Apparently there is some kind of winter vortex making it’s way through the central and eastern parts of the country this winter.
I swear, every time I log in to social media, I see nothing but posts of pictures of mountains of blackening snow, people complaining about the frigid temperatures freezing off their faces, and that one psychotic friend that’s basking in the weather and praying for more flurries.
No one likes that guy.
This winter has been harsh for most, but not so in sunny Southern California. Granted, we had three days of some pretty heavy rain which translates into a blizzard for us so close to the border. Lots of car accidents, people fretting about the precipitation, and even more dressed inappropriately. Basically them same thing as a blizzard, you guys.
We also have a little somthin’ somethin’ that many other states aren’t privileged to experience: EARTHQUAKES.
I’m not a huge fan of natural disasters. You won’t find me chasing tornadoes or going surfing during a Hurricane. The difference between those events and an earthquake is that you can sometimes receive a warning with the former, and you can prepare or evacuate with the latter.
Earthquakes, however, are the original honey badger of mother nature’s children. They just don’t give a shit.
No warning, no heads up, no nothing.
I’ve been in several Earthquakes since moving to LA almost two years ago (wow, time flies) but I’ve actually not been completely conscious for most of them. The previous three I’ve been in have all happened during the night. Twice, I thought I was dreaming. Another time I remember drowsily wondering why the boat I was on was rocking so much. Then I woke up and realized I wasn’t on a boat. Those earthquakes were mild and over relatively quickly.
Different story with St. Patrick’s Day 2014.
I was up at the crack of dawn getting ready to depart for work. I was showered and dressed and sitting on the edge of the bed debating if stopping for doughnuts at Krispy Kreme 4 days in a row was socially acceptable.
All of a sudden, my bed starts to move and a deep rumbling sounds.
“My! That’s a loud and heavy garbage truck,” I mused to myself.
“Oh. Wait. It’s not trash day.”
Then I realize that it’s not just my bed but my entire apartment that’s rocking. Then the banging sounds begin. My stomach jumps up into my throat as I spring out of bed. I stand stock still for a moment before remembering that my elementary school teacher mentioned that West Coast kids have to stand in doorways when an Earthquake happens. I run to the nearest doorway and clutch the sides until my fingers pale with the force of my grip.
I fervently pray that the shaking ends soon. It’s situations like this that my Catholic heritage subconsciously reappears and the Hail Mary’s burst forth through my mouth like water through a broken dam.
In reality, it’s less than a minute in total, but when you’re wondering if the ceiling will drop on your head, it feels like an eternity. When it finally stops, my body is tingling with the adrenaline rushing through it. I begin pacing my apartment, expecting aftershocks, and eventually decide to grab my things and go.
I check social media and all of my usually late-sleeping Angeleno friends were rocked out of their beds, as well. That’s human kind’s new response to things. Check in on Facebook to make sure you’re not insane.
I haven’t felt fear like that many times in my life and being on the 4th floor doesn’t give me much security when the thought of the building collapsing is on the forefront of my mind.
The quake was originally designated a 4.7 but was downgraded to a 4.4 which I think is the worst possible outcome. Demoting an Earthquake is just going to provoke it into coming back harder and stronger next time.
Good job, U.S. Geological Survey.