The Errant Meteor Theory

Over the last two years or so, I have become all too aware of the existence of criminal, immoral, corrupt, downright disgusting actions  in our highest to our lowest offices of government, corporations, non-profit operations, organized religious institutions (from the smallest, down home local place of prayer to the highest echelons of the mainstream Catholic church) that I find myself, even with some fight left in me just because of the fiery nature of my personality, unable to stop or counterbalance insanity, truthfully that I can do nothing to stop this insanity.  For the last six months, I have been planning a long, pedantic post on the overwhelming greed and corruption made worse by totally random events, but it hasn’t yet come to fruition.

You have noticed that during the last month, my postings have been few and totally off-subject of politics and all the other current hot-button issues of which I typically write.  Because of a mind-blowing, major life-altering personal event, all this other bullshit became even less worthy of the investment of my effort and time.

So that blog is not going to happen.  But I had to give this bit of information, the back story, so you will understand my “Errant Meteor Theory.”  In a nutshell, this theory is simply that “shit happens.”  Even if good things happen, with the world, its governments, private and public corporate entities, any and all events and people, there is always the chance that something or other, totally unexpected, will occur to turn the world upside down.  Some examples of this in recent years have been the terrorist attack on 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown in Japan.  Other events that could set the world reeling would be an assassination of a powerful, actually moral political leader, an environmental calamity such as the Gulf oil spill or a bio-terrorist event.  These possible actions are what I call the errant meteor theory, i.e. that at any time, any place, some rogue meteor could hit our earth and we would all be gone in the blink of an eye.  Kind of like the theory of a meteor hit that wiped out the dinosaurs and generally, the world.

So yesterday, after a momentous month in my own life, we had an earthquake measuring 5.9.  Thank heavens I was on the phone with my rational, calm and smart daughter Maribel.  All of a sudden I felt and saw the house moving.  I experienced two other quakes over the last twenty years here in Virgina.  Both were about 3.2 in magnitude and the motion was an even rumbling, like there were heavy construction vehicles just outside of my house.  It was not frightening at all.  But yesterday, I was petrified.  The action was sudden, but the motion was jagged and violent.  Granted, the strength of the tremor yesterday was of a much stronger magnitude than the other two I had felt.  But yesterday’s movement was totally different from the prior quakes.  I heard glass breaking and I thought because of the fierce movement, that my windows and skylights were crashing in on me.  I grabbed the dog and knew I had to get to my safe place —- the basement bathroom, the only interior room on the lowest level.  However, one wall of the bathroom is covered entirely with huge sheets of mirror.  Thank the heavens once again, we had a large closet within that bathroom.  So I dragged myself and the dog into that closet.  My years planning for a disaster like this actually paid off because I had thought it through years ago and there was no hesitation of where I needed to be.  I sat there, with the dog and Maribel staying on the line with me.  Maribel was trying to find some news of what had actually occurred.  Finally, she said, “Mom, the D.C. area just had a 5.9 earthquake.”  Realizing that my absolute terror and hysterical screaming  was actually due to a real event and not just my over-reactive personality or even some hallucination, I was relieved.

Maribel stayed on the phone with me as I inspected every single room and mechanical equipment in the house.  The breakage noises I had heard were not windows crashing in; they were from some chachkas that had fallen to the floor.  You wanna talk about sheer luck?  I did have minor breakage of decorative items, but not one of them was of any financial or sentimental value.  And I have to admit, even if I had damage to some really valuable breakables, I couldn’t have cared less.  Any other damage  involved clean-up, i.e. the cement/grout of the fireplace in the family room looked like a hail storm and a little plant fell to the floor and spread the dirt all around.  A few books and other chachkas fell.  While many wall hangings, art work, etc. were at a 180 degree angle to their original positions, none of them fell to the ground.

The only thing left to be of immediate concern was any damage to the 500 gallon propane tank and its lines buried in our backyard.  I had no intention of calling my husband about the quake; I knew he was safe where he was.  Nevertheless, my stubborn-as-a-mule daughter would not get off the damn phone unless I took a sworn oath to call him immediately about any possible danger with the propane tank and lines.  So I made that vow to her and kept that promise.

