In my younger days, I remember roaming the neighborhood with fellow neighbor kids coming up with all sorts of scenarios that we thought would be our future. One of the very first scenarios I will never forget is this one kid wanting to be Batman and I was Vicki Vale; typical damsel in distress bologna. Then there was one time when my cousin stayed over for a night and wanted to prowl upon all of us as Freddy Krueger. But really, that was all typical make believe.
But when I seriously wanted to live my future, I played a storm chaser. I found a section of an encyclopedia that described all the different types of clouds in the sky and I would run through the neighborhood proclaiming what each cloud meant and what it was capable of! I had a map of the US and had it taped up in either my bedroom or the garage and I would take a stick to point out weather conditions in different parts of the country. I watched Twister like it was an instructional video and my mom blessed me with a home footage collection she probably got from Time Life that showed tornadoes in action and how storm chasers researched them (I still have them and occasionally whip out the vcr so I can watch them). I was going to live in the heart of tornado alley and chase down these windy, destructive monsters to learn how they tick for NOAA.
What didn’t make sense about any of this was I was deathly afraid of thunderstorms. WHAT?! Every time I heard thunder in the distance, I would cower and hide inside any building that was close by. When we had the outbreak of tornadoes in ’92, as soon as the first siren went off, I had half of our coat closet (it was the most center point of our one story, no basement, ranch style home) cleaned out so my family could get in. I always felt like the storm or tornadoes were chasing me. Bizarre, I know, but kids come up with all sorts of fun beliefs. I’ll never forget the gross, olive colored sky that outbreak shed over us. The black clouds were guardians of this horrific wall. That storm always seems to be a defining moment in my life; when I truly came to understand fear.
So where am I now? I married a Noah and I don’t live far from a NOAA research center, but I stay at home with a destructive monster in Seattle. Eh, I didn’t do too bad. But one day, I hope, for a vacation, I can talk Noah into going on one of those tornado spotting tours. Just so I can watch (from a safe distance) a power I dreamed of harnessing. It’s funny how dreams of your future profession growing up fall to the wayside when you figure out what’s going to pay for the lifestyle and the real hopes inside you. But, I’ll keep my vcr handy and remember how The Weather Channel used to be my holy tv channel…