Sunday, November 28, 2010

Living with the Risk of Earthquakes

Living in California, the fear of earthquakes are never too far. Specifically, the Next Big One.

Here's where I think about it:

The Transbay Tube
Every time you BART between San Francisco and the East Bay, you travel through 3.6 miles of underwater tunnel on the bottom of the bay. 

I find that three-point-six miles is enough time to halt any commute distractions I've got going for some worst case scenarios. In fact, I don't recommend Googling 'transbay tunnel' and 'earthquake' as I just did.

The Waldo Tunnel
Right after the the Golden Gate bridge, you travel through this tunnel in Marin County. It's beautiful scenery. The eucalyptus smells glorious. I sometimes hear angels, as I feel so grateful to live here. 
Either the happiest tunnel in the world or the gayest. Unclear. 
This cheerful tunnel amidst gorgeous countryside also triggers terrifying earthquake scenarios.

So as to not live in denial, I have water and canned goods set aside. 

I also have a dog. 
After I got him, it occurred to me he could be my early detection system, since animals have extrasensory perception about natural disasters.

Then I talked to someone who experienced the '89 earthquake, with his dog. 

After seeing a picture of earthquake damage in my 3rd grade social studies book, earthquakes joined UFOs as one of the main terrors I imagined before falling asleep at night.

As a little girl, I couldn't understand people so cavalier to live in California, where they were risking their lives (and their glorious swimming pools), living near a fault. 

As an adult, I've come to realize you weigh the benefits and the risks. 

There's so much about Northern California, the Bay Area, San Francisco and Oakland that reward me everyday. For me, it's not worth it to play it safe. 

(And just so I'm not tempting fate, a little shouty for St. Emydius, who I just learned protects against earthquakes). 


Christine said...

Yes! Although mine is the Bay Bridge, especially since they're going to the trouble to make a new one, which means the one you're driving on is not earthquake safe. I imagine my car falling over into the water, the impact, kicking out the window and then swimming to either Yerba Buena or the port. Constructive worrying? Sheesh, no wonder I never go to SF.

eileen said...

Christine I'm glad you posted because you offered the missing link in my panic scenarios - the surviving part. I'll add that next time I'm BARTing over to SF.

Christine said...

Oh, there's no hope in the Tube. I don't even let myself go there!

StephAbbott said...

Great post! I was in Berkeley when the '89 quake rumbled through and rode BART for years later. Your artwork pegs my fear perfectly.

Cora said...

Nice blog! Beautiful drawings... :)

I heard we're due for a big one at any moment. The geologists predict mother nature is tired of SE Asia and wants to crank up the energy across the Pacific.

I keep up on astrology to soothe my paranoia. No, my elementary school teachers didn't include that part in the duck and cover drills, I cleverly added it myself. We all need some warning signs before it happens - I'm not lucky enough to have a dog.

Have Myelin? said...

I just discovered your blog and I LOVE your artwork! =)

Eileen said...

I'm glad to hear that you survived the last one AND lived to ride BART. Thanks for the note.

Can astrology help pinpoint when an earthquake can happen? Cause apparently, I can't rely on my dog...

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