After our Saturday experience, Eli and I decided that waiting for the weather to clear up on Sunday before we headed home would be, you know, a prudent idea and all. So, we made it through church, we made it through lunch with a particularly anti-Catholic lady in our church, the weather was bright and warm – it was the perfect kind of road trip day.
We spent the first forty-five minutes or so just chatting about the day and listening to the radio.
Seven swans, seven swans, seven swans. . .
“So how do you think the visit went?” Eli asked.
“I think it went – ” Pause. “Um. . .that’s a tornado.”
“. . .what?”
“Holy [Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, amen].”
My beloved was in favor of moving forward, “Since it’s heading East. . .”, I was in favor of “STOP RIGHT NOW AND PULL OVER SO WE CAN GET IN A DITCH ZOMG ZOMG ZOMG ZOMG” and my father, whose well-tuned daddy senses went off immediately and called right away, brought the wonderful news that
“Well. . .you could stay where you’re at. . .but. . .uh. . .there’s another storm about to hit Corsicana. . .so keep going. . .”
Both of the men in my life were advising us to move forward? WHAT IS THIS MADNESS? THERE IS A TORNADO RIGHT IN FRONT OF US. I was confused. Daddy quickly amended that statement when he checked the radar again and informed us that “Yeah, you’re kind of sandwiched in the middle – there’s another storm ahead. But you’ll be fine after that!”
And by other storm ahead, he meant:
And. . .
While we were gridlocked in. . .
The first tornado blew across the highway, ripping the roof off the elementary school, demolishing a softball field, crumpling an 18-wheeler around a Toyota Camry against a retaining wall, and flipping over a freight car on the train tracks. The highway was completely locked down for emergency crews – but we were being closed in on by Angry Stalker Tornadoes.
Oh, yeah – and our low fuel light came on.
About thirty minutes later we are able to crawl off an exit into THE SAME GAS STATION THAT WE STOPPED AT THE DAY BEFORE, and we pull up to the pump – except all the pumps are shut down because they’re trying to get everyone inside and into the freezers because
Is headed towards us.
Now, when I’m in crisis, I have like a 5-minute mini-meltdown, and then I’m calm, cool, and collected. I had reached the calm, cool, and collected stage, and bought water and crackers in case we ended up stranded somewhere. I looked around the store and couldn’t find Eli.
I looked outside.
He’s standing next to the car, staring at it like it’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang about to fly away home.
I walked over, and in my bestest peaceful voice EVA asked “Um, dear, what’s going on? We should probably. . .you know. . .take shelter or something. . .”
“I locked the keys in the car.”
Now, this was the VERY FIRST TIME I didn’t ask if he had the keys before I shut my door, because he gets irritated when I do that, and I had resolved to stop nagging him about little things that didn’t matter. I didn’t point this out until a little bit later. I just took a deep breath, turned around, and walked inside the gas station, with the reasonable expectation that Eli would be following me. Since. You know. The tornado. And all.
Except he wasn’t. He was running around – and across the street – asking people for a wire coat-hanger. My dear, dear Eli, is a perpetual problem solver – which is wonderful in every day life, but not so wonderful when the problem solving gets in the way of BASIC SURVIVAL. I pleaded for him to “GET IN THE *%^#*%^# GAS STATION!”
He continued refusing.
I got stubborn and said something along the lines of “FINE BLOW AWAY GHR%846%*($#^%*^&#$^$$$ GRRRRRRRR.”
But ended up standing outside with him.
The tornado missed us, but we were STILL stuck at the gas station, with absolutely no hope of roadside assistance, which I so diligently pay $2.99 a month to ATT for, having any way of getting to us because of the emergency work needed, like, IN THE WHOLE UNIVERSE.
He tracked down a coat hanger, and after conversing with 7 or 8 burly m waving giant wrenches at my window in a shattering motion (at which point I gave up on life and begged a young mother to let me hold her adorable baby), HE DID IT! HE OPENED MY CAR! I WAS SO PROUD! AND HAPPY! AND RELIEVED! BUT “DON’T TOUCH ME. DO NOT HOLD MY HAND. DON’T LOOK AT ME. IN FACT, I THINK I’M GOING TO SLEEP THE REST OF THE WAY HOME.”
Or something like that.
But, we avoided death by storm twice, and homicide – Eli on the receiving end, and me on the blunt-object-wielding end.
It’s okay. I still love him.
(For all you Titus 2 Fundies, don’t worry, he told me to write this blog. Also we aren’t married so. . .yeah.)