Tornado fear rough ride home

The tornado that never was was a great adventure for some of us. I was right in the thick of it and advised many people to shake a leg, otherwise they would lose their lives, children and homes.

I did not see the e-mail personally but heard colleagues discussing it. I believed them because the light outside was fading fast.

The staff who do not live in Johannesburg were released early. For the first time, colleagues from Pretoria and the East Rand arrived home earlier than the Soweto lot.

When we got to Joburg the taxi driver told us that we were the last load for the day as he had to go home to look after his family. The sun disappeared while we waited for an East Rand taxi. No one was allowed to jump the queue for a change.

This was when I discovered that Michael Schumacher had retired so he could get a job as a taxi driver in Jozi. The taxi flew, literally. As it got darker and darker outside, some women started whimpering and breathing hard through their mouths. Everyone was on the edge of their seats.

I was in a taxi with strangers and no one was talking about our fears or apprehension. The kombi was weaving in and out of traffic like a motorbike, but no one was saying a word.

We found a traffic jam near the Alberton off-ramp. We were travelling with a lady who is notorious for always telling the driver to slow down because she has children to look after at home and dinner to prepare for her husband.

On "tsunami day" she changed her tune. She was leaning forward and glancing from one side to the other. She guided our driver through every little gap in the traffic.

She was a scream and helped allay our anxiety. Human beings are lucky that they cannot see themselves when they act ridiculously, otherwise we would all be depressed.

There was a sudden gust of wind just off Gosforth Park and a few scatters of raindrops.

Our fears returned and people begged the driver to go faster before we died right there on the highway. Schumi the taximan gunned the accelerator and our fears lifted a bit.

When I arrived home I saw a tree had crashed over a fence at one house. I ran all the way home, dignity forgotten. Caro, who lives with me, laughed at my fears and told me that nothing was going to happen.

"I grew up on the farms and I know when it is going to rain. We are going to have a peaceful night," she said, while I begged her to help me lower the mirrors to the floor.

My granny told me that a shattered mirror is seven years' bad luck and I was afraid that the insurance company would weasel out of repairing my house.

The great tsunami preferred its ancient hunting grounds and left us in peace.