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April 29, 2008

Shake, rattle and roll

The midwest is normally safe from such left-coast craziness as houses being left on the freeway, people descending into hysteria at the sight of mist and of course, The Governator. But last week I got emails from several folks in the midwest who had experienced a crazyass midwestern EARTHQUAKE and wanted to know what us seasoned Californians do when the very ground beneath us is rollercoastering.

I'm not sure I'm a seasoned Californian, I've only been here... wait... THIRTEEN YEARS? It's true, then. By Los Angeles standards I'm practically a native, aside from the funny accent. I actually remember when this town had a football team! I can remember when a two-bedroom, one-bath house only cost $375,000!

Anyway, as a resident of this great city, let me assure you the best thing about earthquakes is that you don't know when they're coming. (This same thing could be said about tornadoes, which apparently rumbled all across Virginia yesterday, and I have no advice on tornadoes at all because they scare the beejezus out of me. Seriously.)

But while earthquakes may seem sneaky, it's a good thing. There's no "season" for earthquakes, so you don't start dreading June to October. Plus, you don't have weathercasters standing outside in yellow slickers waiting anxiously for rain to begin falling and 24 hour round-the-clock coverage of THE CONE OF UNCERTAINTY. Hey, I lived in Florida (And Mississippi and Louisiana...) I know the cone of uncertainty. It is decidedly uncertain.

While earthquakes may seem like the earth's version of a Silent But Deadly fart, one which causes mass destruction and has no known warning signs, the upside to earthfarts is that no one is clearing the grocery store shelves of bread, milk and vodka two weeks ahead of time. No one has to buy lumber and board up their windows and fill sandbags and tie down the lawn furniture.

Although I personally have witnessed farts which could do such damage. I am just saying is all. A few years ago, I was on a red line train that experienced a Silent But Deadly and we all had to immediately evacuate the car at the next stop and get on another train car. It was almost lethal.

Where was I? Oh yes, earthquakes. So you build yourself a nice big earthquake kit that you have ready "just in case" and the rest of the time you live your life and forget all about earthquakes and hope for the best, which is a pretty good way to live in my opinion.

The earthquake kit is something I am famous for, because while on any given day my fridge may hold three limes and a packet of lunchmeat, my earthquake kit has all the good stuff I don't eat or drink on a regular basis. But earthquakes are special occasions, and in my opinion if you have just lived through a 7.0 and its aftershocks and there is no power and gangs of gun-toting women are perusing the neighborhood, you can have a packet of cheesy garlic powdered mashed potatoes if you want them and you can wash them down with bubble-wrapped vino.

The only thing that's different from my earthquake kit list of 2005 is the cigarettes, which are now gone as I smoked them up right before I paused smoking for good. I can't believe I haven't smoked in 16 months, that is nutty. What I think is so funny is how all these people who do not know me, really know me, were all so sure I'd change my mind about smoking again when I turned 60, because they just knew I'd come to my senses and see how AWFUL and GROSS smoking is. And to be honest with you there are entire days that go by that I think, "How many months until I turn 60 and can start smoking again?" When I turn 60, I am going to have a truckload of cigarettes delivered to me by a scandalously young male stripper, I tell you what. My sixties are going to ROCK.

But anyway, for now the ol' earthquake kit is devoid of the cigarettes. But it does have cheesy garlic mashed potatoes in powdered form.

I keep the disaster preparedness kit in my garage since there's less stuff there to fall on it and endanger the potatoes, plus my house is just too tiny for a big ol' Rubbermaid box of earthquake goodies. I do keep water in the cupboards and extra cat food in the house and so on, but the most important thing about being prepared for a quake is knowing where your eyeglasses are. Oh ye of perfect eyesight will not understand but I'm blind as a bat without my contacts or glasses, and if you place your glasses on the nightstand and the nightstand goes gyrating off into the mystic ... well, it might be a bit hard to find your eyeballs! So I used velcro to attach a small glasses case to the metal part of the bed frame. Now I know where my glasses are if the world starts moving in the middle of the night.

Listen, it is very important to see where you're going.

Also, it is not always bad when the earth moves in the middle of the night. It's just bad when you're alone and it's moving!

Also, how sexy will I be at 70 with my bottle-thick glasses and my chain-smoking? I might even get a little yappy dog to sit on my lap and nip at strangers. I will probably start dyeing my hair a color that does not occur in nature. Frankly, in my later years I plan to not give a damn, my dear. I will end sentences with prepositions and I will cut all the tags off my mattresses!!

So my advice to anyone living in earthquake country is this: Put together a nice big ol' earthquake kit and make sure it has water, food and first-aid supplies. Keep extra pet food and wine on hand at all times. And then forget all about it.

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition! You just can't predict an earthquake, so there's no use worrying about it. If only I could take that philosophy in all areas of my life...

Posted by laurie at April 29, 2008 8:31 AM