Monday, July 25, 2005

Rock and Roll

Most nights I usually end up downstairs in the basement on my computer working on one of my several websites, reading e-mail, or programming some code I think I really need.

Tonight was no different, and on this night I was researching news articles about search and rescue diving.

As I sat reading an article, I felt a little dizzy, almost light-headed. It was the same feeling you get when sitting on a boat in a calm body of water such as a lake. Just a slow rocking sensation, almost imperceptible, except for the slight disorientation that I was experiencing.

Just as I was thinking I might be coming down with something, or had some inner-ear issue that was throwing off my equilibrium, I noticed the phone cord gently swaying on the end of the unit that was hanging on the wall.

Whew. It wasn’t me, but apparently one of the gentlest earthquakes I had ever been through.

Being born and raised in Southern California, I have been through my share of quakes, and this one was so insignificant, that I almost dismissed it and wrote it off to a health issue.

Just to verify that I truly was not getting sick, or hallucinating, I went upstairs to where the kids were watching a movie and asked them if they had felt the earthquake. They said they hadn’t, but they were engrossed in watching “Space Camp” and it was at a dramatic point. They probably thought the movie was making them feel weightless too.

Not getting the validation from my daughters, I went further upstairs to our bedroom where my wife had just gone to bed a little while before, and asked her the same question.

This time I was comforted to hear that she had felt something and looked up because she thought maybe someone had come into the room, which was making the bed shake a little. I kissed her goodnight, and then headed back downstairs to finish watching the last few minutes of my daughters’ movie.

When the movie was over we switched from DVD to Dish Network and found the ten o’clock news. Sure enough, the first report of that night was the notification that Western Montana had been hit with a fairly decent sized quake. 5.something I think they said.

The newscast also mentioned that we could go online to www.pnsn.org and make a report about how the quake was felt where we lived. Apparently this will give the scientists more data to help them in their study of earthquakes. Being the geek that I am, I went to the site and filled in their questionnaire.

Sure all of this is boring to you, so if you’re still with me, let me share an amusing tale of an earthquake I was in when I was younger in Southern California.

It has been so long now that the details leading up to the event are somewhat fuzzy. Heck, these days, the details of what I did yesterday are fuzzy!

I believe I had just got out of bed and was getting ready for school. Part of the morning ritual, as it is with so many of you I’m sure, was going to the bathroom. Now on this morning I would not be just going number one, Mother Nature was calling for the old number two.

Sitting there on the thinking chair, Southern California began to shake, and shake hard.

Growing up in earthquake country I knew I was supposed to get under a doorway, but some things you just can’t rush, and this was one of those times a decision had to be made. If I wanted to complete my business, I would just have to ride this one out on the porcelain portal for bodily fluid management.

Gripping the sides, so as not to prematurely dismount until I was completely ready to do so, I hung on while the house started rocking and rolling. At first it didn’t seem like a terrible idea, at least not until I first started to feel the water.

There I was, hanging on tight like I was on a great white-knuckle ride in an amusement park, with toilet water splashing all over my backside. This is one of those embarrassing moments that you normally don’t share with others, so of course I have elected to invite you all to join in the laughs.

Eventually the quake slowed down, and we went into the typical succession of smaller after shocks. By that time I had removed myself from my precarious perch, and was more prepared to face the little following rumbles.

Those of you who have read my words often, know that one of the reasons this site exists is to leave behind some stories for my daughters, and perhaps other family members in the future. Not because I think I’m some sort of smart thinker, or wise man imparting my knowledge to future generations, but because I think it’s important that my children have an incite into who their father was when the time comes for me to leave this body.

That being said, I'll leave you all with this little impromptu poem.

If you feel Mother Nature calling
When the Earth starts to rock and roll
And you feel there’s no time for stalling
You’d better hold tight to the bowl.

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