zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
[personal profile] zeborah
Work today was quiet, part twiddling thumbs, part tidying up details, part bonding and settling in.

There was the thing with noticing that one of our shear walls has a crack running the length of it. A crack which you can see on both sides of the wall. This made us a little nervous but when FM came along to check it they promised it was safe.

Not so one of our photocopiers, though, which received a yellow sticker. (The others got green stickers. I think the whole city is being triaged, piece by piece.)

I spent most of the morning sort of informally liaising between various departments. (In Central Library there's a whiteboard up to sign in and out of the building.) When I came back to my own branch I started by cleaning the ceiling plaster dust off my desk.

Some of my colleagues thought they felt slight tremors at lunch, but I missed them. Half an hour later I said, "I felt that one." (It turned out to be smaller than several I've missed, but near and shallow.)

I learned I'm not the only person avoiding my bed: a colleague's grandson is convinced the earthquakes are being caused by his bedroom in her house (fortunately he was staying there that night, rather than in his normal bedroom in his mother's house). I already knew I wasn't the only person sleeping in clothes (though I've finally stopped now) and pretty much everyone is keeping a flashlight and cellphone close to hand. Also, no-one laughed when I mentioned I keep my shoes upside down to prevent glass falling inside. Instead I got told of a colleague's friend whose thermometer broke inside one shoe, and she carefully brushed and vacuumed out all the glass but when she wore it her foot gradually got more and more sore, and at the end of the day she realised she'd burnt her whole foot on whatever liquid had been inside the thermometer.

At afternoon tea I shifted in my chair, accidentally making it creak, and my colleague next to me jumped. As we gathered to say our goodbyes and go home, another colleague leaned wearily against the lockers, making them clatter, and a fourth colleague jumped.

The roads are crowded and the buses running late.

Staring out the window as we drove through the suburbs, I mused. Thinking about that link that was talking about how one has to reconcile one's ordinary belief that the world isn't out to kill you with those moments when it did kind of give it a go. It's like these two things exist in your head at the same time, in some quantam superposition thing, and it hurts your brain. And over time I've been resolving that back to the single state of "The world doesn't want to kill me" (albeit with the caveat "but how about I get my emergency kit ready just in case"). This avoids brain-hurtiness, and it gets my anxiety levels down.

And the thing that enrages me about 9/11 is the huge effort Certain Interests put in to resolve the quantam superposition in the opposite direction. To convince people that the (Islamic) world is out to get them. And doing this doesn't make the world any safer. All it does is keep people anxious. And (even if the various reasons the Certain Interests have for doing this were pure as the snow, which they're really not), keeping people anxious after a traumatic incident is itself evil. It is so many kinds of nasty I just cannot express.

Date: 2010-09-13 09:00 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ajk
Actually, following this all reminds me of something I read by David Drake recently. He said that soldiers in a war zone live with the constant knowledge of their probable imminent death; one learns to cope with it but it makes them insane by civilian standards (making going back home difficult). Of course, the Christchurch quake has so far been much milder than that, but there's probably some of the same effect.

Date: 2010-09-13 11:13 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ajk
Quoting Drake: "But I spent my whole tour believing that I was going to die. Not fearing it, exactly. Just the sort of belief you have as you watch the sky cloud up and know it's going to rain." [*]

Certainly this is far far more than what happens in a quake zone. But some of the stuff I've read from you and others still vaguely remind me of that :)

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