Could I Survive This?

by Amy Zidell


This is a CLASSIC
This appeared in print in its original form in January 1994.

I've posted this today for my West Coast Neighbors in Washington.

January, 1994

Sure, earthquakes are destructive and dangerous. They are really annoying too. I especially dislike the way they jostle me out of bed. Why can't they shake at night so I won't miss Letterman?

Earthquakes are very inconsiderate. My brothers, in the surrounding Northridge area, were nearly thrown out of bed by this last quake. Now, there's just simply no reason for that sort of thing.

Like many, my brothers and I were dispersed by last Monday's quake. We camped out at my parents' house, which is far enough away from the epicenter that it has running water, power, is structurally sound and everything inside isn't broken and smashed up. It was just like the old days, except my brothers each have wives and two small children 25 months to five months in age. Other than that, it was the same. I imagine this house was much like it would be if my brothers were deadbeats, with no hope for employment, and I refused to ever leave. I'm glad that's not the case. My mom doesn't even think that's funny. I thought it was hysterical.

So, my father devised a master plan: my brothers and I would stay in our old rooms. This was an interesting plan with one small glitch... my parents have converted two of their children's  former rooms into offices. Yes, that's right, my parents each have an office. The other room is one my mother and I share as storage. Hey, I don't have a house, yet... You want me to store my stuff at your house?

We managed anyway, it wasn't so bad. It was kind of like a small family reunion in the mountains without the mountains or five months of planning.

The earthquake was bad -- real bad; however, things got much worse. After everyone had safely resituated themselves in their old rooms, we naturally congregated in the family room and kitchen.

THEN IT HIT! Somehow, a Barney videotape had survived and was recovered from the rubble. I knew this, because that very tape was now playing in the VCR. Barney was dancing and, yes, singing on the TV. It was terrible.

My older niece and nephew sat transfixed at the overstuffed purple creature whose voice and mouth movement were less in sync than English-speaking Japanese people being terrorized by Godzilla and friends.

I survived the earthquake. I didn't know if I could survive this too.

1994 Amy Zidell
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