Monday, March 5, 2007

And I totally saw it coming.

I never felt more like a Californian than I did this weekend, which began with my husband and I touring roughly $9.8 million dollars worth of real estate, after we felt an earthquake, while hanging out with a movie star.

I have lived in the Golden State for nearly eight years now (three in Bakersfield, and coming up on five in San Jose) and have never noticed even one rumble. So it was to my great delight that on Thursday night I experienced a real, live earthquake! It was weird, and cool. I was sitting in the Center for Performing Arts in downtown San Jose listening to a talk by the fabulous Shirley MacLaine. It was very "Inside the Actor's Studio." Just her on a stage, talking about her life, her past lives, her darling dog, her travels ... it was riveting. If you are a Shirley MacLaine fan, I can assure you that she is every bit as beautiful and bad-assed as you'd imagine. After her talk, I was at a reception where she marched in and complained that the room was hot. "Someone turn the air on!" she thundered. But everyone just sort of stood around staring at her, mouths gaping (she really and truly has that effect, more than any other celeb I have ever seen in real life). Then she asked if someone could open the doors that lead outside. One of the ushers said nope, we can't have random folks off the street storming the place, you know? And I had to agree. I mean, YOU'RE SHIRLEY MACLAINE, MAN. Well, with a roll of her eyes she marched right down to those doors and flung them wide open. Then she barked at the startled ushers to grab chairs to prop them open. And then she made fun of the theater's ugly carpet. It was tremendous.

But back to the action: So I'm sitting in the balcony of this old and majestic theater, and peering down at that tiny stage was making me a little dizzy. I mean, we were way, WAY up there. I whispered to Sal that I didn't particularly care to be so high, thinking he would be sympathetic, as he's not much for heights himself. He said he was actually OK with our seats, since there were at least five rows between us and the ledge. Then his comedian wife elbows him in the ribs and says, "Yeah! But all it'll take is one little earthquake to catapult us over the edge! Ha! Ha ha! HA!"


Could that be any weirder? Could I possibly be more impressive? It was about an hour into the show when I felt my seat rumble back and forth. Kind of like when you're on a plane taking off. Right away I turned around, for some reason expecting to see a very, very large person clomping down the aisle. And the funny thing is, at that precise moment, there WAS this fat guy with a cane two rows back, tottering toward the exit. But he didn't seem big enough to shake the entire place, and then it was over so quickly that I kind of forgot about it.

But when I got home, I checked my e-mail, and sure enough the U.S. Geological Survey automated service I signed up for a few years ago had sent me an alert! It looked like this:


Geographic coordinates: 37.901N, 122.098W
Magnitude: 4.4 Ml
Depth: 16 km
Universal Time (UTC): 2 Mar 2007 04:40:00
Time near the Epicenter: 1 Mar 2007 20:40:00
Local time in your area: 2 Mar 2007 04:40:00

Location with respect to nearby cities:
2 km (1 miles) NE (48 degrees) of Lafayette, CA
5 km (3 miles) WSW (257 degrees) of Walnut Creek, CA
6 km (4 miles) SSW (202 degrees) of Pleasant Hill, CA
10 km (6 miles) SW (224 degrees) of Concord, CA
31 km (20 miles) ENE (63 degrees) of San Francisco City Hall, CA

Over in mere seconds, but it was enough to thrill this California girl to pieces. Oh, and as for the real estate ... well, that came in the form of about 14 homes we saw on our first tour with an agent. Some of the houses were lovely, and some of them were downright horrid. We learned it helps a lot if you give the houses nicknames, like The Brady Bunch House, The Expensive House, and The Serial Killer House. (Turns out, we can probably afford to buy that last one.)

1 comment:

Sheila said...

Oh so funny - my husband and I totally did that when we were looking at houses. "The blue carpet house", "The black bathroom house", and "The Dog House" (it was actually not fit for even a dog) were some of my favorites.