Last night we had a whopper of a thunderstorm that parked over our house. There was one boom directly overhead and I think it hit something by the way it kept booming. I hate thunderstorms with a passion. And before all the pagans start jumping on me about nature’s wonderful light show, just SHUT UP! Why? Because I’ve been struck by lightning and I know what it does to the human body and it ain’t pretty.
LA didn’t used to have them before climate change, at least not very many on the lowlands but they are common in the mountains and I worked at camps in the local mountains from 1975 to 1985 all summer long and at church camps for a few weeks every year starting in 1969. We saw a lot of thunderstorms, some summers every day for a month at 4pm when the winds changed off the mountain. In case you didn’t know winds tend to change direction in our mountains, once in the morning and once in the afternoon due the elevation and heat exchange.
You learn pretty quickly not to stand under trees and not to carry umbrellas. I still won’t carry an umbrella. You learn not to be the tallest thing around because the tallest thing is what the lightning is attracted to hit. You learn to get out of the pool and the lake because electricity and water even “natural” electricity do not mix as some poor guy found out on the beach here last year.
In 1977 I was working up in Big Bear and a thunderstorm moved in and an idiot counselor had her kids dancing in the rain in the large open parking lot. I was up in the staff house with some friends on my two, (two hour break we got every day). The storm moved in right on top of us and it was striking trees and we were scared. I have a stupid urge to rescue people that are in danger so I ran out to the wrought iron flag pole on the cliff above the kids and yelled at Fern to get her kids in the Dining Hall with everyone else. I had my hand on that flag pole when it got struck.
I got thrown 10 feet away.
Do you know what your brain does with that much electricity running through it? It fries your circuits. The closest I can come to describing the feeling is when I was a kid sitting in my wagon and dragging my feet behind on the pavement when someone pulled the wagon very fast. It gives you a very strange warm buzzing feeling. And it’s fun on a wagon, and so not fun when it’s lightning. And that doesn’t count what it does to your hearing either.
I think it took several days before I could structure sentences and not sound like Yoda, that is f I could come up with the word at all. And I almost got fired over it because “I scared the girls” really?
I scared me pretty good too. I still have problems with things like chargers for my phone or other equipment. You have no idea how many unbreakable lifetime warranteed chargers I have killed. I ‘m always replacing them. The ones that last the longest have gold tips and are by Chargz. All others die with in 6 months or less, I’ve had some cheap ones last a month. I can blow street lamps, often enough that once while leaving Harvest Moon celebration big ritual one year I killed all of the street lights on Victory Blvd and I heard my lover in her truck yelling at me from behind to < “STOP IT!” Usually it’s only one at a time.
I can also get the power on when it’s been off to and fry a watch or a computer. You kind of learn that grounding is really important because if you forget? Someone is going to pay and it will probably be me. In 1981 I was on a plane over the Grand Canyon headed for Britain when lightning started hitting the plane. Terror in the skies for me for a few minutes until we got out of range. I had visions of it coming to get me in its home environment.
I was better after the year my partner and I drove all over the Southwest for three weeks staying in all kinds of National Parks. One night was in Monument Valley on the Navajo Reservation in their campground. We were almost the only ones there because it had been raining and most people had left and it was like being captured in a John Ford movie. It’s one of the most beautiful austere places you can stay. A thunderstorm moved in after we went to bed in the camper shell. And it was hitting the thumb buttes all around us and for some reason it felt safe. I felt safe in that thunderstorm for the first time in years and after that the fear eased up but last night? Not so much.
The next morning we visited a place that made beautiful pots and they had one of Monument Valley in a thunderstorm. We got it and I still have it. It’s an amazing piece of work and a sort of safety talisman
So last night when it started in it was fine and faraway and then it wasn’t and it didn’t move for almost 45 minutes. I don’t know who was more scared, me or my sister’s kitten. So not fun!