Thursday, March 20, 2008

emergency toilet paper? check!

A tornado went through downtown Atlanta this past weekend. At the time, it seemed more like an overactive thunderstorm, but that assumption quickly turned into an understatement around 10 o'clock Friday night.

When the initial rains hit, coffeeshopgirl and I were walking home from an impromptu visit with Elise and Isabel. The last quarter of a mile turned into a sloshy dash with me clutching my camera underneath my sweatshirt, cursing myself for being stuck in the rain with something that cost almost as much as a month's rent. After recovering from the sprint, we were about to watch the rest of Annie Hall when I got a text from Tony (owner of Octane Coffee) requesting dogwalking backup because he was busy rubbing elbows with James Hoffman, the UK Barista Champion. Back into the rainstorm we went.

The first roadblock was a downed tree in Cabbagetown. Then we hit a wall of fire trucks. Thanks to all the running we've been doing, I had a few detours at my disposal. We ended up on Boulevard Ave, which took us right by the Stack Lofts (also known as Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts). There were bricks in the road as if someone had crashed into the building (we didn't find out until later that the bricks were from the top floor of the building, which was basically leveled). We finally made it Tony's place and took Buckley for a quick walk. He's scared of thunderstorms so we turned on the news and kept him company for a few minutes. The lightning storm we'd marveled at earlier in the evening turned out to be a possible tornado: CNN center damaged; basketball tournament at the Georgia Dome postponed; broken water mains flooding the Congress Center; power outages across the city; the list goes on. If we hadn't ventured out to walk the dog we would have been sitting at home watching Woody Allen stuttering to Diane Keaton about his obsession with death books.

The next day we embraced our human propensity for rubbernecking and went for a run through Cabbagetown to survey the damage. The skyscrapers downtown were backdropped with dark clouds when we left the house, but the storms headlined on every news channel didn't seem to be materializing, so off we went. Not long after getting into Cabbagetown, the wind picked up and the sirens started. People clustered on porches with radios (and beer) yelled at us to get home because another tornado was headed straight for us. A text from Elise confirmed that we had about 20 minutes before the storm hit. Mad dash #2 was about a mile long, the last 5 minutes of which included hail and pouring rain. Three different people offered us rides, which I found to be an amusing show of southern hospitality, but it incensed coffeeshopgirl and made her run even faster.

The second round of storms passed through town pretty quickly. About an hour after the hail sprint, it was just another spring day in the drrty drrty, for us at least. No trees in the living room and no reason to use the emergency bag that I packed as coffeeshopgirl laughed at my hypervigilance.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Crazy! And who says our weather patterns aren't getting more severe...? Glad you (and the camera) came through OK. :)