Ladies and gentlemen, we interrupt our usual programme for this unscheduled blog post.
I’m a rules kind of person myself, but I try not to impose my rules on others. Even to me, it seems a bit unreasonable to expect everyone else to drink the same coffee every day and sit on the same side of the table. (As long as I get my usual coffee and sit on the proper side of the table I’m happy.)
But I do have one rule that I’d like to insist on, especially in light of last night’s events.
The ground should not move.
Honestly, it upsets me enough when things on top of the ground move. When the ground insists on lurching all over the show, it makes me want to pack up and go home until everyone agrees to play nicely.
Last night I was already home. I was in bed and happily asleep when a magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck.
It always surprises me how quickly one goes from “hey, that’s my unicorn, give it back”, to “rats, there’s an earthquake, is it big enough that I need to get out of bed?”
Last night, the answer was decidedly “yes”. As I found out later, it was in fact two earthquakes that considerately decided to strike at almost exactly the same time. I say considerately, because it meant I had time to get to “cover” (though I’m not convinced a doorway is actually a safer place to be than a bed) before the stronger quake hit.
It was a smooth earthquake, and felt very much like being on a small boat and being hit by the wake of a larger boat. A larger speed boat propelled by rockets. I swear the house was actually trying to throw me out. The shaking lasted two minutes.
The electric toothbrush fell over, but it still works so I think we came through fairly well. (There are some cracks in the paint at the edge of the ceiling, but I’m pretty sure they were there before.)
Oh, and we lost power, which I discovered means my alarm doesn’t go off. Still, at 5:30am with no electricity or internet access, I was faced with the difficult decision of whether to try to head into town to work.
It’s times like this when you realise just how many wind-up radios you have, most of which claim to also charge cellphones, but none of which fit the charging socket of your cellphone. You also realise that you can’t find your favourite wind-up radio, the one with the solar panel. (Is it sad that I have a favourite?)
My radio(s) worked. Civil Defense told me not to go to work. As excuses go, that’s even better than a note from your doctor.
Having decided not to go to work, and still without power, my husband and I were faced with the difficult problem of how to make coffee. My gas cooker for tramping came to the rescue and, surrounded by chickens (don’t ask), I sat outside and boiled water.
Ah, the relief of coffee!
The aftershocks are still coming thickly. Every time I feel one I tense and wait to see if it gets strong enough to chase me to a doorway. None have yet.
I’ve learned a few things from this earthquake that I’m sure every Christchurch survivor already knows. They’re not kidding when they say keep a torch within reach beside your bed. And tinned soup in your survival kit is well and good, but you should also prepare for those times when what you really need is chocolate.
Go to Stuff to read about the quake and keep an eye out for ways you can help. A lot of the country is much worse off than us, and two people are confirmed to have been killed. My thoughts are with their families, and all the families and communities that have been affected by this disaster.
If you live in an earthquake-prone area yourself, there’s no time like the present to get prepared. The NZ Earthquake Commission has some good information, or check out the equivalent agency in your own country.