a post tornado observation

Yesterday I saw some of the most devastating destruction I’ve ever seen in my life. Entire homes - walls, carpets, furniture and all - were literally lifted up into the sky, leaving only the foundation below, and dashed against the rocks like eggshells.There were a few deaths, but surprisingly few injuries. People were walking around, cleaning up the remnants of their homes, mostly smiling and laughing. The Times told me to try to capture some “devastation and emotion” in the people, but the only emotion I saw was joy in the fact that they made it through the most traumatic thing that will ever happen to them and came out unscathed on the other side.

It’s amazing how quickly people realize how stupid and insignificant plasma-screen TVs are when they look around and see that now no one around them owns a plasma-screen TV and their kids are all playing in the front yard and telling excited stories about what had happened. It’s amazing how few people sit on couches when their couches are upside down in a muddy ditch and pink attic insulation covers everything.

Everyone was hugging and talking about how lucky they all were.

Friends whose own homes were destroyed were offering “anything they could do” to help other friends down the street.

Guys were giving away clean clothes with no regard to brand name or cost.

“You got a clean shirt, I got a clean shirt, and we’re both alive, buddy.”

I’m starting to think that we in the real world - with homes in good repair, AT&T U-Verse, and housekeepers - might have a screwed up perception of what is good and what is bad.