I am always prepared.
It is in my oldest-child nature.
So it should come as no surprise that when confronted with a tornado watch I know what to do, what paraphernalia to have nearby and how to relax (breathe in, breathe out).
You see, I was in a Category 5 tornado. April 3rd, 1974. Around 5 PM. Caught totally unawares. Mom and me and Jason. Freaked me way the hell out. The half mile wide vortex swirling trees, houses, cars and popping electric lines like toothpicks heading my way.
Scared me out of my ever lovin' mind. Swing low, sweet chariot coming for to carry me home. And all. Thought I was a goner. Me and the maids from the apartment complex I was visiting. Huddled in a heap by the elevator doors in the lobby. Knowing that sweet Jesus was headed our way to bring us into the glory. Not me. I'm Jewish. But there's a certain comfort in travelling with a god-fearing crowd.
Over in less than a minute. The sky came tumbling down. But thank the lord not on our heads. Or Mom's and Jason, our epilepsy-afflicted yellow Lab. Him of the golden fleece. Our Gran Torino wagon none the worse for wear. Just some sticks under the tire hubs. Driven in by the raging winds.
So from that point onward ... for around two years ... I always carried a transistor radio and a flashlight in my purse. Just in case. Not too sure how they would help. Or keep me safe, but they were standard fare none-the-less. That and underpants.
Once I went through the phobia clinic at Mass General in Boston I was cured. No longer fearful of white cumulous clouds in a clear blue sky that could turn nastily in a moment's notice into blue-black anvil shaped wall clouds. Now that took some drugs and a bit of Clockwork Orange behavior mod. But it worked.
I even moved proactively to Oklahoma to meet my demons. Tornado Allie, c'est moi!
What does all this have to do with panties? I'll tell you:
The weather radar on television in the New York City area is brillant red. The storms are heating up. Overactive. A tornado watch has alerted the tri-state area of large hail, high winds, microbursts ... and [drum roll] ... a possible tornado.
So I did what any girl in love would do (read: wearing nothing but a gorgeous silk negligee) ...tie a a pair of panties to the spaghetti strap of my gown. To be fully prepared. Just in case the winds should huff and puff and blow the house down and I'd find myself on the lawn bare assed.
And, that's the truth!