Santa Cruz has had some odd weather this year. If Al Gore is
right, and the Mayan’s weren’t just whistling Dixie, then the looming
singularity point we are all being drawn towards is fraught with environmental challenges (among others). As things stand, The Cruz already has weather patterns that would seem more at home on the island in Lost—and the practical aspect of this is one never knows what to wear in this city.
They call it micro-climates—I call it fashionably weird.
Average winter day—start up in the mountains in Soquel, it’s
windy as heck, the rain is speckled with hail—I’m bundled up in sweater and rain gear. Proceed down and within a mile, the rain has let up, the sun has peaked out, there’s a few scattered rainbows—sweater off, long sleeve shirt on. A few miles more, rain get’s intense, windshield wipers break, rain gear back on, window open barely enough to see. A few more miles, at the beach, it’s sunny,
warm—strip down to shorts and t-shirt.
Surviving this town is a matter of layers and being prepared.
Last year, on March 11th there was a tsunami. Living in the command center for the weird, La Bahia, I have an amazing view (framed by a bohemian lifestyle) of the ocean—a.k.a. Liquid Death. At 8:15 in the morning, there was a knock on the door, it was a cop. I greeted him and waited for him to say something as I didn’t request his presence and small talk in the morning eludes me.
He said, “Tsunami—mandatory evacuation.”
I said, “When?”
He said, “8:30.”
He gave us 15 minutes to evacuate from the coming tsunami—which
is weird, as well as, frightening. Because, La Bahia is made of plaster of Paris and held together by mycelium. If you follow the path of any Tsunami travelling in the southern hemisphere it will hit the bottleneck of the Monterey Bay and magnify as it hurtles towards La Bahia.
I had been greeted with a worst case scenario. Recent studies show that in a crisis, 10-20% of us leap into motion, 10-15% lose our
minds and start screaming, and the rest of us become sheep that will either sway towards the hero’s or the zero’s depending on circumstance.
Unable to process the information the man-in-blue was giving
me—due to the early hour and the late night doing stand-up the night before—I then said something that I had never said to a cop before.
I said, “Are you high? Because I am, and that sounds like something I would say.”
At this point it became a Cheech and Chong routine.
He said, “Did you say that you’re high?”
I said, “Did you say tsunami?”
Things digressed for a few moments. He asked for my name.
I said, “DNA.”
He asked, “What does that stand for?”
I said, “Do Not Arrest.”
Then I slammed the door. I knew had about eight minutes to get
myself and my wife to safer ground and I couldn’t waste anymore time playing Trivial Pursuit with Santa Cruz’s finest. I think it goes without saying that when there is a catastrophe one tends to become unglued. But, no matter how strong the genetic urge to flee or freeze, always, always grab your partner first—because they will never forgive you. No matter how good things are in the future, that is something lovers will not soon forget. “Thanks for the diamond
necklace, but, remember when you left me in the Tsunami!”
I grabbed my emergency suitcase, which is more like an emergency New York Yankees gym bag. Frankly, you could have an emergency Hello Kitty lunchbox, but having something/anything ready to grab when the walls come down, is not a bad idea. You would think that people in California, always living under the threat of the “Big One,” would be prepared and you would be mistaken. I’ve never met a more unprepared group of people. Thank god, I’m from the east coast, incredibly high-strung and nervous. I’ve had that emergency bag near our front door for four years.
When we got to higher ground, my survival real estate lost value when I opened the emergency bag to find, a zip lock ounce baggie of mixed nuts—actually a half ounce of nuts and half ounce of shells because I ate all the pistachios one night. The only other thing in the bag was a machete. Now, follow my logic on this one. In an emergency crisis, society breaks down, and at that point, a machete is like a credit card—which makes the person without a machete an ATM. With a machete you can get food, a car or more machetes—I could start a machete army. Another good thing is machetes never run out of bullets.
We survived the Tsunami. Our nearby harbor got smashed up.
And, I learned a deep lesson. I’ve reloaded my emergency bag. OK, not really. Even the threat of total annihilation wasn’t enough to get my ass in gear. But, I’ll make a pact with you, dear readers, I will get some stuff together, but you do so as well—deal? Do not put off this 2012 nonsense until the last moment, or you might never hear the end of it.