Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shake Rattle & Roll

And, that's exactly what Southern CA did early this afternoon. Myself and one of my other co-workers were sitting up at the HR Lobby front desk covering lunch and we were just chit-chatting when it hit. For those of you who may not have experienced an earthquake before, it's a pretty unique experience. I've found that I notice noises before I actually feel the earthquake. I hear the shaking and rumbling and shortly thereafter, I start to feel the vibrations and then, this one, it really started to shake. At work, our buildings are on rollers (as are most buildings in CA), so rather than feeling sharp jarring movements, it's more of a rolling, seasick kind of a feeling. You could tell that we've lived in CA all our lives... minimal reaction to the fact that the earth just moved. We both just looked over at one another and said, 'huh, that's actually a pretty strong one' and I just sat there waiting to find out if I was going to hear something fall or break and, if it did, that would be my cue to dive under the desk. That didn't happen, so I just stayed in my seat and waited for it to pass. Almost immediately after it ended, I was on the internet searching sites trying to find out where it was centered and the magnitude. I actually found myself to be getting irritated that within 5 seconds of the earthquake, there was still no information on the web about it :-) Shows you how used to immediate communication I am! Turned out to be a 5.8 and then it was downgraded to a 5.4, with an epicenter of Chino Hills. Irvine, where I work, is further away from Chino Hills than where I live, so I called home to see how everything was and I guess that it was fairly bad in our town. No injuries or major damage, but it was just felt much more strongly. My sister said that she couldn't even keep her balance and that she could hear things crashing in the room next to her (my room, fyi). Turns out a lot of things fell, but nothing was broken. When I came home, the Pavilions near my home was closed, so I couldn't get groceries and there were some challenges with trying to call on my cell immediately afterwards, but other than that, no harm done. But, I know that there were a number of people at work who were really shaken up (no pun intended) by it.

It kind of got me to wondering about fears and how they differ for every person. Having grown up in CA, you'd think that it would be normal for me to be afraid of earthquakes... while nothing particularly bad has ever happened to me, personally, I still have pretty vivid images of strong earthquakes when I was a kid and, of course, from the 1989 San Francisco/Bay Area earthquake. I still remember those images of the section of the Bay Bridge that came loose and partially fell down onto the lower level of the bridge and the video of the car, unaware that the bridge was damaged, driving straight for the hole in the bridge, falling down into it and then the front end of the car coming back up on the other side. I remember the horrible images of the Nimitz Fwy, where a chunk of the upper level of the freeway, literally, came crashing down onto the bottom level- during rush hour traffic- crushing the people in their cars below. Then there was the fire that broke out, as a result of the earthquake, in the Marina District of San Francisco, burning countless homes to the ground. That earthquake was measured at a 6.9. I just remember it all being very surreal. So, for seeing, firsthand, what an earthquake can do, it's kind of ironic that they don't really phase me much at all. I just assume that it's one of the prices you pay for living in CA and I'd much rather experience earthquakes than a tornado or hurricane. So... I don't fear something that has happened and is, pretty much guaranteed to happen again; yet, my greatest fears are typically of things that have never happened to me- some of which probably have a lesser likelihood of happening than an earthquake, yet those are the things that can paralyze me. So, this simple earthquake that happened today has got me questioning my fears and if they are even worth my time at all. We all spend so much of our time worrying about something that might never happen.

"Worry gives a small thing a big shadow." Swedish Proverb

"It ain't no use putting up your umbrella until it rains." Alice Caldwell Rice

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of it's sorrow; it empties today of it's strength." Corrie Ten Boom

"Don't worry if you're a kleptomaniac, you can always take something for it." Anonymous


Sara Warren said...

Love the quotes and proverbs. My cousin's daughter is struggling and my cousin doesn't quite know what to do to put her worries to rest, whereas her older sister is totally fine. Funny how that happens.