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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Idjits Sucked Out of Skyscraper by Massive Storm; Film at 5:00

When the storm blew in, there was nothing to do but watch it.

We gathered around the windows on the 48th floor. 11:00 in the morning, and the sky is an ominous black-green, the clouds so low that the effect is cave-like. Far below, tiny cars turn on their tiny headlights. The air is murky, palpable. Sidewalk traffic is almost non-existent.

Just short of 100 degrees, I am reminded of the movie Bladerunner; and I secretly suspect that at this very moment, there are people selling synthetic snakes from rickety plastic stands on the humid, sticky streets below.

“I’ve always wondered,” muses one, “about the people who stand and watch potentially dangerous storms. And now I’m one of them…”

He trails off, watches a cloud bit descend rapidly and then just as rapidly be sucked back up.

“Tornado.”

“Hail.”

It looks like both. The sky boils as black- and gray-fisted clouds pummel each other at our eye level.

“This is not how I thought it would end,” says one.

“I thought I’d be richer.”

“I was hoping my clothes would be off,” says another.

“It’s not too late.”

“For the money or for the nudity?”

“Hey, play your cards right and the answer to both questions will be ‘yes’.”

We laugh.

“Our designated shelter is the north stairwell,” I say, “just past the printer.”

“Perhaps we should be in it?”

We laugh again. Why would we hide in the windowless, airless stairwell while the sky is alive with lightning bolts, while intermittent raindrops the size of beer chasers hit the windows with casual violence?

We watch in surprise as the windows flex in, then out.

“OK, that’s freaky.”

“When are they going to sound an alarm?”

“We should be moved into a safety area, don’t you think?”

“I wonder,” someone says, “if we should just go ahead and go somewhere where the chance of imminent death by window shards is less?”

Smiles appear.

“Novel idea, that.”

“Lunch, anyone?”

“Don’t mind if I do.”

And with that, Acme Sprockets and Grommets’ office staff at the northeast corner of the 48th floor moves toward the exits.

And lives to punch in another day.

43 comments:

Simply Suthern said...

Sounds like an exciting day. The window flexing sounds like something from "The Matrix".

Did they make you clock out while you was watching the storm or charge for the view?

Glen said...

Just be glad you had your pre planned survival pack ready

Susan in the Boonies said...

Wow. They're mesmerizing, aren't they?

Pearl said...

Simply, luckily the 20 minutes we blew off watching the storm was boss-sanctioned. :-)

Glen, um, yes. :-) the plan being to see how fast I can run down 48 floors!

Susan, the sky was aLIVE. And yet after the storm, it was still 119 heat index outside. You'd think a big storm would cool things off, wouldn't you?

Eva Gallant said...

Your post was so visual! I felt like I was there watching the storm, too!

Joshua said...

When does the wicked witch show up?

Drake Sigar said...

I would walk out into it and let the onlookers watch as I gradually disappear into the mists. Death is a small price to pay for one brief moment of looking totally badass.

Oilfield Trash said...

This sounds exactly like how it goes down at my office as well.

Bossy Betty said...

I moved from tornado alley to earthquake country. It's a bit harder to figure out when they are going to come.

Loved your comment on my blog yesterday. You crack me up, Pearl!

jenny_o said...

Such great imagery. It must have been something to watch from that height. By which I mean something awesome AND something scary.

We are having similar humidity and got to have a thunderstorm two days ago. The cloud cover was so dark and moved in so fast, it was like a sped-up solar eclipse.

Pat said...

Skyscrapers have safety glass, so you wouldn't die from glass shards, but being sucked out the window would be what did you in. It'd be a real downer. Sounds like a fantabulous sky show, though!

R. Jacob said...

and to think you missed the chorus of voices yelling 47 floors to go, 46 floors to go, yelling like little girls, and the women yelling too!

Kavi said...

Boss sanctioned 20 minutes... ! Wow ! On that note, any storm could be borne well ! And ofcourse, punched in later !

glad all is well !

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Sounds like a good group to face the end with. Riding the wind like the witch in The Wizard of Oz.

Pearl said...

Eva, it was a visual FEAST, I tell you!

Joshua, every day, right around 8:00 a.m. Hey-O!

Drake, now THAT is funny. Went to ground level in search of lunch and at that level it looked like a movie set. Sheets of rain, so close together. You could’ve washed your hair, your clothes, pets… Much stronger and heavier than any shower I’ve ever taken…

Oilfield, aren’t we wonderful? I once stood in a parking lot watching the tornado that went on to change Springbrook Nature Center in Fridley from a heavily forested area to prairie. Took out all the trees. It was shocking – and quite sad.

Betty, one of my fellow gawkers yesterday did the opposite – moved from earthquakes to tornadoes. He ‘prefers’ tornadoes, but it’s a pretty horrible choice to make, isn’t it?

Jenny_o, it looked like time-lapse photography, it was moving so fast. The best part – that I didn’t include – was the hawk that lives on the 49th floor. She kept diving in and out of the clouds, screeching. The combination of the dark colors, low clouds, and the BRAAAAK! BRAAAAK! of that diving bird was incredible.

