23 August 2011
If you have not heard about today’s earthquake, I won’t fault you.*
I was at work in mid-town DC when the quake hit. Our office has been going through renovations lately, and it took me a few moments to recognize what was happening. I was on the phone, speaking with one of our grassroots organizers, when my desk began vibrating.
I have a bit of an interesting mental condition. If my brain does not comprehend what is happening, it will make up some explanation to fit the situation. For example, when I began receiving the local newspaper from my hometown of Irwinton, GA (pop. 580 or so), The Wilkinson County Post, I assumed I drunkenly ordered a subscription one night. I tell the story to my friend, MP, and he reveals he ordered the subscription for me.
When I felt my desk shaking, my brain informed me, ever so casually, “Hello Joey. Oh, I see you’re on the phone. Well, I’m sorry to interrupt. I just wanted to let you know the people working on office renovations are now behind your desk using a powerful vacuum cleaner.” Of course, I assumed my brain new what the fuck it was talking ‘bout.
Then the shaking grew stronger.
I swiveled my chair around, looked out the window and saw the church outside shaking. “That’s one damn powerful vacuum,” I said back to my brain.
By this point, my brain heard people in the office using the word “earthquake” and the sentences, “Get in a doorway” and “Do not leave.” So, I hung up the phone and walked to a doorway.
After the shaking subsided, people began saying the building was to be evacuated. That is when I faced an idiot’s dilemma.
Of course, I was going to take my book bag. After all, it was packed and ready to go. Then, I made sure to get my cell phone and charger (not of the San Diego variety). But what to do, what to do? I looked at my Arizona Energy Drink and a two-disc compilation of lounge and down tempo songs (called, embarrassingly enough, POSH: An Exclusive Chillout Experience) I purchased from a Bed, Bath & Beyond in Salt Lake City.
I honestly hesitated, debating whether I should grab the energy drink and eject disc two of POSH and take them downstairs with me. I quickly assessed the situation and realized that POSH would be no great loss and people downstairs would mock me if I brought my energy beverage.
Should I be bothered or oddly proud that in the midst of natural disaster I still make decisions based on what people will think of me?
My entire world is literally shaking and I still feel embarrassment and potential shame.
In therapy, this would be a groundbreaking discovery I suppose.
*Yes, I already tweeted something similar. For the curious bunch who do not follow @mentalmacguyver, the tweet read, “Not a good time to break up with my wife today. After the #earthquake we couldn’t file for no-fault divorce.”