Thursday, March 17, 2011

Storm Watch


Last thursday night we were driving to our condo after dinner and a walk on the beach in Waikikki when I got a tweet from my friend, "@replikate sorry to ruin your vacation but it looks like there is a tsunami warning out for Hawaii." I read it to the car and I think we were all just about to roll our eyes when we noticed about 25 cars lined up at the gas station.

And then there was a warning siren. Turns out you can ignore your friend's debbie downer tweet but you can't really ignore that sound. We turned on the radio and learned that the earthquake in Japan had caused concern that a giant wave was headed for the islands of Hawaii. Inundation zones were to be evacuated.

We were close to our condo so we decided to go on and see what the word was when we checked in. The guard told us to turn on the TV and follow instructions. You know what is a weird thing? To turn on CNN and see them talking about the very place YOU ARE STANDING RIGHT NOW. At this point it was pretty clear that we probably wouldn't be spending the night in our cute beach condo but rather in our spacious Ford Fusion. We filled water bottles, posted that we were safe on every social network we could think of and headed off to the nearby LDS Temple grounds in Laie.

The parking lot was packed so we found a little space and then took a walk around the temple grounds. It had been our to do list anyway and we joked that we could tell our parents we were SO spiritual we hit the temple first thing.

Our friends Mike and Whitney were on the last flight being allowed to land at the airport so we told them to get in the car and they finally found us at about 1:30. We were four hours behind most of our families and friends back on the mainland but all of us started getting worried emails and texts from people who had either stayed up late watching earthquake coverage or who were up early. We all tried to sleep but our phones hummed pretty much the whole night. And frankly, if I'm stuck on an island with a potential tsunami on the way, I'd prefer to go down knowing that the people I love were thinking about me.

The wave was supposed to hit at 3 in the morning. It didn't. And by 7:30 the mayor had declared it "all clear" to go home. We raced home and fell exhausted into our little beds and slept until we decided to continue our naps on the beach. By then the sun had come out, the air was warm and our biggest issue was "strawberry or pina colada?"

As a little kid, maybe my biggest fear was that I would be at school when "the big one" hit Salt Lake. I was terrified for weeks after I read "Night of the Twisters" thinking a tornado could somehow get to Utah. Lightening made me run through the house closing all the windows. The recurring dream that I have that ISN'T that marriage one is that I am playing in the ocean in Huntington and the waves get as big as a skyscraper and I can't get back to the sand. Scary weather really, really freaks me out.

So I was a little suprised at how nonchalant I felt about the whole thing. Maybe it's because we watched some of the footage from Japan before we left and compared to what they were dealing with-having four hours advanced notice and the opportunity to let everyone know we were safe felt like an absolute luxury. Maybe it's because I felt sheepish that I had been SO over the top upset about missing my flight earlier when the only real consequence had been I didn't have to wait two hours in the airport for my friends to arrive. Maybe I'm finally realizing that worrying and freaking out has never, ever once solved anything?

I know I say this a lot, and maybe it starts to sound like I'm making it up, but as I was trying to fall asleep against the window of that car I felt overwhelmed by the good things in my life. And recommitted once again to trying to be better with that life. Nicer, more patient, more forgiving, kinder, more generous. Not to be afraid to put my cards out with people I care about.

So thank you internet, so many of you blog readers reached out to make sure I was OK and I'm sure that was a healthy part of why there was more giggling than worrying in the Fusion that night.

And let's keep praying for Japan eh?

1 comment:

Whits said...

So funny cuz when we were going down the list of books we loved when we were younger I was going to mention night of the twisters. And you mention it here instead.