When the weather is getting crazy bad here in Texas, I have the best indicator around.
If you think I’m talking about the weather channel, you’re wrong. Oh, there is one here, don’t get me wrong. In fact, for the first time in my life, I have been paying attention to the weather not just because I don’t want to be caught in a tank top in a random snowstorm or a wool sweater in a muggy-excuse-for-a-day greenhouse.
In other words, the weather channel is no longer about “what to wear”. No, people pay attention to the weather because their life depends on it, especially, from what I hear, in Dallas as opposed to other parts of Texas. We are located in a weird spot where we are subject to the humid/warm tropical winds from the gulf, the hot/dry winds from south/west Texas, and the “arctic chill” that sweeps down from Illinois/Wisconsin.
Normally these extreme elements sweep through one at a time, which explains the fact that during this winter we had a week where it was LITERALLY 80 degrees one day and then snowing less than 12 hours later. And for once, I’m not exaggerating. There was also an afternoon where we experienced a 50 degree drop within 2 hours.
And what happens when all of these elements converge at the same time on the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex? You get extreme weather, bigger-than-life Texas style. If you don’t pay attention to the weather, you could end up getting caught in hail as big as softballs (happened last year in Fort Worth) or getting struck by lightning (happened last week to one of my piano students’ house). We also are subject to out-of-nowhere icestorms and tornadoes.
But I am getting off track. Like I said, remember, I have the best extreme weather indicator around, and it isn’t a weather channel or radar from Radio Shack.
Before the first roll of thunder is made audible to our ears, MIrabelle feels it. And, true to Mirabelle’s personal affinity for being afraid of just about everything but her own stupidity, she is terrified. It’s almost as if she says, “I knew that the monsters were real!” It explains why she exhibits open hostility to any “strangers” who enter our home- they could be “agents of the scary voices and low rumblings”.
Whenever the thunder begins, no matter how far away, Mirabelle suddenly loses the ability to walk around standing up. Instead, she gets as low to the ground as possible, spreads all four paws out as far as they can reach, and slithers. Picture Gi-Jo in a trench somewhere in Germany, trying to get low enough to avoid any possible bullets or shrapnel. Now think of how a cat would look doing that, and you have captured what Mirabelle looks like. It’s absolutely hilarious.
At first, I wondered if she was playing charades with us. My guesses would have been, “snake!” or “gecko!”. But then the thunder and lightning came just a few minutes later, and I put two and two together. It’s also entertaining to pick her up during these times, because she hangs there like a limp ragdoll. It’s like she suddenly gets so scared that she loses all motor-control function and can only flop like jello.
In all fairness, the thunder and lightning here are pretty scary, and yet strangely fascinating at the same time. For instance, all the commotion outside woke me up at around 4am this morning. For a while I found it hard to fall back asleep, first, because it was kinda awesome to look out the window and see jagged forks of lightning split across the sky at a rate of 1-2x/per second (again, I am NOT exaggerating, it was a really really bad storm), and secondly, because a huge part of me was terrified as well.
Coming from living in California my entire life where it rains only a few times a year and I have never ONCE seen lightning fork across the sky, I felt as though I had just stepped into the scene in Bambi where all the animals are hiding and the lightning starts pulsating in time with the orchestra. Only, it seemed as if somebody had taken that part and was playing it over and over and over again with the fast-forward button on. The sky didn’t just light up- it was lots and lots of different neon colors.
And don’t get me started about the thunder- I felt as though an entire army of cymbals was standing right outside our window. Usually, thunder peals gain a little momentum as they play- the low rumble eventually crescendos and becomes a BOOM. But this was like BBBBAAAAAAAAAMMMMBBBBAAAAAAAAMMBAAAAAAAMMMMM!!!! the entire time. And since there wasn’t any pausing in between, it was just one overwhelming sound coming from all directions, like a few hundred trains roaring through.
I asked Jesse if we should wake up and turn on the tv and find out if we were in the middle of a tornado or hurricane. He, of course, rolled over and responded with something about fish. So I lay awake, terrified, with only Mirabelle’s trusty cowering and crawling to confirm my suspicions that were were about to be swallowed by this seemingly apocalyptic storm.
I always knew she was good for something besides destruction.