Thursday, June 16, 2005

Earthquake! Get in the Doorway!

About a half hour ago an earthquake struck Southern California. I know this because I experienced said earthquake, and Yahoo news confirmed that I had, indeed, experienced an earthquake. I'm already in the process of creating an outline for the screenplay I will certainly write.

I was sitting on the couch, reading the LA Times' article about men and women's brains being different from one another, when I felt a slight tremor. I looked up. Could this be an earthquake? Then the apartment shook a little bit more. I had a friend over for lunch and he was all, "Shouldn't we get in a doorway?" I was like, "No." Then he was like, "I thought you were supposed to get in a doorway or go outside because the building might collapse." The earthquake was over before we finished debating the merits of taking any precautions.

I keep reading about quakes in the news, how Southern California experienced a 5 point something or other. I never feel 'em. I'm always thinking, "We had an earthquake?" So I was happy that I actually got to feel one today.

The last earthquake I felt was the Northridge quake, the big one that caused tons of damage...unless you were in Santa Barbara, where I was living at the time. It struck around four in the morning so I was in bed when it hit. The apartment/bungalow started shaking, really shaking, and it kept shaking. As soon as I realized what was happening, I yelled "Earthquake! Get in the doorway!" I tried to warn my two roommates to save themselves. They stayed in bed. It lasted around forty-five seconds, and I knew it had to be a big one, and I was kind of scared. It was my first earthquake and I didn't really know what you were supposed to do in them. I imagined school kids probably went through drills, so native residents knew what to do.

Anyhoo, it was dark out. I had to wait until the sun came up to assess the damage. I predicted buckled sidewalks, fallen trees, mayhem. When I finally stepped outside, there was...nothing. I mean, it was actually a really nice day, weather-wise, one of the nicest days of the year in fact. Not too hot, not too cold. I got on my bike and peddled to the bookstore where I worked (although I was off that day) so I could get a cappuccino. That's when the magnitude of the Northridge quake really hit me: the ESPRESSO MACHINE DIDN'T WORK! Not at the bookstore, not anywhere. The power was out in the city of Santa Barbara. Meanwhile, back in Northridge, there was carnage, collapsed buildings, ruined homes, missing persons, the National Guard, everything one would expect to find in a disaster area. But I didn't have my coffee so I couldn't concern myself with all that nonsense.

Anyway, the point of this story is that my roommates would use my, "Earthquake, get in the doorway!" cry against me for the rest of the year. At any given moment one of them might get the urge to cry out "Earthquake, ..." and then laugh. Ha Ha.

I vowed I would never err on the side of safety after that. I would never get caught warning anyone of imminent danger. Laura Swisher wasn't going to be anyone's fool. From that point forward, I decided I'd meet any potential threat to my life with irony, "Ooohh, looks like we may get killed if this structure collapses. Boo hoo."

Oh, the best part is that the phone lines were ringing all day with concerned friends and family calling my roommates to see if they were all right. Me? Nothing. I waited until the afternoon and then called my family, "Hey, uh, I'm just calling to let you know that I'm all case, you know, in case you were worried at all. You know, cause it's the biggest story of the day and there's 24 hour coverage of the devastation, images of collapsed buildings and what not. So if you thought for a second I might be hurt or anything, I'm just calling to let you know I'm fine."

And that's my earthquake story.


CBSpaceCowboy said...

That's a great story. Tell another.

DogsDontPurr said...

I always get disappointed if I don't feel the earth move.


Matt Hartley said...

Spent the first half of the 1980's being raised across the street from Earthquake Park in Anchorage, AK - 'nough said. :o)

Jim-Bob said...

Hey Swish, just listening to your podcast for the second time, and this is my favorite quote so far:

"I'm trying to do a serious news story about Jesus in a potato chip, and you're making Jeb Bush jokes." ~Laura Swisher

"Weezy: I think that we all see the Lord in everything that's beautiful.

The Swish: I don't.

Weezy: Oh, okay, well, Erik and Matt and I see the Lord everywhere we want to see him...depending on where the sun was and how much I had smoked."

Ah, I love it! Keep having the comedy magic, and I hope you get picked for the big-ay oppurtuni-tay! Good luck!

Antonio Gramsci said...

I called to see how you were. I called a few days late, and it was obvious that you were alive, but I still put forth the effort.

More or less.