Thoughts from the aftermath (of a very mild earthquake)

13 Oct

I was just involved in a terrifying natural disaster. OK… yeah, I’m being a bit dramatic as it lasted all of 30 seconds, but while my heart’s still pumping and my palms are still sweating and it’s all I can do not to scream “I’m a survivor” in a not-very-Beyonce like manner I’m going to write about it….

Hmmm… OK, so my first thoughts were, “how weird, the ground is shaking, maybe there’s a really big truck moving past outside.” Part of my brain flashed back to when I was kid and this used to happen along the main road where I lived. Huge lorries would rattle the entire house on their route along the street. Mum would tut and go back to the telly.

But then, the earthquake (which I now hear was a massive 6.8 on the scale) got stronger, and stronger, and I looked up to see the plants swinging and the trees shaking and all of a sudden, the annoying Dutch family who’d been smoking and talking loudly and not reprimanding their screaming toddler for running around my table, were grabbing the child and high-tailing it out of the café! We’re in an open bamboo structure.

My second thoughts were, “Do I have to run too?” and “Should I pack up my computer?” Stupid right? I left everything where it was and legged it out onto the street. Now it’s all over I’m only thinking what an idiot I was in this situation. This moment of panic. When faced with something so unexpected and so out of the ordinary in your every day world, your brain truly does go into lockdown. You do and think things you never dream might cross your mind. As I stood on the road watching the signs swinging outside the stores, I felt my knees shaking with the panic. At one point, I almost fell over. Everything was out of balance. The world, my mind, my body.

I thought, “At least mum and dad are having a nice time in Turkey.” I thought, “At least I wrote some nice things to some nice people in emails, and on Facebook, before this.”

The Balinese staff were grinning and laughing and in turn, I grinned and laughed, but mostly because the situation was so ridiculous I had no other way of relating to it in a logical manner. I was terrified that the entire earth would open up and suck me down into its crust. I pictured Bruce Willis. I pictured houses tumbling down hillsides, landing in rivers and washing away in pieces, like cocktail sticks in the ocean. I saw myself, holding on to a rock with one hand, the rest of me dangling into the heart of the earth, my flip flops falling one by one and melting like candlewax; the very earth that just seconds before was beaming sunshine onto my bare arms as I sipped a cup of coffee and contemplated shooting the Dutch folk another evil look for interrupting my writer’s procrastination.

It takes just one second for the world to change. If this happens again, if something worse takes me away and I don’t get to say goodbye, I still won’t be prepared for it. I can’t live my life in a hard hat, clutching doorways.

But let it be said RIGHT HERE and now that I’m trying my very best to love and live and breathe and forgive, and give and dream and eat and drink and occasionally sing REALLY bad karaoke to the best of my ability. And so should everyone else.

But it won’t happen again. It WON’T. (Will it??)

Can someone send Bruce to Bali?

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