Monday, October 17, 2016

Don't Leave Me Behind...

Today is October 17th. Yesterday, Frankie celebrated his 32nd birthday.

And 27 years ago, my world view changed slightly, at the ripe old age of 4.

The large majority of people that will read this are folks with whom I am very well acquainted. Ergo, they will likely read this in my ever-present sarcastic tone. If you happen to have stumbled upon this and have no idea who I am, I implore you to use as much dry humor as you can possibly muster while reading this blog post.

I have recently come to terms with the fact that I have an intense and deep seeded need to be included in everything, ever, in life. I don't like being left out of anything, at all, ever. Not when I was a child, not when I was in school, not at work, not with my family, not ever. Like ever. Did I mention, EVER?! Just, don't leave me out, and don't leave me behind...

Tuesday, October 17, 1989, was a day just like any other in the life of Little Lauren. I likely went to preschool at Challenger School, though I can't be certain. If I did, I'm sure my mother - now fondly referred to as Momma Lynn - picked me up from preschool and fed me lunch.

At some point, we picked up my sister, Colleen, from school. Colleen had a dentist appointment, I remember it as she needed to get a tooth or two pulled. She may say differently. The details are a little hazy...

It begs to be noted that my sister and I were not the recipients of perfectly straight adult teeth as we lost our baby teeth. As only I can put it, I'm sure, we had some fucked-up grills.

Regardless of what we were doing at the dentist, we were there because my sister had an appointment.

We had returned home just in time for me to catch an episode or two of Sesame Street on PBS, and my sister was in the kitchen doing her homework. My mom was making pasta - fusilli, as I recall - while my dad was in the kitchen as well, preparing to come into the living room to watch the Giants play the A's in the World Series.

There I was, rocking away in our shitteously green velvet rocking chair (one which, at some point in my childhood, I would vomit spectacularly all over - but that's another blog post), watching Sesame Street,  when suddenly, the room began to shake and roll rather violently. Let it be said, there was also some rattling...

My dad - now known as Poppa Leonard - being the ever-heroic guy that he is, gathered Momma Lynn and Colleen under his steady arms in the doorway of the kitchen and dining room. This provided a clear and unobstructed vantage point into the living room. Right where I was sitting. There I was... rocking away in that green chair, in the living room. All. By. My. Self.

At some point after the shaking began, and after my whole family gathered in the relative safety of the door jamb between the kitchen and dining room, Poppa Leonard shouted at me to get under the dining room table. I don't remember how quickly I moved. Probably not very fast, as I was, and still am, notoriously slow and lazy, I dove head-long under the dining room table. All. By. My. Self.

The shaking lasted a mere 15 seconds. I don't remember much about how I got out from under the table, or if my family even dared to come and get me, or they just stayed gathered there in the doorway, under my dad's arms... while I lay under the table. All. By. My. Self.

There were countless aftershocks. Despite the fact that my beloved grandparents came over to our house, I was GLUED to Momma Lynn's hip for the rest of the evening. I even stood outside the bathroom while she peed, fearing being left out again.

And thus, that fateful evening in October, 27 years ago, I became irrationally obsessed and afraid of being left out. Thanks for that, guys.

In all seriousness, that earthquake was hell for so many people. My uncle was living in Hawaii at the time. Someone asked him if his family was OK, he turned on the news to see the Bay Bridge collapse. It took hours before he reached anyone to find out that we were all OK.

Many thanks to first responders, good Samaritans, and mothers who lost sleep because their 4 year olds wouldn't leave there side, for fear of being left out. Again.

If you'd like to read more about the Loma Prieta Earthquake - also called the 1989 Earthquake - this Wikipedia article is pretty legit.