The lesser of natural evils….

29 Jul

Every part of the country has it’s “natural disaster”.  The South has extreme heat and hurricanes.  The Midwest has tornadoes. The East coast and the North have deadly blizzards.  Hell, the Northwest even has volcanoes (even though they are the quiet and sleepy kind that don’t cause much of a fuss).  But no matter where you are, you’ve got to prepare yourself for nature throwing a temper-tantrum and taking you out.  It’s just a matter of deciding which natural disaster you’re most comfortable with when deciding on where to live.

I was woken up this morning (well… actually this afternoon… my son is with his dad for the summer so I have taken advantage of that and have been staying up until 4 am and sleeping until around 11 or so) to “the rumblings”.   “The  rumblings” are what I call that weird vibration that announces an earthquake is about to hit.  It sounds/feels like a train is rolling by very close to you.  I’m not used to earthquakes, so when “the rumblings” start I get really confused and don’t know what’s going on- and it only lasts a couple seconds (not enough warning in my opinion).  Then it hits- and your house is made of jell-o, the ground is on rollers, and it’s all-around not cool.

I’ve experienced a couple of earthquakes since we moved back to California, but they were teeny-tiny ones (not even worth reporting they were so small).  They were harmless… cute, even.  My son actually thought they were fun.  But the one today gave me a glimpse of how they can be very very not fun, and anything but cute.

And I will state right now, I prefer the tornadoes back in Kansas.  Tornadoes don’t sucker-punch you the way that earthquakes do.  You can smell a tornado coming… I know that sounds weird, but ask anyone raised in the Mid-West.  They have a smell.  It’s in the air, and the sky turns this weird green color and the clouds are moving fast and in a bizarre fashion.  You know what’s coming, and it’s why almost all the houses have basements.  And then, when the air does decide to attack and funnels start forming, you have sirens to alert you (even though common sense should have already gotten you to a basement or some form of shelter).  AND when a tornado strikes, it really only attacks what is in it’s path, and everything else is just bombarded by milder forms of wind (and rain if it’s storming).  The damage a tornado can inflict is overwhelming… but only to what is in it’s way, and it gives you fair warning that it’s coming.    (Granted, it does suck when it happens in the middle of the night… but again, that’s why there are sirens).

Earthquakes aren’t like that. They are rude and fight dirty.  Every other natural disaster gives you time to prepare yourself…. but not earthquakes.  It’s nature’s version of that seemingly well adjusted businessman on the bus who mentally cracks and starts attacking people.  An earthquake is nature going postal.  And I don’t appreciate it one bit (neither do my cats, who have been skittish and hiding all afternoon because the house turned into a wiggling rumbling mass without warning).  And I REALLY don’t appreciate being woken up to framed photos being shaken off my walls and falling on my head.

Fuck you, temper-tantruming nature.  Someone needs to teach you some god damn manners (and I’m still totaling up a list of the things in my house that you broke… you’ll get my bill in the mail).


12 Responses to “The lesser of natural evils….”

  1. whitney July 29, 2008 at 3:56 pm #

    this little earthquake was fun. i just woke up myself just minutes before it happened and plopped myself down infront of the computer when i feel everything start to sway. oh- and apparently cats can “detect” when an earthquake is coming… but mine were too busy watching birds on the patio making that “jaw loosening sound” and didn’t even notice the house was rolling around.
    i remember the northridge quake back in ’94…. that one was no fun cause it was in the middle of the night… and being little and never experiencing an earthquake before is pretty scary. i thought a big tractor was knocking over my house.

    cali is a little over-due for an earthquake… hopefully there wont be any crazy ass one about to hit and hopefully we will just go through spurts of small ones to release all the pressure a bit at a time. i have enough shit to worry about already and i don’t need a grumpy earthquake to come stomping into my life.

    as for tornados- i was pretty freaked out when i experienced tornado sirens going off when i was staying in texas a few years ago. the sky was weird looking but a tornado actually never formed…. it was pretty eerie… but i think it was mostly the sirens that scared me rather than the actual tornado.

  2. Kim July 29, 2008 at 4:45 pm #

    I agree. It was kinda fun. I was at work bored outta my mind… so it brought a little excitement.

    We’re lucky though, it could have been worse.