I know I tend to overreact and exaggerate.  However, the sheer terror that I experienced yesterday cannot be underestimated.  I cannot imagine what it would be like to live through an earthquake of magnitude 8 or 9.

The events in my own life these past four weeks could never have been imagined.  Then, adding to the mixture of the unexpected, yesterday’s  quake made the situation even more surreal.  For the two hours following the quake, I just laughed and laughed.  But then, I became exhausted, kind of like being in a car accident:  finding immediately that no one was hurt, the literal shaking and fear settling in two hours after the fact, a delayed reaction.

One reason I am going into great detail about yesterday’s events is that my precious family and friends are emailing and phoning me with genuine concern.  I am diligent about responding to emails.  Nevertheless, at this time, I cannot keep up with all of the questions about my well-being.  So in effect, I am using this post to make all the details available to them.  I hate the depersonalization of “mass mailings”, and I apologize for getting back to each and every one of them in this way.  It is just physically impossible for me to get to all of them individually.

Of course, the other reason for this post is that, with what little interest I have left in the absolute power of evil people and institutions in this world, there is still a small need in me to get on my soapbox.  I wanted to inform you of my errant meteor theory, despite not presenting it in real term paper form that I had originally intended.

So I had my errant meteor theory experience yesterday.  I wonder what Sunday will be like: we are expecting Hurricane Irene.


Listening to the local news last night, a reporter was interviewing people on the street, trying to present the local response to the earthquake.  Culpeper, Virginia had the most damage, situated only 36 miles from the quake’s epicenter.  The reporter approached two female high schoolers and asked them what the experience was like for them.  One young lady responded, “Everything was shooking.  I was shooking.”  All I could think of was that this young woman must stay in school.



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5 Responses to “The Errant Meteor Theory”

  1. Nephew2 Says:

    Sounds like it was more intense by you than in my 9th floor office in downtown DC. The worst part was the closing of the office and the resulting two and a half hour commute as everyone left for home at the same time. Glad you are okay.

  2. squiggidy Says:

    Thanks for the post… I was able to picture it all through your great writing. I am assuming you didn’t take high school English classes in Culpeper?

    Working at a small clinic near the VA border today (where I go once/week…) The tiny cancer center is unscathed from the quake; we are getting pizza and salad from King’s Inn to celebrate. I will toast you with my sweet tea. love you -XOXO squiggidy

  3. NatalieR Says:

    EXCELLENT post. I could not have said it better myself ever. Some world events are simply beyond our control. I cannot do anything to help it. The only thing I can hope to do is work for ethical change, peace and hope my words spill over somewhere and do some good.

    I used to think during the late 1960’s that ALL was changing for the better. I knew the jig was up when the two assassinations of MLK and RFK rocked my security. Things were going to get better then they suddenly were not. Not only were they not better but worse … we got Richard Nixon. Something is rotten in ole Denmark (and Norway too.) I do not know what it is but I only can work on my little corner of the world and HOPE I can speak for kindness, justice and truth in a very unkind and unjust world.

    I continue to hope for the best and hope the meteor AND the hurricane pass us by!

  4. Rachel Says:

    My chihuahuas got the worst of it. An IKEA fixture fell across their cage but luckily the cage stopped it before it could hurt either of them. The saddest part was that one of them was so scared they got sick in the cage and had to wait until I got home to have it cleaned. I found them shaking, whimpering and cowering when I got home. Stupid, cheap IKEA! I’m buying American from now on.

  5. amy lilley Says:

    so vivid yomama..glad that your Maribel stayed w/ you every step of the way…’nevertheless, my stubborn-as-a-mule daughter would not get off the damn phone unless I took a sworn oath’ …(gee, wonder where she got that from????)..thank you for the post as I am one of the many many many who e-mailed you…relief…XXXXXXX

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