Sep. 11th, 2010

zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
It's been twenty-four hours since I felt a quake. I slept through a bunch (in the spare room with a pillow over my head) and then the 5pm ones... I might have been moving around the house, I don't know. It makes it feel like they're over, like aftershocks are so last week. Hopefully they pretty much are and there'll just be a few more fading rumbles. Except you don't want to let your guard down. Except keeping your guard up is the worst of it.

So I woke at about 9:30 from a long and solid sleep and I felt like crap. I wanted to go back to sleep except I didn't, it was really just that I didn't want to be awake.

Someone phoned from choir to say we're allowed back in our practice-room this week. That will be good. (I have at times this week taken advantage of the fact that singing helps anxiety somewhat at least inasmuch as it forces you to control your breathing.)

I poked about online for a bit. I really wanted to set up a "We survived a week of #eqnz!" tweetup except I also really didn't want to deal with it. I wanted to go into town and do some economy-boosting shopping, but also didn't want to. I also really didn't want to sit in the house anymore. I ended up going for a random walk in the sun. Halfway down the road my iPod reminded me that on Saturday I should go to the library, and I thought, yes, going to the library and sitting in a corner with a book would be nice.

It was beautifully sunny. Unfortunately sunglasses can only do so much to hide the fact that one is crying; tears streaming down one's face are a bit of a giveaway. Fortunately I kinda figure Cantabrians are used to people looking upset at the moment. Anyway I wiped most of them away before I cut through the mall.

The mobile library was parked outside the library. This perhaps should have been a clue. (The other clue would have been that all week the list of libraries opening hasn't included my local branch.) I figured it out when I saw the hazard tape across the library's entrance. I think/suspect/hope it's just minor damage, it's just no-one knows yet. I had a brief chat with one of the staff in the mobile library then wandered away again. I wasn't wanting to borrow books, I'd just been wanting to sit in the library and... have a library around me.

I went shopping for a bit. And got to that state where you're looking at things and slowly realise you've zoned out and you're supposed to be doing something, and also where you're swaying on your feet (in a non-earthquake-like manner).

At home I ate a bit, and watched videos, and hacked at the tree the tree-guy forgot because, on reflection, when it rubs against the house it makes creaky noises like the start of a small aftershock. Plus it was something active to do.

The tree he did remember to do (needed dead branches pruned away) still has the branch I want to attach a swing to. So once the rest of it has filled back out I can do that and will have somewhere nice to sit and read in summer.

Back on the internet, someone tweeted something about keeping one's phone charged and I thought-- "Where's my phone?" I've had it on me practically nonstop for a week (though it usually stays by my bed 24/7 being used as nothing more than an alarm clock) and had to hunt through the house to find where I'd put it down while getting changed earlier.

I visited my siblings for dinner. I wasn't great company; half of me didn't want to go, except I wanted to be with them, and then half of me didn't want to leave, except I wanted to be back here. And then I got back here and coming up to my door everything was so quiet. Not scary quiet, and not peaceful quiet, just... quiet like the whole city is numb.

On the bus I overheard some boys talking about how their school will get a bunch of girls coming from another school with damaged buildings. Actually his words were "their school is broken". And the logistics of so much broken feels overwhelming. Mostly I'm equally overwhelmed by how everyone is doing their part to put a piece here and a piece there back together. But today I'm collapsing a bit.

I've been reading Meera Syal's Life isn't all ha ha hee hee which goes around a whole lot of different viewpoint characters in a way that doesn't suit my reading style. So a few days ago I was vaguely pondering a book that has the viewpoint handed off from one character to another, following the story through a literal cast of hundreds, never coming back to the same viewpoint character twice. The sort of conceit that makes a great thought experiment but probably a terrible novel... On the bus I thought that this sort of structure might actually suit a book about recovery from a disaster, to really show the scope of things. (It'd still require a genius to make the reader not mind the fact that we've got no stable characters though.) But then I also thought: I still don't feel qualified to write any such thing. I probably feel less qualified than ever. I often find it harder to write about things I know more about because then I know what I don't know and dread what else I might get wrong. But also, how dare I speak for people who have really suffered and lost?

Not that I think I really want to write a book about recovery from a disaster anyway.

Bah. I'm just trying to find the new normal. It's bound to be around here somewhere.

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