When the warning sirens went off, I was in the grocery store. Well-trained employees herded me and the other customers into a storage room between the produce and the seafood departments.
Taking time to chill
We stood on the concrete floor amidst towering industrial shelves, loaded with boxes of celery, mangoes and other lovely edibles from all over the planet, shivering in the refrigerated air. (40°F. Brr!)
Right away, folks pulled out their cell phones, checking in with loved ones. But once immediate personal concerns had been handled, we started noticing one another. Conversations sprang up, sharing of what little we knew of the storms. Someone had a sophisticated weather app on his device and he provided periodic updates as he tracked what was happening in real time. We were in this together.
Still, it didn’t take long before we were all wanting to sit down. Or better yet, get on about our day. More tornadoes had been sighted, though, and we weren’t going anywhere.
Well-timed caffeine boosts our morale
Store employees rounded up bottles of water for us. They organized a cart loaded with hot coffee and cookies from the bakery department. A steaming cup of joe went a long way to taking off the chill of that refrigerated room. We went back to swapping stories until it was safe for us to leave.
In my time, tornadoes have caught me in office buildings and private homes. I’ve hunkered in stairwells, closets, bathrooms and basements. But until today, I’ve never spent an hour literally rubbing elbows with grocery-seeking strangers in a room stacked with exotic produce. Truly a fresh experience.
[I'm celebrating my 50th birthday year by trying 50 new things. This post contributes to my chronicle of some of those new things. Why not subscribe to my feed and follow the entire adventure?]
Photo credit: supa_pedro