Years ago, I came to terms with the fact I that was a North-Atlantic snob. By that I mean I had no desire to live anywhere in the U.S. other than along(-ish) the coast from D.C. to Maine. I grew up outside of Philadelphia and came to recognize the cardinal advantages of this stretch of country:
- It gets cold, but not too cold.
- It gets hot, but not too hot.
- There are blizzards, but never so bad.
- There are nor’easters, but not hurricanes.
- No tornados.
- No dust storms.
- No too-serious droughts.
- No Earthquakes.
With yesterday’s tremor my snobbery gets thrown out of the window completely. Really, the only thing on that list that truly keeps me here is the concept that the earth under my feet generally stays put.
West coasters like to talk lightly of earthquakes, as if they are nothing. Bullshit, I said. It’s the earth. And it quakes. Dismissing that fact is ludicrous.
When college ended, as a film student I was left with two ostensible options for setting up tent: New York or Los Angeles. I was offered a very low-paying non-film-related job in L.A., and I almost took it. Many factors made me choose New York City (proximity to family, affordability of transportation, easy rooming arrangements with friends) and I have made many more excuses for shackling myself to the North-Atlantic coastline over the years. Really, the lack of natural disasters that occur in this city is one of my main defenses for staying here.
But that’s all changed now. The tremor was nothing. I hardly knew it was happening even though I felt it. And I’m fine. And now I believe my cynical west coast friends who have dismissed earthquakes as just a simple act of nature, like the changing of the leaves or the blowing of the wind.
If I need to leave New York now, I can.