Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Beside the bed

I've been tagged by Norma over at Collecting my Thoughts. She wants to know what's on my nightstand.

That's easy. I don't have a nightstand!

We do, however, have a tatami floor, and on the floor next to the bed there is a lamp, an alarm clock, a notebook and pen, and the remote for the fan. Attached to the wall behind my head there is a flashlight. It has no on/off button. It is the sort that turns on automatically when you take it out of its cradle. This is the earthquake flashlight. The last time we had a big earthquake it took us ten minutes just to get out of the bedroom. The sliding doors were jammed, furniture had been thrown around, nothing was familiar, and it was pitch black. (Actually, for a wild moment I was convinced a UFO had crash-landed on our house, and I didn't WANT to go into the next room. There were aliens in there, I just knew it. It's interesting the way your half-asleep mind tries to explain things when nothing makes sense.) This experience ranks right up there at number one in the Not Good category and we decided that the next time the world ended we would have light, at least, and not just the weirdly coloured earthquake lightning, which ended when the earth stopped throwing us around.

(Must remember to check the batteries.)

The notebook is not for recording inspired thoughts (although I did once write a poem in it). It is for recording things I suddenly remember I need for work tomorrow but am too sleepy to get up to organize. I write it down instead, otherwise in the morning I'm likely to be halfway to work when I remember again.

However, I never actually read this notebook. Writing something down seems to be all that I need to remember it, and it's just as well, because I looked at the notebook just now and noticed that I never turn the page. All my notes are written on top of each other. I don't switch on the light when I remember something. I just grope around in the dark to find the notebook and pen, and write. My bedside notebook will last forever.

(I'm not tagging anybody because I have already tagged so many people recently I'm starting to feel like a bully. But tag yourself if you want to try this one - and let me know in comments if you do so I can come and read it.)

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Anonymous said...

I can see myself having the same reaction to an earthquake in middle of the night. I am terrified of the idea of aliens, though I don't necessarily believe in them. One night when Mike was out of town and I was reading an alien horror novel (wouldn't have picked it up if I knew that was the plot!) there was a bunch of train stuff going on by the train tracks and I was convinced it was aliens.

I've only been in two earthquakes. One was very mild and I hardly knew what it was. My roommate came running down to my room to tell me that there was a ghost in her closet, moving her clothes around. She was convinced. It was broad daylight. She was pretty weird.

Don't you like it when people take over your comments like this?


Badaunt said...

I do, actually!

I grew up with earthquakes. We got them quite often. Little ones, of course, although when I was in my early teens I remember getting a series of quakes for a couple of weeks, some of which were strong enough to topple things from shelves. That was fairly scary, because we kept expecting the next one to be bigger.

But none of that prepared me for the Kobe quake. The type of movement was different, for a start - the Kobe quake was noted for having a lot of vertical movement. And of course the scale was entirely different. (The difference between a few things falling off shelves and 6000 people being killed.)

'Earthquake,' to me, meant sideways movement and a sick feeling that this might be the big one. The Kobe quake didn't give you a sick feeling, it sent you straight into shock. There were all kinds of things that were not in my experience of 'earthquake,' and I didn't realize that's what it was until it was all over. The up-and-down hammering, the NOISE (nobody tells you about the deafening thunder that comes from below the ground), the earthquake lightning (nobody tells you about that, either), the sheer bloody violence of the event. You can't move to a safer place when you can't even stand up, and when furniture is being thrown around the room.

My advice for how to prepare for an earthquake is to keep stuff in the house for afterwards (water, dry food, medicine and so on); keep a flashlight by the bed; hope it happens on a winter night so you are covered with thick duvets which will give you some protection; don't have any tall furniture near where you sleep; and when it actually happens, hold on tight and hope it isn't aliens.

Lippy said...

I have absolutely nothing on my bedside tables. Except sometimes the cat.