Yesterday, there was a 5.1 earthquake in La Habra, which is just a skip and a jump from Brea, so I was close to the epicenter when it hit.
There was a warning earthquake first, a huge bump after dinner, like a giant had stomped his foot down once. I sprang to my feet, but when the shaking didn't continue, I slowly sat back down. That was the second "stomp" earthquake in a month. I thought of how scientists were always warning that LA was due for a Big One soon, and then I compared earthquakes to Sakurajima, a volcano in the prefecture where I lived in Japan. Its occausional erruption of ash were a release valve that kept the pressure from building into a real explosion. Maybe these minor earthquakes worked the same way, preventing the Big One from happening. Such thoughts flickered through my head; then I went back to TV.
An hour or two later, the real earthquake hit. It felt like a rattle that didn't let up. I dove for the cover of the bathroom doorframe, the closest one. The closet stood before me; the door flew open and flapped back and forth, spilling its contents to the floor. The ground felt like it was sliding and the house sliding with it. I found this reassuring. The house was not going to fall down on my head. A few seconds later, the earthquake ended.
I felt shaky afterwards, for the adrenaline had seized me, like it would after a rollercoastewr. But I hadn't really been scared during the event. Earthquakes are scary because they're sudden and they wake you up in the middle of the night. I half-expected this one and was conscious when it happened, cutting down the fear quotent by 50%.
Afterwards, we evaluated the damage.
The manger scene, which sat atop the knick-knack shelf, took a hit. A wise man and a camel had been decapitated; the unlucky camel's body had been flung clear across the room. Mary and Joseph were huddled close together, head to head, as though huddling together in fright. Baby Jesus was fine.
My uncle duct taped the cabinets shut in order to keep thew dishes from flying onto the kitchen floor during the aftershocks. There were many of them; every hour, it seemed, another jolt--like a snooze alarm going off. They were gentle, brief quivers. Rather annoying.
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In addition to the excitement of the earthquake, I worked on my Coffin stories, researched self-publishing, and had a job in Japanese. I have to admit, half the time I walk into Japanese, I'm terrified of how rusty my Japanese is, how little I trully know. I look at the new vocabulary words and grammer the students have and can't remember the half of it, let alone teach it. But this Thursday, as we reviewed some simple words and grammer I thought they'd know, I realized--they forget things, too. It made me feel a bit better.