Just read about PP's earthquake experience in Tokyo. Good thing mother and son are both safe and sound. :) Good thing that Miki was with her. It's the loneliest feeling in the world to have no one around when you go through something like that.

It got me thinking about my own earthquake experience 2 weeks ago. The quake was a 5.4, what experts term as 'moderate'. Just slight damage to structures and buildings.

That morning, I got jolted awake by my violently swaying bed. In my groggy, half-asleep state, I thought it was one of those dreams where you fall and land so hard that you wake up. Then I saw my room spinning, heard the glass cabinets rattling and it dawned on me that there was an EARTHQUAKE.

So I got up and went to stand under the door. Though California is quake-zone, Kelly and I have never discussed in depth on what we to do in such situations. Nor do we have quake supplies. However, we have talked about the safest place to be in the house and that is under the door frame.

After a few minutes of rolling and shaking, it abruptly stopped. To my own surprise, my survival instincts kicked in. I filled up plastic bottles of water, packed a sweater, my passport, wallet and cereal in a bag in case a bigger quake strikes.

Then I tried calling Kelly but the phone lines were dead. Strangely TV and internet were still working. I tried contacting someone online for instructions on how to turn off the gas and water heaters so nothing leaks or explode. But no one replied.

So I went downstairs to my street. I could hear cars whizzing by in the background. But other than that, it was very quiet. No person, no sound, nothing. Up to this moment, I have not been scared. But now, I started feeling really helpless. I cannot reach anyone. I cannot drive. I had no food. I did not know how to turn off the gas. I did not know how to turn off the water heaters. I did not know anyone nearby that I could turn to. At that moment, I felt like I was the last person alive.

I went back to the house and miraculously my phone rang. It was Kelly's stepmom calling to check if I was alright. I was so relieved to hear a voice. After the call ended, I changed out of my pyjamas and decided to check on my neighbours. One wasn't home but another was. He's an old man who had been through his share of earthquakes and was super calm about this one. We chatted for a while. So the upside to all this is that I got to know a neighbour. 远亲不如近邻

Later that night when my initial adrenaline had passed, I was feeling rattled and miffed that K couldn't come home to be with me. Logically I knew he had work commitments. But at that time, all I thought was this is my first time experiencing a quake, it could happen again and you are leaving me to fend for myself?!! I wanted a warm body next to me.

Strangely, I found comfort in my neighbour's cat. Though I have not met the owner before, his cat visits me everyday. That night when the cat did its usual rounds, it felt so good to have him here. Animals can sense tremors before humans do and the cat's presence felt very reassuring.

The next day, it was like life as usual. The news channels ran updates for one day and that's it. We haven't even gotten our quake supplies. Which reminds me, I better ask K how to turn off the gas and water heaters tomorrow.
Labels: | edit post
0 Responses