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the skunks of los feliz
8.16.2004
 
When Southern Californians discover that I hail from the Land of the Hanging Chad, one of their first questions is usually whether I prefer earthquakes to hurricanes, or vice versa. I can honestly say, without hesitation, that I would prefer neither.

Hurricanes, it's true, can be forecasted and tracked, allowing the populace to flee before them like Tokyo residents charging through the streets with Godzilla in hot, fire-breathing pursuit (though many Floridians refuse, as a matter of course, to heed evacuation warnings). However, as any viewer of the 11 o'clock news can tell you, however, weather forecasts can be wrong. Wildly wrong. That was the case with Charley, which swerved inland far south of it's projected past, sparing the evacuated cities of the Tampa Bay area and devasting the trailer parks of Charlotte County.

A hurricane will spawn tornadoes, cause flooding, send patio furniture hurtling through cinder block walls, and crush mobile homes against it's forehead like so many beer cans, howling all the while.

Earthquakes, unlike Hurricanes, don't have a season. They can strike at any time. They do not show up on Doppler 7000 Plus. There is a great uncertainty associated with them. Each small shaker could be a foreshock of the Big One. Your house may fall in on you, leaving you trapped in a small air pocket, drinking your urine while the rats nibble on your toes in the dark.

Not that I have any great fear of that.

Either way, when Mother Nature gets pissed, our soft little bodies often pay a terrible price.
 
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