January 31, 2005

Earthquakes. What are they good for?

I've heard a lot about earthquakes in my lifetime being that I grew up in Vancouver "Omigod we're living on a fault" British Columbia. We blossomed secure in the knowledge that one day our Lower Mainland playground would come shaking down around us in a rumble of Armageddon-like proportions. But like with any sense of impending doom that remains a vague threat and not an imminent reality, we BC kids ran amock with our high-quality pot and our carefree rainy-day joie-de-vivre and didn't bother trembling in our beds at night wondering if the house would still be standing when we awoke. That was for LA people to do. And San Francisco people to do. Lord, we had other concerns! Like, um, were grow-ops technically or only theoretically illegal and would Whistler get a lot of snow this season?

Then, through the vagaries of modern unemployment and on various and sundry whims, I found myself living here. In Wellington. New Zealand. EARTHQUAKE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD. Okay, no, it's probably not. But it sure feels like it. I was shaken awake at 6:30ish this morning by a 5.4 on the Richter Scale. With accompanying aftershocks. On January 21 I was shaken awake by a 5.5 on the Richter Scale. With accompanying aftershocks. When your floor is doing the moonwalk and the walls are shivering in accompaniment, it gets a bit alarming. Especially when do-gooder friends then inform you that a 7.5 will level all of Wellington with that smug aura of informed alarm that people reveling in relaying bad news always have.

Earthquakes. What are they good for? Um, leveling out the earth's plates. Also thinning the surface population. Also blasting you out of that false sense of security that humanity spends most of it's fragile and brief life numbingly wrapped in. You just never know, do you? So by George, get out and live! Dammit.

And, in case you think this whole post is a load of bollux, go here to view a handy map and frequency scale of all the recent New Zealand earthquakes. Remember, kids, it's all fun and games till somebody's house falls down. Then it's life.