Tuesday, March 13, 2007

my newest hobby

People in the know probably think this is going to be a post about my sudden desire to take ballet class. (which I am going to start doing next week) Well people in the know, you are wrong. This post is about my sudden fascination with earthquakes. Actually, I'm not sure fascination is the correct word. "Obsessive about dying" in one might be more accurate.

Recently we had a mild earthquake out here. While jparks and I were actually pretty close to it, we felt nothing, yet our friends further away did. And even though it was very mild and caused no damage, it still got me thinking. And by thinking I mean, pissing my pants.

Before I get started let me say that, yes I know I should be excited about little earthquakes and not just because it was a great Tori Amos album, but because they release the built up tension and help ward off bigger earthquakes. I know all of this and yet I'm still terrified of earthquakes no matter what size they are.

So the other night we had that small earthquake and it got me thinking "Hey self, did you know you'll probably be killed in an earthquake. And self, if you don't die then you'll probably be trapped under a bookshelf and Lily will have to gnaw through your leg to free you. And she's got really tiny teeth, so that's going to take awhile." I thought maybe if I spoke to resident Californians about earthquakes they would help ease my mind, but that has not proven true at all.

One set of locals told me about how in the 1989 earthquake places were without power for awhile and how part of the Bay Bridge collapsed onto itself. (I refuse to drive across it) At no point in time did they ease my mind, but thankfully nothing they said was new information.

Then I tried another set of locals and that's when things turned ugly. The words that have done me in are "In an earthquake you are either the squish-er or the squish-ee." Guess what folks, I'M A SQUISH-EE! Holy crap, I live on the bottom floor of a three story building. I. Will. Be. Squished.

Now at night, rather than sleep, I stare at the ceiling willing it not to fall on me in an earthquake. And when I'm not doing that, I picture the couple that lives above us crashing through it and flattening me with their bed, which I imagine to be a four post one that will impale me on one of the posts. Then I immediately go back to willing the ceiling not to fall. In short, I'm having trouble sleeping at night.

And I'm not just obsessing at night. At work I'm on the second floor. This means I'm a squish-er and a squish-ee. I'm going to die while squishing another person. It's almost enough to make me quit, but then I would just be hanging out in my apartment all day where I'll die a squish-ee. At least dying at work I'm earning money so I'll die dressed nicely and in good shoes.

I need to find a new hobby quick.


  1. So some reassurance from a lifelong Californian and ex-architecture major...

    The nice thing about earthquakes is that while you can't see them coming, you we've had a good hundred years of rebuilding and retrofitting since we got our asses kicked in 1906. Most of the buildings built after the late 70's are built with the full expectation of 7.0+ shakers...big metal frames, flexible gas pipes, and bedrock anchors.

    The big bridges were built in the 20s and 30s, but came through 1989 reasonably well. The fracture point on the Bay Bridge was at the junction between two structurally separate sub-bridges, each of which oscillated at different frequencies...they've fixed that now, so feel free to travel about upon them =).

    As for the ceiling splitting apart and falling in on you, you're much more likely to be crushed due to paralelegram failures of your four surrounding walls (which is what happend in Kobe)...we put plywood on the corners to resist that sort of thing. Your apartment in particular on a valley floor, and is built using steel-reinforced wood framing...that makes it even less likely that it'll fall on or around you. Just anchor your bookcases to the wall and tighten the bolts on the ceiling fans, and you should be fine. Wheeee!

  2. I spelled "parallelogram" wrong. Poop.

  3. since you spelled parallelogram incorrectly I obviously can't trust your knowledge.

  4. I'm with Architect Dude. As long as you aren't in Redwood Shores, Foster City or the Marina District or touring a Mission when the Big One hits, you should be fine.

  5. First, where are you taking the ballet classes? That sounds like fun.

    Second, there are disasters everywhere (which I know you know), it just comes down to which one is likely to hit your current residence. If you don't have canned goods, a good can-opener, lots of jugs of water, a flashlight, and a first aid kit at home you should probably get those. On another note, I take my purse (w/ keys and cell phone) with me to lunch every day. This isn't because I need money, it's because I am terrified that there will be an earthquake while I'm at lunch and I won't be able to get back into my building to get my car keys and phone. I figure at least w/ my purse, I can drive out of there and get home, where I have canned goods, a can-opener, lots of water, a flashlight and a first aid kit.

  6. Oh, and I also make sure that there aren't any bookcases set up in my house that will fall and impede my path to the door should there be an earthquake and I need to get out.

  7. yay for geology...i can tell you the science behind earthquakes, but i definitely don't think that would help your fears at all...

  8. Oh I felt that one, I thought that Adam drove the car into the house.... Kinda freaky. And the ballet sounds like fun! I was gonna do it last summer, but I couldn't find a class I liked.

  9. Ballet is being taken at the Western Ballet school on Rengstorff in Mountain View. My first class is 3/24.

  10. I would like to relay that the person who instilled the squishee/squisher scenario in your head also has to live with the fact that he's currently a squishee. He's not entirely happy about it.