Friday Genius Ten “Great Gig in The Sky” Edition

By Amanda Marcotte
Friday, September 17, 2010 12:50 EDT
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There are a couple things in this world I didn’t think would happen to me after I moved from Texas to New York. One of them was definitely not, “Be standing outside like a dumbass when a fucking tornado rips right through.” And yet, there I was in Park Slope—one of the neighborhoods that got it the worst from the possible tornado—when it hit.

To be fair to myself, when I left the house it was nice out, with no real hint of rain. I went to the doctor, and on my way home, stopped in a couple of stores. I saw the drops starting to fall and decided to hurry home. I was just a block away from my place when I saw a sleet of rain handing towards me. I ran under the awning of a building, and then spent the next 10 minutes standing next to a dude from the Park Slope Co-op and another guy, hoping we didn’t get hurt and watching the utter chaos as it ripped by us. I had trouble really wrapping my mind around the situation, but it definitely looked like a tornado—winds would zoom down one street and then turn around and down the next. All the public trashcans in the immediate area—yes, those big, metal ones—were picked up and started to fly down the street. Giant tree branches began to fall down. Then I saw big limbs from trees start crashing down. One hit a car in traffic, but I don’t think anyone was hurt. And then, to my horror, I noticed the glass in front of the window that we were standing in front of began to bow. I uttered a horrified warning to the guys next to us that we may have to make a break for it, but I don’t know if they heard me. Luckily, it quit bowing. (Brooklyn Industries about half a mile from where we were standing wasn’t so lucky.)

The rains and wind let up ever so slightly, and at this point, I made an executive decision not to be standing at a commercial-oriented corner with giant glass windows. Instead, I ran home, getting completely soaked, and having to leap over a scene that looked—since this is in the neighborhood–exactly like this, tree-wise. But not so much people-wise, since it was still pouring rain and people were still taking shelter.

I lept over tree parts just like that. I had to run through a puddle that was calf-deep, and some asshole honked at me for being in his car’s way anyway. When I got home, the cats were so glad to see me. Even though I was soaked right through, underwear and everything. The only thing that kept my purse from a complete soaking was that I covered it with a plastic bag.

If this should happen again in the future, it’s wise to take training from those I’ve known from the Panhandle of Texas or the Midwest: find a low point. In New York, that means you’d be smartest to dive into a nearby subway station. Sadly for me, there wasn’t any such thing nearby and I wasn’t going to get hit by flying trash cans or trees to find it. So today’s Genius Ten song is dedicated to the awning that saved the hide of me, the Park Slope Co-op guy, and that other dude. Leave your own in comments, comment on the storm, or talk about whatever you like. Open thread.

Original song: “Shelter from the Storm” by Bob Dylan

1) “Ziggy Stardust” by David Bowie
2) “Alison” by Elvis Costello
3) “Psycho Killer” by the Talking Heads
4) “Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen (Genius thought it would whip out some really obvious picks.)
5) “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” by the Arcade Fire
6) “Fake Plastic Trees” by Radiohead
7) “The Golden Age” by Beck
8) “Superstar” by Sonic Youth (Carpenters cover)
9) “Pictures of You” by The Cure
10) “Simple Twist of Fate” by Bob Dylan

Videos below the fold.

Further research demonstrates that tornadoes actually aren’t that uncommon in New York City. Knowledge of which, at best, would have made it easier for me to comprehend the chaos I was seeing as it ripped through Park Slope.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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