California won't stop shaking. Get your act together, California!
My first earthquake. Early April 2014. 6am. The time when all musicians are asleep. The entire house jumps two feet to the left before rebounding and swinging wildly like it's tied to a rubber band. Back and forth in smaller and smaller arcs. The weird prison-like metal screen door that every house has on it out here is slapping back and fourth. It's banging against the house like the drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket banging on the trash can lid, demanding that I snap to attention. I run outside to learn that...nothing has really happened. My easygoing roommate is still asleep. My old-ass pets are looking to me for guidance. I thought animals were suppose to sense this, warn me, and then run for the hills when I'm too stubborn to listen to their pleas. After all, they are magically in tune with nature...B.S. They totally think I'm causing this. My roommate also wishes I would just settle down and stop all this shaking.
I learn that day that this was the biggest earthquake since the North Ridge Earthquake that leveled the freeways back in the day. I also learn from my buddy Daniel, a California native, that if the windows don't break, you should ignore it. The media is also very helpful: every earthquake is either good news or bad news. But there is no way to know which it is. The tectonic plates are constantly building pressure. An earthquake is either the earth releasing that pressure so there won't be a big one, or building pressure so it can wallop us all. The next few days bring aftershocks: gentle rolling quakes that are brief, and almost pleasant in their novelty. The real good news, I learn from a person who does earthquake rehab (crawls under damaged buildings and repairs them): my house is made of wood. Wood gives, and tends to not fall over. Stucco and concrete don't flex and so collapse. Also, my house is 80 years old. It's not sound logic, but I tell myself that if it was gonna collapse it would have done so by now. Let's not think too much about the time my 40lb dog fell through the rotting steps to the front porch. Everything is fine. A little gentle rocking now and then is kinda fun.
P.S. I grew up in "Tornado Alley", Oklahoma. The 90's movie Twister was partially filmed in my hometown. I've been unbelievable close to death by tornadoes at least twice, and I've never given them any thought. My stories freak the Californians right out. Somehow, it's acceptable to them for the earth to shake, but God forbid there be clouds and rain, much less giant funnels of death roving to and fro looking for trailer parks to decimate. Think what a different movie The Wizard of Oz would be had a giant gash in earth opened up and swallowed Dorthy and Toto whole...