Note: I should have posted about this on Friday instead of what I did post, but I have a thing about chronology. Like tricking boys into marrying the eldest daughter first.
I woke up on Friday to news of an earthquake and maybe nuclear disaster in Japan and tsunamis in Hawaii and California. Actually, since we don’t have time to check any news outlets on the way out in the morning, Howard turned around and told me about it on the train. I tried calling my grandparents to see if they had heard anything about my uncle, who lives in an evacuation zone on Honolulu, and texted my mom and family friend who has horses in Pacifica.
In the hours between knowing about these disasters and learning that everyone was okay, I felt an actual physical pain in not knowing. I paced back and forth between the computer, where I was watching Al Jazeera’s coverage of Japan + Hawaii, and the bathroom where I mostly blew my nose and washed my hands. Also, I tweeted a lot; in my panic, I think I maybe thought I could serve as an information source. I do know I felt very strongly that by thinking publicly about the people I was worried about, I could somehow make them be okay, and I felt very angry at things that showed up in my feed that weren’t about disaster, or were at least slightly lighthearted; they felt dangerously self-indulgent to me, like wasting a finite amount of good luck when my family needed it.
Later, my grandmother called to say Uncle Paulie had called and everyone, dog included, were with friends on high ground, had I heard from my mom? I had, via the following text exchange:
Me: Hey – just checking in on the natural disaster situation. Wanted to make sure everything/everyone is ok. Love you!
Mom: Everything’s fine. What natural disaster?
Stopped worrying about the horses immediately.
So everyone is ok, and I’m back to listening to the This American Life archives and tweeting about myself. But there’s still a kind of solemnity hanging around; I saw a rainbow on Friday afternoon and felt like it was a sign that everything was ok, but then listened to a japanophile flip out on the train and felt terrible about my own self-indulgence.