Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Haiku of the Day - Jan. 30

Woke up this morning
'Cause my iPhone was screaming
Just a false alarm

We've been having a bit of rough weather here overnight. I went to bed last night prepared to be woken up by the sound of tornado sirens or my cell phone ringing with an emergency message from my school's alert system. I was hoping for the best but mentally preparing for the worst.

Around 5:55 A.M. I was woken by an obnoxiously loud beeping noise that I had never heard before. Two thoughts processed simultaneously in my groggy brain: 1) "I didn't even know you could make that noise, phone!" 2) "Oh, jeez, we're all going to get blown away!"

Evidently my iPhone has an emergency alert system which allows it to magically know when there's danger about and makes it sound like a weather radio. I had no idea. Phones these days, they're so smart. Mine was warning me that there was a tornado warning in my area. A tornado watch is what you call it when conditions are good for a tornado to form. A tornado warning is what you call it when you're supposed to get out of bed and do something about it.

So I crawled out of bed and tried to form a course of action. I debated waking up all my roommates but wasn't sure if I had probable cause.The weather alert had come from my iPhone, not my school, and the tornado sirens weren't wailing, so was there really a tornado coming my way? I couldn't be sure, so I did what we always do when tornadoes come knocking at home: I turned on the TV to see what the heck was going on.

In this part of the state, James Spann is the man everyone counts on to keep them informed when the weather goes berserk. I had never heard of him before I started going to school here, but it only took one crazy weather day for me to become very familiar with him. In my too-early-for-this-garbage haze, I wondered how the heck I was going to find his channel since I don't watch much TV and I don't know which channel is which in this city, but a minor miracle happened: I turned on the TV and there he was.

I squinted at the weather radar map, which was all covered in colorful blobs. That's not usually a good sign, but I've seen worse. James Spann was in the middle of a sentence. He said that people's weather radios had been going off, but there was not a problem in my area. The problem was elsewhere.

So I'd gotten up for no reason? I watched the TV for a little while longer, reluctant to go back to bed when there was even a chance of bad weather. But he said it again: there was no tornado happening even remotely close to me. And besides, his sleeves weren't even rolled up. There was no crisis I needed to worry about. So, soothed by the all-knowing James Spann, I turned off the TV just as he was saying something about polygons and crawled back into bed, hoping to get another hour or two of sleep before my alarm clocks rang.

Did I get back to sleep? No, and I am somewhat exhausted from trying. But I'm safe and my city is safe. I also have one more way to stay safe and informed during bad weather. Weird story, happy ending.

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