Friday, April 18, 2008

Shaken *and* Stirred

If the Tiger hadn't woken me in the pitch of night ("Mama, I have to peeeeeee!") I'd have missed it altogether. But since I was only half-zonked, I heard the rattling of the loopy metal drawer pulls on my dresser. Then I felt my bed gently rocking, but instead of the up-and-down wave motion of my partner turning over, it was more of a transverse wave. A back-and-forth. Also, none of the humans in that bed were moving. At all.

This is why it's probably just as well that I don't live in Palo Alto anymore. My survival instincts were never the sharpest, and they don't improve in the pre-dawn hours. Instead of rushing into a doorframe, I realized groggily: "Oh! We're having an earthquake!" And then I remembered: "Oh! I live in Ohio! So it can't be an earthquake!" (Clarity of thought is inversely proportional to the number of exclamation points, at least in my little brain.) And then I thought something even less coherent about Memphis and how it will probably be leveled someday due to the rigid fault line that runs nearby, remembered I don't live in Memphis, and sank back into stupid sleep.

It was a restless sleep, though, punctuated by dreams in which I kept trying to convince some unseen listener that beds don't naturally move from side to side. Nor do drawers rattle untouched by human hands. There was some static about whether a school bus or garbage truck roaring past my house might have caused the same symptoms. And then, as I gave up on convincing my invisible interlocutor, the whole experience slipped into a dreamworld and I forgot about it altogether ...

... until I'd already packed the kids off to school and was listening to NPR, when a report came on about an earthquake that was felt as far east as Cincinnati.

So I wasn't hallucinating or dreaming. The quake was real. It was centered in Illinois, arrived at 4:37 a.m., and measured 5.2 on the Richter scale, according to the AP.

I'm here to say that contrary to all the news reports, the quake was palpable even in the southeastern corner of Ohio.

Last time I was in a quake, it was 1987, I was working in San Francisco and I hid under my desk, thinking maybe I shouldn't have eaten up all my Carnation Breakfast Bars that were supposed to be my disaster stash. But the motion of this one, the pronounced lateral waviness, reminded me more of one I'd experienced while in college circa 1985 when I sought shelter in the doorway of the Research Administration office, where I was working part-time. That one, too, swayed us from side to side, though much more dramatically; I remember clutching the doorframe.

Since no one was apparently hurt, I'll confess that I was pretty thrilled to experience a quake again. And amazed at how - even after all these years, with my brain more slumbering than not - my body knew exactly what I was feeling.

If you felt the quake, too, I'd love to hear how it was where you live.

This tulip lives in front of my house.


SunflowerP said...

Your link goes to a completely unrelated Salon article.

I seem to know quite a few people who were within range of the quake (including a Sorta Special Someone in southern IL, with whom I had !first phone convo! yesterday evening, which is when I first heard about it).


Sungold said...

Hi Sunflower,

The link still worked for me, but maybe it has to do with the fact that I subscribe to Salon? Darnit. I switched it for another link that I hope will work better.

Cool that you're on the phone with a Sorta Special Someone! Here's hoping the quake will be a nice metaphor for whatever happens next. :-)

SunflowerP said...

Ah, the Information Super... gravel road just wide enough for two vehicles to pass. But, hey, we can go a lot more places a lot faster than when it was a string of blazes along a game trail! (I typed that in reference to link oddities, but it has application to the relationship-y bit, too.)

I'm sticking to hoping the quake will be a metaphor for what eventually happens - this is one of those slooow (how slow? He's "'Net Sweetie" of last year's post in my LJ on compersion) "friendship that grew" things, and it's hard to be sure at this stage what it'll grow to. Which is also fine; I don't get that thing where people treat sexual/romantic relationships as if they were a completely different, and Much More Significant, thing from friendship.

(Not to be confused with Other Sorta Special Someone - which I mention because that's developing in an explicitly feminist context and may get posted about, if he's cool with it - also a long-distance, 'Net-based thing.)


Sungold said...

Slow can be *great* - especially when there's that sort of inevitability to it, where you're pretty sure you're both heading toward a similar place. But I get what you're saying about the silly dichotomy between sexual relationships and friendships. Looking back, I can't think of a single sexual liaison I had where friendship wasn't involved on some level. This includes those one-off or intermittent things, too, which were always with guys I knew and liked. I've never ever gone to a bar and picked up a guy for the night.

Would love to hear more about all of this on your blog, at least as far as the men involved feel comfortable with you sharing. Obviously privacy comes first.