Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Natural Disasters

I am not at all capable of processing the devastation that happened/continues to happen in Japan. It's overwhelming. I make it small, into little bites, to process it. I try to stay away from the news because it both over-sensationalizes it all and completely misses the point. I'm not good with big scary amorphous things I have no control over. In my family we deal with things by making jokes about them so I wasn't that surprised when my dad made a joke on facebook about his house being moved 2 blocks east by tsunami waters.

Aside: he texted me the day of the earthquake before it happened that he was in Santa Rosa and if I could check on the dogs, great, if not, no worries. I didn't because I was off doing other things (nothing). But then the earthquake hit and we got coastal tsunami warnings (his house is on the street that faces Ocean Beach) and I'm texting him at 2:30 a.m. wondering if I should go get the dogs because omg my dogs! Yeah. I'm an idiot. He wasn't worried so I stopped worrying.

So, I'm not good with this stuff. I wasn't good with 9/11 or Katrina, either. I feel overwhelmingly useless. I feel overwhelmingly heartbroken by what the people of Japan (or other place of natural disaster) are going through and then I, selfishly, feel frightened for myself.

Even as I try to make the Japan earthquake small, it hits close to home. We're on the same ring of fire, what happened in Japan could quite literally happen here at any time. I lived here in '89. In fairness, I was 9 years old and it's mostly a blur, but I still know what earthquakes are like. And our '89 pales in comparison in intensity and duration to what happened in Japan. So I've felt a little more anxious than usual the past couple days. This isn't combining well with my recent "life is a meaningless waste" attitude either.

I had to drive across the Bay Bridge yesterday and I suddenly found myself thinking, "Great. This is exactly where I want to be." Then I had to drive through the Caldecott Tunnel, another place I was loathe to be (as there was once a gasoline tanker accident in the tunnel). Sure, these aren't the most rational fears. The bridge is mostly safe, or something or so they tell us or we just ignore so we can easily get from one side of the bay to the other, and the tunnel has more bores now. However, in the aftermath of Japan, these are the things I think, ramping up my anxiety.

I can't just hide under the covers forever (I very much am right now...for more reasons than just this though), and we take our chances and be as prepared as possible and you keep on going because you can't be paralyzed by a pretty big "what if" fear, but I'm still a little freaked out.

We don't even have an earthquake emergency box. No one seems particularly worried about this. I guess because if there is a natural disaster and marshall law is declared my family IS marshall law? I don't know. I should probably make my own just in case.

This is also why natural disasters make me anxious. After the '89 quake I basically didn't see my parents for a week as they were at work nonstop. And yes, I'm a grown ass adult, but still, you want to feel safe and know that everyone you know is safe instead of purposely being in the Marina as it liquifies and turns into a ball of fire. I won't get that reassurance.

So to cope I put my fingers in my ear and go "La la la la" and pretend it's all going to just be fine.

You can find me under the covers.

*I'd say something about the resilience of the people of Japan or the fact that their superior engineering saved thousands of lives, but that seems trite. I won't say "pray for them" because is there anything more useless? Thoughts are with them is also trite but they most definitely are. So...yeah...useless...

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