March 13, 2011

Mr. Big Scary Quake

Happy Daylight Savings!

Today I write from the discomfort of my hungover, spring forward, daylight savings daze. My clock says it's almost 11am but my body feels like it's 8am. My sore muscles are yelling at me to get back in bed but my eyes and brain are winning the battle by making it impossible to get back to sleep. It's an overcast day in San Diego at the end of a long eventful few days. In general this weeks shows ran smoothly. The most difficult part of it all was our VERY early call times. Monday started out easy -just one show at 12:45pm- but the rest of the week was not so kind to us. Our first shows were all scheduled somewhere between 8 and 8:30 am. These early showtimes put our van pickup somewhere around 6:30 am and my wake up time somewhere near 5am. Before the sun has even started to rise. Oye. Let me just say that by our second show on Friday we were all very loopy and in need of some happy hour love.

There have been a handful of times in the last few days that I've found myself whining or complaining about some minute thing. Yesterday's hangover, getting home from Trader Joe's to find that some of my Clementine tangerines have gone bad, or realizing there's a button missing on my brand new dress. But then I'm reminded of the insane catastrophe that Japan is experiencing. I cannot even begin to fathom what those people are going through and I immediately just feel humbled and so so so thankful to be where I am. Yesterday afternoon, while they're experiencing threats of nuclear explosions I found myself at the mall shopping for a dress to wear to a special event next weekend. Isn't it weird that myself and so many others can have a carefree afternoon like that when the rest of the world is suffering?

There are so many disasters that are preventable or predictable. When there's a raging fire we can often see it coming and know what materials we need to put it out. When there's a tornado in the midwest once we can often see it coming and most homes have basements built in for just such occasions. Sure, in these natural disasters there is massive damage, but we are prepared for them. We know how they work. Earthquakes can happen at any moment. Without any warning. And then suddenly a home is split in half in a matter of seconds. I've lived in California my whole life and felt my share of earthquakes but as I got older I never was afraid of them, I had never seen them do major damage to my home or anyone else's that I knew. But now we look at Japan who was hit with a massive quake which caused a massive tsunami and very large aftershocks. It's like a scene from one of these end of the world, Day After Tomorrow, movies. But it's real life. These are real people who cannot find loved ones, who have been forced into homelessness with very little food and water left to sustain the now crippled country.

Just a few weeks ago I was talking to my castmates about earthquakes and which ones we had all experienced growing up. But the conversation was light, filled with laughter. Sure, we shared fears about "the big quake" that California is supposedly overdue for. But it still seemed so far away. The threat of "the big one" for me always felt like those rules imposed by someone that everyone knew didn't really matter. It's that small worry that hangs over your head, that tells you to be prepared for something like this, but you shrug it off because it couldn't happen here, to me, to my friends and family. Maybe we sweep those precautions under the rug because if we give into them it makes it all real. Like being somehow being prepared and scared means the big quake, wherever he is, has won. And maybe we're all just too stubborn to forfeit our pride for the sake of Mr. Big Scary Quake.

This may seem fatalistic but this whole situation in Japan has been a very scary lesson in how quickly an entire life can be turned up side down and inside out. I'm writing from the comfort of my one bedroom apartment, using my fairly new laptop, drinking coffee and listening to music. And there are people in Japan, and elsewhere, that before this whole ordeal were probably doing something very similar. An entire country has been disrupted. A concept I can only barely imagine. Talk about putting things in perspective...

More soon