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Things I Lost In the Quake: Ode to a Chicken Wing

On Wednesday, the day after a 5.4-magnitude earthquake rocked L.A., I banged out for the blogosphere a joking account of my experience. The story, which I had cast as a spoof scientific experiment, contains within it a true account of what happened to me when my fifth-floor downtown office started rocking -- and how I responded. It went like this:

  • Dip chicken wing into blue cheese dressing.
  • Attempt to bite chicken wing.
  • Realize that I must have miscalculated the exact location of the chicken wing.
  • Bite again.
  • Realize my mouth is still empty.
  • Stiffen my resolve to conquer chicken wing, tuning out the mild nagging curiosity as to why a chicken wing held firmly in my hand is moving.
  • Block out all noise that might deter me from my laser-focused goal, especially the annoying voices of colleagues yelling, “Earthquake! Earthquake!”
  • Attempt again to bite chicken wing.

Yup. That’s pretty much my experience of L.A.’s terrifying 5.4 temblor last week. I didn’t freakin’ notice it. My primitive lizard brain was too focused on a primal survival need to process an immediate, direct threat to my survival.

I’m frequently amused by my own stupidity. Very frequently. But sometimes, with a few days’ added perspective, my amusement can turn to horror (amused horror, but still).

In the end, though, there is some good news here. I can move forward in my chosen profession as a writer, never having to wonder whether I missed my calling as a firefighter, MASH surgeon, or crisis counselor.
 

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Science Prevails!

I must say I admire your concentration and single mindedness in attacking that oscillating piece of cooked animal flesh during a decent tremor.  Living in Northern California, the last earthquake I experienced was *heard* more than felt.  I was watching TV sitting on one of those gym balls that seem to be all the fad these days (because the threat of rolling off and hitting the floor is a great incentive to develop your abs), and it literally sounded like a truck went thru my house.  However, sitting on the gym ball, that flimsy spherical mass of neoprene somehow absorbed all that tectonic unsteadiness.  Newton's second law of motion wins out.  Science is your friend.

Strangely enough, I felt cheated, so I spent the next minute rocking back and forth on the ball (being careful not to spill myself).  Yeah, that feels about right ...

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You rebirthed your earthquake!

Awesome. Isn't that what therapists 15 years ago were telling people to do with their lost childhoods?

I applaud your reclaiming your inner quake victim.

Seriously, though, I felt a little cheated, too. I'm always reluctant to admit that I find catastrophes kind of exciting. Then I'm reminded that lots of other people feel the same way.

I didn't realize it could be turned into a positive with core strengthening. Science rules, indeed.

Thanks for the smile!