It is dark outside and in the back of my mind I am slowly realizing that tomorrow marks 15 years since the Northridge quake. If you are interested in some pictures and details you can read a post I wrote last year.
There is a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. I have survivied a forest fire and been through more than one major earthquake. I have seen more than a few catastrophes up close and the memories stick with me. But the truth is that there is something about that day so long ago that hasn't ever gone away.
I haven't quite figured it out. Every time that I think that I have I find that it still doesn't make sense. There is a sense of foreboding that hasn't really left me. I don't think about it often, but sometimes I have this feeling that in a moment all hell is going to break loose.
The feeling starts slowly. I feel like the earth is starting to move and then I look for a chandelier or similar object, expecting to see it sway. I listen for the rumble that turns into a roar and I try to decide where to go. In seconds I know whether I am going to hit the doorway, go beneath the table or try to exit the building.
Prior to the Northridge quake I had no fear of them. A quake was a big joke. But that night taught me to show more respect for Mother Earth. That night I realized that this was very different from a funhouse. In the funhouse the hydraulics shut off and all returns to as it was. A large quake is far different.
The quake made a real impact on sleep patterns. Many of my friends say that for months afterwards they slept with one eye open. Those that made a habit of sleeping naked no longer did, or made certain to have clothing in many places.
For a brief time I played rent-a-boyfriend and had a bunch of sleepovers at the apartments of some of my female friends. Truth is that I think we all felt better knowing that someone else was around.