Wednesday, January 05, 2011

I am now officially old

My soon-to-be-15-year-old brother called me tonight for help with his homework.

The assignment: interview someone who was in the "great quake" of 1989 - which happened seven years before he was born.

In terms of one of those "where were you when...?" moments, I'll never forget it - it was right up there with the terror attacks, albeit a lot less horrific.

Somehow, I have a talent for living in places with extreme weather and geological episodes. There was the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Before that, I lived in Houston when Hurricane Alicia and the subsequent floods hit. Would you believe the school district required us to get notes from home excusing our absences? Hello! Twenty-three people died!

Then in college I was in New York City when a record (for the time) blizzard hit. That was no major problem for me because the power stayed on and I didn't drive, so I didn't have to dig my car out from under several feet of snow.

Then in 2001, I was living in the Pacific Northwest when the Ash Wednesday earthquake hit, luckily doing no major damage (except to the Capitol building in Olympia, Wash. Go figure.)

I've also had the pleasure of getting snowed in during a blizzard here in Portland 2003 the same night I broke off an engagement. We were snowed in together for a week. I was really, really dying to know what I had done in another life to create that kind of karma for myself! (Just kidding. I was actually just dying to throw him out in the snow, but unfortunately I am not that heartless.)

In 2008 there was another blizzard, but luckily I got snowed in with Mr. RK and the kitties, so it was much more pleasant.

Even disasters have their humor. I told my little brother about a story I remembered from right after the earthquake, which was in eighth grade. One of my teachers let all of us share our stories about where we were when the earthquake happened, which was really quite cool of him. He also made us laugh with a previous student's story: his little brother was having a pee when the earthquake hit - and needless to say, he had some problems with aim.

We laughed so hard I'm surprised we didn't all wet ourselves.

And when I told the story today, more than 21 years later, it was still hilarious. At least my bro and I thought so. But what do you expect from a couple of pottymouths?


Darth Weasel said...

the real uestion does it feel to be on the wrong end of the interview process? :-)

Suspect it does NOT make you miss reporter days?

Lulú said...

You, a pottymouth?? ¡Mentíra! ¿Quién dice? lol

I like your earthquake story, and I'm trying to think of a funny hurricane story I can share with you...but no, we were pretty miserable for three weeks with no power back in '05 and Andrew was a royal pain in the ass back in '92. Too bad I didn't have your company back then. YOU would've kept me laughing!

Holland said...

I was in 2 fairly large earthquakes in my life... I slept through both of them... so nothing

and that is all I can tell so far with regard to mother Nature's wrath. knocking on wood....

Riot Kitty said...

Darth: Funny - I literally just wrote about that in a posting on Libby's blog. I never miss it, oddly enough.
Lulu: Bwahaha! As for the hurricane - ugh. I would have found a way to make you laugh *after* flying you out for a visit w/electricity ;0
H: Seriously! How could you sleep through them?

LL Cool Joe said...

Blimey yeah you are old! ;)

We don't really experience too many extremes in the weather here in this part of the UK, but I have experienced some very bad storms in my life time.

G said...

I've been fortunate here in Connecticut to not get hit with that kind of weather (however, did miss the tornado touchdown in 2009 that destroyed a dozen or so buildings in Wethersfield).

No, the only way I feel really old, is when I see paperwork from new hires come across my desk and I see that their birthdays are somewhere during my high school years plus three to four years afterwards.

That's 1979-86 boys and girls.

Lynn said...

My friend Elizabeth was living in San Francisco when that 1989 earthquake hit. We all kept trying to call her and finally got through. She said her knick knacks had all slid all over the place in her apartment, but her friend had just driven off the bay bridge, looked back and saw it collapse.

We mainly just have tornadoes in the south.

Anonymous said...

I experienced my very first earthquake earlier this year. As I do not live in a region not known for earthquakes, it came as a surprise to me.

It was a very mild earthquake. I recognized it be seeing the little things on a peg board rattle a bit.

There was no serious damage to anything. No vases or things like that fell over. Still I completely freaked out.

I spend the rest of the day muttering "the ground moved" and "breafmints."

Anonymous said...

Psh, at least you've got some excitement. The only weather related incidents I've been involved in are... minor sandstorms in Dubai, snowfall in Auckland, snowfall in Cardiff and rain in Colombo. :\

Then I see these Mountain Dew ads where a bunch of moron ride huge tsunamis and other ads where other morons ride hurricanes, and I'm thinking, "wow, I've had it so good, it's always been just so exciting, what with the rainfall and snowfall".


Aliceson said...

Luckily that little boy was at the toilet, even if he missed. An earthquake would definitely make me pee my pants!

John McElveen said...

PLEASE- let me know if you move to SC!!! So I can make EVACUATION- :-), Plans!!

Great post!!!


Riot Kitty said...

Joey: Last count, I think you are older than me, so I'm in good company ;)
G: Tell me about it...I still can't believe the "you must be born on this day in this year to buy cigarettes" signs.
L: Tornadoes would be scary. One touched down about 40 miles from here a couple of weeks ago.
WIGSF: I can't blame you!
FF: Sandstorms! Wow. I could do with less weather excitement though.
A: LOL! I guess we got used to the smaller ones. But the bigger ones are scary.
John: Will do ;)

Marnie said...

I understand what you mean about feeling I was watching some retro '80s videos from my teenage years and that's when it hit me...I still feel 18 though.

Granny Annie said...

Pee and poop and passing gas, the universal language of comedy:)

Green Tea said...

You young whipper snappers, you don't know what old is :0

Logical Libby said...

Let me know if you ever move to Utah. I'll buy earthquake insurance...