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 cousins, 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 cousins and I were dispersed by last Monday's quake. We camped out at my grandparents' 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 now there are spouses and small children ranging from 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 cousins were deadbeats, with no hope for employment, and none of us refused to ever leave. I'm glad that's not the case. My grandma doesn't even think that's funny. I thought it was hysterical.

So, a master plan was devised: everyone would stay in the rooms they used stay in. This was an interesting plan with one small glitch... two of these bedrooms have been converted into offices. Yes, that's right, his and her offices. The other room is one used as storage, a partially mine. Hey, tiny house... 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.

The older little kids 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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