A Tornado in New York

The Jewish Chronicle Online, 24/10/2012

Last Saturday I had to fly to New York.

At six that evening I was in a cab heading from JFK into Manhattan, when the driver said “The Tornado is due at 9pm.” He said it like a waiter saying “your breakfast will be with you in five minutes.” Like it was an every day occurrence..’ah.. a tornado in new York city.. ” What!!?” I shouted sticking my face into the little gap in the glass partition. “ What tornado!!? Are you kidding me!” a tornado in New York… what is this? the Wizard of Oz!?”

“No, it already hit Brooklyn and Queens earlier today.. Hit Breezy Point this morning; it’ll be in Manhattan at 9pm.” he said.

“Wait a minut!e, I think my plane must have taken a wrong turn! Are we in Kansas City!?”

“No you’re definitely in New York” he said.

“How often do you get tornados in New York?” I asked ” actually its the first one I’ve ever known.” he said.

“nine tonight?I’ve got a dinner reservation downtown at nine.” I said.

“Don’t go out on the stree; bunker down.” he said as he pulled up on Park Avenue.

“Bunker down!? How can I bunker down!? I’m on the 22nd floor.!?. It’ll probably be heading straight for my room!.. Are you absolutely sure its coming tonight/.. at 9pm. ? Any chance it could arrive a little later? say after dinner around 11pm?”

“No, its definitely nine o clock tonight.” he said.

“That’ll be 57dollars.” he said.

“Excuse me what time is the tornado due tonight?” I asked as I checked in; trying to sound like a man who’s spent his whole life in tornado country. “The tornado? 9pm.Sir>” the desk clerk said without looking up as she took my credit cared.

As the luggage porter opened the door to my room he said ” Sir, “you do know you’re missing a wheel on your suitcase.” “ Yes thank you, I do know that.” I said.

“About the tornado that is on its way. What do you suggest I do?

“You could try taking an umbrella with you.” He said. with a grin.

New Yorkers are a tough crowd.

I called and cancelled my dinner date. I left a message on the voicemail “Sorry but due to the imminent arrival of the tornado I can’t make dinner tonight- I am sure you understand. If I survive I will call to reschedule tomorrow- good luck! Peter” I put the phone down and looked around the room. I’ve seen tornadoes in the movies. So I knew what I had to do. I got down on my knees and looked under the king size bed .I tried to squeeze under the bed. It was two inches off the ground. I got up and pushed the bed as far from the window as possible. It ended up against the door. I then dragged the chest of drawers with the TV on top against the window. I was exhausted . but at least I got to watch the weather news at the same time. “150mph winds are expected at nine tonight when the tornado hits Manhattan.” the Paul Newman lookalike posing as a TV weather guy said with a dazzling smile.

I got into bed got under the blankets and stayed there.

In the middle of thenight I got up to go to the bathroom and almost knocked myself out as my face smashed straight into the door.

I must have slept right through the tornado.

In the morning,I couldn’t move the chest of drawers away from the window to look outside. But I finally managed to push the bed away from the door and went down for breakfast. Just in case the elevator was now dangling by a thread; I saw Towering Inferno,I took the stairs.. 367 of them- I counted.

In the lobby there was no sign of devastation or damage anywhere; but I noticed one light bulb was out on the chandelier.

In the breakfast room I said to Carmine, my waiter, “How was the tornado?.. was it terrible!? Many people killed!?

“What tornado was that Sir ?” He said, pouring the fresh squeezed orange juice.

“’What tornado was that’!?..THE tornado! The tornado that hit the city last night. The 9pm tornado; that tornado!. How many did tornados did you get last night Carmine!?

“Oh that tornado Sir…. It missed.” he said.

“Wait a minute!. What do you mean it missed!? “I cancelled my dinner! .. and totally redesigned my room!”

He shrugged. “It just went someplace else I guess..maybe Kansas.” he said as he served the coffee.

Your eggs will be with you in five minutes.”