I did not have to wait until Friday to start freaking out. Yes indeed, earthquakes will get your attention and do so quickly. The newbie Californians have just been official quake-tized and now understand that what you think is true ain't necessarily so.
The earth does move. It shakes. Things that appear solid begin to crack and fall. The word perception is not worth the dictionary it is printed in; there are only intangibles. In the end it is being prepared for the impossible that counts.
Love don't hurt either. And laughter. Your instructor for today is
Here are the usual questions and answers.
Q1. Were you scared?
A1. Hell yeah, I've experienced five or six of the 5.0+ suckers and I functionally spaz out. Meaning I do what I need to do to be safe but I'm verbal about it. Me and the dogs in the neighborhood are your first alert system.
Q2. What does it feel like?
A2. You have two main types of quakes in California - my opinion mind you.
You got those surfing quakes where the ground moves like waves in an ocean. One time I was surfing in a three story brick apartment. I think that was the 1989 San Francisco Quake. Those aren't so bad, kind cool in retrospect.
The other kind is that jackhammer from hell or an inconsiderate lover. Bam, bam, bam, bam BOOM bam, bam, bam. Stuff is flying in the air, the earth is moving and mental clarity has just dived into the nearest closet. You are on instinct. You are on your own except that your neighbors will look out for you afterward. Part of the unspoken code of living here.
That is with the main quake. You have aftershocks to constantly remind you that you are scared to Perdition and it is a long time before you can tolerate the sound of somebody making popcorn. Now Mother Nature being a creative dame likes to mix and match so it is never really the same sensation. Each quake has its own identity.
Q3. If it is so bad why do you stay?
A3. Because earthquakes are an excellent reminder that life is not fixed. Change happens no matter what you believe or what you say you want to happen. It ain’t all about you.
There are other forces at work and you (me) better recognize and respect those forces of nature. There are things you can do to mitigate the effects but if this was your last day did you live it like you wanted to?
Many folks struggle with that question but quakes are a good motivation tool. Once you get over your bones rattling from the inside out. Besides, I don’t do blizzard anymore. Nope. You can have them.
Q4. Are you prepared for “The Big One”
A4. I have batteries, portable radios, non-battery and battery flashlights. I have water in storage and dry food. Need to stock up on the can foods but that is doable. I have walking shoes and my music/podcasts on my mp3 player. And CD player. I even got Spackle(tm) for the cracks. And books. I can’t do this without my books.
Oh, darn, I forgot I have to replace the earthquake wine/champagne. And I will buy a hand cranked emergency shortwave radio this weekend. No more messing around with that, I’ve been meaning to buy one for three years.
So because I care about you I want you to make sure that you have what you need when your personal “Big One” come a knocking on the door. It doesn’t have to be a quake but whatever it is get your stuff straight!
Ready.gov – This was my first quake in an office. I usually have them at home. Seriously, download and print the emergency checklist so you know what you have to get and where to find it in your home.
SPCA – If you have pets you need to know that quakes are a big freakout inducing event for them. You got to provide for your charges so bone up on what they need too.
United States Geological Services – has a whole page of resources that you should check out before the electricity goes bye-bye. That’s right. You ain’t gonna be able to Twitter, Plurk or IM your way out of this one. Hook yourself up before hand and make one of your friends do the same.
Each one teach one.