for the first time in seven or eight years, we had an earthquake. not an enormous one, only a 5.4, but certainly large enough to get your attention and rattle your nerves. for those of you who are lucky enough to have never experienced the thrill of a sudden jolting, shaking and rolling not only of your home, furniture, books and appliances, but the actual earth, you don't know what you are missing. experiencing an earthquake is strangely reminiscent of taking a ride in the spin cycle of an old washing machine.
having dwelled in los angeles for thirty-eight years, i have lived through many earthquakes, both large and small, and here is what i think. earthquakes are a lot like childbirth. when you are going through one you swear you are moving to colorado on the next train out. "that's it" i scream to the husband each time. "i am out of here. this is no way to live". he nods and pretends to agree with me. he knows what is coming. just like the new mother who seriously contemplates leaving a colicky baby on the firehouse steps, we earthquake survivors swear we are done with this city forever. but then after a few days, weeks at the most, after the earth's form of colic has stopped and the after shocks have worn them selves out, we begin to be seduced, once again, by this city.
earthquakes in february - we could be buried somewhere under ten feet of snow. august, it could be a hurricane that drowns us in our sleep and let's not talk about the mid west any time of the year. between tornadoes and floods it's a wonder those people get anything done. so we look around at our baby - los angeles - and she smiles her sunny smile at us. she takes her first steps over and over again on her broad white beaches and we are smitten. just like with childbirth, we forget all about the terror and fear, and go on along our merry way.
after each quake the "experts" predict that the big one is just around the corner. every time i hear that i go into my files and grab the old brochures i have collected on boulder, colorado. i gaze longingly at the the greenery and the majestic mountains, which to my knowledge have never moved, or if they did, they do it very slowly, and i dream about a land where you can actually count on the ground. but just like with children, you get what you get and you learn to live with it, but i want to go on record right here and now, that come the big one, i am out of here and colorado bound.
and by the way, smug new yorkers out there, you have earthquake faults there as well. it is just a matter of time before you will be checking out the condos next door to me in boulder.