A storm was coming in on Sunday; I had been watching it all day. I waited until I heard thunder to start tearing my equipment down. Most of the patrons had moved inside when their drinks and plates of food started blowing off the tables. I was nestled into my little corner with all of my stuff, as I typically am, now trying frantically to pack everything up because the rain was starting to drive down, hard.
Suddenly, the rain started driving sideways (I mean, SIDEWAYS). I looked up and EVERYONE had gone inside – I was alone on the fifth story of the St. Petersburg Pier. The large awning started to flap violently, its metal frame was rattling, and then all of the chairs and tables – including the large, heavy ones that take two staff members to move – started scooting, flipping, and tumbling from the east to the west end of the patio.
Somehow, the little corner my gear and I were tucked into created a little pocket of calm air, and even my super-lightweight, have-to-tether-it-down-on-most-days, sneeze-and-it-will-fall-over music stand didn’t budge. (Truthfully, I wish the stupid thing would have been carried away, which would have justified the purchase of a new one).
Turns out there were 77mph winds reported at the Albert Whitted Airport just a mile south of the pier. Two veteran cooks – who’ve seen a ton of weather up there – said even the hoods in the kitchen were vibrating which indicates to them it was likely a waterspout. Other staff said they’ve seen the tables and chairs get blown a few feet, but not halfway across the patio. And I was on the 5th floor, outside, without the sense to be terrified. I was awestruck, and just stood and watched with my mouth gaping open (not a really great survival instinct). When it passed, several servers ran out to see if I was okay… they definitely thought I had been lifted away to Oz.
Luckily no one was hurt, though I heard that something had flown off of the pier and struck a parked car out in the valet area. Thank goodness that something wasn’t me!!
So I’m happy to be here for the week of July 23rd, and will tempt fate again at the Pier on Sunday 🙂
On Friday, July 27th, I’ll be serenading the Countryside Mall from 5-7pm.
On Sunday, July 29th, I’ll be at the top of the Pier again, playing at Cha Cha Coconuts from 1-5pm, rain or shine – but if there’s gonna be rain, I’ll probably boogie inside a little sooner 😛
Hope to see you out!