October 16, 2006

Shake Rattle and Ironroll

So apparently the earth has been shaking out in Kona. They had to evacuate the Four Seasons Hotel. I also heard somebody's TV fell off it's stand. And apparently a surfer decided to call it quits a little early that day.

I lived in Los Angeles during the Northridge quake in 1994. That rattler registered at 6.4 on the Richter scale. I believe the Kona shaking peaked somewhere around 6.5.

Let me tell you what happened to me during the Northridge quake. First of all, I was jolted awake at 3:17 in the morning from what I delusionally imagined was an 18-wheeler driving into my living room. That's odd for many reasons, not the least of which is that 18-wheelers don't drive down my street. But more importantly, because said 18-wheeler would have to climb 6 stairs, go down a very narrow walkway and take a dangerously sharp right turn by an extremely large immovable tree with only about 3 feet of space. Had the 18-wheeler actually found its way into my living room, I would've wanted to get an autograph from the driver.

I'm not sure if I jumped out of my bed or was vaulted towards the ceiling because when I looked back, my bed was about 4 feet away from where it had been a few minutes earlier when I lay my tired body onto it. Not knowing what the hell was going on, I decided to run outside to see if my neighbors had heard the 18-wheeler as well. I hustled to the front door and reached for the lock but, alas, the key wasn't in the lock. I flipped on the light switch but the lights wouldn't go on. The power was out. So I got down on all fours and started feeling around on the ground in the pitch black trying to find my keys as I wondered why I had been so stupid to live with a door that key-locked from the inside.

It was about that time when my hot water heater exploded.

I don't remember if it was a loud sound, a sudden wash of water on my body or just flashbacks from the 18-wheeler delusion. Either way, things got wet and scary pretty quickly. I didn't really put two and two together, then again, had I added two and two correctly, I'm not sure I would've resulted in an exploded water heater. Or an 18-wheeler, for that matter. I ran towards the back door through the kitchen, but as soon as I got to the kitchen I saw that all of my plates and glasses had fallen out of the cabinets and were now a shaggy carpet of shattered glass. I realized that it was probably not the best way to run on bare feet, which may have been my only intelligent, somewhat sane reasoning of the evening.

As I made it back to the front door I tripped over my keys. Which was good, since I actually found the damn things. I opened the front door, ran outside and you know what I saw? Nothing. There was nobody out there. There were no lights on. There was nobody moving, talking, screaming or snoring. Maybe it actually was an 18-wheeler, I thought to myself as I started to walk back inside.

As I neared my front door, my neighbors started appearing in various forms of sleepware. Did you feel that? they said. Is everybody OK? they asked.

It was around about then that the building across the street blew up.

KAPOW! One moment all is quiet and calm, the next moment the building across the street is on fire. That was kinda scary and a wee bit surreal.

Um.... we should probably turn off the gas in our building, somebody said. No doubt a very smart somebody. A few of us ran around in circles desperately trying to find the damn gas gauge. I felt like James Bond for a second. Until I realized I was in pajamas and barefeet with no gun, no martini and no hot sexy girl trying to kill me but secretly wanting to have sex with me.

When all was said and done, most of the buildings across the street from mine were destroyed. They had to be rebuilt. And every single building on the street next to mine was demolished. To my knowledge, none of them survived. And then of course there was the building out in Northridge that collapsed in on itself and killed everybody on the first floor.

So when I hear that there was a stronger earthquake in Hawaii that merely rattled a few timbers, I can only think to myself, well, now there's yet another reason for me to race Kona.