Then 3:23 comes.
Now imagine that you are chilling out, getting ready to plug in your ipod and listen to some tunes. You push play and prepare to enjoy soft and smooth music. Unbeknownst to you, however, your child has played with the knobs since the last time you listened. Instead of soft, happy music floating gently toward your inner ears, a blast of rock and roll assaults your eardrums. You would quite hastily drop whatever might be in your hands to jerk the earphones out of your ears. (Sure enough, the volume is on max and the station has been changed to music you do not find aesthetically pleasing.) Now imagine that both of these things happened at the exact same time. The universe conspired with itself and carefully prepared and meticulously executed a multi-sense attack on everyone living within a five-block radius of my house.
My husband and I both wake up, him gently opening his eyes and casually leaning over to see if the electric clock still has power. (It did. That’s how I knew it was 3:23.) I jerk upright—I thought it only happened in the movies and I always laughed and thought how stupid it looks because that never happens in real life, but now I won’t laugh because it happened to me last night—and I take both hands and wrap them around my husband’s strong bicep. (When I read that last sentence to him, he snorted and said I shouldn’t say that, him being modest and all, so just between us, I took both hands and wrapped them around his puny bicep. I don’t really think that’s any better, but hey, I gotta obey my husband, right?) It happened so fast, I didn’t even realize I was squeezing the life out of his poor muscle until I became fully awake and loosened my grip. On a completely side note, I realize that’s probably not the best thing for me to do in a crisis, but I really was just jolted out of sleep so I didn’t have time to think “don’t hamper my husband’s range of motion if I expect him to protect me”. About this time, we hear our little boy shifting in his bed, sniffing and wiggling around. He starts talking and we tell him to go back to sleep. Turns out he never actually woke up, he was just talking in his sleep, because I asked him on Sunday afternoon if he remembered waking up from the storm and he said no.
I guess the moral of the story would be this: the next time you hear someone talk about a really bad storm they lived through, no matter how badly a picture they paint for you, just know that they can never compete with 3:23 on Sunday morning. Unless they’re talking about a tornado. That’s probably worse. Everything else is just new potatoes. Or is it small potatoes? Small tomatoes? Hm…