Letters From The Bay, Week 88: And on the third day, Granny drunk packed for the earthquake

I thought I was over it.

When I moved to California almost two years ago, the first two weeks were hell. Firstly, because I missed home and I was living with strangers and that was weird. Secondly, because I didn’t know how to go anywhere and I was constantly lost and that was frustrating. Thirdly, because THE AGENCY was very quickly revealing itself to be the worst place on Earth and I was overwhelmed and that was terrible. And finally – fourthly, if you prefer – because I was terrified to death of earthquakes and would wake up every time the garage door slammed and dash out into the hallway and half-grip the walls (because, hi, you can’t really hold onto a wall. Remember that one time you were drunk and you had the spins and you tried? Yeah.) and have a few moments of half awake panic because I was sure we were going down in the giant pile of stained carpet, green walls and overstuffed closets that was my first apartment in the city.

Luckily, after a few weeks, I forgot that I was living on the equivalent of a Jell-O jiggler atop a stack of cardboard boxes and I began to relax. And, you know, sleep at night and leave the house and stop carrying around my bike helmet, and such.

Until now, when the series of quakes in Haiti, New Zealand, and Japan have thrown the network news into overdrive. It’s the anchors, with their hyped-up hypothesizing, and the featured guest experts, bloviating about how our lack of preparedness is going to blow up in our faces when the big one hits and we all fall down, who have caused us, the residents of the Jell-O, to experience a city-wide freak out.

On Tuesday, I found this clip, which sent me into a frenzy of freaking out. According to my friend Cameron, we probably have to believe this guy because he looks like Santa and Santa wouldn’t lie to us, right? RIGHT?!?! And Santa says that an earthquake is scheduled to hit San Francisco today, Saturday, March 19th. Or, as the little network news anchors in my head are already calling it: THE ST. PATRICK’S DAY QUAKE AND DISASTER OF 2011.

On Wednesday, while my roommates were watching live Japan coverage on CNN, I was perusing the SF Quake informational site and cursing myself for never taking my Mormon friends up on their conversion offers. Mormons are crazy about emergency preparedness and even though I actually just think Mormons are a wee bit crazy, it wouldn’t hurt us to have some canned soup and a flash light in this house, you know?

And on Thursday, after lots of beer at a St. Patrick’s Day street party with a cover band of middle aged guys wearing tracksuits and ski goggles (who, I might add, were awesome), I came home and packed my emergency to-go bag.

Yes. While drunk. I packed for emergency while drunk. It made perfect sense at the time. It also made sense to call D, my general life supervisor.

“DUNCAN!!” I shouted loudly into the phone. “The EARTHquake is COming on SATurday, and YOU aren’t ready for it yet, RIGHT?!”

“Hi – what are you doing? Are you drunk right now?!”

“Yes. I am drunk. I am drunk and I am preparing for emergency!” I yelled at him as I rummaged wildly through the drawer of technology where any and all cables and things with wires sticking out of them are relegated. “I need to back up my hard drive, fill up my camelback, find that little first aid kit, and saran-wrap my love letters!”

“Your love letters?!” Dunc said, in the incredulous, one-eyebrow up way that he uses when his down home Lutheran sensibilities are confused by your lack of common sense (okay fine, it’s usually my lack of common sense) and he is .2 seconds away from talking you down, Garrison Keillor-like.

“Ooooookaaaaayyyy,” he said. Oh heeeeere we go.

“First of all – love letters should be put into a ziploc. Saran makes no sense. It’s not water tight. Second of all,” he continued, “you really need to get a dedicated bag for this sort of thing and actually put real emergency items inside it. Two cliff bars, a roll of TP and your love letters aren’t really going to help you in case of emergency.”

“Thirdly,” he said as he tried to contain his laughter and it was getting the better of him, ” I just want you to know that this day will go down in the hilarious history of our friendship, and I cannot even wait to tell your grandkids about the day their granny drunk packed for the earthquake that never came.”

How does he know?

Last I checked, it was still Saturday.


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