What would you want with you if you were stranded on a desert island? This common question is a game, of course. What about if your house were on fire, what is the one thing you would grab? This scenario is more plausible, but it’s still really a game, isn’t it?
Well here in Oklahoma, there’s a question I ask myself every year, and it’s not really a game: What would I grab if a tornado were coming toward my house?
That’s right, gentle readers, it’s tornado season, and despite my exterior of nonchalance, I’m getting kinda antsy. It probably has something to do with the fact that I have fewer phalanges in my hands and feet than friends and family members whose houses have been affected, if not outright destroyed, by tornadoes. Even my antique typewriter is rumored to be a two-time tornado survivor.
The most frightened for my house I have ever been was two years ago. About a week after the big kahuna of tornadoes destroyed half of Moore, another big one was forming a few miles west of there. For about half an hour it looked like it was going to come right through Mustang, where we lived. I grabbed my computer, a stack of diapers, half of the laundry in the dryer, the dog, and my children, and headed to the tornado shelter.
A mere two weeks ago, another tornado was coming at our new house. I grabbed my computer, toddler underwear, the dog, and my children, and headed to the tornado shelter again. This one also missed us, but the torrential rain and hail that followed in its wake literally flooded our street. We were fortunate, but many of our neighbors were not.
So I guess my question has been answered, and the kids and clean undies win the day.
But here’s my confession. There was something else I really wanted to grab both times, but I didn’t because it would be too selfish and time consuming. (And really, really heavy.)
I know it’s stupid, but I would really regret it if something happened to these notebooks. I know that everything written in them is nothing more than a teenager’s scribbles. When I die, no one is going to look in them and go, “Wow, this this is brilliant! It should be published posthumously!” There is nothing to be salvaged here. Not a single predictable plot line, not one shallow, cliched character. No turns of phrases here that will make someone pause and think about life.
But if a tornado comes and destroys my house and these notebooks get tossed into the winds, or if a flood rises up into our bedroom and blots the words out of these pages, I will cry. A lot. And a part of me will be lost forever.
And now, to quote the Doctor:
We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?