Pat, a downer indeed!! :-) I kept asking people, “now this is safety glass, right?” but no one seemed to know…

R. Jacob, I’ve wondered about dashing down 48 floors. Would I jump over the bigger folk, the ones with casts and whatnot? I don’t want to know…

Pearl said...

Kavi, he stood and watched with us. :-)

Delores, it had that feel!!

haphazardlife said...

Oh, I love storms. Maybe I should move to Minneapolis. All we get here is heat.

Pearl said...

haphazard, it's been windy, and that's for sure! Also: come on up! The roads are good and all the people are attractive. :-)

Shelly said...

I LOVE to watch the sky during storms, but like to be safe from them, too. We get hurricanes here, not tornadoes, so it's not as interesting to watch. Be safe!

Shelly (It's not letting me sign in for some reason.)

The Six-Fingered Monkey said...

Did anyone end up getting naked?

I certainly hope so.

jabblog said...

It sounds very exciting but makes it hard to get back to the mundanities of life, though perhaps they're a relief!

CarrieBoo said...

Wow, that was great! I've never seen anything like it. Very descriptive... especially the 'beer chasers' part.

Douglas said...

We don't have skyscrapers here. I think the tallest building in my town is 3 stories. But we go out driving around during hurricanes so it's probably a smart thing to not have any tall buildings around. When I lived in California, a tsunami warning would create a traffic jam... in the direction of the beach.

Belle said...

Whoa, you guys are brave to stand near the windows and watch. I'd probably be under a desk somewhere praying!

Camille said...

Gah! I went up the Empire State building once - kept my eyes squeezed shut the whole time (shaddup) I like it better down here on the ground...bugs, dirt, grass, ice-cream trucks, Camille, etc. :-)

Jhon Baker said...

Yeah, I want to be found naked - or maybe wearing a bra... oh, wait - that's another dream... Nah, I always thought I would be assassinated, dreamt of it since childhood. Standing by a window that is flexing, I think I would throw up - no eat lunch.

Vinny C said...

In my head I'm going to replace your coworkers with hillbillies:

Storm's-a-comin'...
Yup...
Looks like a biggun...
Yup... (*Sips coffee from paper cup*)

MJenks said...

One time, there was a string of tornadoes that went through South Bend. I'm still a little upset that I didn't go up into Touchdown Jesus (is there a safer place in the world to be during a tornado? I think not!) and watch as they descended upon the western half of the city.

MJenks said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention how much I love a well-done Bladerunner reference. *starry-eyed*

vanilla said...

Storm Chasers have nothing on Storm Watchers of AS&G.

iDifficult said...

I loved watching storms until the neighbours across the road had their house hit by lightening. I now hide under the bed with the cats.

Daisy said...

Wow! I could feel the electricity and kept thinking: "run!"

Then thunder rolled through here and I really jumped!

HermanTurnip said...

At that same exact moment I was running around on the streets below you warning people to take cover. You didn't happen to see me by chance, did you? I was the naked guy in the see-through rain slicker.

lgsquirrel said...

How exciting! When are you posting it on youtube? You did record the whole thing on camera phone ,didn't you?

Mama Spaghetti said...

Wow...that sounds incredible. But also very frightening!

Crystal Pistol said...

"The roads are good and all the people are attractive" eh? It sounds better and better all the time.

one of my favorite pastimes is watching an angry storm. God and Satan are having a disagreement in those clouds, ya know...

Tempo said...

My kind of people...

Pat said...

For all my safety consciousness I suspect I also would have stood and stared.

River said...

I love watching storms like that. Sadly they're quite rare in my corner ofthe world.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Wouldn't it be the harshest thing to die violently at work? Sheesh.

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

We have a similar view of storms here on the 25th floor of the Columbus office of Acme Sprockets and Grommets. Not that I'm reading this at work. No sir. Wait. What?

WrathofDawn said...

Here at the end of the earth (well, you can SEE it from here) we don't get tornadoes or earthquakes, although we had a tsumani back in '29. A smidge before my time. We do get a hurricane from time to time, like oh... last September.

Years ago, I was working in what passes for a skyscraper in this part of the world - 15 stories - when a hurricane blew in. The building was swaying a foot and a half. Gently back and forth... back and forth. I had a new co-worker that day who was from another much smaller city that didn't have any buildings taller than 3 or 4 stories. She was NOT terribly impressed with the swaying, I can tell you.

When the power went out, they evacuated the building and we, along with the workers on the 6 floors above us exited via the stairwells. Just as we got to the ground floor and the first person was about to open the door to the lobby we heard glass smashing and people screaming. It was like a disaster movie. As it turned out, there was an investment firm on the first floor that had floor-to-ceiling windows and whose office space wrapped around the lobby one three sides. One of their windows had blown in and everyone in the lobby was safe. But we had no idea what we were going to see when we opened that door...

Suzy said...

Once in NY, I was in the offices of Town & Country Magazine, where I was temping. There was a huge storm and we could hear creaking. Then some GENIUS pointed out that all skyscrapers (at least in NYC) were built to sway in the wind. So I got very still and sure enough, we were swaying. Not a lot, but some. NIGHTMARE.