Where Earthquakes Come From
I’ve been in a couple of LA earthquakes, and usually it feels like a big truck is driving past the building where I am, and it rumbles and moves on. Then, my faraway friends and family start texting to see if I am still alive, and I smile at their naive, not-earthquake-having ways.
The only earthquake that left a real impression on me was one that happened a couple of years ago at a comedy show in a dress shop that my friend Brandie booked me on. Handsome nerd actor James Urbaniak was attending with his then-girlfriend. During another comic’s set, I felt the room moving and watched pictures swing on the walls and thought: Wow, I’m gonna die in the same room as James Urbaniak. But nobody died, and we had great earthquake chitchat and went home. Once we have an earthquake it becomes THE small talk for the next 24 hours, outstripping weather, traffic, kids, and who got onto a Harold team on their first try.
The first big earthquake this week happened on the 4th of July, because God hates America, or at least, California. I guess it makes sense that God is a Trump supporter, because what else would explain the awful slo-mo car crash of racism and misogyny we are living through?
I slept through it. It may have woken me up, or else I was awoken by many texts of friends asking did I feel it, and then talking about the biggest earthquake they had survived. I felt so left out. I wanted to feel the earthquake. It was like I hadn’t been invited to a cool event, just because I was sleeping in on a holiday. I couldn’t write a funny earthquake tweet, I couldn’t do anything.
At the fourth of July party, my friend Rick commented that he didn’t even know what to do during an earthquake, but he was pretty sure it wasn’t cuss and look for his pants. Everyone laughed. I felt so alone.
I got out of that party and went home. I couldn’t sleep, worried about not being in the cool earthquake club. At 3AM, my bed shook and I realized I was experiencing an aftershock. I was so happy, I stayed up until 5AM worried that I was going to die.
The next night, I was eating dinner when the earthquake started. I walked outside and thought, I hope a tree hasn’t fallen on my car, walking 25 feet on tarmac that was shifting in the most unpleasant way. It was all the bad things about being on a boat, no drinks or swimsuits but nausea and choppy water, except the water is the ground and I didn’t like it. I asked the dog why he didn’t warn me. He indicated that he still wasn’t entirely sure what was happening. He may have missed that day of dog school. It lasted maybe 90 seconds but it felt like a whole episode of BBC’s Sherlock. My car was ok. Rick tweeted that he had been caught by the earthquake without pants on. I now think that Rick taking off his pants might be where earthquakes come from, so please, Rick, if you’re reading- for the love of God- keep your pants on for the next little bit, OK?