This is not a drill.

We have fire drills and tornado drills, but what do you call it when there’s an actual fire or an actual tornado? When I was in high school, someone set some kind of fire in a bathroom (the details have become somewhat fuzzy), and what we called it was, “Everyone get out of the building and then stand in the rain for hours and then come back into the building and shiver for the rest of the day because the radiators can’t be turned on.” (Huh, seems like some of THOSE details aren’t exactly fuzzy.)

Today, a tornado touched down near my school, and as we emphasized that, no, it was not a drill, I learned that what we actually call it is “tornado lockdown.” I was actually kind of impressed with this phrase. It sounds so official and makes the idea of everyone crouching by the wall in the tornado position seem so much less silly.

Of course, it didn’t seem silly at all when the tornado siren started going off. I don’t have a lot of tornado experience – we get tornadoes here, but certainly not like other parts of the country. I remember there being a pretty serious tornado warning when I was in elementary school and that we spent a couple of hours crouching by the wall, but I don’t remember hearing the tornado siren. In fact, I am not sure I have ever heard a tornado siren. It was surreal when it went off, because it’s something I have read about but never actually experienced. And I was okay when it went off the first time, but when it started going off the second time, I actually got a little bit scared. We spent an hour in tornado lockdown. I am very thankful that everything turned out okay, and that no one was hurt, but I would be lying if I said that hour in the tornado position didn’t take a toll on all of us. Not to mention the extra hour we all stayed at school because the buses couldn’t run until everything was safe.

That’s where Mike comes in. Let’s start with yesterday, when he drove me to my class so I wouldn’t have to walk in the rain, came home, made chili for dinner (he claims this is not a soup), and came back and picked me up. Today he drove me to class again (because I was going to be late late late without his help, thanks to the extra hour at school), picked me up after class, and let me cry on the way home. This is why he’s my hero – saving me from a downpour, holding my hand as I cry in the dark. It was a long day, and I am more than a little bit overwhelmed. Let’s all hope for a more normal day tomorrow. (Please.)

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