Monday, 1 August 2011


Please help us welcome, Robyn M. Speed, a Kiwi who has been a long-time friend and survived a lot with her humor in tact this past year.

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We are the 'earthquakians' (a terminology I have just stolen from a friend*) and we live in a place that for ten months has absolutely refused to keep still. This is, I point out, not the normal nature of this land, for I have lived here a long time and she sat still most of the time.

I find that these quakes** (it is so utterly bad that I am having to use plural) have had an effect on me, all of them (also really really bad to be able to use such a term as 'all of them'!!) and my sense of humour has developed a ravenous hunger of its own. Mind you, in these times of such stress (so thick in the city you could slice it, wrap it, and mail it to a convent) we need to find stuff to laugh at. A gorgeous friend sent me a funny email and I so appreciated it because if we don't find something to laugh at we are going to start laughing at really inappropriate things. Take, for example, the state of my house...

My chimney is falling off my house? Fucking hilllaaaarrious!!!!

I think the foundations may have moved because the lounge doors won't close? Pissing myself that I may have a hillock in my lounge!

The cracks in the house are moving? Rolling on the floor giggling that my house is like a transformer--house one minute, self-aware-leggo-blocks the next!! FUNNNNNYYYY!

The front of my house may soon be plywood???? Gads, what deliciously inappropriate art can I commission for it?? What art would both delight and shock my neighbours? WEEETTTING myself at the endless opportunities!!

The east is sinking in liquifaction? Glories BE, that must mean the west is rising, surely?? Fist salute!

You see what I mean? That last one is just completely inappropriate!

But that is what I am starting to do: Laugh at really inappropriate things! I find the slightest thing freaking hilarious.

Cathedral pre-quake
Christchurch, NZ

And the sickest thing may be: I find a 3.0 aftershock quite soothing...and sometimes I want them to go on all night, just to gently rock me to sleep. You see what I mean? That's just plain wrong. Who in their right mind wants aftershocks all night long? No one in their right mind...but then again, I am not in my right mind, not any more. The earthquakes and aftershocks broke me.

It's not just me though, I have noticed that other people are 'broken' too. Our perspectives have changed. For example...

Plywood is the new housing accessory trend--if you don't have it, you're nobody!

Fluoro is the new black--there is nothing sexier than a workman in a fluoro vest walking up your driveway, because you know he's here to fix something! (If it was summer right now, with all the tradesmen and their fluoro vests, I think I would spontaneously combust!)

After Feb. 2011 quake**

Hardhats...well, combine that with the fluoro and need I say more... (*tiger growl*)

It's okay to be driving on the wrong side of the road--so long as there is no traffic coming--when you are avoiding damaged parts of the road. (I know that before I turn into my street, I have to swing to the left of one lot of road damage, to the right of the next lot, go slowly over the next section of road-wide damage and then avoid the pot hole at the end.) There's not a single level road left in the city, and to be honest, driving here is quite exciting!!

We don't look at the latest Mercedes or BMW and think 'Wow, I would love one of those', we look at the utes and say 'I wish I had bought one of them!'

When our husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend (not all in the same bed of course ... although...) rolls over and makes the bed shake we scream 'Earthquake!'

After the "twins"* *

The earth moves for me when I am in bed alone! (Actually, going back to that husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend all in the same bed ... can we just give that a try?)

Life is different now...we are not Cantabrians (dwellers of the Canterbury Plains), we are Earthquakians.

When earthquakes and aftershocks hit, we no longer scream 'Oh no, it's an earthquake!', instead we gasp 'Another one??!!!! Seriously??!!' (Often followed by 'Are you f****** kidding me??!!')

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* stole said terminology from Ms Deborah McKay Loughlin--she told me I had to give her the credit!

** 4th Sep 2010 7.1 magnitude; 22nd Feb 2011 6.3 magnitude; 13 June 2011 5.3 magnitude followed an hour and twenty minutes later by a 6.3 magnitude (these two are fondly referred to as the 'twins'), and over 7400 aftershocks since 4th Sep (we're aiming for a world record).


Faith said...

Only been through one, Robyn, and it was minor, but where I am, they're few and far between.

Kate Richards said...

Robyn I live in Los Angeles, California and we don't even get up if it's not more than a five and maybe not even then. We've had a really bad one every decade of my life...except the last one. So we figure we're really in for it! I know the feeling, and my heart is with you! Hope your house isn't too damaged and that things will settle down and be nice for you soon.

