Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shake your moneymaker.

Today's earthquake was one of the biggest I've felt in a long time, but definitely not panic-worthy. It actually provided an inexplicable thrill, maybe due to the fact that I haven't felt one that big in so long, yet without the sheer terror that accompanied the 1994 Northridge Quake. The automatic instinct after an earthquake is to go outside and see if--well, I'm not sure what people go outside to see, but they end up finding each other out there, briefly discussing objects that teetered ominously on the shelf, and then going back in the house to call family and turn on the local news. Upon stepping outside, I was disappointed to see that nobody in my building felt like observing the time-honored post-earthquake block party tradition. The television did not let me down, though, faithfully displaying the needle that still hopped around reminding us that tectonic plates never stop moving, as if to say, "This isn't over yet." Then for the rest of the day there were the standard shots of schools, brick walls, and shiny supermarket aisles littered with fallen merchandise. Still, aftershocks and speculations of "the Big One" notwithstanding, this one appears to be over.

On CNN, Wolf Blitzer actually seemed disappointed by this. I guess now that Obama's back in America and McCain has yet to choose a running-mate the election just doesn't have the same punch it did a week ago, so as they covered major news stories around the world CNN for some time maintained a split screen displaying a live shot of an empty podium. Eventually Arnold Schwarzenegger stepped up and Blitzer interrupted another report to hear the Governator spend a few minutes assuring Californians that everything is fine before moving on to address questions about the state's budget problems.

Serves CNN right for expecting so much with so little sensationalism. The local stations--now those guys can squeeze water from a stone. You don't see Anderson Cooper in a Honda dealership pointing out weather sealing strips falling from the windows and staff moving the merchandise to safety "in record time." I bet nobody at CNN even knows what the previous world record was for moving Hondas out of a showroom.

photo: Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times


Anonymous said...

Ahh, I'm glad to hear that I wasn't the only one poking my head out the door after the quake; I felt like my neighbors had maybe not even noticed it. This was my natural reaction, having never been through one of these before; I guess what I was looking for was confirmation that what I thought had happened had in fact happened.

BJG. said...

It's a unifying experience, something like I'd imagine being stuck in an elevator to be. Everyone feels it, everyone's either terrified or mutually cognizant of the silliness of their fears. In my old neighborhood people would come outside and just have conversations in the middle of the street, even if they'd never said hello to one another. Earthquakes are good icebreakers. I guess being a friendly person by nature I'm always looking for a way to crack through people's shells here and was a little saddened that even terrestrial rumblings don't do the trick. To be fair, though, I live in a building full of med students with internships. They may have been at work.

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