I haven’t been able to muster the courage to get out of bed yet this morning. Nor have my kids. Nor my wife. The dog is also on lock-down. Dead-bolted in her puppy crate — now reinforced with cast-iron flankings I soldered onto the unacceptably flimsy “bars” last night — until further notice. We are all simply too terrified to move. To blink. To inhale. To exhale. Well, I just inhaled. And exhaled. And by God I am still here. At least for now.
But I can’t shake this nagging feeling that something terrible will befall us any moment now. We live in San Francisco’s Marina District. You know the one. Where Tom Brokaw singed the polyester on the backside of his gabardines whilst reporting live on the fiery aftermath of the Loma Prieta Earthquake back in ’89. He stood in the same spot, more or less, where my children board their school bus each morning. If I’m not completely throwing caution to the wind here and gambling carelessly with my kids’ lives, then I don’t know who is. This whole place — my entire neighborhood — is about to collapse in on itself any second now. Well, then, maybe now. I may as well adopt a rabid hyena as a house pet; that would pose less danger to my boys than this liquefaction sinkhole on which our house sits.
So there’s that.
I pull the blanket up a little higher, just under my nostrils. And instruct my family members to do the same. The dog coils in on herself a bit more tightly, instinctively understanding Daddy’s “OK, everyone, transitioning to Defcon Four in 3…2…1…” requires something of her, as well. I probably should call the kids’ school. Let them know my boys will not be risking their lives today riding in that under-powered schoolbus over that orange colored bridge that must be ready to snap under all that tension. I know, rationally, that there are probably no over-evolved apes swinging from the overhead cables with malevolent intent. But until and unless I get the “all clear” alert from Nationwide, I don’t dare probe the vagaries between fact and fiction. So I will stay right here, peering out over the top of my blanket, unblinking.
Because any minute now, shit is going to go down. I know this because Nationwide told me so.
I’ve calculated the number of choreographed steps between my bedside and our Emergency Preparedness Kit in the garage. Actually, we have two kits (way ahead of you here, Nationwide). One of them is a yellow bucket covered by a shiny plastic toilet seat. I’m having a hard time getting past the fact that said seat hovers inches over emergency food and emergency water. But I think Nationwide would beam with pride at my willingness to ignore such trivia when it comes to life and death. Nationwide, gosh darn it, you know what? Shucks, I am prepared to rip into those provisions even if one of my family members is in the midst of using that emergency toilet seat for its intended purpose. How ’bout me?
Yes, Nationwide, I do have those little dishwashing machine detergent packets under our sink. They do look like candy. They even sort of smell good. And yes, the thought has occurred to me that I might just pop one of those little suckers in my mouth, just for an instant. They do smell so good. And no, I haven’t put those candies, I mean chemicals-in-a-blanket. under lock and key, to protect my family. But I promise, Nationwide, this is the first thing I will do this morning. To protect my family. As soon as I am able to wrest back control from this paralyzing grip of anxiety. Just a little longer here in Defcon Four. For safety.
Is it safe to get up yet, Nationwide?
Thanks for reading.