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.
So the other day I was at Civic Park in Walnut Creek. You know, the nice one with the matching playground equipment, the friendly people with their tiny pocket dogs and sporatic potluck parties. I was there with some friends participating in some group activities that involved tossing sticks at blocks of wood, singing songs in Latin & Greek – you know, a normal Saturday afternoon.
Well, at one point I looked down and saw a strange little girl. She wasn’t strange as in odd, just strange as in she was a stranger, she didn’t belong to anyone in our group. We were looking around to see where she came from and discovered she was with her Grandfather. Now let me paint this picture a little clearer for you. This girl was about 4 years old, wearing only underpants, a shirt and no shoes. It wasn’t scrotching hot and since we weren’t dirt poor coal miners in Apalachia, her attire was a mite disturbing. However the most disturbing thing was her Grandfathers behaviour.
This guy refused to keep an eye on her. He would tell her to stay by him, then proceed to ignore her while she wandered off to join other groups. She was a quiet child. I never heard a peep out of her and she was willing to go without protest with any adult willing to hold their hand out. This was unsettling to say the least. Petey the Pervert could come along, ask her if she wants to see his puppy and have some candy, lead her to his van, drive off and her Grandfather would be clueless.
A few of our ladies took her back for the third time and told Granddad he should really keep an eye on her since we are concerned for her safety and don’t want her to get hurt. Their concern was rewarded with him getting all bitchy and saying that “he didn’t need a lecture.” Well you know what dude, you do. You really do!
I don’t understand adults who refuse to watch their kids, monitor their activity, who they are talking to and what they are doing. They are your RESPOSIBILITY! To tell people that their very small child can go wherever she wants since this is a public park is INSANE. This man didn’t have any mental issues, aside from being an asshat, so I couldn’t blame Alzheimers. I could not believe that someone who has been on this planet for at least 70 years could be so ignorant. If you aren’t interested in perverts picking up on your kid, how about injury from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I know one of our party was hit in the head by a football that some whanker threw to his kid like this was a football statium and not a small park. Our guy was an adult and has a thick head but that could have hit a small kid and done a lot more damage.
I don’t understand this mind set. Do you?
The other day I had to go to Walnut Creek, a sleepy hamlet where the 24 and the 680 meet up in Northern California. It is nice little town but I have noticed something lately, this is where the coiffed, clothed and cafe’d come to congregate. There is no recession in Walnut Creek.
Now I am sure there are other bastions of old money capitalism out there thriving away. This is a slice of one city awash in a sea of entitled people. While there are a few stores that have closed their doors, I see that Tiffany’s is still going strong as are Betsey Johnson, Bebes, Apple, Barnes & Noble, P.F. Changs and California Pizza Kitchen to name a few of the establishments in the downtown area.
All I wanted was to buy a book, just one book. As I made the walk to Barnes & Noble I see full stores, full restaurants, full of entitled people, noses in their crackberries, reading the WSJ or exclaiming over the latest copy of Marie Claire. The worst are the teen girls, recklessly driving daddy’s black SUV, heedless to pedestrians of all sorts (old women, small kids, two-headed talking fish). They are chatting away on their phone with their Bluetooth, with a latte in one hand and their pocket dog in a designer bag in the other.
I just want to smack them upside of their clueless heads. “Hey! Dakota or Destyni or whatever the fuck your name is, get your tank of a car off my foot!” They don’t care. They don’t pay attention to anyone but themselves and their sense of consumer glee as they go to the Apple store to buy a Nano in every color so they will go with all their outfits.
Perhaps I am jealous. There are days when I feel I am trapped inside a Charles Dicken’s novel, looking into people’s windows on Christmas morning and seeing all the things that I can’t have. It would be nice to be a “Lady That Lunches”, to have no other worries other than if my spa appointment is going to run into lunch with the girls. It would be great to buy a new laptop when ever I wanted one or to fit into size 6 Betsey Johnson suits and not faint at the cost!
My life would be “easier” but it would also be boring. It would be terrible to be a self-centered twit, prancing around with my stupid pocket dog and not giving a damn about anyone else. I couldn’t be that kind of person. I would CARE if I plowed into an elderly nun or ran down a talking two-headed fish in the the cross walk.
I guess I will go back to my government cheese, my insane kitten and the cadre of evil squirrels camped out across the street and thank my lucky stars that I have a soul, don’t “sparkle” in the sun and enjoy my life, flawed as it is.