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I swear it seems there has been one earthquake a week in the last month. I imagine there have been many more but only the really sensitive people feel them or maybe rabbits. My dogs only felt one and they certainly didn’t warn me like my old dog did. But these dogs are from the street, they only look out for themselves.

I grew up in California and I hate to say this but you do get used to them (earthquakes, not thug dogs) and you definitely forget about them, even if they are destructive. Because we all know what happens if you live your life worrying about “the big one”. I hadn’t felt one in a long time until a few weeks ago and it sure as hell snapped me to attention…for about 5 min. I didn’t even get out of bed – which is what you are supposed to do! No, not unless there is a giant mirror over your bed (well?) or a bookcase behind you etc. I guess if you leap mid quake you just might lose your footing whereas if you stay prone, well, you can ride it out.

There was a time I had the trash cans in the garden shed stocked with whatever list of things they said you needed to have ready but over the years we just began to use things – and not replace them. Naturally.

Having felt one tonight I sauntered over to the flashlight which was collecting dust on the dresser and beginning to look like an art object (don’t you hate that?) Anyway I checked the dumb thing and of course the light was quite dim. But lest you think I’m completely inept, I did have an epiphany at Costco the other day and bought a huge case of batteries. We have lots of candles, plenty of canned items and an elderly neighbor who markets constantly because she gets bored. Of course she might only be buying cat food so I better check her cupboards to make sure she is ready to feed me.

Denial is a funny thing isn’t it? Last week there was a strong one and it scared me. It did get me to think about what is truly important…then an hour later I was just as self absorbed as everybody else. By the way, I’m not belittling the severity of this kind of natural disaster but there is something about growing up knowing that at any moment the earth can start moving radically under your feet, that makes you just accept it. How else do humans live in the most ridiculous, unstable, dangerous but beautiful places? Playing it safe is no fun. Besides, in California it’s either earthquake, fire or landslide that will get you…or all of the above. By the way, did you know Manhattan is on a huge fault line? I’m sorry but that’s waaaay scarier then 80 year old plaster dodging. And I certainly would rather be on the 10 Freeway than the LIE. Deer could come out of the bushes and attack. (New York deer are like that)

All of our neighbors are drinkers so we have that covered, the fire department is half a block away…but the city drastically cut their hours so who knows if anyone will be home when the big one comes. I figure I will wait it out, dodge glass and plaster, check on the elderly and relax. If I’ve learned anything lately, plans change, arrangements falter, safety nets get holes, money comes and money goes, the roof leaks when it rains…and in the words of the great Stan Ridgway, “my landlords a cop, my neighbors insane but all things considered, I guess I can’t complain.”

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