Dancing With Danger

THERE WAS A TIME when traveling evangelists would preach their “End Times” sermon at every revival meeting. Usually it was on Friday night, after serving up free hot dogs to all the kids they could round up. It was a surefire way to ensure strong stats for the evangelist’s marketing efforts; not that some of them actually needed real numbers to prove their pulpit power.

The problem became that we had all heard the End Times talk so many times that we had become desensitized to the alarm of it all.

“In psychology, desensitization is defined as the diminished emotional responsiveness to a negative or aversive stimulus after repeated exposure to it. It also occurs when an emotional response is repeatedly evoked in situations in which the action tendency that is associated with the emotion proves irrelevant or unnecessary.” —Wikipedia

I’m typing this on a Friday afternoon, the sky is dark and there is an eerie calmness outside. Forecasters are once again painting maps in hot colors spelling weather doom. Storm chasers are in position, dopplers are doppling, and we Okies are once again awaiting what could be the Big One, just as we did a few days ago. I hate to say I’ve become desensitized, but I’ve become desensitized.

We Okies joke about our homeland’s fickle weather and shifting tectonic plates. We tend to have fun poking fun at our weather-persons and their giddy anticipation over building storms.

Please, don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that we have the technology we have and those who are enthusiastically dedidcated to keeping us “4-warned” “ahead of the storm” etc. Goodness knows we’ve seen enough storm destruction, mayhem, and worse to make us cherish all efforts to keep us “weather-aware” and safe.

It’s a love/hate thing—with the weather and the meteorologists. Now that we are seeking adventure in a tiny, shiny, aluminum house on wheels, hail and lightening are our archenemies. So while I love the spring rains, as long as there is a “chance” of severe weather, our little Bambi has to stay in her shelter. And as one of our local weather-prophets said on his TV weathercast just last night, “In Oklahoma, in May, there is always a chance…”

It’s been a few days now since I started composing this post. The storms blew through, the sun came up the next morning and the sky seemed more clear. The grass and trees seemed more green, and Oklahoma is still on the map. Now another weekend is approaching and with it the warning of impending severe weather, and we have weekend travel plans.

I feel like a fourteen year-old boy again. Do I go to the dance even though the evangelist warned that the “King Is Coming” any moment now, and he is bringing wrath for fourteen year-old boys dancing too close with fourteen year-old girls?

I can envision pulling our little hail-pelted Airstream home and the roads being lined with all the weathermen, weatherwomen, and old itinerate preachers saying, “We tried to warn you! Verily, verily, we tried to warn you.”