I've lived in Los Angeles for a little over six years now, and in that time I've had to adapt to two things: 1) We have earthquakes. 2) People won't shut up about the goddamn earthquakes.
Yesterday, a 4.2 magnitude earthquake hit Los Angles, and we got national attention from articles like this:
Now for someone who's never experienced an earthquake, this might not seem that strange. Certainly, an earthquake in the second biggest city in the country should be a newsworthy event, right? Don't chasms open within the earth, while buildings are razed to the ground like they're being stomped on by these guys?
Maybe a 7+ magnitude earthquake could look like that, but I'm not talking about those. I'm talking about the half-a-dozen or so baby tremors that we'll feel a year that can barely rattle a painting, but sends social media and the regular media into a frenzy. Here's what the majority of earthquakes feel like when you're living in Southern California:
You're lying awake in bed, considering watching some anime porn. An earthquake hits. You think, "Did a large truck just drive by?" Then you realize, "Nope, I think that's an earthquake. Shit, should I get under the door frame? Or wait, are you supposed to avoid the door frames?" The earthquake ends before you can figure it out, but having had the slightest taste of existential dread you think to yourself, "the hell with it. You only live once. Let's see what Saitama looks like naked."
Give or take the anime porn; this is pretty universal, but so too is the next morning when your newsfeed and social channels are cluttered with people asking, "Woah, did you guys feel that" like a bunch of stoners trying ayahuasca for the first time. Then the celebrities weigh-in and they too are just as "shook":
I get why this happens. So many people living in Southern California are transplants. They aren't from here so they're not used to it, but that's also why they have to cut it out. Because what ends up happening is my grandparents in New Jersey see "Southern California hit with an earthquake" along with a stock photo image of a fractured road and they immediately assume I'm lying dead buried beneath the rubble. So then I'm spending all day fielding calls from family trying to explain to them that, "No, this isn't a big deal. A 4.2 earthquake is something many people sleep through. Yes, I know Kelly Clarkson seemed worried. I don't know why. Yes, I agree Kelly Clarkson is a great singer. No, I don't know her personally."
I'm not trying to say earthquakes aren't dangerous. Some are, and I'm worried that "The Big One" will hit us at any moment. (Hopefully not while I'm watching anime porn.) But the vast majority of earthquakes are so tiny that they're barely detectable. In fact, an earthquake hits California every three minutes. (Okay, maybe that's not going to make my grandma feel any better.) All I'm asking is that for anything under a 5.0 we just leave it alone.
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Top Image: Pexels