April 27, 2011, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Forest Lake neighborhood
You just don’t realize how fast everything can change, until everything changes.
I was just laying in bed being sick, when the sirens went off. They went off all the time lately, and sure there were storms, but they mostly went around me, usually. Truth be told, I was kinda getting sick of those stupid sirens, always wailing away and making everybody panic, for no good reason.
I swore off TV a long time ago, because…the internet. And plus I felt like it was ruining (had ruined) my brain. I worried that I had already wasted large chunks of my life doing nothing that counted for anything, sitting on the couch, watching a box. When I started college, I would leave it on in the background while I did my homework, telling myself it helped me focus. By the time I hit upper level physics courses, I knew it was a lie, but kept it up anyway, snuggling with my denial, until I finally threw away the cable box and remote in grad school. Sometimes I checked the crap-app weather radar on my phone. I hadn’t even married a favorite local Tuscaloosa news station, and I didn’t even realize what I was missing. Until the sirens went off on April 27, 2011, and I was alone at home. Sick. And in bed. And looked out my window and saw a tornado on the other side of the lake a block away.