Thursday, April 10, 2008

Big Time in Pork City

Big storms here all last night: the tornado siren went off, I don't know, six or seven times -- I started sleeping through it after the third or fourth time, and we didn't run for the shelter after the second. I decided I would rather die.

(The shelter is not in our house, or even near it: it is behind the Cook School, which is over a mile away. So, to get to the shelter, you must leave when you hear the siren. You get in the car, driver through the pelting rain and hail. When you get to the Cook School, you park out front. Then you run, through pelting rain and dark and hail, trying to stay on the path, generally in vain -- last night I went off the path, into the mud -- it has been raining since mid-March here -- grasping the hand of your terrified nine-year-old, around back behind the school to the shelter. You can find the shelter, if the power hasn't gone, by the bright light outside its door, and by the stench of smokers: no smoking is allowed in the shelter itself, so smokers congregate outside the door, in its covered foyer: to get inside, we must cross this fog of damp smoke, shouldering through about thirty edgy and very damp Arkies.

Once inside, the shelter, which doubles as a gym, is bright and full of muddy children, their sodden parents, elderly folk towing oxgyn tanks, barking dogs, and and squawling infants. A dozen or so children will be playing some sort of game all through the gym -- last night they had a balloon, and were doing that game where you don't let it hit the ground. Last time, I remember, it was soccer, only with a volleyball. We usually bring books, even though it is always too noisy to read them. And too wet.)

We did not die. The storms kept coming through, bangy and crashy. The tree across the street blew down. The backyard is a lake. Every school in town, except mine, cancelled classes today, so the kid has come to work with me. But other than that, and all the sleep I did not get, all's well here --

8 comments:

tonkelu said...

Are there no basements in Arkansas?

zelda1 said...

Glad you survived the night. I hate running for shelter.

zelda1 said...

By the way, I hope it stays nice so we can meet. I miss Martin.

delagar said...

Yes, basements and private tornado shelters -- for the rich folks. We rent, so we get to use the public shelter.

delagar said...

You know, seriously, that's something I never understood, until I left the LA/ARK area -- how rich the rest of this country actually is. People joke about people from Arkansas not wearing shoes or having teeth. It's not a joke. Plenty of my students don't have teeth. They can't afford dental care -- they go to the free dental clinic once every two or three years and get them yanked. They don't live in trailers down here because they like them.

tonkelu said...

We live in an area of the city where the most affluent people live just to our South and some of the poorest people live just to the North. I can't tell you how many little kids (preschoolers and smaller) I've seen with metal teeth. We're not just talking one or two teeth, a mouthful of teeth. It's just so sad.

I wondered about basements because I know in the South there are places that can't have basements because of sandy soil. If it were me, we'd stay put and pile into the bathtub or a closet. Years ago A White Bear had a dinner party on the same night when tornadoes were literally all around us. I have tornado issues so I went home. About 1/3 of the way there the sirens went off, everything was green and still and I'd never been so utterly terrified in my life. I nearly crapped my pants. Hopefully the rest of the tornado season won't be as eventful.

delagar said...

I was seeing my dentist last time but one, and this woman was in with her kids -- three of them, I think, but I was in the next bay, so I didn't see them, just heard -- and obviously none of them had been to see a dentist, I think ever: the oldest (who sounded like he was six? seven?) had, apparently, a mouth full of teeth that were abcessed; the others were nearly as bad, apparently. No fluoride in our water here, for one thing; awful nutrition, for another; and no dental insurance, no dental clinics; no money. Comes down to no money.

Mouse said...

antibiotics will also make your teeth rot out. My baby cousin (really just a baby) hasn't any front teeth because she was on antibiotics for so long that they came in rotten.

Antibiotics will also turn your teeth brown. Another of my cousin's had brown baby teeth because of all the antibiotics she was on when she was little.