July 31, 2008

Why I WON'T Blog about the Earthquake

Quite simply, this is a humor blog. There was nothing in the least bit funny about the earthquake. In fact, I've never been so terrified in my life. Can anyone explain the humor in thinking that you and your sleeping one year old baby are about to be crushed under thousands of pounds of rubble? Is there really any humor in suddenly having your house start grumbling, shaking and swaying under your feet while your possessions are shaken off the shelves? And I'm dying to know where the humor is in try to decide while your house is being shaken like a Mexican maraca whether to immediately dive for cover and save yourself, or whether to risk running back to your child's room, grabbing them, THEN dive for cover? What would you do? I couldn't decide so I just stood in the hallway doing nothing until the house stopped shaking.

But even after the 12 second shake-up, my house was still moving. In L.A., buildings are built to sway when an earthquake hits (rather than crack) so for a good 20 seconds afterward, my chandeliers, mirrors and confidence were still rather wobbly. A picture that had fallen from the wall in my baby's room had woken her and she started screaming. Lester the Giraffe wasn't built for this kind of excitement and he tumbled from his perch on the shelf. My sugar bowl in the kitchen fell onto the floor, seeking cover.

But wait - I think I'm still missing some of the humor. You see, an earthquake can often trigger aftershocks, which can be even bigger than the main event. For 24 hours after the main earthquake, you are at risk of aftershocks getting you. Rather than sitting around gripping my children with white knuckles for the rest of the day, I picked up Pixie from pre-school, cranked up the volume on the white noise machine, and made us all nap all afternoon. I didn't want to be awake when the roof fell in on me.

So no. I don't get the humor in earthquakes. Ironicly, I've spent the last four years that I've lived in L.A. secretly hoping to feel a big one because I thought it would be cool. I was wrong. Not cool.

So tell me, peanut gallery, where is the humor?

30 comments:

Summer said...

I'm so glad you're okay!

Spike said...

hahaha. you're hilarious.

Midwest Mommy said...

So glad you are ok. I know things for me changed once I had kids. Things that I use to think were cool or no big deal to do now scare the living daylights out of me.

momof3crazykids-Val said...

No humor at all. I have always wondered what an earthquake would feel like. I'm sure horrible. Kinda like being in a tornado. We had a close call earlier this year here in Texas.
Glad your o.k.!

randa_joy said...

You're right. Not funny hunny.

holly said...

Hee hee hee...must have been your first earthquake, I imagine. Let go of the fear and just pretend you're getting a free amusement park ride. Maybe not funny, but quite fun.
BTW---my kids didn't even notice. We were in the grocery store checking out, and they didn't notice?! How is that possible? :)

FoxyJ said...

We lived just north of LA when the Northridge quake happened. My sister and I woke up and started yelling at each other at the same time to "stop shaking the bed". I'm not sure that's super funny--it wasn't really at the time either.

Jill said...

I've experienced one SO California earthquake. We were there on vacation and our Condo was by some train tracks. When the place started shaking, (in the middle of the night) we woke up and thought that it was just a train.
The next morning, it was all over the news. It was a good sized quake, and we weren't really that close to the epicenter. (but we still felt it)
Later that day, when our son broke a vase in the condo, we thought about blaming it on the earthquake. (we didn't)

Jessica said...

You sure have a talent in making it sound comical! I have also always wanted to experience one. (no luck yet). I think the whole thing would get scarier with kids involved though.

Colleen said...

When we lived in Monterey I was determined not to move back to UT until I'd experienced an earthquake. When we finally did (not as big as the one you guys just had) I was pretty much done with earthquakes. Way too unsettling. It freaked me out. Glad you guys are okay, I thought of you when I heard about it.

Beeswax said...

I grew in LA, and I used to think earthquakes were kind of fun (sometimes we got out of class to sit out on the lawn for hours after minor tremors, probly cause our old school buildings were death traps), until I experienced the Northridge quake, from the ringside seat of Northridge. It wasn't funny at all.

Look at the bright side. Now, you are a real Californian. It's like Governor Arnold's way of hazing you.

citymama1 said...

I grew up in the Bay Area and was there during the big '89 earthquake. The earthquake hit in the evening around dinner time. As the story goes, my dad was picking up pizza when the ground started rumbling. Instead of getting under a doorway or outside my dad runs to the glass window to look outside to see if the city water tower would topple because "dang that'd be cool to see". If that's not hilarious, I don't know what is.

