“I have a whole bunch of guns.”

Erin Anadkat
Jul 9 · 2 min read

This was mentioned in lieu of the 6.8 earthquake centered in Ridgecrest that happened at approximately 11 AM, the morning of the Fourth of July, and shot towards Los Angeles. At a party I ended up going to — a family affair in an upscale neighborhood of Pasadena, with a killer view of the Rose Bowl fireworks — discussion dipped into the potential necessity of defending oneself, in the event of California’s most mythologized natural disaster.

Unlike other natural disasters, an earthquake you don’t really hear coming. A flood is preceded by heavy rain, tornados, a storm. Massive wildfires are started by smaller fires that flare up into monstrous proportions. An earthquake though, comes out of nowhere, like that supergalactic spider-thing on Stranger Things. Since that first quake, there was an even bigger one that Friday night, too. There is a 27% chance of an even bigger quake to follow, but even aside from that, the recent quakes have felt like warnings. Almost like a friendly reminder from Mother Nature, to dust off your earthquake safety kit.

The truth is that so much time ellipses in-between serious quakes, that their existence becomes reminiscent of something that happened a long, long time ago. Until it does happen, of course.

I start to notice distinctive patterns emerging among the faces I see in conversation on the topic — we have been here before, perhaps not an exact replication of this scenario, but the moment is familiar. Relationships line up to the accumulated understanding of this very same thing we have in common: the concern of being locked into sudden, massive catastrophe together.

Really, it’s not so much if, but when.

Really do wish we all shared more than that and more often, you know. But I understand, priorities being priorities.

A few days later, the sky was gray and furtive. Even while driving, people were looking at each other, trading a sense of unease.

A lot of damage can happen in 10 seconds, even though years can go by, when nothing does.

Things that you could be doing when an earthquake happens (the list is insurmountable):

Looking out a window.

Slumped on your bathroom floor.

Rubbing a dog’s belly.

Rush hour.

Pulling weeds out of the earth.

Listening to a baby cry.

Playing marbles.

Cocktail hour.

About guns. The consensus reached was that for the most part, people are inclined towards goodwill and helping each other out in a natural disaster, rather than rioting. But potential scenarios can get apocalyptic, especially in Hollywood’s birthplace, where both dreams and nightmares live in false harmony — and where life can change, in a split second.

Until then: marbles. And waiting.

Erin Anadkat

Written by

Octopus writer.

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