July 29, 2008
Shaken, Not Stirred
After this week's slightly jolting event I realized that I would probably be one of those schmucks who dies first in a disaster movie.
Shortly before lunchtime on Tuesday, while trying to manage my inbox which had been flooded with Hot in Hollywood emails and blog requests, my chair started to move on its rollers, and then it was my desk. Last time I checked, I hadn't had a shot of tequila since breakfast, so either I was still drunk or...ah yes, I live in California.
My coworker, a SoCal native, immediately dropped her phone and ducked under her desk. Our bosses ran to the doorways of their respective offices as if they were being choreographed in some unsettling musical number.
Our cement floors were frickin' moving. Major whoa.
And me? I stayed in my seat watching it all unfold, a huge bullseye painted on my skull for any falling slab of concrete or splintery wooden beam. For a few seconds I was unintentionally playing with fate. My mom would have been proud.
The epicenter was in Chino Hills, and for those of you not familiar with the topography of Southern California, that's where Ryan from The OC was from, Land of the Sizzler, the Wifebeater and the Ghettorific Low Rider.
Minutes later, local TV stations were breaking in with news of the quake ("A 5.8er, considered 'moderate'"). CNN showed the same water pipe break at an intersection somewhere I never dare to drive through. A CalTech geologist, who could have been the butcher, younger sister of John McCain, was the star of a press conference ("Let me take a look at my chart and explain to you what happens when the earth quakes"). Yes, do give us yet another sixth grade-level Earth Science lesson, lady, because it's not like we don't get this every time a quake hits.
Then the IMs poured in: Did you feel that?...Holy Shit...OMG...Our building is swaying...That was f**king crazy!
My first significant quake resonated with me (my first two had taken place a few years back during the wee hours of the morning), and my fetish for disaster movies suddenly became a little too real (1979's Meteor, starring Sean Connery and a Russian-speaking Natalie Wood, is still the shiz). However, like most Angelenos, Tuesday's little tremor was quickly forgotten amidst the phone calls, emails and deadlines that bombarded me throughout the rest of my day. Still, it was a fleeting reminder of how vulnerable we can be in a situation as uncontrollable as this one.
And for the record, the next time the ground shakes like that, I will run for cover - but it won't be under no Ikea piece of plywood.
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