In the story before this story, wherein I was going to tell you how my German Shepherd-like hearing caused quite a fuss in a Sears (in LA), I veered hard left, and told you instead a tale of how my SOOPER power hearing helped find a little boy named Scott who was in fairly dire need of rescue and a leg cast.
And I'd forgotten that had happened, until my fingers took over the keyboard and said "Hey! You forgot about Scotty! We'll type, you keep thinking about that incident at Sears."
I have clever fingers. I think...
Summing up: I had, and still have, the hearing ability of whichever canine has the best hearing. No one has ever explained why I have this tendency; most people and all doctors have said, "Live with it. Use ear plugs when you sleep (I was once awakened from a deep sleep, after working my night shift, because some guy was using a, what do you call those things you use to drill into concrete... a jackhammer [Yay, me, I remembered something] and he was using it three blocks away). I also can't stand loud noises; the thrum of live rock group speakers or screaming audiences or enclosed hallways with too many people blabbing at once: my eardrums can't take it. I can actually feel them bowing in and out. Ucch).
But this is the tale of me, my mother and a Sears guy. My mom was in the store to look at new washers, and I was there because I was 15 and getting deeper into the anorexia thing and needed new jeans that wouldn't fall off my rapidly shrinking body (I don't have that problem now, though I'm doing my best).
We were standing in the clothes washer department, my mother and the Sears guy were "discussing" the price: mom was telling the Sears guy that the washer was priced too high, the Sears guy said "$185.00 is a great price, madam (remember those days, of "madam" and "sir" and "May I help you?" Sigh.) And it includes delivery and set up."
Mom narrowed her brown eyes, and countered. "$165.00, including delivery and set up, AND you take the old one to the dump."
(From my Dad, I got "snark". From my mom, I got "haggling". I am a great haggler. When I lived in Israel, this time in a dorm room while going to Hebrew University in Jerusalem [mastering in... English! Oh, and "History of the Second Temple Period." I called it HotStePuh. Annoyed the hell out of the professor, but really, all I learned in that class was that there WAS a second temple, and the Romans were really pissed off about it] so whenever a friend wanted to go to the Shouk (marketplace) in the Arab section, to buy a scarf or sandals, or a dress or jewelry, they brought me along because I could haggle a neckerchief priced at ONE lira [I think they're "pounds" again; hard to keep track] down to two neckerchiefs for 1/2 lira.
Haggling. I love it. (I do the same thing in the U.S., with cars. Car dealers loathe me. Oh, and so do realtors. The house we live in now? The guy we bought it from had paid, let's just say "X" amount, and when he sold, he put it on the market at that "X" amount. No fishy bitey. He lowered it 5 K. Nope. Lowered 2.5 K more. Not even an offer. I know this, because our realtor looked it up.
And then I came along, and made in insane offer, 25 K below the "X" amount. He took it. His realtor hated me, too.)
So, there we stood, my mother and the Sears guy almost touching noses, haggling and having the time of their lives doing it, when I said, "Earthquake."
Just like that. "Earthquake." I did a fantastic little sprint and slid on the linoleum, winding up under a desk, while my mother ran behind me, and crouched as far as a tubby little 55 year old woman with bad knees can crouch under a desk, and the Sears guy was looking at both of us as if we'd called Zeus to appear before us, bearing silver, gold and a llama, and He did.
This took all of, oh, about 15 seconds. The Sears guy approached us timidly, as we were obviously completely insane. I beckoned him to join me under the desk; the look on his face said quite plainly that he'd rather do some religious venomous snake handling before he joined me under that desk.
And then the quake hit. 5.9- not huge, but big enough for the Sears guy to cram himself under the desk with me. Things fell off the shelves, I could hear crystal shattering in the department next to the laundry department, lights swayed and several of those HUGE acoustic tiles went 'ker-splat' right where the three of us had been standing, arguing over the price of a washing machine. A siren went off... telling us... what? "Earthquake! Run!" Run where?
Ah, I hear you say, the siren told you to go huddle in a door way, bracing yourself with your hands against the doorjamb. Southern Californians had been taught to do that from when I was in first grade: "Earthquake hits, head for the doorway." Morons.
(Of course, these were the same morons who told us to "duck and cover your heads and kneel down next to a wall when the H-bomb fell", so what the fuck do they know?)
Wanna know a couple of reasons why trying to protect yourself from an earthquake by standing in a doorway is a bad idea? Okay, I'll tell you a couple of reasons why this is a bad idea:
1- What is a doorway? A doorway is a hole. In a wall. Which makes it... the weakest part of the wall. If you are standing in the weakest part of something... it is likely... to fall on you and kill you to death.
2- The doorway has... yes, that's right, a door. And what do doors normally do? Correct again: they open and close. And if you're standing in a doorway with a working door, trying to save yourself from the big bad earthquake, odds are TREMENDOUS that the door will open, and then SLAM closed on your "bracing hands", and you will end up with one, if not two, broken hands, with fingers thrown in just for fun.
After the quake, Mom wanted to finish the washer deal and get outta Dodge. But when we both looked around, the Sears guy had scarpered. I got out from under the desk, looked down an aisle, and saw the Sears guy, running pretty damned fast, away from us, the crazy lady and her daughter the Witch who had predicted (or, perhaps, even CAUSED, the earthquake!)
Man, he was going fast. I could see the soles of his shoes, and on every fifth or sixth leg pump, I saw that his shoes were kicking him in the ass.
We bought the new washer at JC Penney. There was no earthquake that day. And we really needed a new washer. ($155.00, delivered, old one removed, new one hooked up, old one carted off to the old washer graveyard.
Mom was good.)
And that, my friends, is why you should never stand in a doorway during a quake.
Wait, two more tips: 1) Keep one gallon of clean water for every member of your household, enough to last at least a week. Food is optional.
2) Keep flashlights in every conceivable place in your home ((by the bed, in the kitchen, in the garage, in the bathroom, duct taped to the ceiling, you get the picture, right?)
and 3) If you're in bed when the quake hits? Stay there, covers over your head, and hands inside the ride at all times until it stops.
For outside structures, if you see cosmetic damage (smashed windows, broken roof tiles, stucco busted off walls, you're good. HOWEVER:
if you see damage to a building (especially your own building) in an "X" shape, uh oh.
No, really. Uh oh. Call the insurance people NOW and stay out of that building. An "X" shaped piece of damage means there is REAL damage to the building, and might fall down go boom with YOU inside it.
It's all got to do with architecture and building and code violations, so let the insurance company hash it out, but DO NOT go into a building with that "X" shape on it. "X" does not mark the spot, unless your're a contractor.
You may go to lunch now.