August 24, 2011 7 Comments
Yeah, my first earthquake! And such a sweetly gentle rumbling. Just a 5.8 reminder that the earth will always do what it needs to do, including cough from time to time, and the best we can do is offer a cough drop.
Nothing of consequence happened. A spindly wooden figurine I acquired in Kenya dropped off my shelf. A framed picture propped against the wall fell down. But all my utilities persisted unmolested and everything about my little house stayed the same.
So, for me, it was the purest encounter with nature, with whom I engage virtually never. I felt a rumbling, a rumbling that persisted for a few moments, and therefore came from no bomb explosion, negligence, or other man-made nonsense. I knew then it was the earth and I smiled. Moments later I confirmed it was the earth on Facebook.
Naturally I thought of Genevieve Bujold, who was 7.4 adorable in Earthquake, the 1974 movie, with Charleton Heston and Ava Gardner. As disaster flics go, not terrible, though nowhere near the profoundness of The Poseidon Adventure, with Gene Hackman delivering one of the most amazing performances ever. But I digress.
We don’t get quakes much around here. Since 1900, there have been 50 quakes of 5.8 or greater in California alone. The rumble, the reconciliation to disaster — that’s what they do out there on the San Andreas fault. They know they’re doomed. They wait blithely. They wonder sometimes, what kind of person will I be when the earth convulses and catastrophic horror strikes? Mostly they will scream.
Because the earthquake that hits California won’t be the sweet planetary nudge of the DC earthquake of 2011. It’ll rip away massive numbers of lives and livelihoods.
To my beloved brother living in LA, yeah, I’ve got a 5.8 earthquake under my belt — but we’re pretty quiet around here now. What’s your disaster plan?