Since I was a kid, I always wondered if I could learn the way that I would die, if I would want to know. So when I read in the New Yorker last week about how my death was coming via a tsunami/earthquake combo to the west coast, I realized the answer was no, I did not want to know what would take me in the end. It is an understatement to say I freaked out while reading the article entitled,”The Earthquake that Will Devastate Seattle.” I knew from the beginning I shouldn’t read it based on the title alone in conjunction with the paranoia that I have on a daily basis. The part of me that still yearns to be well-read on important matters trumped the paranoia, and I’ve regretted it ever since.
Essentially the article states that the west coast is long overdue for an earthquake/tsunami one-two punch. While it affects the entirety of the west coast, the article was quick to focus on the destruction of Seattle in particular. I cursed to myself as I learned that I recently decided to move to the least prepared state on the coast for this sort of event. I read the lengthy article in horror, and kept scrolling down waiting for the glimmer of hope but instead got a play by play of how it will hypothetically go down. The earthquake will come first, then the tsunami is supposed to obliterate everything west of I-5, which in case you were wondering includes me and my humble abode.
After learning the line determining me a lost cause was only half a mile away from my home, I wondered at my chances of outrunning a tsunami to make it to the side where people at least survived. Then I remembered 1) I haven’t run in over a decade and 2) I made the conscious decision to pack my Manolo Blahnik heels rather than my tennis shoes in the move, figuring I’d get more use out of them.
I instantly regretted not bolting my bookshelf to the wall, especially now that it no longer sits empty and is crammed with reading material. I looked in my cabinets to see how much food I had to be earthquake prepared after I lose all power and decided a can of soup and two jars of Costco salsa were probably not enough to count myself among the survivors.
I told myself not to freak out but melodramatically called my mom the next day to inform her that I got rejected from a job I really wanted, but it’s ok, because I also learned in the same day that I chose to move to a city that will likely be the death of me anyhow.
It’s been a frequent topic of conversation this past week, which is probably because I start running my mouth about it to anyone who will listen, hoping for someone to give me some security that I didn’t just sign my life away when I decided to move out here. I spoke to my cousin, who informed me that Nate Berkus was in a major tsunami and survived, and I told her I’d probably be better off on the dying end than I would clinging to a piece of driftwood for days on end praying for someone to find me. As much as I love the thought of being on Oprah like he was, that ship has sailed. Being an audience member of a “favorite things” episode and making out like a bandit suits me better than sobbing my eyes out on stage telling my traumatic story anyways. I am inspired by people who have that kind of survival stamina, but I also have no desire for that to be me. Plus if im being realistic, I know my limits, and I’m clearly only prepared for whatever event made buying salsa in bulk a good idea.
Now that some time has passed, there have been numerous articles published making it sound like perhaps it won’t be quite as bad as the New Yorker stated, which was quite the relief. So I pushed it to the back of my mind, trying to shake the unnerving feeling I got from the initial article. Freak accidents happen every day, and just because my location changed doesn’t necessarily mean I’m at any more risk of something weird happening here versus someplace else. Seattle has a very low violent crime rate, so that’s in my favor. I suppose you pick your battles, and you never quite know what life is going to throw your way, and there are pros and cons to every situation. Until then, I just have to buy some more earthquake friendly food for my apartment.