earthquakes

11 09 2008

I don’t think I’ll ever get used to earthquakes. I suppose by living in a place like this your entire life, you’d get used to them, but even so I don’t understand how the entire world as you know it shaking around can feel normal. Everyone here is so jaded; I’m pretty sure I’m the only one running away from telephone poles and hiding under tables.  One of my coworkers slept through a 4.7.  I couldn’t sleep for the rest of the night!

Today’s earthquake was a 4.something in my region, but it definitely felt like the worst one we’ve had (worse than the 5.something a couple months ago). Thankfully I’m fine, and nothing is broken in my house (well, a case with tacks in it shattered, which was a pain in the ass to clean up). You can’t help but wonder though: if the epicenter had been 100km north or west, or heck, even 50km, this would be an entirely different post. I could be sitting in a pile of rubble. Or under a tsunami.

The worst part, though, is the roller coaster/wave-pool effect. For the entire day, I kept thinking there was another earthquake, or the wind would cause my windows to make a noise like they do during the quake, and I would have to check things like pull cords for lights or keychains on a rack to see if they were moving to tell if it was really an earthquake. This happened maybe ten or fifteen times. And of course, once or twice there actually was an aftershock.

You learn in intro psych that the most addictive reinforcement strategy is a random positive one.  i.e. you receive something (confirmation of an earthquake) for an action (looking at a keychain) on a random schedule. That’s how people get addicted to gambling. Am I going to get addicted to checking my house to see if it’s moving?  Yikes.  Talk about neurosis.

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