Do you ever smack your head and think, "gee I wish I'd had that excuse when I was in school?" Well, I had a serious case of that today.
Lightning struck my building yesterday afternoon, messing up my clocks, frying my cable box, and exploding my toothpaste. It also left three big gouges on the bank of the small lake by my apartment. When I first saw those, I thought we were about to have a humongous sinkhole...humongous is so a word...look it up in any dictionary written in Texas. In such a tome you'll find other great words like tuit. You know like "I've got to get down tuit." And then there's the ever popular aaahhhyyyysss, as in "hey, coach, I'aunt some aaahhhyyysss..." If you can't understand that one, write me and I'll translate for you. It is deeply Texan, of a form rarely spoken these days, deep East Texas speak.
I digress - don't I always? Anyhoo, there was a loud pop yesterday afternoon while I was editing my latest manuscript. So I powered down the pc and the modem and shut off everything.
See, I'm not used to the lightning like they have here in Florida. I grew up smack dab in Tornado Alley. I got used to having to "duck and cover" in school, equally effective for tornadoes or the occasional hydrogen bomb scare...It gave me a long held belief that I will kowtow to no one, not even a hydrogen bomb...I mean what's the use in that case? If you're close enough you'll melt anyway, might as well face it on your feet, instead of with your bum sticking up in the air. Oh please don't melt me, Mr.Bomb!!!
I've been in several tornadoes in my lifetime, recognize the "freight train" sound they make. Fortunately, I've never had my home take a direct hit, but I've seen devastating damage first hand, including from a couple of EF-5 tornadoes. Did you know that one has multiple vortexes swirling around the center? The Cheyenne Indians used to say if you saw the "dead man walking" you would soon die. An EF-5 tornado seen from a distance looks just like a huge man walking, moving his arms and legs. If you're close enough to see that, kiss yourself goodbye, unless you've got a really fast car and a keen sense of direction in your panic.
We had lightning strikes in Texas, too, usually took out our television set...no comment there...but the worst one I ever experienced was in Miami when I was four years old.
We were visiting my mother's parents. She was on one side of the den at an ironing board pressing one of Dad's shirts. I was on the other side of the room watching television. (yeah, right, a little mini-couch potato or tater tot.) There was an enormous bang which made my ears ring. A bright, bright bolt shot through the screen door, cut through the room between my mom and me and killed the (you guessed it!) television, taking the iron out as well. Needless to say that memory has remained intact all these years later. NO, not because the TV died, but because of the violence of the sound and the bolt which blew up the TV and smoked the iron.
More people are killed by lightning in Florida than anywhere else in the world. And yet every time there's a storm nearby you can see people on the beach and the golf course with the "I am invincible - that won't happen to me" mindset. Sigh...
But back to the toothpaste - today I had to replace the cable box and it still doesn't work. They're not sending out a technician to check the line until Tuesday...I mean, I am going to miss Game of Thrones tomorrow night and Longmire's 3rd season premiere on Monday night. Thank goodness for a big DVD collection and a working TV this time.
Okay, okay back to the toothpaste - the piece of resistance was when I went into my dressing room last night and found my black marble counter top covered in green goo puddled around what had been a full tube of toothpaste. Of course now it resembles one shared by adolescent siblings who have a running battle about who can squeeze it the hardest. I never knew the energy in a lightning bolt could do that, but it must have. The toothpaste tube was fine when I saw it earlier in the day closed tightly and upright. It was still upright last night with it's innards messing up my marble...The things you learn!
Though this has been written out of frustration for two difficult days dealing with my aging father, the incidents are all true, even if the mode of writing has the tongue firmly planted in the cheek.
Remember this, in lightning storms, especially in Florida, turn off all electrical equipment, and protect your toothpaste...your countertops, no matter their composition, will be forever grateful.
Until next time, take care.