GREAT. Minnesota skipped Spring this year and went straight to the terrifying "Summer storm season" in like 24 hours. I was inside the kickboxing studio, and saw the rain outside. Then the hail. Then the white cantaloupes started falling out of the sky. I playfully jabbed in the general direction of the rain and exclaimed "Don't make me come out there, Nature!" Everyone laughed and laughed as we finished the roundhouse kicking drill. Turns out, the joke was on me.
I bopped out of class, sweaty and exhausted. "Hmm, that's strange," I thought, "It seems to still be like 85 degrees out. The rain hasn't cooled anything off." So I cranked up the air conditioning and sped on outta class.
Cue: Terrifying Storm.
As I pulled onto the interstate to head home, Britney Spears' song "Til the World Ends" came on the radio and I blared it. I LOVE that song. Hence the reason I didn't hear those pesky tornado sirens allegedly going off all around me. I was singing, tossing my hair, and then THWACK! CRACK! SMACK! I screamed bloody murder, assuming I had somehow been shot. But then I saw the watermelon-sized (I'm only sort of exaggerating) hail slip from the roof of my car and onto my hood. Had I not been busy screaming and slamming on my brakes and checking myself for possible gunshot wounds, I would have reached outside to grab the hail as proof of its enormity. You'll just have to take my word for it.
Anyway, I go from 60 MPH down to 30 MPH, and I am not alone. Every car around me has either slowed down or stopped completely. I started crying. I don't know why. I was scared. And that stupid hail kept pummeling my windshield and the roof of my car (which, apparently, is made out of tin foil based on the sound the hail made crashing into it). So, I do what everyone else does and pull off to the side of the road. Did I mention I wasn't alone on the road? Every freakin' car is packed in sardine-tight, trying to get some relief under an overpass. I was nowhere near overhead protection, so I just kept getting slammed by the freakishly large hail. I considered going to my parents house which was much closer, but the adrenaline was pumping and I just wanted to get home. I called Geo in a panic (yes, car was stopped). Here's my recollection of our conversation:
Me: GEO! OHMYGOD,I'MSTUCKINATORNADO!
Geo: Calm down! It's okay. Are you driving?
Me: YES I'M DRIVING! AND I'M STUCK IN BETWEEN ALL THESE CARS ON THE HIGHWAY BECAUSE NO ONE WILL MOVE ANDITHINKISEEATORNADOOOOO!"
Geo: There's no tornado! You gotta calm down! [If we were in the same room and on a sitcom, here's where he would slap me back to sanity] Where are you?
Me: I'M UNDER 169 AND I KEEP GETTING SLAMMED BY HAIL! Cue hysterical crying
Geo: You have GOT to calm down!
Me: ICAN'T ICAN'T ICAN'T! [THWACK!] AAAAAAAAAAARHHHHHHHHHHH! NO ONE WILL MOVE AND I'M NOT UNDER THE BRIDGE AND MY WINDSHIELD IS GOING TO SHATTER AND OHMYGOD, THE TORNADO SIRENS!
Geo: Pharon. Pharon? Pharon?
Me: I'M STILL HERE. I GOTTA GO! IGOTTAGOIGOTTAGOIGOTTAGO! THE TORNADO'S HERE!
Now, I didn't remember saying that last part about the tornado coming, but Geo assures me I did. Who am I to argue? I was hysterical. But the real reason I hung up was because 3 police cars started making everyone get out of the way. By that point, traffic was stopped all across the highway, and no one could get through. So, I impulsively decided to stick with the cops. I followed them for, oh, 100 yards, and then they ditched me for a different highway.
I continued on alone. I kept convincing myself "Just get out of this hail, and you won't be so scared." Or "Just make it to highway 100 and everything will be fine." So I GET to highway 100 and everything is decidedly NOT FINE.
The hail had subsided and I bravely turned my radio back on for some calming music. Instead, I hear "EEEEEEEEEEEEE ERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR EEEEEEEEEEEE ERRRRRRRRRRRRRR! This is a tornado warning. Funnel clouds have been spotted [somewhere very near me. I don't know anything about Geography, so I had no idea how close they really were]. Please get to a protected area. EEEEEEEEEEEEEE ERRRRRRRRRRRR EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE ERRRRRRRRRRRRRR!"
Gee. Thanks. That certainly helped everything. I started just screaming in my car at no one and no thing in particular. Cars again were coming to a stop because of the idiots who were blocking lanes of traffic to hunker down under bridges, leaving all us unlucky fools behind them in the lurch. I came to a stop again. Geo was calling. Here's THAT conversation:
Geo: Are you okay? Where are you?
Me: Hey. I'm fine [thanks to the maniacal yelling I had just gotten out of my system], the hail has almost stopped, but now I'm stuck behind a bunch of idiots blocking the road.
Geo: Uh, okay. Where are you?
Me: I'm almost getting off on Highway 7, but the roads are blocked.
Geo: Okay, well, um. Just so you know, you're kind of like RIGHT IN THE STORM. Can you get underneath something?
Me: [seething] No. I. Can't.
Geo: Okay, well, just get home.
Me: %^&*%*@@^!*&$^&*#$%^#$#$%&^&%$$##! MOVE YOU MORONS!!!!!
I use the only tools at my disposal. I lay on my horn, and roll down my window and just start screaming. "MOVE, YOU IDIOTS! YOU CAN'T JUST BLOCK THE *#&%*@#*% ROAD! MOOOOOOOOVE!"
Like Moses parting the Red Sea, cars started to move and make way for the crazy woman in the Subaru who was still wearing her kickboxing wrist wraps. I mercifully passed all the jerkwads and thanked them with a couple choice hand gestures.
So I'm like 3 minutes away from home when the hail starts again. I've HAD it with this hail. I start screaming "STOP IT! JUST STOP IT!!!!!!!" Then I start alternating between hysterically crying and hysterically laughing. I am full-on manic. To make matters worse, I'm now shaking. This could be for a number of reasons. I hadn't eaten dinner yet, I had just had a full-out kickboxing class and I was exhausted, my air conditioning was still on Super High, and, oh yeah. I was going insane.
Finally, I pull into our driveway. I couldn't care less about the horrible hail damage on my car, which I think also cracked my windshield, I just book it inside to the safety of my house. I run up the stairs, hoping to be swept into a hug or raucous round of applause and cheers, but instead, all my roommates are standing outside on our deck WATCHING the storm.
I'm a wreck.
Geo says "Good! You made it! You were basically driving IN THE STORM THE WHOLE TIME. Crazy, right?"
Buddy? You have NO idea...