Just As I Thought

Things on top of other things

One of my fears — phobias — is collapse. Falling. This is why I am preoccupied with the bridge collapse; I have some deep-seated fear of falling, of having something disappear from beneath my feet. I have nightmares about it. I think this dates back to the early 1980s when the walkways collapsed at the Kansas City Hyatt, I still remember the special report flickering on the little black and white TV in my bedroom.
A wedding hall in Israel collapsing and the terrifying footage of a crowd of people simply falling out of sight; the World Trade Center, the Cypress Structure… I am scared to drive over or under bridges and I am freaked out here in my office daily because the floor shakes and bounces when people walk by.
Sleeping on the second floor of my townhouse back in Arlington I used to lay in bed imagining what my first reaction would be if the house collapsed and I fell down to the first floor with the roof on top of me. I feel somewhat more secure in my little single-story bungalow with solid ground under me; still, I arranged the furniture in my bedroom so that if an earthquake should happen the heavy objects wouldn’t fall down on top of me while I sleep.
Maybe it’s not really a phobia per se, perhaps I’m just being overly dramatic. Or perhaps I should construct some kind of steel cage around my bedroom and then never leave it again.

1 comment

  • Paying attention to how and where things might fall while living in an earthquake area is hardly foolish or paranoid.

    Living in Alaska all those years taught me to cable heavy objects to the wall, pieces like dressers and bookcases were screwed to the wall with L brackets and my large mirrors were mounted on tracks that allowed them to slide back and forth without breaking.

    Dramatic? Not in earthquake country, realistic is more like it.

    I also found out (by accident) that having your pots and pans hanging together on a wall rack makes a great earthquake alarm. Tremors in the night that might not wake you rattle the pots and pans like a giant wind chime alerting you an earthquake is in progress. And as most earthquakes are not one giant jolt but rather a series of ground waves that can and do get bigger and stronger over the course of several minutes, the extra 45 seconds or minute the alarm gives you at the start of the quake can literally be a life saver.

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