Friday, November 11, 2011

Earthquaaaaaaaaaake! UPDATED for philosophical purposes

Hey guys! How`s it going? I`m using a Japanese keyboard so bare with me as my punctuation and such may get a little funky.

I always wondered what an earthquake was like. I always imagined a lot of rumbling like in the movies, you know, but it turns out things only rumble when buildings and such are falling down. So a somewhat quiet earthquake is a good earthquake, the kind of earthquake you can train and raise on your own with only a few guides, you won`t have to take it to get it trained at an expensive trainer and you won`t have to worry about it peeing on your couch, because NOW, for just $56.98 once a month for three months, we will train your earthquake for you! No longer will it bother you at work or while you`re trying to study, because it will be as quiet as a mouse. A quiet earthquake is a good earthquake, so call us today and enjoy the silence tomorrow! 1 800 NO MORE QUAKE, thats 1-800 66 6673 78253! Side effects include shaking and light dizziness, spilled milk and some unnecessarily shed tears.

Yeah, I`ve been real tired lately.

So yesterday I experienced my first earthquake! And now I will go in detail about it. (Good, strong start, Haley.)

So I was wrapped up in my bed (I`ve been meaning to blog about this, but Japanese houses are super cold in late autumn and I assume winter as well. Because they are made of wood. Wooden houses. No insulation. So being inside is like being outside and being outside is like being outside and as someone who doesn`t like the outside I`ve been spending a lot of time under my warm comforter with coffee in bed lately) drinking coffee (even though it was around 7 pm, don`t judge) watching Gilmore Girls (it had been a rough day).

My bed is pushed in a corner so I had my back against the wall when I felt it. A short of light shaking at first, like someone had come in on the first floor and slammed the door really hard. That was my first impression, anyway. Which MAYBE could have been normal if anyone was home, but my host parents` son had come home that day and they went out to visit his grandparents so I was home alone(real attractive boy, by the way. My host parents` son, not his grandfather. Tall with a handsome face and good style. In school to become a doctor like his younger brother. Such a well-educated family. Too quiet, though. I introduced myself and he shut up like a clam. Booooorrriiiinggg and too hard to get to know. Also he doesn`t live near me anyway but damn, people need to grow some personalities). For some reason I leaned forward and paused my show like it was the first thing I should do, and kind of listened, expecting something more. (When I typed `more` I accidentally hit the Japanese key and it changed it to more, like, moh-ray, which sounds like the french word amore so if you can you should imagine this all to be in a french accent. Or don`t. I`m a blogger, not a cop.)

But then the shaking began to intensify. The coffee in my hand trembled and I set it down on the shelves on my headboard. About 1.2 seconds after it started, I realized it was an earthquake.

I found this really coincidental  because the day before there had been a meeting at school on what to do if an earthquake occurs, and I was like, DID THEY KNOW???? But it turns out that they can only know if an earthquake is coming like, five to ten seconds beforehand. The more you know...

So I remove the covers from my lap and started to head to my desk nearby, as you`re supposed to protect your head during an earthquake in case things begin to fall off shelves, off walls, etc. But before my feet even touched the floor, it was over.

It all took place in less than 5 seconds, and although I couldn`t place the feeling exactly, I can now: it felt like the shaky part of a rollercoaster ride. Like one of those theatres in Disney, like an iMax theatre, where you`re watching this video of you being in a jetplane or something and the audience seats start to shake like you`re actually in the plane to make it part of the experience? Yeah, that`s what it was like. A teeny-tiny out of nowhere ride. A bit of jerking back and forth, like someone was shaking the bed really hard (like, poltergeist-hard). If I had been standing, I probably could have kept standing, though.

My friend told me he saw on the news that it was a 3.9, which is really basically nothing. Apparently the epicenter of the earthquake was very near us in Nagoya, though, which is pretty rare. I asked my host mom how often bad earthquakes happen here and she said she could only remember 3 or 4 where they were stronger than average (Japan has little earthquakes often, apparently), and said Nagoya was pretty safe in that respect.

If anything it was all really confusing. I had no idea if I had just experienced an earthquake or if something the size of a rhino had just hit the house...but quietly. There wasn`t really any sound, maybe a bit of a shuddering, rattling sound as the wooden frame of the house shook, but it was so fast that I just sat there like...`what?` and wrote this facebook post immediately after:

I think I just experienced my first earthquake but it lasted like three seconds? What is going on? Did a rhino hit the house? What is this? Are earthquakes known for confusing people?

I also remember feeling a little disappointed, for some reason. Like, Oh, that`s it? Like, REALLY disappointed. But then this morning I woke up and I was like, `but if it had been any stronger it would have been less confusing and more terrifying. And scary is bad. So you should be glad it was small.`

But I`m not really glad it was small, so much as I am worried about what would happen if there were a big one in the future.