Alyson said...

Reminds me of growing up in the Bay Area. I remember shaking my stuff being an ultra-cool (ok, I'm slightly deluded)junior high cheerleader during the quake of '89. I was out there cheering my heart out when the world began to shake.

Emmy said...

Glad you are safe! I hope to never experience an earthquake.

Allie said...

What earthquake? ;)

Annie said...

When we lived in So. Cal I didn't hang pictures in the babies room for fear of having them fall off the walls and hurt my babies during an earthquake. No, not funny.

Kate said...

I'm glad to hear that you're OK. We had a very very small quake when I was young, and it terrified me. I can't imagine going through anything even remotely "big".

Irishmama said...

This is why I don't live in California. Glad everyone is ok.

Move to PA, we don't get too many natural disasters.

Adrienne said...

I'm glad you're okay, too, and I just wanted to hear about what happened. But seriously... you live in LA. You HAVE to be prepared to be okay with the earthquake thing or you're going to have to move.

The good thing is that California in general has spent a lot of time, money, and effort to make their buildings safer and earthquake resistant. When the "Big One" eventually hits the New Madrid fault, all us midwesterners are out of luck. Swaying buildings? What are those?

Aunt LoLo said...

Glad you're all ok!

You'd have to go to a college to find the humor - find a bunch of 20-somethings with no children to protect. During my last earthquake, I was in a Very Old Building on campus. I was asleep on a couch in the hall, between classes. At first, I thought it was a BIG TRUCK driving by that caused the sound and the shaking. I even went to the window to see the huge truck that MUST be driving by. I didn't see a truck, but I did see the street waving like water.

Later that day, we heard that one of our classmates (a California transplant) entertained his classmates by standing up during the quake and "surfing" the floor. He didn't fall, and we were lucky there was no damage to our building. One of the libraries lost a few stacks of books.

A bar Downtown wasn't so lucky. It was completely demolished...but it was the only building, in the entire city, that suffered such damage. Funny thing was that it was ALSO the scene of a fairly brutal attack on a womanh recently during Mardi Gras.

Draw your own conclusions.

Again, SO glad your sugar bowl was the only loss!

Calidaho said...

The actual earthquakes aren't funny because you never know how big it is going to be but it is funny afterward to laugh about how scared we were. I guess it is one of those defense mechanisms to move on.

I am surprised you had stuff fall down...even the precariously perched glasses in our dish drainer were unfazed. You must live in a rockin' part of South Pas!

Hollywood said...

I guess since you guys are on ground level it wasn't as rockin. We're three stories above ground in an OLD building that should have fallen down years ago anyways. The whole place shakes when we just walk around. No wonder the earthquake was a bit more than the place could handle!

That's too funny about the CA college student "surfing" during the quake. Yeah, I'm going to have to experience a few more of them before I can really laugh about it.

Jessica G. said...

Give it a few weeks/months/years and you'll start to see the humor.

I've never been in an earthquake. Tornadoes, on the other hand, I've experienced. And yes, they really do sound like a freight train.

Shellie said...

Well, after being in a 9 point earthquake in Chile, we were checking out the damage to our house and the toilet was full of pieces of the wall behind it. We cleaned it out and the next time I had to use the toilet, there was an aftershock. I shot up so quickly, and tried to get my pants back up so fast that my underwear got tangled underneath it. I had to laugh at myself. But, not the earthquake I guess. They aren't too funny but I have some kind of hobby going of seeing how many locations I can participate in earthquakes in. It's my excuse for still being in Utah, the big one hasn't hit yet.

Supernetuser said...

Yeeouza. Nothing funny about Earthquakes.

Mommom said...

Just to add a weird side note. We've lived a few places (the military does that for ya) and we felt more earthquakes in Upstate NY than when we lived in the Bay Area. What's up with that?!

Lisa said...

My daughter and I stood at the bottom of our stairs also wondering what to do. "Is it going to get worse? Then what?" My oldest (15) was in the shower. As soon as the house started shaking she turned off the water. And I said, "Are you okay?!" Yeah, it's really hard to know what to do. My youngest just said, "Mom, I heard it first." And I was wobbly for a while afterwards as well. I don't want to feel anything bigger. That was enough.

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