Last week the earth moved. I’m not talking about the clichéd euphemism for a sexual experience, nor anything involving a fluoro vest and a bob-cat (still not sexual.) No. I’m talking about a real earthquake.
My town is not known as the epicentre of anything exciting, except maybe people sporting questionable tattoos or wearing pyjamas as casual wear. No really. On the street. Into a shop.
So, not far from my little abode was the earthquake epicentre. The shake shook me awake. The last time I was shaken awake like that I whacked the perpetrator on the face. Of course earthquakes don’t have faces, so I slapped the nearest thing which happened to be the alarm clock. Apt I thought, for rudely waking me at ungodly hours every morning. Jack slept through the whole thing.
Years ago at my old house, we experienced a similar tremor and before the shaking occurred, the Labrador pup we then possessed circled the yard – like a pup possessed. Jack who is a sensitive and fragile young thing, often reacting to natural phenomena with trepidation and a stiff scotch (hang on – that’s me) gave me no indication that subterranean forces were at play. What’s the point of him?
We need to be prepared Jack. We need to know that we should get under a table or stand under a door lintel. Although I suppose that doesn’t stop the earth opening up from below and propelling us into hellfire and brimstone. (That reminds me, I’ll have to stop sinning.)
As far as earthquakes go, it was really a baby one measuring 2.8 magnitude. That measure elicits an invigorating level of terror and excitement. The last quake we had in my little town seemed to go on for hours. Well minutes at least… Would you believe ten seconds and the time it took to swig a scotch? The neighbours came out into the street. I’m not sure why. Maybe they came out to show off their jim jams.
The largest recorded earthquake in Australia happened in Western Australia in the 1940s at a place called Meeberrie in the middle of nowhere, where there’s no-one. But Western Australia is like another country so that doesn’t count. Newcastle suffered a 5.6 magnitude earthquake in 1989 killing 13 people, which was the highest death toll recorded in Australia due to an earthquake. So, unhappily strong and deadly quakes do happen here.
Our fatalities are overshadowed by China which has endured hundreds of thousands of fatalities. Most of the worst fatalities occur in poor countries where unsafe tenement buildings crumble, trapping poor souls. With the big quakes measuring around 8 and 9 magnitude around Chile, Alaska and Japan, I’m glad Jack and I don’t live there.
I wouldn’t like to live in places that have fracking either. Towns in America, with no history of seismic activity, have had the pleasure of experiencing a bit of ‘terra – not so – firma’ where fracking is practised. A place called Poland (later named Hole-land or Roll-land) in Ohio played host to some dancing earth measuring a 3 on the Richter scale. That’s a wake-up-and-punch-something measure.
If Jack doesn’t alert me to an imminent earthquake at some time in the future, that’s okay. I think we’ll survive.