19 January 2010

Laughter in the rain

This morning, I shuffled the kids off to school (boy to final exams, girl to student body meeting, school and basketball game), shuffled the spouse off to the office (first time on his own since surgery) and shuffled myself off to the grocery store (where I spend more time than I do my own home).

The skies were clear when I got up this morning, and after leaving the kids at school, the sun rose, drenching the skies in glorious hues of peach and gold.

Not long afterward, goodbye sun, hello more grey gloom.

Hey, we need the rain.

So I wander off and do my thing--post office, bank, buying food--and everyone is talking about the weather, of course.

Get home, unload car. The wind has picked up and the trees are crackling in breeze.

The rain begins (yes, this is going somewhere).

I field calls from various people, and check the radar because the spouse is planning to pick up the son from school, and it's a bit of a drive.

The Weather Channel shows its usual reassuringly orange list of warnings: High Surf, Special Weather Statement, etc. I scroll down. There is a line of rain bearing down on us. It isn't even red. It's black. I refresh the browser, thinking it's an error, and suddenly, it's flashing red at me.

Tornado Warning.

Not watch. Warning.

My area is listed. With a time. I have an officially scheduled date with a tornado. Somehow this feels like it comes straight out of Ira Levin's This Perfect Day, where the weather is computerized.

I flip on the TV and the emergency alert is simultaneously blaring and flashing while a banner is scrolling along the bottom, telling me "get thee to the basement."

But this is Southern California. One house in 100, maybe 1000, actually has a basement.

Well, the banner says conversationally, get under a work bench.

I have a potting bench. Outdoors.

Dig a ditch? says the banner. Lie flat and cover your head with your hands?

That would be tantamount to drowning, given the several inches of water covering all available soil.

Hmm, says the banner.

The cat and I will go to the pantry. It's an interior room. The cat will be happy since his bag of food is in there.

Well, says the banner, sounding doubtful, alright.

It rained like hell. For maybe an hour. An inch of rain said my (unofficial) rain gauge. The wind blew briefly. The thunder cracked, a little weakly, and gave up.

I heard that one of the beaches saw some water spoutish action, though.

The sun came out. There was a rainbow. My date stood me up. I'm ok with that on this occasion.

This was storm #2 of five. Whatever will they throw at us next?

Go listen to some music: "Laughter in the Rain" from the album Sedaka's Back by Neil Sedaka. Unbelievably, the son and I heard this yesterday at Trader Joe's. Someone's laughing, though. This whacked weather is proof!

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