  3. aprilfalling July 29, 2008 at 8:55 pm #

    i’m totally with you, lady! not so fun being in tall buildings in los angeles. my friend was on the 13th floor and said it was soooo scary. our building freaked the hell outta me too. dammit! i’ve never experienced a tornado though and that sounds much scarier! wicked witch style.

  4. Cassie July 30, 2008 at 5:34 am #

    Being a mid-westerner myself, I think I prefer the tornados.
    I remember the one earthquake we had here when I was younger, I didn’t agree with it at all. Tornados at least have enough tact to let you know they are coming to tear down your neighborhood and anything else in it’s way.

    I hope your cats and your life go back to normal soon and sorry about your stuff! Hopefully it’s all things that can be repaired or replaced.

  5. dollypop-amyjeen July 30, 2008 at 6:16 am #

    i’m glad everyone is okey doke!
    i have been through only one minor earthquake in the small town i grew up in.
    i thought someone living upstairs had fallen down the stairs or something.
    i love tornado crazyness.
    i know the smell and that green, the green “glow” is my favorite color.
    hmmm. i could make you a lil bubble wrap helmet with bunny ears to sleep in?

  6. Michelle July 30, 2008 at 8:01 am #

    “It’s nature’s version of that seemingly well adjusted businessman on the bus who mentally cracks and starts attacking people. ”

    hahaha 🙂

  7. Kristen Ferrell July 30, 2008 at 9:22 am #

    Tornadoes are actually a cake walk. They happen so much more frequently than you see on the news because there’s so much open space in the midwest, and you only hear the reports of them if they decide to dance around some town.
    But the warning of them is what makes them so much easier to handle than earthquakes. You’ve got quite a bit of time before a tornado decides to hit… and even if it does hit, the chances that it’s going to hit your house is really slim. And if it does hit your house, and you’ve got a basement, you’re probably going to be just fine. There are always exceptions to this (like the “micro-bursts” that hit my old town in kansas a few years back- tornado-like winds that just didn’t form into a tunnel, but tore through the town and smashed every window on the main street and threw hundreds of trees onto cars and houses- and then tore down the sirens so noone knew if more were coming… but that’s really rare).

    It’s the warning that i appreciate. I like to be able to prepare for destruction. Surprises should be left for birthday parties and marriage proposals- not for attacks on your home.

    And I would adore a bubble wrap helmet with bunny ears. I would wear it every day.

  8. Tawni July 31, 2008 at 12:28 pm #

    Pass me the bubble wrap helmet with bunny ears, sister. I’m living in tornado alley without a basement. (Oklahoma just doesn’t have them. It is so effing weird.) I miss Kansas!

    My husband was terrified of the earthquakes when we lived in California. He much prefers tornadoes, just like you, for the same exact reasons.

    I’m so glad you are okay! Biggest hugs. xoxoxoxoxoxoxxo.

  9. Tawni July 31, 2008 at 12:31 pm #

    I just searched, and I guess it’s because of the flooding that they don’t build basements here. Sucks for me!

  10. la August 19, 2008 at 3:08 am #

    if tornados are so common in kansas, what do you do when you are in the middle of nowhere? nature? hiking? (i know you don’t do that, but i guess someone from kansas do :)) i would be so paranoid if i lived ther, i’ll probably be constantly indoors or in a densely populated areaS 😉

    europe is much more tame place to live, at least the nature…

  11. Kristen Ferrell August 19, 2008 at 8:30 am #

    If you’re in the middle of nowhere, you’re pretty much screwed. When Sully was almost 3, him and I were driving on the highway from the small town we lived in to Kansas City to see my folks. About halfway there,it got REALLY windy and the clouds started moving really quickly and rotating…. and about 100 yards away, a small tornado started to drop down from the clouds. There was no cover, or underpass, or anywhere to hide… just me and Sully and the highway. So I told Sully that mommy was gonna be driving really fast because there were some angry clouds around us… and I started driving about 95 mph. When you’re driving, all you can do is hope that the tornado goes the other direction- if it decides to come towards you, you’re fucked. Fortunately, the tornado came down about halfway, hovered there for a little bit, and then pulled back up into the sky.

    But I continued to drive 95 mph the rest of the way to my parent’s house.

  12. la August 21, 2008 at 3:07 am #

    thats too much for me, i could never live in kansas…

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