Ruminations of a Red Dirt Hussy

April 10, 2014

What to do when the earth moves and you’re all by yourself

I thought earthquakes were kind of fun, but I’m no longer amused. Even if I could sleep, I’d be awakened by an earthquake 4 nights out of 7. They’re starting to kind of creep me out, and I spend an inordinate amount of time filling out the “Did You Feel It?” email forms to send to the Leonard Geophysical Observatory.

Don’t you judge me. Those forms are therefore a reason. And besides, it’s a public service.

Jim has a theory. He has a lot of them (never follow a car with a “Play bingo at _______!” or “Ask Me about My Grandchildren” bumper sticker. It never ends well. Or always get in line behind a man when you go to the grocery store, because they pay cash and are therefore faster. And never make eye contact with the little kid in the next booth at Applebee’s. It’s the last peaceful moment you’ll have until you leave the place. Plus, his parents will be pissed that you taught him to flip the waiter off.)

But this theory is about earthquakes. He might have developed it because they’re starting to make me nervous. Or he came up with it for his own amusement. Whatever the reason, he knows I know that he pulls all his theories out of his butt. And yet he keeps doing it.

He says they build buildings in California that can bear up under the smaller earthquakes because they can sway a little. Those might not be his exact words, because all I heard was blah blah blah fault lines blah science blah blah theory blah blah San Francisco 1906, so don’t correct me. This is like a memoir. I’m just giving you my version of events.

So anyway, it is his completely ass-generated opinion that 91 years ago, whoever built this house had the prescience to construct it just like those buildings in California (most of which probably didn’t exist at the time). Ergo, it will not collapse on us but instead sway gently to the rhythms of that big-ass earthquake I know is imminent.

Here’s what I think about that theory. First, I’m going to scope out that slope on the next block from me. It overlooks I-244 and is treeless and grassy. 80% of the 50 people squatting over there are probably not mentally ill and so can be trusted to know where to pitch a tent. Then I will purchase just such a tent, along with enough heavy-duty electrical extension cords to reach my house. Finally, I’ll box up my serial killer books, my cowboy boots, my stereo, and my Robert Earl Keen, James McMurtry, Todd Snider, and Shovels and Rope CDs and haul them over there.

I daresay I’ll be a pretty popular girl on that slope, what with the music and the steady supply of wine and popcorn I’m going to make Jim bring me.

What I don’t know is how I’m going to convince the cats to make the move.




  1. Unless you bring some mice, canaries, and catnip along with the wine, popcorn, and CDs, the cats are stayin’ in the house. You will be allowed to continue to visit, if you like.


    Comment by Audrey — April 10, 2014 @ 2:30 pm | Reply

  2. I’ve already pitched my tent there. The people are fine. They’ve got wine and they’re a sharing type of community. Come on over.


    Comment by Michelle — April 10, 2014 @ 4:00 pm | Reply

  3. They WILL go where you go..even without the wine, popcorn and cds


    Comment by Lily Miceli — April 10, 2014 @ 10:55 pm | Reply

  4. So it’s the “Leaning Tower of Carol,” is it? My 95-year-old Sears bungalow has survived earthquakes,tornadoes, fire and other of Mother’s natural mayhems and still sports the best porch swing in the neighborhood. Knock on wood? uh-no, Knock on asbestos siding and million-year-old sandstone foundations. When all else fails,there’s a “hidey-hole” big enough for Happy and the critters. There is always room for more, Carol.


    Comment by Pony-tail girl — April 11, 2014 @ 8:58 am | Reply

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A psychologist explores the minds of women who murder

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