When I was little someone took me to see it on the big screen at the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, New Jersey. I wasn’t afraid of the Wicked Witch of the West (like any normal child would have been). The Flying Monkeys? Meh. (Everyone knows monkeys can’t fly!) And, truth be told, I’ve always kind of liked their outfits. (Not everyone can pull off the fez!) It was the tornado that scared the life out of me. And I’ve never fully recovered from this traumatic moviegoing experience.
My phobias about weather can be traced directly back to “The Wizard of Oz”. We don’t have many tornadoes here in New Jersey (Thank God!), but we do have terrible thunderstorms and Nor’easters, crazy blizzards, and the occasional hurricane. But, really, it’s the wind that scares me most.
As a child I got to chew my fingernails, cry, carry on, and generally make life miserable for my parents and my siblings. I suppose I could employ these same tactics to deal with my weather-related anxiety as an adult, but that would just be crazy. Nutty behavior in a child is considered quirky. Displays of this nature by an adult would be considered, well, nutty.
I think, and I’ve given this a great deal of thought over the years, what disturbed me most about that (very disturbing) scene where Dorothy’s house is picked up— with Dorothy IN it (For the love of God!), is the hurtling. I wouldn’t appreciate being hurtled. (Dorothy did not seem to enjoy it either!) I imagine it wouldn’t be a good feeling. And when was the last time you saw that word used in any positive manner? Hurtling is never a good thing.
As much as I am interested in space (and who isn’t?), I know I’ll never get there. Because space travel requires hurtling. In the same vein, I could never hang out with Doctor Who. Because if I know anything about the TARDIS (and I know a quite a few things about the TARDIS), I am certain it hurtles. Certain.
Obviously, being a fairly intelligent person, I know that the odds are slim to none that high winds or tornadoes will pick up my house and hurtle me anywhere (let alone Oz). It’s a small comfort.
Many years ago, when I first went to college, I majored in Communications. When I realized that most young news reporters were assigned to covering natural disasters, I decided that this was probably not the best career path for me. Whenever I watch news coverage of storms and blizzards, I am always grateful that I made this wise decision. Standing on the Boardwalk with twenty-foot waves hurtling (See what I mean? Not positive!) toward them is part of a news reporter’s job. I cannot for the life of me imagine doing this for a living. Not for a minute. I hope they receive combat pay.
So, here I sit. In the midst of Hurricane Sandy. Writing this. Waiting for the power to cut out. Wishing that donning some snazzy red heels and clicking my heels together would transport me to a place where the wind wasn’t howling. But that would probably require hurtling.