Laughing in the face of disaster

Being the over-prepared, paranoid weirdo that I am, I tend to conjure up hypothetical problem situations in my head and figure out how I would deal with such situations ahead of time. It’s become an actual habit now where I tend to do this instead of daydreaming. I’m a super fun person!

A few years ago, in an interview, I was stumped by the following question…

What’s the most interesting thing that has ever happened to you?

You might assume that I panicked because I couldn’t think of anything that riveting. Oh no no no. You see, drama has a way of seeking me out wherever I go. My friends used to have weekly breakdowns of the drama that had unfolded that week in my life. From family issues to crazy stories with friends to genuine meltdowns there was bound to be something of interest to my avid listeners each week.

The most interesting though?

Immediately all of my old school stories flooded my head but I didn’t particularly want to talk about the time that I forgot to wear my sports bra in a PE lesson and ran around pretty much clutching at my chest to stop my bra from breaking and avoiding embarrassment (because grabbing your assets during rounders isn’t apparently).

I stuck with an old favourite that I tend to tell to make myself sound super hardcore and thought that you lot deserve to know how I’m super hardcore too.

When I was 6 years old half of my family took me on a child’s trip of a lifetime to Disneyland Florida for 3 whole weeks. We went to Epcot, Discovery Cove and even the launch of a rocket ship at the Kennedy space centre! Researching this years later I have discovered that it was the first space mission to be commanded by a woman! You go Eileen Collins! Needless to say it was epic. Although, apparently it almost wasn’t so epic

We hired a car while we were there to travel around and on one occasion my dad, gran and I took a trip out to the open plains (I cannot remember where we were going, but it was a long trip). Being the ill-informed tourist that my dad was, he did not check the weather report that day. Big mistake. If he had, he would have noticed the gigantic storm scheduled for the afternoon over the plains we were driving through.

So, there we are having a merry trip across the USA plains when it starts to get a bit windy. Ok, so what? It’s the plains after all right? Ok, so now there are leaves and twigs flying across the windscreen… Must just be a bad storm… Next thing you know a ginormous storm cloud is chasing after us along the highway with a TORNADO starting to form in the centre. I remember it looking similar to this horrifying picture…


Being the scientist of the group from an early age I was inquisitive! What’s that dad? Oh it’s just a storm, no need to worry – screams dad, clearly panicking and driving as fast as he could. My gran was in a complete state, pale as a sheet and shaking.

I on the other hand? I was busy playing with my dollies in the back seat giggling like a chipmunk about the mass debris flying past us as we hurtled down the highway. No need to worry right?

What a hardcore little girl?!

It wasn’t spoken about for a good few years when the penny finally dropped in my head during a geography lesson. I quizzed my dad about it and had the actual story of horror repeated back to me. Apparently, the gods were on our side and a slight change of wind caused the storm to veer off to one side and carry on its destruction. Thankfully, the tornado didn’t pick up enough momentum to get going but did touch the ground a couple times, so I can’t find any reports of it in the archives.

My dad still goes white and quiet when we talk about this as he apparently thought we were all goners. I on the other hand laugh hysterically at the image of me and my gummy-toothed smile giggling in the back seat with my dollies pretending to be  in some kind of glamorous salon with a massive hairdryer outside.

I’m sure it was much more scary when you knew what was going on but I love to watch people’s faces when I say I have been on the edge of a tornado and lived.

That and I laughed in the face of complete disaster, as you do.


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