Monday, January 14, 2013

It's a Twista

When I was a kid, one of my very favorite movies was Wizard of Oz. It was so much my favorite that I probably watched it once a day every day for a solid two and a half years of my life (ask my parents). I had the dolls, I knew all the words and dance moves, I made my siblings act out scenes from the film with me. In third grade, I got to be an extra for a contemporary remake of the story put on by the local university (I was a tornado cloud, a munchkin, and a guard for the witch).

Because I was (and still am) a stubborn child, I always insisted that the first portion of the film (the black and white scenes) was broken. I had to be reminded that no, it was not broken, that the black and white was by design. I'd watch the film, singing along with Dorothy, laughing at the scarecrow, yelling "sneeze them" when the wicked witch yelled "seize them," and cowering from the flying monkeys. We'd rewind the tape, pop it in again the next day, I'd forget about the colorless intro and insist that the first portion of the film was broken. Without fail.

Nobody tells five-year-olds that the "twista" that hits and moves Dorothy's house from the black and white to the colorful is actually a terrifying weather incident that strikes randomly and powerfully. Tornadoes used to not bother me at all. One stint in Texas, I remember seeing a funnel cloud on the horizon and felt more awe than fear. Then I lived through a tornado. Now the only awe comes from fear. The other night heavy storms woke me up in the middle of the night. Considering my bedroom's location in a basement (along a wall that is surrounded by a hill), I was in probably the safest location possible if a tornado were to touch down. It was just rain and wind. Even with the understanding of my safety and the thought that it was not a tornado, the dread still crept in, weighing down that pit in my stomach. I eventually drifted back to sleep, holding on to positive images (like the Lollipop Gang).

I love living in this state. I just forget about the terror brought on by tornado threats until they happen. Just like I'd forget and insist that tape was broken. Twistas won't bother me until the warnings sound and then I remember. Without fail.

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