Sunday, August 28, 2011

Earthquakes, Hurricanes and Thirteen

We've been having a lot of "weather events" as the news calls them. I secretly love weather events because it usually means we lose power and my kids have to unplug and actually talk to me for more than a few minutes. I like when they have to sit around and listen to lots of radio static by candlelight. It's spooky and old fashioned. Add some lightning, sirens and heavy wind and it's a weirdly connected family moment.

This weather began with the earthquake. I've been using that as a barometer to assess exactly how weird or normal my friends and family are (the results are falling very heavily on the weird side) I was folding laundry while chatting on the phone. The kids were in the yard. Christopher came in just as the earth moved - the table seemed to be tipping and I felt a shudder beneath my feet. The call dropped. My immediate thought?


Who else? I had seen The Exorcist, I knew he shook walls and floors before announcing his sinister presence.

"Feel that tipping?" I asked Christopher, "what is going on?"

"What tipping?"

I should say he's a teenage boy, and he was eating over the sink at the time. If you've ever been or ever taken care of a teenage boy, you know that when they eat, they go into a zone that not even an earthquake can shake them out of. Literally.

"The whole house is moving!"

"Huh. I don't feel anything. (still chewing) "You all right, Mom?"

"How can you not feel that? Everything is MOVING beneath our feet!"

He laughed. "Mom, it's okay. You're probably like hungry or something."

And he went outside, another sandwich in hand.

We had a few days of nice weather, then Irene. Here, in South Jersey, we had several tornado watches to go along with it all. In the middle of all these weather events, on Thursday, Emma turned thirteen. Her party had to be postponed when they closed most of the roads, but I was thinking how apt a metaphor it is to turn thirteen and have an earthquake, tornadic activity and a hurricane accompany the event. It's such perfect literary symbolism in a setting that I'll bet most editors would have us tone it down as being too obvious.

At least, I'm hoping it's setting, but most likely, it's foreshadowing.

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