Anthology Authors said...

One of my neighbors was in Arkansas when a big storm hit. A storm full of tornadoes. He said he'd take earthquakes any day over tornadoes. Of course, if we had them all of the time, I wonder if we would.

Kate is right, though. If it's not over 5.0, we don't move. LOL I might look up and say, "Oh, an earthquake," and then continue with whatever I'm doing. LOL

Of course, the distance from the surface makes a huge difference. One year, LA had 28" of rain (that's a monsoon for us) while Seattle was dry and had an earthquake. It was big. I think 7 point something, but it was so deep, it did very little, if any, damage. Had it been in LA, we'd've been in trouble due to the shallowness of our faults.


Kate Richards said...'re in L.A. too? It's good to know of another local author! I met two at RT and got all excited. Earthquake talk brings us right out, though, doesn't it?

Anthology Authors said...

I am, Kate. I'm located in Culver City. :) We've had a few minor earthquakes in the last six months or so (3.0-4.0), but nothing major. Although there have been some good sized ones down by San Diego and in northern Mexico. Was that last year? I've lost track of time. LOL

Yes, earthquake talk sure does. I guess we're just experienced earthquakians. LOL

Kate Richards said...

Yes I like the term. I'm over by Cal State Los Angeles,up in the hills, and Northridge was the last scary one...but I have no doubt we have more in our future.

Anthology Authors said...

No question about it, Kate. We'll see more. I just keep praying the minor ones continue and ease the pressure on the plates to prevent a major one.

Back in the early 90s, I live in the Santa Monica Canyon up on a hillside in this tiny guest house. I woke at 5 am to an earthquake and then again at 6 am. These were the 6.0 ones centered in Joshua Tree or Pasadena. (I don't remember which.) I remember thinking that I really had no where to go, so I might as well stay in bed. If the hillside crumbled underneath me, at least I'd have the mattress to float on. (g)

Yeah, I was a bit fatalistic, but it was the truth. Where could I go?

I also remember the Coalinga earthquake. (Central CA. I grew up outside of Fresno.) I think that one was 7.0. People who lived there reported the hills rolling. Houses were moved entire blocks. I am glad I wasn't in Coalinga, but some 50 miles away. That would have been scary!

Anthology Authors said...

BTW, I wasn't here for the Northridge one. A few months later, I drove down to LA. It was a bit freaky to see the overpass missing. A bit surreal.

Kate Richards said...

I never drive over that 14/5 overpass without thinking of that policeman who drove off into oblivion, poor man. Anyway, I've lived here all my life...lots of quakes, but Coalinga...yep nothing like that!

Fiona McGier said...

And here I thought us in the Midwest got all of the fun, what with tornadoes, torrential downpours, frequent power outages, etc. Plus we are on top of part of the New Madrid fault which is expected to do something major in the very near future...last time it quaked, the Mississippi ran backwards for a while and church bells tolled thousands of miles away. Having some fun now, folks!
I love your friend's term of Earthquakians!

I always say that we don't get to choose our cards in the game of life. We are judged by how we play our hand. And you can either cry or laugh when life sucks, but laughing leaves nicer lines on your face.

Anthology Authors said...

Oooo... Fiona, tornadoes, earthquakes and torrential rainfall. I can honestly say that... I am not jealous at all. (g)

Robyn M Speed said...

Yes, I think Earthquakians is a FABULOUS term!!! And apparently there are MANY OF US!!

The funny thing is the big earthquake we were expecting was from the alpine fault line that runs down the west of the south island. They reckon that will be between and 8 and a 9 as we are WAY overdue for that ... and instead we get all these unknown fault lines rupturing, but not the one they told us about!

Sometimes I feel like the flea on a dog's back...he keeps moving and shaking and won't lie down!

On a positive note, the lack of a front fence meant when it snowed last week we got a better view of the street!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go find some Bill Haley music -- you know the one I mean!!

Janice said...

I live in California, so I feel for you. On the other hand, we're not the earthquake center of the world anymore either, lol.

I understand about the cracks in the walls. Every time we have one, our cracks get bigger and they've made friends. I've gotten rather good with plaster.


Sue Perkins said...

I live about four hours north of you in Blenheim, we were all shocked when the first one happened, but what's followed is unbelievable. Keep that sense of humour, I'd say it's a must in Christchurch.

The Practical Shaman said...

Glad you sense of humor is intact. Or we would have to cover you with plywood.