Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Ending the year with a bang...and a crash

I confess, I was up past my bedtime last night. It was 11:40 at night, and I'd been happily reading until 11:30 or so. I was just drifting off when I heard it. A distant rumble like a big truck speeding down the road outside. Only it went on too long. A few seconds passed, the sound got louder and my condo started to shake a little. Truck or earthquake? I was still trying to decide when the noise grew to a serious rumble and the whole condo building shimmied and dropped with a hefty boom-bang.  The next thought to cross my mind was "crap, I hope this isn't the big one."

Fortunately, it wasn't. The shaking stopped, the rumble faded away, and I was left listening to the sound of my wind chimes ringing out on my deck while the standard set of post-quake thoughts chased through my head. 

  • Was that a pre-shock, or the main event? 
  • Where was my emergency kit? Hall closet? closet? Shit, it's around here somewhere.  
  • Why do I live on an island on top of multiple fault lines and why haven't I moved, yet?
  • If that was a preshock, I really ought to put on some pajamas...naked and homeless in December would suck.
I bounced out of bed (no, I did not take cover, it was over too fast for my middle-aged reflexes to react,) and did what any modern day person would do. I grabbed my phone and checked Google. Emails arrived from my friend who lives less than a kilometer away asking if I'd felt the quake, and I answered her while surfing for info. Then I hit Facebook and laughed as I saw a great many of my local friends grumbling and posting "what the hell was that?" comments. Ah, the wonders of the modern age.

What put it all in perspective for me was my cat, Daisy-Mae. She came wandering out a few minutes after the quake ended, looked at me with mild interest and then went straight to her cat post where she meow-howled (She's Siamese and I swear, that's a real sound they make,) until I gave her pats...and cookies. Because of course she wanted treats, the human servant was awake and therefore she should be fed, earthquake be damned. She had a point. Nothing I could do about it. So why worry?

I tracked down my emergency kit, double-checked the contents and tossed in an extra pair of socks and some fresh cans of cat food for her fuzzy Highness. After that, I went back to bed. Not that I slept well. No, it wasn't bad dreams or nerves. It was my muse. She was busy throwing out all sorts of ideas about earthquakes, emergencies, and love among the ruins. Apparently being shaken awake was exactly what she needed to go on an inspiration streak that didn't end until somewhere around 3 am when I finally conked out.

And so now I sit here with my third cappuccino of the day (and it's only 11"30) writing this blog and pondering the end of 2015. It was an amazing year, full of travel, conventions & signings, old friends and new ones, new books, and so many great memories. All in all, there were more good days than bad and more laughter than tears. I experienced so many firsts. My first fried green tomatoes. My first taste of gumbo and New Orleans cuisine. My first root canal. (ouch). My first convention and book signings. It's been a hell of a year, and somehow it seems right that it goes out with a bit of a bang. 

Here's wishing you all a fantastic, fun, and joyful 2016. Hold tight to the ones you love, find the joy and the beauty in every day, and above all else, be good to yourselves and each other. 

Happy New Year!