Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Big One

Every time I put a Q-Tip in my ear, I think of The Big One. It would make more sense to think about Q-Tips themselves; how they were invented in the 1920s and originally were called "Q-Tip Baby Gays," although the "Q" stood for Quality and not that other thing. But I don't think about this when I put a Q-Tip in my ear. I think: this would be a very bad time to have a 9.0 earthquake.

We're supposed to have one of those. It could happen at any time. Of course that could be said about anywhere about anything, but we really have a good shot at it. The entire west coast is trying to shear off and scootch its way toward Alaska and it can't do that without bouncing things around. We're overdue for another gigantic earthquake and I more or less expect to experience it in my lifetime, even though that's not that much time, anymore.

Whenever you put a Q-Tip in your ear, you can't help but recall years and years of advice never to put a Q-Tip in your ear, or, for that matter, anything smaller than your elbow--that's the standard recommendation--which is very silly, because nobody is that limber. I look forward to my Q-Tip and only wish I produced more ear wax for it. Still, I do understand that you're not supposed to put it in too far in case you puncture your eardrum. I put it in kind of far anyway, and everything's been fine so far, but if we get our earthquake while I'm cleaning my ears, I can't guarantee the safety of that eardrum.

Accidental tectonically induced Q-Tip insertions are not high on most people's fret lists. Sensible people are anchoring their water heaters to the foundation and laying in stocks of bottled water and canned goods and updating their contact lists. And cleaning their ears with their elbows.

The truth is I think about that earthquake pretty often. I think of it with excitement and anticipation, and that is because I haven't been in any strong earthquakes before. If I had, it's just possible I would contemplate more dire consequences than a cotton-stick intrusion. The other time I always think about earthquakes is when I get in bed on the second floor. I imagine the huge side-to-side movement and the crumbling of the house beneath me and I think: maybe I should start wearing pajamas.

I quit wearing pajamas in high school. I remember the first time I did it. I had the sheet pulled way up to my neck in case anyone looked in on me, because I understood that ours was not the kind of family that slept naked. Even in seismically calm areas of the country, it was not the Lutheran thing to do. But I hated getting all twisted up in a nightie. The experiment was great. It was delightful.

It still is delightful. But I can visualize myself in a heap of rubble, the second floor having crashed down with me on it, bits of ceiling and shingles and astonished roof raccoons all around me, and there I am, naked. I would think: the naked bit isn't optimal, but at least I don't have a Q-Tip in my ear. I don't really want to start wearing pajamas again and I keep trying to tell myself that my fellow citizens will have more on their plates at that moment than to worry about a sixty-year-old lady wearing nothing but dust. They probably won't even look at me. Not twice, anyway.

32 comments:

  1. Meh... just keep a robe nearby. Something in the same color as the resulting dust that would be produced by the resulting rubble, preferably.

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    1. Yeah. Because I sure wouldn't want anyone to FIND me!

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  2. Having grown up in California, I've been through a few earthquakes. They're overrated, though I suppose eventually we'll get one big enough that everything east of the fault will break off and slide into the Atlantic.

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  3. :-)

    I don't wear pajamas either, and worry -- momentarily -- about the day that that will bite me in my un-flanneled ass.

    Hopefully I will not have a Q-Tip in my ear the day that happens.

    Pearl

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    1. I'm probably going to be in worse trouble because for some reason I keep my glasses in the bathroom and not next to my bed. And everything disappears when my glasses aren't on.

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  4. Another non pyjama wearer here. And I have rationalised that if drama happens, my naked state will be the least of my worries. Though possibly not the least of the on-lookers concerns.

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    1. Let us resolve not to worry about the onlookers. I am supposed to have sturdy underwear in case I get in an accident, too, but it tends more toward the disreputable.

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    2. To quote Bill Cosby, isn't that what an accident is? First you say it, then you do it.

