtub, gassed up the car, took out extra cash, charged our cellphones, and sat and braced for the worst. It may have seemed like overkill, but I guess after Hurricane Katrina, it’s better to take these precautions.
My town, Northampton, put up a flood control gate for Hurricane Irene right at the bottom of our street. I admit I thought they were being silly. Of course, they knew what they were doing. Last night we watched the news and watched “Doctor Who.” I was nervous. We went to bed tentatively glancing out the windows and listening to rain, and then woke up nervously today to discover that New York City had made it through and the storm was coming for us next.
I won’t downplay anything. New England is fairly safe and our earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes (but not blizzards!) are rarely very bad, but I know a lot of the east coast took some hits. I know those hits are still coming. We didn’t even realize our own town had had much of a storm until we left the house. To us, it was a fairly normal rainy day. We suffered no damage up on the the hill of our street. Then the storm passed, the sun even came out and we went exploring.
This is the other side of the gate at the bottom of our street. It seems that the bottom of the street got hit a lot more than us. They were right to put up the gate. We just didn’t know until we knew. This water is dangerously high.
We even played outside with the neighbors. The sun was shining and the air was crisp and fresh and unexpected.
I’ve had a heaviness in my heart and a sick feeling in my stomach all day. The horror stories of Vermont, a place of heavy meaning to me and also a place I’ve always associated with safety (despite the horrendous blizzard I survived there). Seriously, Mother Nature means business. No matter how minor the natural disasters I’ve been through were, they were still disasters. Yet, I was never very scared before, except for the tornado incident but that’s another story. Mainly, I was not yet a parent. As a parent, all bets are off. I will never laugh at the over-preparation and I will participate as much as possible. I am forever humbled by this experience, and we didn’t even get hit! We could, in the future. And I bet we will.
I’m linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday or #FTSF. This week’s topic is “When it comes to natural disasters…” And there’s time to write yours. Come link up with your spin on the matter: HERE.