Friday, February 21, 2014

Storms are scarier than they used to be

Things change when you get your own house. For starters, it's better. Don't let any of the negative things I'm about to type make you think otherwise; having a place truly of your own is so much more better than renting an apartment that it's disgusting. Granted, circumstances can differ: having a nice apartment in New York might beat the daylights out of owning a house there. But from where I'm sitting, which is my house in Tampa, Florida, it's really a simple case of wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!
There are some drawbacks, though. I was reminded of one yesterday when I was out on a grocery run during a nasty thunderstorm. That's when the radio broadcast was interrupted by a storm warning, or tornadoes actually. Bad weather is always scary because ultimately, you can't do anything about it. You can't call the cops about lightning strikes. You can't get a bunch of your friends together to look tough in your front yard when a tornado drives by. Basically, all the authorities can do is say, "good luck because we're all kinda in this together."
When I lived in an apartment, I'd hear these warnings and be mildly concerned, but it didn't go much further than "guess somebody's going to be getting me a hotel room because my lease is paid up". Now it's more like, "Oh please, please, don't tear up my shit!" That is scary.
It doesn't help that the warnings themselves are so creepy. They break into your favorite radio broadcast with this screeching noise:
Then a poignant pause.
Then again with the
Another dramatic pause, and then a recorded speech:
"The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Warning for the following counties: Polk, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Manatee until 6:00PM. Conditions exist..."
But it's not a real human, it's a computer generated robo speech, so it comes out like this:
 "Thee National Weather SerVICE has issued a tornadowarn ing for THEE follow ing counties: Polkernando, Hillsbor-ough, Pin ell us and Monate until SIX pee EM."
Ugh!! That robot doesn't care enough to pronounce our counties correctly! What concern is there if we're safe or not?!? That part of the process can certainly be upgraded. They can digitize everything these days, why not pay a huge grant to PBS in exchange for the rights to digitize the voice of the late Mr. Rogers for the sake of recording all our warnings?
"In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers. Now, In this particular time of stress, I need you to listen with your ears because there's a tornado warning for Polk, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Manatee counties until 6:00PM. Have you ever seen a manatee? They have whiskers! Do you think a manatee can tell time? No? Me neither. So we all need to watch the clock together until 6:00PM when we'll all be safe again. Can you do that? I know you can!"

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