log: milky haze

Monsoons and flooding in the north. A humid crush here. The sky is hot milk. Landslides, flowing mud, and people drowning on the highways. Monsoons are new to me.

This latest calamity made me take an inventory. It seems like I’ve been through a pretty wide range of natural disasters. “Natural” may be pushing it. Not even sure what that word means. I’ve just been dancing through the raindrops. Quite a few near misses. Blizzards and winter storms, heat waves, and a summer of rats. Massive power-grid failures. Historic droughts, fire-seasons, earthquakes. Now, a pandemic and monsoons.

The pandemic is probably the biggest but the earthquake unsettled me the most. If you’ve never been through a serious one, I really don’t recommend it. Just that feeling as the shaking drags on too long. You have time to think about it. To think – is this The Big One?

Because we all knew and know, one day, there will be The Big One.

Is this it?

Then the shaking gets worse. It deepens. Your life doesn’t flash before your eyes but your emergency preparation sure does. And you want to talk about shelter in place? It’s like, you are stuck exactly where you are. Right in that fucking spot. My wife was in the next room. That room never felt so far away. As if the shaking ground isn’t bad enough, your shelter, your home, suddenly becomes the threat. To this day, rumbles and vibrations set off some weird alert in me. A body memory of fear. I do not like fucking earthquakes.

Fire, water, and air have some element of danger built in. They move. That’s what they do. These are untrustworthy elements. But when the earth moves? The fucking earth? You’re supposed to be able to depend on the ground. It’s not supposed to flow. Concrete is not supposed to have waves. But it sometimes does. Nothing is stable. Never has been.

And, I really believe, to understand Los Angeles, you have to understand this — it’s built on that instability and surrounded by fire. Los Angeles is a city without a future and a city without an end. It is not even a city. Los Angeles is a constantly unfolding apocalypse.

But, anyway, finished my homework for this week. Now studying for finals. The oral part is a three minute presentation that has to be memorized. Swear to Satan, I doubt I could memorize a three minute presentation in English. In 한곡아? I tend to run into a cascading failure somewhere around my second sentence. And, as much as I like the role-plays, and as helpful as they are, no one in real life responds the way they do in those things.

It’s also pretty intense how much mental real estate trying to speak in another language takes up. It’s like, I’ll be trying so hard to speak and understand, that I forget to pay my bill. Looking at a sign, walking straight into a wall. Shit like that. It’s like – not only do you sound dumber, you get dumber. But whatever, is what it is, and I do enjoy it.

And I should get back to studying.

2 thoughts on “log: milky haze

  1. I was in a major earthquake when I was seven years old, and 30+ years later your description gave me goosebumps. Pretty sure I’ll carry the memory of the sound and feeling to my grave.


    • I always had a sort of instinct to catch things when they were falling. One day, working in a kitchen, I caught a falling knife by the blade. Had to work the rest of the shift with a latex glove. It would fill with blood. New glove. Back to work. Went like that the rest of the shift. Now, if something shiny is falling, I back away and watch it fall. The body learns.


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