Wednesday, June 16, 2010

an explosion = ?

so today . . . i thought we were having another earthquake, but we weren't.

i guess no matter where you live, there are unique cultural things. (i'm sorry. i know "things" is not the very best word to use there. but i am soooo tired--you know, graduation last night and then all day at adventure city with my kindergarteners today. i'm exhausted! i wasn't even going to blog, since it is wednesday, but then i heard the explosions and had to blog . . . but, i cannot promise that my choice of vocabulary is going to be up to my normal standards.)

when we first moved to california, i was not convinced it was going to be a place i wanted to live. i thought it was going to be one big traffic jam with air so smoggy you could see it and gangs on every corner. thankfully, that is not what it turned out to be, but that was my initial expectation. i hadn't been here very long, when one night i heard a sharp explosion. "GUNSHOTS!!" was my initial thought. as luck would have it, i was home alone. i ran around the house, closing windows, making sure the doors were locked and setting the alarm--which should be the normal state of things, but i didn't know that yet. i just knew there was going to be a gang confrontation right outside our front door and we were all going to die, just because we had moved to california. (well, we weren't all going to die. i was home alone. but clearly i wasn't thinking all that rationally.)

the next day i looked in the news, but there was no mention of the hail of gunfire i had heard. hmmm, i thought. maybe it is so common place that they don't even report shootouts here! but there were no shell casings in the street either, which as anyone who watches tv knows, are a byproduct of a shootout. i asked someone about it a few days later, and they said, "oh, that was probably just the fireworks from the high school graduation."

what? fireworks at the high school graduation? i guess that could be what it was . . .

the next summer, in the middle of june, i heard the explosions again. "GUNSHOTS!" i yelled. i had to yell, because we had company visiting and i didn't want anyone to be hit by a stray bullet. i was thinking we should all hit the deck and maybe someone should call 9-1-1. then rollie reminded me about the fireworks. i peeked out an upstairs window and noticed that all the neighbors were standing around looking at the sky. and then the sky lit up with a burst of fireworks . . . followed by a boom that sounded suspiciously like a gunshot to me.

the next summer, when i heard the big BOOM, i am sorry to say i still thought gunshot. but i quickly remembered the fireworks, and instead of throwing myself on the floor, i ran outside with the rest of the neighbors to enjoy the show.

i now know that the likelihood that i will hear gunshots in my neighborhood is virtually non-existent. so every june when i hear the explosions, i remember that it is time for my own personal fireworks show.

that is, until today.

because a couple of days ago we had an earthquake. it was small. it only lasted a few seconds, and i barely felt the movement. but it began with a loud BOOM. i've only felt one other earthquake here in socal, and that was the one on easter sunday. i don't remember a boom with that one, but the movement lasted for a couple of minutes. I don't want the probability of an earthquake to dictate my choices, and yet, there are times when i think about it. occasionally when i go to bed i will think, "what if there is an earthquake tonight?" and then i put my laptop in the trunk of my car and my handbag right by my bed . . .

. . . just in case, because you never know.

of course, since i don't do this every night, odds are that when we do have an earthquake, it is going to hit on a night when nothing is where it belongs, which will make it hard to find stuff in the rubble . . . (you see how my mind works? i mean, i don't sit around worrying about this stuff, but sometimes i have 'disaster' thoughts. i blame all those disaster movies that were popular during the formative years of my youth--especially "the poseidon adventure.") but i digress . . .

so tonight i was sitting here on the couch, sorting all the photos i took at adventure city today, when i heard a loud BOOM. and this time, i didn't think gunshot. but i also didn't think fireworks. this time i thought EARTHQUAKE!!!

i sat very still. i watched the dogs (which wasn't really all that helpful, because they seem to be totally unaffected by earthquakes--they just keep on sleeping.) i heard another BOOM and then another one. then i thought gunshots. (i see this as an improvement. at least my mind doesn't immediately go to violence.) then mia came running into the room, her body on alert. and that's when i knew. it had to be fireworks.

because my highly strung "guard" dog will sleep right through an earthquake, she quivers and shakes in fear when it rains, but she is all about defending the house when she hears . . . fireworks.

after i heard a few more BOOMS, and the crackling that follows a fireworks explosion, i went out to enjoy the show . . . and quickly noticed that the car alarm was going off on a car across the street. the force of the explosion had apparently set it off. no one came running out to check on it, and after about five minutes it stopped.

good to know. apparently car alarms do not continue indefinitely. and now that i know that, my criminally inclined mind is formulating a plan . . .

so the good news is, i have progressed. i have grown. gunshots are not my first option when i hear an explosion in the middle of june. i no longer think the evils of southern california culture are out to get me. i have adjusted and even embraced much of this culture. i defend it to my rain-soaked friends up north. in fact, i hope i never have to live anywhere else!

but the bad news is "the big one" is still out there. somewhere. it is just waiting to catch me off guard.


Carroll said...

No wonder you're exausted! I'm exausted just reading about it. Guess the scripture, "He giveth His beloved sleep" would be appropriate except you weren't sleeping when this occured. Oh the joys of the unknown.

Diandra Ann said...



That is all I have to say.