i want to write about the lighter side of earthquake survival. i am painfully aware that i am better off than most of the people around me, and i may be writing something different if i had lost someone close, or been seriously frightened or hurt. but there is always a lighter side and a good expression of this is the facebook page You know you're from Christchurch when... which compiles earthquake jokes.
My first issue is the physics of cleaning up. What the hell is Horlicks and why is it all over my floor? And what fascinating algorythm governs the phenomenon where every item in my food cupboard finds a specific trajectory, no matter where in the cupboard it orginated, that means it lands in the butter before it finds its final resting place on the floor? A tablespoon of butter in a dish goes a long way as it travels on every other item. Ditto a quarter of a cup of loose leaf tea, which is somehow enough to wreck four CD's and a pile of documents. Cleaning up without water meant trying to get to it all before the dog started on it and cut his tongue on the embedded glass (don't start me on the physics of shards of glass). The Horlicks (how come i had Horlicks?) turned into a third world building material as it met the jam on the floor. Cheap, durable, environmentally friendly, and edible in times of famine. Impossible to shift with loo paper and a knife, in other words.
Also part of the cleanup was the big stuff. Suddenly hip deep in random furniture, we cut channels in it for easy escape but otherwise have left it on the floor where it could fall no further. We have bricks and planks for book cases (we never got past the student flat look) and now we just have bricks and planks and books. We look like we have a hoarding problem.
Then there is the small stuff. My husband the Archduke Piccolo wargames and there must be literally thousands of items on the floor or spilt in some way - soldiers, terrain, vehicles, stuff to make soldiers and terrain and vehicles...
Then there is the daughter's bedroom. It has always looked like it had just been robbed. i used to poke my head in and shout Oh my God! We've been burgled! The September earthquake deposited another layer on the floor. This last one leaves the room even deeper in weird teenage stuff, and more randome furniture. She has tried to deal with it. She removed her laptop, some clothes and her bass guitar and will be back some time. *
Then there is the title of this post, for which i am indebted to Rachel who first noticed that the earthquake had shrunk her clothes too. We are among the privileged, doing the work we do we are getting free meals and goodies arrive from wellwishers all over New Zealand. And we eat them. And the thoughts are as lovely as the goodies. Thank you, to my work equivalents elsewhere and to all the people who pray for us and think of us and want to help. `
* Her bass guitar and amp were a Christmas present from her guy. He clearly has more love than money and more money than sense. We all fell in love with it when it came out of its bag. It is blue - blue, blue, electric blue, and when you hold it, as we all did, reverently, it glints in the light and whispers rock and roll....And the amp goes up to 12, which is one better than Nigel's in Spinal Tap. And as we hook it up and feel the first hum, a collective hallucination passes through the air, like the hologram of Princess Leia in Star Wars. Briefly we experience... clenched fists punch the air...a line of coke is chopped on a mirror...the smell of sweat and hair and other substances up real close in the mosh pit....Katy Perry arches her back...WTF! KATY GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY ROCK AND ROLL HALLUCINATION! Rock! Yeah!