Friday, May 16, 2008

Earthquake Weather

Yesterday at work someone told me that the weather we're having right now (very hot and still) is earthquake weather. This, along with all the terrible news out of China the past few days has made me a bit skittish.

There's this song I've been listening to lately and one of the lines in it is "this earthquake weather has got me shaking inside," and I must confess, I can relate to that -- I have a secret fear of earthquakes. I mean, I grew up in the Midwest. Tornadoes, I know how to deal with. We did tornado drills at school when I was a kid, lining up along the long inside hallway of my elementary school, backs to the painted cinderblock wall, waiting for the all-clear. My neighbors and I once watched a distant tornado from the roof of their house, when their mom wasn't around to make us go down to the basement. (Their dad, a pro-football player -- clearly not hired for his smarts -- thought it was just as cool as we did). So when I hear the tornado warning siren, I can mostly get away from windows and hide in the basement with the best of them.

But earthquakes are not exactly a common occurrence in Michigan. (The earthquake in Southern Illinois a few weeks ago was the first one you could feel there since, like 1850). I've already lived my first earthquake here in California-- a teensy one that rattled the glasses in my cupboards a bit and freaked the cats out, but nothing more. I didn't even realize it WAS an earthquake until like 2 hours later. It was like a baby thinking about fussing but then deciding to just settle back down, instead. But I'm worried about a bigger one. The 3-year-old's temper tantrum of earthquakes, so to speak. I mean, there's no warning. It's not like a siren goes off and you can make sure that you're not near your (ridiculously overloaded and not braced to the wall) bookshelves or anything else that might fall over and unceremoniously squash you, like Dorothy's house on the witch in The Wizard of Oz. And my office? ALL windows on 2 walls.

I guess earthquakes just go against every fiber of my perfectionist, control-freak being. There's no warning, and you sure as heck can't control an earthquake. You just get blindsided and then you deal with the aftermath. Like all those poor parents in China that I keep hearing about on the news, who sent their kids off to school a few mornings ago. They never expected to be sitting on a pile of rubble a few hours later, weeping and praying and just hoping the universe chose their child to look out for today.

This is a lot like life in general, I guess, and despite my many cross-country moves in the past several years, I've never been great at uncertainty. I like to KNOW things. I like to predict and then be proven right. As I get older, I'm learning to let go of the reins more, but I guess I'm still a work-in-progress.

p.s. It was so hot in my house last night that in addition to the ridiculous thermostat reading, that the jar of chocolate chips I keep in the pantry for . . . um. . . emergencies melted. We're talking eat-it-with-a-spoon-over-ice-cream melted -- totally liquid.

p.p.s Wikipedia tells me that "earthquake weather" is an old wives tale.

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