I have several friends from the South who tell me they will never live in California because they are deathly afraid of earthquakes. Naturally, when I point out the fact they have far more deadly possibilities with hurricanes and tornadoes their argument is, “Yeah, but we KNOW those are coming. With an earthquake you don’t!” I just shake my head and smile smugly, “We love our earthquakes out here. They are our creative friends who give us a free amusement park ride from time to time. They are harmless.” I really believed that…until yesterday.
Our fun-loving 5.4 friend paid us a suprise visit at 11:42 a.m. hitting with an epicenter about ten miles from my bedroom where I was calmly enjoying weird news on the internet. One minute I was laughing at two rednecks getting married at a Waffle House restaurant and the next moment I was NASA’s next space shuttle. I commented to my desk chair, “Wanna go to Pluto with me?” I have always been fascinated with the Big Dipper, I just never expected to actually sail past it. Until yesterday, I had never experienced such violent shaking in my life (second place was the time I tried to make a homemade Orange Julius) Up and down. UP AND DOWN! It was surreal! An entire building was literally trying to pick itself off its foundation and launch into the atmosphere with me in it. Now I understand how Pinocchio felt…
How did I handle my unexpected encounter with the ground-breaking Goliath?
Not very well.
I was as cool as an Armadillo staring down a Bekins van.
In the interest of public safety, let me give you a tip on how to survive an earthquake…
Do the OPPOSITE of what I did!
I froze in my chair like Wile E. Coyote watching the bomb he just flung at Roadrunner come sceaming back at him. I foolishly waited for the earthquake to stop after the first shake. Nope. After the heaving INTENSIFIED I decided to make my move since the walls were now closing in on me. I jumped up and ran into the front door. Then, I opened it. More shaking. My apartment was now moving up and down AND side to side. I hurtled myself outside just as the tremors stopped. I stood there enjoying my existence and realizing I was not going to die. I also realized I was in my underwear. I looked around foolishly and thanked my lucky stars all my neighbors were at work. I did wave to the landscaping guy who was laughing hysterically for some reason.
I quickly re-entered my place and put on a pair of dockers and grabbed my car keys and cell phone. I was now prepared to survive any aftershocks. For some reason, I did not put on a shirt or shoes. I went back outside and stood there for several minutes watching to see if my apartment building was going to remain standing. The landscaper guy started laughing again. I thought to myself, “I am now managing an earthquake BACKWARDS!” I realized I was not going to be teaching a class for FEMA any time soon especially if I used the landscaping guy as a reference. Had I been in New Orleans, I would have been the first to drown. I will never be able to sit in an exit row on an airplane again. I couldn’t save a barf bag much less a live human.
I continued to stand there gripping my phone and keys as I contemplated my next move. Since I wanted to see what they were saying on television, I left my door open and tiptoed back into my home careful not to upset the earthquake below me. I made it to my easy chair and turned on CNN. I then realized my incredibly close brush with death especially when I saw pictures of broken wine bottles at Von’s grocery store. Their aisle was a mess! My life passed before me as I raced into my bathroom and saw my bottle of Old Spice lying on its side. That could have been ME!
I was alive. That which does not kill you makes you stronger.
Amazingly, I survived, The Great Earthquake of 2008 and lived to tell about it.
I am an American hero.
I think deep down my landscaper believes that. I honestly do.
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