Wednesday, June 22, 2005

California, Knock It Off

Dear California,

Now, you know I love and miss you, and if I could afford you or if I had a million dollars to burn on a shanty, I'd go back. But something has been bugging me for awhile. Since I was about 5 years old, to be exact.

You're still talking about The Big One and how it's coming, how it will kill us all, how it will splinter you from the rest of the nation, and we'll be set adrift in the Pacific to become our own country. Which actually might be OK, if you can guarantee that L.A. wouldn't be joining us. No hard feelings, L.A., it's just that it's in my contract as a primarily-Northern Californian to dislike you. Your sushi and Mexican is delicious, though. Keep it up.

So, California. May I call you CA? You had me when I was a kid. You had all of us. We did earthquake drills monthly. Every little tremor was met with, "This is it! The Big One! We're goin' down!" Even if it was only caused by a passing truck, no matter. It's really not believable anymore, so seriously, just stop. Please? If you could narrow it down to a particular day, or hell, even a month, then you might have my attention.

But to make a threat so vague as the Big One is coming? Well, yeah, of course it is. It's not exactly a bold prediction. That's like saying there will be a category 5 hurricane strike somewhere in the south within the next 50 years. Or...somewhere in the Great Plains, an extremely destructive tornado is going to strike. It's going to demolish houses and throw cows through the air. Mark my words!

Thing is, earthquakes are actually pretty cool, and you know it. I mean, the small-ish to mid-size ones. I don't think I'd like to be in one that rates 9.5 on the destructo scale or anything, especially if I were in a skyscraper. Or directly below one. But why are we keeping this a secret? I see a major tourism promotion opportunity here. "If the state's rockin', you should come a-knockin'!" Um, yeah. That's all I got. You can use it for free.

People who are scared of earthquakes perplex me. I'd rather experience an earthquake than a hurricane or tornado. Look at the advantages: they're sudden, so you don't have weeks of tracking and obnoxious buildup and TV news theme songs. There's no "season." For many of us, it happens when it happens, and when it does happen, it's exciting for a day or two, we all talk about where we were, some people claim they could tell it was coming because of the weather or somesuch, and then we get over it. For the most part, of course. If a freeway collapses, sure, it's a bigger deal.

The best part is the safety measures, which amount to: Get in a doorway and get in a freaking doorway now. Can't get better than that. No need to hide in a shelter or tape your windows or sandbag the house.

So, CA, I will be your ambassador. I will help spread the good news on earthquakes, and you stop making everyone pee their pants over the Big One, yeah?

I'm glad we got that sorted out. Let's go eat some sourdough.