Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Tornados are a rush

It was raining. There were big thunderboomers in Denton County. I had my last shoot in the bag. I headed over to get some lightning shots behind a wire horse I've had my eye on for just this kind of night. Then I got this pager notice:
“Tornados reported. Tarrant county. Nothing specific yet. Head that way. Kennedale, Mansfield. Will update when I have more info.”

I turned the truck around and headed toward Tarrant County. I was hungry and thought about eating an orange on the way. Then I thought, “Hold it. You may be dead in less than an hour and you are still worried about calories?” So, I pulled over to the drug store and got the biggest bag of peanut butter M&M candies I could find. At least I would die happy.

I listened to the AM radio stations as I drove. They were screaming about super-cell tornados and everyone needing to take cover immediately. Yup, that's where I'm headed. Joy.

I'm smiling now because to me tornados are something between a haunted house and a creepy carnival ride. So the freaking thing picks up my truck and throws it into a building. I’m harnessed. Maybe I will live through it. I have airbags. It doesn't really matter. I have done everything I have ever wanted to do.

I called Fayrouz to let her know I love her (just in case), and off I went.

This could be fun. Each report I hear for the next hour is a little worse than the last. As I move along, I find myself relatively alone on the highways (never a good sign in DFW). Furthermore, all the streetlights and buildings are dark.

Meanwhile the lightning said, “sha-BOOM, Sha-BOOM, SHA-BOOM.”

Believe it or not, this is what I find so enjoyable about my job. It's a rush to know you may not make it home tonight. It's not really a death wish, but it's embracing the inevitable. If I live through this one, it'll make a cool story. If not, life's been good.

As it was, all I could find by deadline was a car trapped on a flooded road. Then I had to look for a place to transmit. The power was out in Fort Worth, then Arlington (even at our emergency press), I already knew it was out in Euless, Grand Prairie as well. So, I might as well go to the downtown office.

As I pulled up to the building, I got a pager notice telling me there was no room left. They put an image on the Web site though. I earned my pay today. I got some extra miles, and I didn't injure my truck. It was a good day.

Enough for now,

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