Monday, February 7, 2011

Things I Don't Understand #4

LA’s laissez-faire attitude towards cataclysmic events.

What’s your favorite disastrous weather phenomenon?

I recently had this conversation with an acquaintance of mine. I’ll call him Joe, both to preserve his anonymity and because I forgot his name. He was telling me that he greatly prefers LA’s earthquakes to Chicago’s blizzards.
Now, to sane people to you and I, this may seem ludicrous. Yes, blizzards can be dangerous if you’re not careful. But if you really consider it, it’s basically just a whole lotta snow. And for those of us who are not LA natives, we know that snow isn’t a mystical curse sent by the gods to punish us. All you have to do to deal with a blizzard is dig yourself out or wait for the stuff to melt. And any disaster in which procrastination is a viable method of survival should rank pretty low on the disaster scale. But earthquakes? Buildings fall down. That’s a gen-u-ine bad situation.

So how did Joe respond to this?

“Eh,” he said, with a dismissive wave of his hand. “Buildings don’t actually fall down these days.”

And that’s technically true. Tall buildings are built on “rollers,” which allow them to roll when earthquakes hit, instead of falling down. A nausea-inducing solution, but a solution nonetheless. (Their other tactic is to build very few buildings over two stories. Also effective, but it makes the entire city seem like one big strip mall, which is kind of like an ongoing natural disaster.)

But I guess there’s an upside. When The Big One™ comes and cracks California into the ocean, at least I can have a good “I told ya so” moment.


  1. That was a great line about procrastination :)
    Nice to have you back!

  2. Great to see you're blogging again. Keep it up!