Yesterday, the insulating property of my hyper-focus at work was breached by the growing anxiety I sensed in nearby snippets of conversation and commentary.
"Murmur murmur murmur tornadoes in Naperville" someone read from her computer screen.
Stepping from my cubicle, I had a view facing east to the Lake through my boss' large windows, and to the south through the external windows of my workspace.
It was a maelstrom.
We looked out towards the lake, obscured by storm clouds, and saw walls of ran twist and slam across the landscape around our building. There were long, frequent tongues of lighting and loud claps of thunder.
There were discussions of elementary-school lockdowns, of children being moved to internal classrooms.
There was speculation of taking shelter in the building stairwell, and debates over whether it was preferable to be on the 40th floor if a freak tornado hit, or be in the bottom of the building, to be potentially crushed should the building go down.
By a weird stroke of luck, I'd woken up that morning exhausted (PMS sometimes results in weird, half-remembered dreams that seem to keep me from sleeping deeply enough to be refreshed; I wake up feeling like I've been doing jumping jacks all night). I'd decided not to bike in. Turned out to be a good idea.
On the way home, I sat on the train, listening to the rain whipping against the El car, a million wet bb's pelting us. People got on, drenched to the bone. Lighting and thunder occurred simultaneously, letting us know that the storm was riding shotgun on the red line. It was kind of fun.
Trees fell in neighborhoods. We have many large, old trees on my street; one had fallen during the last storm; I worried for the cottonwoods and locusts towering many stories above the roofs. There was one branch down on a cross-street, but my favorite trees still stood, although the next day saw a lot of small-twig and bush debris.
The Catalpa trees seemed to take it hardest; their brittle, gnarly branches seem to break easily and chopstick-sized pieces of them were all over, along with the large, heart-shaped leaves and long, leathery bean pods. None were felled, though, which made me happy. I love those trees.
The news this morning talked of the hundreds of emergency tree calls placed to the city, and at work, we discovered our remote backup generator in the suburbs had been struck by lightning. It afforded me a nice discussion with one of our IT guys, on whom I have a crush. I think he might have a crush, too, but the minor-league crush of a guy who already has a girlfriend. No matter; at this point, the fact that someone might actually find me crushworthy is such a novelty that it's almost as good as an actual relationship.