The New Kind Of Storm

10:33 AM Edit This 14 Comments »
I beat with the fury of a thousand horses hit the snooze this morning and contemplated my shower and wardrobe choices when I heard it. The roar of a wicked, wicked thunderstorm raging outside my window. So I smiled and snuggled back in. Because you can't possibly take a shower while there is lightning outside. You want to know why? Because if you're seriously unlucky, (And you are. You are unlucky. And don't you ever forget it.) the lightning could find it's way through the water line, shoot through the shower head and electrocute you. It's the same reason you can't talk on the phone during thunderstorms. Again, lightning's ability to find you through your phone line is as quick and sneaky as it's ability to strike your house without you knowing it and snake through the wires in the walls, essentially burning your house from the inside out, during which time you will have inhaled too much hot wire smell and probably croaked.

How do I know all these things? Because my MOTHER TOLD ME. And I BELIEVED HER well into my adulthood. And for years, I used the excuse of, "It's storming outside, I gotta go." to get off the phone. Until they got the internet and would call back to say, "The radar doesn't say there's a storm at your house." and continue chatting. What?!

After years and years of research and cognitive behavioral therapy (I kid about the therapy. Lightning has been the least of my fucking problems), my intense fear of electrocution and my house burning down around me has finally left. It no longer causes me to shiver under my covers with pillows over my head or to crawl into my brother's bedroom, steal his blanket and camp out on his floor until it's over. (Because if I DO magically get struck by lightning while under the bed, he will be able to save me. Right? Of course, right.) Storms no longer cause panic attacks of the variety that require medication and paper bags. And I sometimes even think they're pretty to look at from far away. All because I finally found out for myself that these things are not true. I will not get electrocuted in my shower (at least not by white hot lightning coursing through the water pipes), my phone will not spontaneously combust if I'm talking on it and it starts storming. And I'm fairly certain that if my house were to be struck by lightning, I'd know it. I also know now that the probability of lightning striking me through the window because I happen to be touching the metal latch is pretty low.

You know this caused over twenty years' worth of fucking terror, right? Paralyzing terror. Just one more thing I had to unlearn. Don't get me started on the not talking to strangers thing. THAT particular crippling belief is just now getting addressed. Good Lord.

14 comments:

MilesPerHour said...

We are a crazy bunch aren't we? Darn those parents.

Kristen said...

My mother told me the same thing about the lightning and the phone. She also told me that eating bread crust would make my hair curly and that if I had even ONE TINY SIP of her whisky and soda that my head would hurt so much I'd throw up and start praying for death immediately.

I've got to start making up some good shit like that to tell my kids.

Summer said...

OMG My parents still say things like that.

morethananelectrician said...

I heard a statistic that one person dies in the U.S. each year while on the phone when their home is struck by lightning.

I'll just use the cordless handset.

G said...

I'll stick with my paranoia about guard rails on the highway, and the minor phobia about heights.

Lot less sensible.

MsDarkstar said...

The house I grew up in was hit by lightning. Twice. And pretty much everywhere I've lived since? Hit by lightning. So, I've had a long standing fear that it is an omen and one day, the lightning won't miss me.

But then, I believed my aunt when she told me (at 3 years old) that if she pulled the plug whilst I was in the tub, I'd get sucked right down.

-Peder said...

Kate, you inspired me!

stoogepie said...

Oh, Kate. You should know by now that moms are right about everything.

From the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration website:
MYTH: I’m In A House, I’m Safe From Lightning.
TRUTH: While a house is a good place for lightning safety, just going inside isn’t enough. You must avoid any conducting path leading outside, such as corded telephones, electrical appliances, wires, TV cables, plumbing (including plastic pipes with water in them), metal doors or window frames, etc.

http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/pdfs/LightningMyths-1.pdf

The government has your mom's back.

That doesn't mean your fear is any less irrational. Yes, we are meatbags of electrolytes and are pretty good conductors, but your chances of being struck by lightening under almost any circumstances are a lot lower than "pretty low."

And any paralyzing fear is irrational. Headlights move deer to inaction and look what that gets them.

buffalodick said...

I won't die from storm generated electricity... I'll die from the man made kind!

lacochran said...

I'm with NOAA. Storm? No bath. If that means I don't go to work? Oh, well. Safety is top priority. ;)

melissalion said...

I totally believed you for the whole first paragraph. Because I come from a land without thunderstorms. True.

I was totally making mental notes if a thunderstorm ever hit to NOT TAKE A SHOWER.

I'm very gullible.

LiLu said...

Oh.

So that thing about the phone isn't true?

Right. Of COURSE I knew that...

JoLee said...

I still won't take a shower if it's lightening out. I love thunder storms... from a distance where they can't get me.

Dingo said...

These may be outright lies but I KNOW that if you cross your eyes, they'll get stuck that way. I heard that a friend of a friend had it happen to them.