This just out: if you can make it through a 6.7 earthquake (including a 5.8 aftershock and some), then you are entitled to some chocolate. Or, at least, to write off-topic.
“The hairy thing that lurks under my bed” suddenly seems harmless when compared with your entire house rocking and rolling like nobody’s business. “The hairy thing that lurks under my bed” could be a science project gone bad, a small farm animal (I live in a part of Hawaii that has its share of small, odd-looking farm animals), even a troll (I’ve never seen one but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist – I try to keep an open mind about these things).
But an earthquake? That’s serious, scary business. You want to run, but exactly where are you going to run to?
And, if you have kids or a spouse, then it’s like you have a responsibility to keep a level head. No screaming or panicking, lest you freak out the 6-years-old-and-under set. So even though EVERYTHING is rumbling and quaking (it really is!), you sort of say nonchalantly, “Hey, let’s go stand under the door frame!” You try to make it sound like a game even though you are shouting over the din (earthquakes are LOUD) and wearing only a T-shirt and boxers. You try not to look perturbed as you calculate how far away the front door is from the bedroom door, or wondering if maybe you really should start screaming and panicking. This isn’t Space Mountain, this is the EARTH under your HOUSE moving and NOT STOPPING. It’s disconcerting to say the least.
But it does stop, does a few hiccups, and as you continue the “game” of loading up your car as fast as you can with all the emergency supplies you bought from Costco five years ago, you realize – again – that, shoot, I live on an island. Where am I going to go? If I drive non-stop for seven hours, guess where I end up? Back in my front yard again!
But, truthfully, it wasn’t as if staying in the house was a bad idea. There was hardly any property damage. There were cracks in the walls and the carport ceiling caved in on the car but only one thing broke, a picture frame. And our eight million bookshelves (I’m exaggerating here) with all sorts of stuff – nothing fell off. Things came down from the closet shelves but since they were already in boxes (with lids!), we just had to push the boxes back on the closet shelves. Done! Oh, and a plastic piece on the shower door broke so that the door swings out, and the water heater spit out some black water onto the wall. Even the TV worked. I did a quick vacuum, wiped up the dust, pulled the sheetrock off of our car, washed my hands, and we were off to the neighborhood Pumpkin Patch by 1:00 pm (the earthquake was at 7:07 am).
So, as you probably guessed, I headed straight for the bake sale table, looking for chocolate. None. Nada. There were macadamia nuts cookies, pumpkin bread, caramel apples, Rice Krispy treats, peanut butter cookies, but no chocolate ANYTHING. The parent manning the booth gave an apologetic shrug. “They were the first to go.” The grocery stores were closed for clean-up so there was no chance of getting chocolate there. Ditto with the gas stations.
I am grateful no one was injured. I am grateful my family and our things were safe and sound. I am grateful that our community managed to pull off a Pumpkin Patch within hours of a major earthquake. I am grateful that we had electricity and running water restored almost immediately. I am grateful that our little house that I constantly bitch about (never again!) held up so well. I am grateful that 100 FEMA experts were deployed in record time even though, as it turned out, there really wasn’t any catastrophe needing their immediate attention. As far as big earthquakes go, we fared pretty damn well, especially since the epicenter was about 15 miles from our house.
Still, there’s the chocolate. While I’m not expecting another major disaster any time soon, I want to be prepared this time. So send your donations to: The Earthquake Chocolate Relief Fund, care of Mia King, PO Box 6886, Kamuela, HI 96743. This is not tax deductible and you will not receive a receipt. All proceeds go to benefit me (hey, I could have post traumatic stress!) and will probably be eaten within 24 hours. Thank you for your attention to this matter, and know that your donation will be going to a good cause!