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  5. I wear nightclothes for just this reason. Not an earthquake, but calamities in general. Not that we've ever had one, but it could happen! Besides, in hot weather, I always find comfort in the fact that if I get too abso-bloomin'-lutely overheated, I still have something to remove.

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    1. That makes a very weird kind of sense.

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  6. P. S. Is that two Q-tips or an extry-long one?

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  7. Your fellow MALE citizens would like to see you naked. It's just a man thing. We always want to see something naked and it doesn't much matter what it is.

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  8. Thank you for my newest expletive: Holy Astonished Roof Raccoons! (or, wholly astonished roof raccoons, as it were)

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    1. Chitter skitter chitter skitter chitter skitter WHOAAAAAAAAAA

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  9. On the flip side, my husband and I took a gander at our evening get-ups - sweatshirts, old pj bottoms, knee socks - and made a pact that if the house caught on fire, we'd just stay in and burn rather than face the neighbors in our sleeping attire.

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    1. I was outside watering flowers in my Holstein print pajamas and my neighbor said "you really DON'T care, do you?"

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  10. Aw heck! Hormonal heatwaves are, to me, anyway, a greater annoyance than being seen en nature by neighbours or paramedics.

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    1. I don't have them anymore. But I've got the thermostat kind of set on high all the time now. (Mine, not the house's.)

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  11. I got hauled off to hospital in an ambulance without my nightclothes when my heart threw a fit. I didn't notice too much at the moment, but later, when they told me I could go home, it was a bit of a problem. I ended up "stealing" a couple of hospital gowns. Never returned them, either; I was too embarrassed to explain.

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    1. Goodness! Have you told your heart to settle down and grow up? Because stranding you with so little that a hospital gown is an improvement is a grave infraction. I hope you are ALL better.

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    2. I haven't been giving it the right example. I refuse to grow up, myself. So I can't complain.

      But it's been behaving for a while, anyhoo. Thanks!

      (But I wear a sleeping T-shirt these days. Once nudist escapade is enough.)

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    3. I would remind you that a t-shirt only goes so far. Whew. Glad you're better.

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  12. When the Loma Prieta quake hit in '89, I was trimming branches 30 feet up a tree. Scared of heights anyway, couldn't distinguish my shaking from the earth's. But my friend Willie's toilet broke loose and chased him out of his house. It's been a long strange trip.

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    1. Frankly, I can think of nothing scarier than being chased by my own toilet. Not after all I've done to it.

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  13. I never randomly think about earthquakes, not even when drying shampoo water out of my ears twice a week with cottonbuds which is what we call Q tips.
    I don't like getting twisted up in a nightie either, but I'm not comfortable sleeping naked except in the height of summer, my solution is knickers and a shortish t-shirt.

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    1. That's my go-to outfit if I'm a guest at someone's house. And I think about earthquakes at least once a day. Maybe I'm just looking for a good reason to tip over, which I do all the time anyway.

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  14. I am one of those people who CANNOT sleep without clothing. I don't begrudge you sleeping naked though-- I'm sure it's delightful. Sometimes I wish I could. But I just never could. Visions of a housefire and running out naked? *shudders* Boobs and belly fat going every which way and the opposite, is not a nice visual. Shuddering thigh ripples? Oh my. Oh, as for earthquakes... I lived through the Northridge Quake of 1994. Along with the side to side movement, there was also the up and down movement as if you were on a boat in the sea. THAT I was not expecting. I rode my couch that night.

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    1. That gives "sofa surfing" a whole new meaning! I don't know, though. The visual you present sounds as though it could put out a fire all by itself.

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  15. My suggestion for a fool proof earthquake proof Q-Tip based ear cleaner is to build a robotic device that firmly holds your head in a vice-like manner while hovering in mid-air. There should be a lead shield as well. Not a shield made of lead but a shield to protect you from bullets. You know how bullets and earthquakes just seem to go together.

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  16. Hope you are stocking in winter clothing for your slide to Alaska... You will find it cold naked at forty below.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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