In the Midwest, the National Weather Service alerts you to a tornado watch/warning with alerts on all media, push notifications, and air raid sirens.
Looking at the houses on the side of a mountain in Laguna Beach, I found myself wondering if they did the same thing to warn of earthquakes. My google of, “how far in advance do they alert you to an earthquake,” found that they alert you when they’re happening. That’s really not advance notice because you can feel it before you’d get the notice. Concerned, I googled, “What is the earthquake warning system.” The answer is there isn’t one. You will know your house is about to crush you to death when it falls in on you.
In the article, I read there was a photo of a scientist from the National Geological Society. Why he was smiling in the picture is beyond me. He boasted that based on past earthquake data, they could come up with a statistically derived guess at the probability of a future major earthquake in the next 30 years at 67%.
In the Midwest, if your house is on a floodplain, a place luckily to flood every hundred years and requires special flood insurance, it is a major deterrent to purchasing it. All of these houses are on an earthquake fault line and yet people just go about their lives.
I brought up this terrifying problem with the next half dozen strangers I met. They seemed to be more concerned with the weird stranger—me—talking to them. It is odd because they live here whereas I’m visiting and on anti-anxiety medication. If I wasn’t taking four chill pills a day, I can’t imagine how worried for them being crushed to death I would be.
My attention to this is perpetuated by my feeling of hiraeth, the loss of a home you can’t return to because it no longer exists. Constance was my home. Houses can be rebuilt—families can’t.