Thursday, August 09, 2007

R-r-r-ockin' and R-r-rollin'

12:58 a.m.

The TV's still on, but I'm dozing.

When...suddenly, I'm jolted to full consciousness. EARTHQUAKE! And not one of those measly 3.0'ers, either.

With my heart in my throat, I freeze--wondering if it's gonna be a glass-shattering event (where the best bet is to drag your lazy ass to a door frame). Just as I decide it's time to do this very thing, it tapers off. Still...I wait for the second wave--the one that, contrary to popular opinion, never comes.

Whew! Silence. Stillness.

I shift into customary post-earthquake mode, grabbing the remote to see which local news station will be the first to "go live." At the same time, I tune in an AM talk radio station, which is the best way to tell if you've just survived "the big one" or if, in fact, there's nothing to worry about. When I hear a listener from West Hollywood describe it as a rolling motion and one from Santa Clarita do the same, I pin-point the epicenter somewhere in the Valley. Good news. (See, here's how it works: if you feel a JOLT, but the epicenter's somewhere near, say, San Diego, you know San Diego's in BIG trouble. On the other hand, if you feel a JOLT, and you ARE the epicenter, all is well. At least until the next one.)

Anyway, for thirty minutes, I flipped through the channels, waiting for a human. I mean, where were the charts? Where was the "go-to" stock footage of "what to do in case of an earthquake"? Where was that Lucy chick from JPL? In this day and age of 24-hour news stations, I couldn't believe it.

Not one live anchor person. The best they could do was: the local CBS affiliate ran a crawl stating a 4.5 magnitude quake hit at 12:58a.m. 4-1/2 miles north of Chatsworth. Full details forthcoming on the 5a.m. news. Huh? Five friggin a.m.??? I want details NOW. Channel 9 (or was it 11) tossed up a map and let it go at that.

I was extremely disappointed, and here's my theory: in the old days, reporters would have been down the street knocking back Jack Daniels at some sleazy bar. Hightailing it back to the studio at midnight was a snap. But in this era of (snort) healthy southern California living, I guess they all go home after their on-air stints. Too far to come back just to tell us the 7-Eleven in Tarzana has some spilled wine on the floor.

Geez, I miss the good old days.

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