You’d think after BlizzFest 2011, you know the one — the one that dumped two feet of snow and ditched the diets of countless Oklahomans — that I’d be tired of crazy weather.
If you think that, you must not be from Oklahoma. Snow is rare, and we don’t flourish in it, but the other stuff — heavy, lightening-rich, tornado-producing storms of early summer — are what we live for.
As I type this, I’m watching the Oscar Red Carpet preshow, but I’m less interested in that and more in the weather warnings that are sporadically appearing and rapidly making me jealous.
The northeast sections of Oklahoma are now under tornado warning, and it’s moving up to flat-ass Kansas, where they don’t truly appreciate good weather. Yes, I call this the good weather. My favorite season in Oklahoma is storm season. It’s fun, it’s energizing, and I think, perhaps, all those dips in barometric pressure arouses us Okies. It does something to our sex drive, I’m telling you. I bet we have more January babies than most states because of all the pre-storm humping. Just a theory.
It’s also a damn fine lesson in Oklahoma geography. In no other season can you learn about really small towns in Oklahoma, with names you could never believe: Pink, Greasy, IXL… it’s enriching.
This late-February ruckus in the weather pattern is just more proof that climate change is indeed upon us. Oklahoma received more snow this year than in any season before. Now, on Feb. 27, it’s 73 degrees outside and tornadoes are forming in Osage County (those lucky stiffs.)
If you’re reading this and you think I’m crazy, I’ll just solidify it. A few years ago, my old roommate and I were barbecuing on the front lawn. We were working nights, and were both off this day, so we were cooking a late lunch. It was dusk, muggy and hot, the perfect conditions for severe weather. We cooked anyway, and The Smell overcame us — it’s an ozone-rich, earthy/grassy smell, and it’s divine. It means the sky is thickening, the clouds are holding water, the humidity is increasing. We barely acknowledged it, just continued cooking steak and vegetables.
The tornado sirens went off. The dog was outside with us, lying on the driveway, and his ears went up, he stood up, then he was back down. We looked around, heard some thunder, saw some lightening and kept cooking. We were more in awe of the beautiful lightening and how it was helping us see how the steaks were coming along. The sirens ceased. We stayed out. We ate in some lawn chairs on the driveway, the sun was gone by this point, and another round kicked up. The air changed. The atmosphere seized and sizzled. The sirens went off again. The dog go up and walked to the door. We followed his lead, but only because only then did it seem like shit might start gettin’ crazy. It rained like crazy, and the ol’ roommate went out on a ladder and started cleaning the gutters during the storm. With sirens going off. So not a stereotypical gay man sorta thing to do.
All I’m saying is this: true Oklahomans take a tornado siren as a cue to get on the porch, not in the cellar. It’s a sad fact that in Oklahoma, home to so many freshly born tornadoes, red dirt and clay can’t sustain basements. Few of us have cellars — they’re so danged expensive — so we all have some room in our house wherein we know to go if it’s really serious. And we’ve got our Super Talented Army of Meteorologists to tell us when it’s really serious. Until then, we’ll be on the porch.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Oklahomans are often part-Cherokee, and always part-meteorologist.