Though I live in a high-rise apartment building, the earthquake last night didn’t faze me very much. Although maybe, admittedly, it should have. There are a few main reasons for this. The first is that my family was all together at the time, and my children were sleeping soundly in their beds. (Well Young sir was in my bed, really. But you get the point.) Had it occurred during the day, with my children at school and my husband working half way across the city, some Very Different Feelings would surely have ensued.
The second reason is that I am a fairly hardened earthquake veteran, as I’m sure a lot of us are by now. I was trapped underground on the Marunouchi Line for about a half hour during the 2011 quake, and in its aftermath I spent so much time volunteering in the shelters up north that it bordered on pathological. I took the video below on a flip phone, driving through Kadowaki in Ishinomaki in June 2011 with a local volunteer organizer who became a friend. I will post it with a Content Warning, because obviously.
The last reason is that I am pretty accustomed to chaos in my daily life. Taking into account the all the stressful events that occurred this past week, I would say that the 6.1 earthquake ranks third. The scariest thing that happened took place two mornings ago, when I was taking my kids down to the bicycle garage on the second basement, and I looked behind me to see that Little Prince still standing inside the elevator. I may well have been running and shouting in slow motion as the elevator doors began to close. I barely missed the button in time and the doors shut in my face (at which point expletives were involved). Twenty minutes later, Young Sir and I found Little Prince wandering about innocently on the 12th floor.
The second most nerve-racking event of the week has been an amalgam of all the preparation leading up to Little Prince’s dreaded Undoukai tomorrow, which I will probably write more about (very snarkily, I am sure) in the days to come.
Among scary or stressful incidents of the year, list night’s quake is not even in the top 100.
At the risk of sounding like the most negligent parent ever, one or both of my elevator-obsessed autistic children have gotten lost in my building’s complex elevator system more times over the past few years than I can count. And the day-before-yesterday was hardly the worst of it.
This is the DIY lock we had to make for the inside of our door, so that my kids cannot sneak out to go on solo elevator adventures, the moment we let down our guard.
Every other lock they’ve been able to crack. Vestiges of our current lock’s failed predecessors can be seen below.
I’m ashamed to admit it, but I found last night’s earthquake oddly comforting in a way. There is something unifying about the thought of so many people, millions really, experiencing an upending event at precisely the same moment. It made me feel less alone in my personal chaos, somehow.
For once, the entire city was trembling. For once it wasn’t just me.
**addendum: in the time between writing this post and uploading it, I saw a snake in my building’s garage, which now makes last night’s earthquake the 4th most stressful event of the week.