My Pre-Dawn Tsunami Adventure
So this morning my Mom calls me at 4:30am (she is in Virginia) to tell me that Japan has suffered a devastating 8.9/9.0 earthquake. It’s what we in California fear and call “The Big One”. While feeling awful, I fail to understand why she is waking me up to tell me this. Then she tells me about the Tsunami speeding towards our coast faster than a jet plane at 600 miles an hour. Great. I thought Irwin Allen disaster movies went out of style in the 1970’s.
At first I thought I would just stay where I am. While I am on the water in a marina, I am 4 stories up. However, the magnitude of the quake gave me pause. Do we know for sure what would happen in this situation? Nope, not really. We can guess, we can postulate but we can’t know for sure. We aren’t Gods even if some of our kind try to act like they are.
I decided that discretion was the better part of valor so I grabbed some things, stuck them in the car, grabbed the laptop, stuffed the cat in a carrier and off I went to the wilds of Walnut Creek. In order to avoid morning traffic, I took the back way past the San Pablo Dam, dropping down into Orinda behind the mountains. The road was thick with fog and dark. I almost thought I passed through one of those strange bubbles in time that lurk on the fringes of reality, waiting to drop on you like a trapdoor spider.
I lurked at Starbucks for a few hours, looking like total Hell, before heading to my friend Christine’s house for a few more hours of television watching. I needed to get the kitten out of the carrier before she had a mental meltdown. Not that she didn’t have one when deposited in an unfamiliar house. I’ve never heard her growl so much. Her kitty brain just leaked out of her ears, poor thing.
The devastation is awful and my heart goes out to all those people caught in broken buildings or swept away in a pyroclastic flow of tsunami water. The fact that trucks and trains alike were just tossed aside like dice should remind us all how small we are in the face of nature in her element.
It also made me nuts to see selfish people surfing in the Bay or off of Santa Cruz. What are these people thinking? If they get in trouble through their own voluntary actions, would they expect first responders to risk their own lives to save their self-centered asses? My mother lived in Hawaii for years and told me stories of tsunamis. While the people with sense would head for the high ground, there were always the lemmings who would run down to the beach. “Look! All the water pulled away, let’s run out there and pick up shells and dance around!” Yeah, that’s great until the water rushes back in like a freight train.
Those poor people in Japan had no warning. Why others tempt fate for a ride on a wave is beyond me! Let’s keep the people who were effected by this tragedy in our thoughts and remember one day, it could be us. Be good to each other.