Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fun With Earthquakes!

I have been in twenty earthquakes. My husband, the native San Franciscan, thinks it is hilarious that I know exactly how many earthquakes I've felt. He says I collect them. I do. They were the oddest thing about living in San Francisco- except for all the other odd things about living in San Francisco. After a few years of feeling none at all, and feeling somewhat geologically neglected, I felt my first quake. And then my second, and third, and fourth, and pretty soon they were coming all too frequently culminating in one really really really big one that flattened a highway, broke a bridge, destroyed what little sanity I had, and shook me and my babies all the way to the East Coast.

I have many pleasant and unpleasant earthquake memories ( If they are not too big they are actually kind of a rush) my favorite of which is the One In Which I Fire A Shrink:

In 1984 I was dumped by my boyfriend of four years, Marc the Shmuck. After this dumping (which was a particularly brutal dumpage- he moved all his furniture out while I was at work four days after we had decided to get married), I decided I could use a little moral support and so hired a therapist named Elaine. Elaine seemed quite nice on the phone- she was from New York, always a plus, and we had a lovely chat so I went to meet her at her office for our first appointment. She worked in a beautiful old Victorian in my work neighborhood which was wonderfully convenient. We began our first appointment and then all hell broke loose:

Elaine: Oh My God, it's an earthquake! We have to get out!
Me: I think it would be best if we just stood under this doorway.
Elaine: No, Jesus Christ!! We have to get out of here now -quick go down the stairs!!
Me: Um...I believe I've read that the stairways are not the best place....
Elaine: NO! OUT!! NOW!!

So I followed her down the shaking stairs thinking,"this is really a bad idea". We stood on the front sidewalk as the shaking subsided and I checked out the other inhabitants of the office who had made the incredibly dumb decision to go outside. That building was full of shrinks . I had fun trying to figure out who were the shrinks and who were the clients and then we went back upstairs. Elaine spent the rest of the session trying to call her son who ,when she got him, spent a lot of time calming her down while I played with an ashtray.

Then I went to the hospital where I worked with emotionally disturbed adolescents. I was greeted by my favorite kid/client who was also from New York and had been complaining that he never felt any quakes and wanted to .

Me: So, did you get to feel that quake?
Him: I was on the toilet. I had to change my fucking clothes after it was over.
Me: hysterical laughter

It was a 5.9 quake which is a pretty good sized shake. Really quite an enjoyable one. I fired Elaine. I didn't like the way she handled stress.

Here's what the really big one that made me move to NJ was like:


only a movie said...

I'm glad you moved back east. That earthquake stuff always got to me, and I only felt a couple of mild ones a zillion miles away from the big faults. eek.

Cristin said...

I've never experienced a quake... I imagine I would be changing my clothes after...

also glad you moved back East.