4.18.2006

OK, They Got Me

"The doomsday clock is ticking...loudly."
"San Francisco sits...on a time bomb."
"City officials will have to make choices...deadly choices."
(The ellipses indicate a dramatic pause in the voiceover.)

Yup, they got me. All these damn documentaries they've been showing the last few weeks (culminating today, on the anniversary of the 1906 earthquake) have finally gotten to me, and I'm officially scared of the next big earthquake. I was handling it OK at first, consoling and comforting myself with the usual pragmatism--we're prepared, you can't live your life in fear, disasters happen and life goes on, living here is worth it, etc. We reminded ourselves where our emergency food, water, flashlights and batteries were. (Note to self: get more water...tomorrow!) We researched earthquake insurance and called a structural engineer to get work started on our ancient house's foundation. (For the record, he said it was in decent shape and he'd seen much worse.) We told ourselves our house, built in 1880, survived both the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes just fine. (Though we are eager to get the retrofit finished, but until then, you live with it, right?) In short, we had...faith.

I mean, I've spent my whole life in California, and I lived through a 7.1 earthquake in 1989--I know the risks, and I've always accepted them. But the writers on this MEGAdisasters show on the History Channel really went for the terrormongering, and dammit, THEY GOT ME. That Loma Prieta earthquake I like to say I lived through? "Not a wakeup call, but...merely a snooze button!" (The "big one" will be 1000 times worse than that one and 100 times the 1906 quake!) San Franciscans? "Apathetic, arrogant, and complacent." Future tourists to this city? "They'll be visiting...its ruins--the stump that was the Golden Gate Bridge, the stump that was the Transamerica Tower." Worst neighborhoods to be in? "The Marina and...The Mission!" They got me.

I'm not sure what I else I can say. Those MEGAdisasters writers sure made their point. I really wish I'd watched Starting Over like I'd intended to when I switched on the TV. And I'm getting more water.
Here's what you should have in your disaster preparedness kit.

9 comments:

jfh said...

When I lived in S.F. I decided that, to be able to have those gorgeous views all around me all day (I taught school next door to the Flood Mansion on Webster in Pacific Heights) it would be worth the earthquake. It was. Then, after the Loma Prieta quake in Santa Cruz, which epicenter seemed to be under our house, I decided hearing seals every morning and smelling the ocean and walking on the beach was worth the risk. It was, too. You sound well-prepared. Did you get more water? Love, jfh

Anonymous said...

Yeah, this whole anniversary thing is getting to me. I was half-expecting a huge quake on the actual anniversary date.

Don't forget to factor the cats into the water equation.
-Carrie

Jennifer said...

the views! the ocean! the CATS! I have to remember all of that when contemplating earthquake preparedness. (and no, haven't gotten the water quite yet...I'm waiting until the car gets home so I can get the water bottles. but I'll post when we do!)

Jennifer said...

OK, I went to get big bottles of water and all I could find were puny 24-oz. bottles. So, status report: still looking for emergency water!

Mary Tsao said...

They also advise you to have a plastic bag with a spare pair of shoes and a flashlight in it TIED TO YOUR BED.

That way if THE BIG ONE hits during the night and the floor is covered in broken glass and debris, you will have your shoes and a flashlight.

Ignorance is bliss.

Mary Tsao said...

And here's another good link with info about how to prepare. It's neat looking. While you're stressing about how doomed we all are, you can enjoy the pretty web design!

http://www.72hours.org/

ann said...

I went to a lecture about tsunamis the other day... and I left a little freaked out. I thought I'd be safe here (technically on the water but the real open ocean is lots of miles and islands away), but I was apparently mistaken. It very well could happen here, as could an earthquake.

But, ultimately, these big disasters aren't too likely. And enjoying our day-to-day lives are so very important.

Mary Tsao said...

Ann, don't kid yourself and add a bathing suit to that bag with your shoes. NOW!

jfh said...

okay, m.h. so what else is going on in your life, now that earthquake preparedness month is but a dim memory?