Friday, April 18, 2008

Better the Devil You Know

Three days ago, this headline appeared in the Los Angeles Times:
Scientists: Big Quake Likely in California

Which is little like saying:

Bartenders: Heavy Drinking Likely on New Year's Eve


But then today, we had this headline:
5.2 Earthquake Shakes Up Midwest


You always hear stories about how Californians are not prepared for The Big One. K and I have done what we can. We have extra supplies of bottled water, canned food and plenty of cat food. Of course, it's all in the basement, so if that collapses, we're out of luck. Yes, we have the rare California basement. Relatively rare. I think its an advantage of the house's age. Yay, more storage!

In addition to food and water, we have $1 bills on hand (for when the ATMs all shut down). We keep shoes by the bed. Actually, I keep plenty of shoes by the bed. You never know. And, I keep walking shoes in the car.

And, we’ve had our foundation reinforced. Maybe I’ll have K blog about that one day. He loves to show off the extra-supported cripple walls. I don't know much about the process because whenever K gives the tour, I always fixate on the very un-comforting name - cripple walls.

And yes, there are flashlights but I can never find one when I want one. Their whereabouts seems to be a secret K likes to keep to himself. Fine.

But my greatest comfort lies in knowing that we live within spitting distance of the Wilshire fault and the house has managed to survive for 99 years, so far. We all take comfort where we can. I don't like the idea of the Big One but no one I know worries about it.

I was in the Midwest once - for a weekend. As soon as I stepped off the plane, I started worrying about tornadoes. I was in Nebraska and I thought it as brown and flat as a Triscuit. A perfect twister breeding ground. My hotel room was on the 13th floor and I was constantly looking out the window.

I had a aunt who lived in Texas with a special obsession with tornadoes. She had a cellar. I remember it as dark and there were always spiders. Faced with a tornado or a dark room full of spiders, I'm not sure which I'd choose. I'm glad I don't have to make that decision.

Tornado attacks seem personal, directed. Not like earthquakes. Earthquakes are democratic. When they hit, they hit everybody. Not just the few. Not just the trailer parks. Earthquakes spread their destruction around. Tornadoes destroy like a laser beam. And they have a season! No thanks.

So I imagine those people in Illinois were pretty surprised this morning. I'm sure many were frightened. As frightened as I would be to see a tornado roaring up Sunset Blvd.

But lucky me, I have a basement.

So which natural disaster most concerns you? And are you prepared?


Jen said...

I would say Tornado. Prepared? maybe, maybe not.

Why S? said...

Jenni, do you have a storm cellar nearby? Is there a warning system? Do you have extra supplies, a leash and extra Puppy food?

Anonymous said...

My ex girlfriend used to call the root cellar "scairdy holes" when they lived in Tornado Alley.

Picked up a couple of wind up flashlights that will run an hour on a minute of winding up. Work great. Under $6 at Walgreens. Came with rebate too.

My grandfather stored all of his spare change in the basement. Some people who live in their vehicles often have roles of dollars in coin form hidden in case of emergencies or in case of fire. But then, he built his house out of building refuse mostly, insulated it with scraps of used sandpaper he got from the shoe factory he worked in, family of 9 children, and didn't believe in loans and didn't establish credit until he was in his sixties. That was quite a few years ago too.