A friend sent me this today - some good advice in here: What to do in an earthquake - good advice - David Icke Website
Being born and raised in California, this kind of thing is second nature to me...wouldn't usually get put of my car, though, since frankly falling debris - light enough to break your head, not heavy enough to crush your car (and therefore, you IN your car - is the more pressing worry. But of course, I WAS taught to get under my desk in case of earthquake. Or fire. Or nuclear attack.
Come to think of it...I'm beginning to suspect the school leaders had a VERY irrational opinion about just how powerful a desk actually is.
[Ed: Best point from Snopes article referenced in the comment below: Buildings in the US about NEVER collapse due to earthquakes alone. But like I mentioned before, light stuff (you know, like BRICKS) fly around like crazy...personally, unless I had a darned good reason not too, I'd want to stay inside and away from windows until the ride came to a full and complete stop, keeping my hands, feet, legs, arms, head in particular and, well, every other part of me away from flying debris. And I'd rather be under a good sturdy desk watching the show when the fluorescents start plummeting from the ceiling than catching them with my BACK, thanks all the same...]
A large part of what makes earthquakes - any natural disaster really - so terrifying are its Imponderables. No warning. No second chance. No make-up test. Nothing you can DO, to prevent or even mitigate.
I find it helps, as I'm on my way in to the site of the 1902 quake, passing where the Cypress fell, remembering how it was during that awful hours when bridges were falling and I didn't know where my San Francisco-dwelling friends and family WERE, thinking and praying hard for my brothers and sisters in Japan as they struggle to raise their heads again, to reacquaint myself with these sorts of things.
And to then stop worrying about it.
Life is beautiful. I don't ever want to turn the sweetness of it to ashes in my mouth by leavening my mind with pointless worry.
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