It’s raining kitties and puppies here this evening, which isn’t so bad except that it’s also freezing cold. I’m a dutiful Seattleite when it comes to rain – I’m all for it. I love to listen as it comes down in sheets and I enjoy a good puddle-stomping walk. I’m not afraid to get wet. I could probably handle a hurricane with relative dignity and manage, mostly, to not lose my shit. The only natural phenomenon I am terrified of is the earthquake.
Last year I was designated as a floor warden in my office building. I was given an orange vest and some glow sticks and was told that it was my job to calm people down and lead them to safety in the event of an emergency. I have warned everyone in my office that they best respect my gangsta when I put that vest on if fire breaks out or when terrorists single out our office for no conceivable reason. In the event of an earthquake, however, they will probably need to knock me out to stop my screaming that we’re all going to die.
I work on the 15th floor of a building in the middle of downtown Seattle. This isn’t particularly high considering there are buildings of terrifying height surrounding us, but I know the score. Downtown Seattle is built on a landfill. When the biggie hits (that’s a technical term), the ground will liquefy and I’ll die. The survival backpack I have under my desk isn’t going to help when the bricks come tumbling down. I don’t think a Powerbar and sturdy shoes will do much good when the floor collapses and I plummet into the depths of Hell.
It’s pretty safe to say that the hours I pass at work are spent considering the many things that will hit me as the walls crumble. I wonder if I’ll be lucky enough to have the fluorescent light above my desk crash down and get me before the floor above us crushes me to death, or maybe I’ll be knocked out by an errant book from the library shelves during a staff meeting. I consider hiding a stash of pills and booze to ease the pain of having my legs crushed by a crossbeam. I keep my phone close by so that I can call Janie and leave her one last voice mail reminding her to get cat food on the way home, empty the dishwasher and find a new wife who could never love her as much as I do, but will dull the excruciating pain of passing the years without me. Also, don’t forget to scoop the cat box.
You see, I’m a firm believer that dreams really do come true, and it just so happens that at night I dream most often of the day a building falls down on top of me while I look out and see the city convulsing like an fundamentalist with the devil in him. It’s sort of like, no matter how hard I prayed and prayed not to be gay, I couldn’t help but dream of naked ladies. And look where this has gotten me: I’m only one publicity-seeking fight with Donald Trump away from being Rosie O’Donnell, people!
I often wonder if people who have suffered or died had any idea about what fate had in store for them. I mostly think that If I believe it’ll happen, it will and I’ll be prepared or at least be able to say, “I knew this would happen.” Or maybe terrible things happen to those who never think something could happen, maybe it’s these people that are carried off in a hurricane, eaten by a bear or have children who grow up to be Republicans.