All I can do is know the precautions and follow through with them at the time of an earthquake, I guess.

I`m still a little confused by it all. I don`t know why.



Also, the whole, five-second teeny-tiny experience I just had made me realize we`re really just guests on this planet. We are animals on a giant rock that`s flying through space, orbiting a sun with 7 other planets (plus Pluto. Sorry, Pluto.) in a vast universe that doesn`t give a shit about who we dated three years ago or what we`re majoring in or what we care about or if we`re a cat or a dog person.

We are on a floating chunk of rock in space, and it`s doing the thing it`s always done. Tectonic plates are shifting, the water cycle is continuing, winds are cycloning and creating tornados or, if the cyclones are over oceans, hurricanes. And the only reason this particular rock, Earth, is a bit more habitable than say Venus or Mars is because we are the perfect distance away from the sun and some 3.5 billion years ago the very simplest of lifeforms began to form and I`m a bit fuzzy on the rest but there were definitely dinosaurs and volcanoes and a big freeze and then monkeys branched off and evolved into humans and we learned how to wield weapons and once we figured out fire we started eating cooked meat which due to vitamins and chemistry allowed our brains to develop faster and stronger than other lifeforms` and we grew and evolved and created light and electricity and the internet and robots and we think our lives and our worries are so important and here`s a hint at where I`m going, they`re really not important.

We are temporary guests on an apathetic rock floating through space, and the universe does not give a single shit about what you`re going to eat for dinner tonight.

It`s weird to get displaced like that once in a while, to look from the outside in and be like, `Why the hell was I worried in the first place? It`s not like the earth gives a shit, why should I? I am one of 8 billion people on this planet and I don`t really matter.`

And to me that kind of thinking isn`t at all depressing, it`s actually incredibly relieving. It`s like, huh, so this is what perspective is. That earthquake comforted me in a way, like it was shaking me and going, YO HALES TIME TO WAKE UP!!!! You`re just a walking, thinking animal on a rock that don`t give no shits about you! and I was all, Dude, you`re so right, man.

So when you get swamped down by your work or your homework or your worries, it`s good to know there are bigger things out there and you really don`t matter to this earth or this universe. It`s doing what it`s always been doing and it can do with or without you. The universe is like, 13 billion years old and I am...20. 20 years old. That`s .00000000153% of the time the universe has been around. Like, who do I think I am? I seriously do not matter to the universe`s history (let alone American history).

It`s like that earthquake was a moment of clarity, or something. Perspective was shaken into me. We are temporary guests. You are a temporary guest so just do what you`re doing and don`t worry so much about your own life. And that should be comforting, not scary. There`s no need to be scared. Or worried. Or anything. Stop letting your brain control you and start realizing you don`t matter and that, by not mattering, you can be worry-free.

And the reason you shouldn`t worry, essentially, is because these things the earth does is something you can`t control. As someone who always feels she needs to control any situation - whether it be going out (when it comes to making plans, some people are really incompetent. You can tell that I`m really anal about plan-making becaues I just called other people incompetent like I`m all high and mighty) or grades or money, those kinds of things I worry about. Because I can change those things, I can affect those things by making plans with friends, or studying more, or getting a job. I stress over things I can change.

Right, so my point is those things make me anxious, but you can`t do anything about earthquakes. You can`t tell the earth to stop doing what it`s doing. We are absolutely powerless.

That`s what I was going for, that word. Powerless. We are powerless compared to the earth and the universe and who the hell do we think we are, going into wars with other countries or fighting over religion or any of those things? Because we want that power, we want to be in control of things in our life and in a lot of situations, and when we don`t get that power, we worry unnecessarily and get anxious.

But the earth doesn`t even give us the chance to be powerful. It`s gonna shift those tectonic plates and continue doing sciencey things and we can`t do a damn thing about it. You`d think that knowing I don`t have power would make me anxious, but it`s so extreme it does the opposite. It reminds me that I never really had power in the first place. It makes me stop thinking about myself and start thinking about how I can`t prevent or change anything about the things Earth does and I`m forced to accept that and thus, the lesson here is to accept that which you cannot change and move on. STOP WORRYING.

TL;DR, The earth is an apathetic rock flying through infinite space and you actually think your worries matter? You should accept how things are and get over them, because sometimes you just can`t do anything.

And that, my friends, was without a single drop of acid.

1 comment:

  1. How insightful.
    I can already see how being there is changing you. Studying abroad does that, it changes you.
    Your comments are so freakin hilarious. I loled like way too many times and my roommate prolly thinks I am crazy now. LOL oh well. But very interesting. When I experienced mine, it didn't last long either but I was like up on my desk and under it at the same time. It was insane. lol man you are so funny.