Covid Metamorphoses #22 – Tornado

You’ve got to be fucking shitting me, my brain said when it heard there was a chance of tornadoes last night. Call it disaster fatigue. Call it responsibility fatigue. Call it “I’m not dealing with any tornadoes at 3:00 in the morning.” Call it whatever you want. But my first reaction upon hearing we would spend most of the night under a tornado watch wasn’t fear. It wasn’t even concern. It was a mix of surrender & resignation. And while I’m no professional therapist, I’m guessing “I don’t care if the tornado destroys the house and everyone in it, I just want to keep sleeping” might be a big flashing neon sign of imminent depression, as well as, “Well dying in a tornado would at least be a lot easier than all this bullshit.”

When my wife took our son downstairs to sleep, just the way the meteorologists say you’re supposed to, I stayed upstairs. I didn’t have the patience to deal with the kid if he didn’t go right back to sleep. They did; I didn’t. I finally had to sneak downstairs to grab a snack or something because my stomach was churning from exhaustion and stress.

The tornado watch never became a tornado warning, at least in Athens. A couple touched down 150 miles or so from here. In the semi-clear, pollinated light of day, I’m glad we all survived, even if we’re all struggling with sleep deprivation and jangling nerves. I went to Wal-Mart to replace my bicycle’s flat tire, but of course I forgot to check what size it was before I left. I decided to buy both the 24″ and the 26″ just to be safe. My bike’s tires are 27″ because of course they are. I called the DIY bike store in Athens, which is what I should have done in the first place. They’re still open. Well they aren’t open in the sense that you can do inside, but they’re open in the sense that they’ll meet you outside the building and exchange stuff for money.

Our son was happy to have two new inflatable toys, though in his oatmeal-addled brain, he thought that you could make tire swings out of them, given how they’re, you know, tires and all. The exhilaration of “two new toys!” quickly turned to “dad fucking sucks” (paraphrasing), and when he started yelling at me that he was starving and wanted more food, and some juice water, I went in and turned off his TV for the rest of the day. He came in, ate the food I had told him I made for him, and then went upstairs to sulk for 30 minutes. The next time we saw each other, he apologized.

After going to Wal-Mart–oh yeah, I forgot to mention the store was nearly empty, plenty of social distancing, except for the 13-year-old kid standing…in front of the bicycle intertubes. It looked like he didn’t know what size to get either. So he was standing there making phone calls, and checking stuff on his phone. I stood there waiting for 5-10 minutes, walking around the vicinity, before I finally just gave up and asked if I could get in there. He wasn’t wearing a mask, but there’s only so much precaution a person can take before they start to see the Rona, or a tornado, as a weird kind of relief.

But so after going to Wal-Mart, I swung by my old job to pick up some equipment so I could start working remotely from home. The cubicles there were packed with people who weren’t so lucky–either through lack of home equipment, or not as experienced. The front door was plastered with signs about cleaning, both yourself and your equipment, and I helped myself to some hand sanitizer as I came in. I was the only person wearing a mask. I saw people side-eyeing me while I talked with my supervisor. As I drove away, I turned past the residency hotel on the other side of the parking lot. I think it’s called In-Town Suites. There might be an E at the end of “Town.” There were eight kids, between the ages of 8-15, playing on the small patch of grass between the hotel’s parking lot and the street. None of them were six feet apart, none of them wearing masks.

It blows my mind in the midst of all this to think that I’m one of the lucky ones.

About ScottCreney

Scott Creney lives in Athens, Georgia. He is the author of "Dear Al-Qaeda: Letters to the World’s Most Notorious Terror Organiztion".
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