Feeling a bit tipsy in Anchorage
I love crazy weather. Earthquakes are not really weather but they are crazy or rather they make people crazy. Most everyone in Anchorage got a shot of adrenaline yesterday at 8:30 am . If you’ve never been in an earthquake it’s like a car hit your house. But then said car, or other cars behind it, randomly ram your house numerous times during that day and evening. Just for the record, “numerous” means about 1000 earthquakes between 8:30 am yesterday morning and 6 pm tonight in the Anchorage area. I felt about 25 of them and at least one more after 6 pm tonight. You might think it would get boring after awhile. It does not. I still find it humorous that at 2 am I can hear my roommate shout, “ENOUGH!”, from the other room.
I made the beginners error of trying to go to work immediately after, (making sure my house didn’t smell like farts, and picking up my television then deciding to put it back on the floor in case there was another trembler.) Clueless me joined the frantic but polite crowd attempting to go to work, get home from work, to pick up kids from school, as well as those out to check other properties for damage or to buy items necessary for the End Times.
I spent an hour stuck in traffic several blocks from my house before I heard on the radio that the highway was blocked by rocks in one direction and a broken bridge in the other. Main roads were clogged to the max by clumps of hair like myself. It’s ten mile across town to work so I parked the car and walked home to change the tires on my bike to studs. Why be part of the problem when I can be part of the solution? I’m not an essential worker but I work at a nursing home which was bound to have a number of chachkis to clean up and residents in need of cheerful diversion. Cleaning and clowning are my specialties.
A tsunami warning went out which everyone ignored except out of state visitors who could not be expected to know that Cook Inlet is not the ocean. The roads emptied out by noon after authorities encouraged all to “shelter in place” so that infrastructure could be assessed. I packed an overnight bag including my antidepressants and anxiety meds just in case I didn’t make it back home. I wound up putting the bike in the car, just in case. I could be swallowed up by a sink hole or be asked to stay for several days which I would do because I have always wanted to save the world. When I finally arrived at work the building was a bit cold, considering how sweltering nursing homes usually are. The kitchen was also down do to gas being checked. The saving grace was no computer access! I love improvising so I went about my work as usual but added a pantomime of grabbing the walls and swaying as I entered each room.
I began to understand what Donald Trump has been saying about the media. First off, I agree that when he points his finger, four others point back at him. Also I will say that KFQD 750 AM, the radio station, was outstanding in taking calls and pointing out fake news. When people suggested that a giant aftershock was predicted at 4:35 pm or that free food and gas was being given away DJ’s hung up chanting, “SAVE IT FOR FACEBOOK!” They are my heroes.
Unfortunately the television was not set on the music station in the resident courts. Instead everyone was quakefully watching the not-quite-a disaster broadcasts. The Anchorage media, perhaps unwittingly, fomented terror in folks by repeatedly showing the same broken bridge, rockslide and sinkhole as if Anchorage was besieged. There was some crying, some people wanting to go home to check on loved ones. I’m sure viewers who lived far away or who were prone to panic felt the same. A jaundiced eye could discern the same bridge shown an average of 20 times an hour with a shockingly similar car stuck on a slab , also a familiar looking boulder tumbled in the center of the highway showcased every 5 minutes. To what purpose was this? It felt like The World Trade Centers being shown every five minutes on 9/11 only no one died here. The information age does not mean that information sharing has matured. Television, like most adolescent corporations, sells fearful images instead of responsible information to aid in calming the public.
I know that when I’m anxious, I’ve shared stories without knowing all the facts. I expect these announcers were doing their best with their serious faces and recurring images. It made me laugh though when I first moved to Alaska that there would be teasers for the evening news – ” Car crash on Lake Otis. Man breaks leg, more at 6 pm.” We are a small town at heart so almost anything is big news including books falling off shelves.
After work this evening, I stopped by Best Buy to look for a particular Christmas video. A small note on the door indicated that they will be closed until Monday in order to pick up and inventory damages. This seems fair. What didn’t seem fair was that it was 47 degrees in December in Anchorage with winds gusting 45 MPH and the plastic carts from Target were zooming across the icy parking lot chasing people and crashing into vehicles. I imagined my roommate yelling, “Enough again!” and I smiled.