Earthquakes and fault lines

by +CrystalThieringer    @cdthieringer


“There was another earthquake,” she said. This was immediately after she told me about a recent fire. Apparently, disasters–natural and otherwise–were occupying all her thoughts that day.

The earthquake occurred on a different continent. The fire, on the other hand, was caused when someone came up with the brilliant idea to warm a case of boxed pizzas in her home oven. It may have worked, if that person hadn’t then gone for a walk, leaving them unattended. Instead, she opened the oven door to flames.

“There’s been more and more earthquakes,” she said.pizza

“Wait, how many pizzas?” I was having a hard time picturing this. Perhaps you are too. I had to look up a photo to see what we were talking about, before understanding that indeed, twenty pizzas in their boxes were first stacked on a cardboard tray (because hey, you can never have enough paper), before being shoved into a home oven, at the same time.

“I think the world is coming to an end,” she said.

It fascinates me that she was so focused on the potential fault lines in another country which had no direct impact on her. “How bad was it?” I asked.

“5.7,” she said.

“Not the earthquake, the fire.”

“Oh, flames shot everywhere when I opened the door, and smoke was going out the window and the roof, I think.”

That makes sense. I wondered if that was how the idea for the first fire-starter logs came about. Good thing they scaled it back a bit.

“It’s all cleaned up now and you can hardly smell it.”

She moved on to other news of people affected by shootings and presidential elections and tornadoes–all in other countries. “But those earthquakes. We sure are having a lot of them.”

“Why is that bothering you so much?” I didn’t want to talk about earthquakes, or potential earthquakes (especially since I live near a relatively active fault line and have experienced two smaller ones in the last decade). I was a bit shaken by the murky details of the fire, which had no direct impact on me. I was upset by everything that could have gone wrong. Sitting here, I could see a LOT that could have. Hindsight is genius like that.

Incredulity was fuelling anger and suddenly I realized  how I was reacting exactly as she was–but to different things–and just how fruitless both exercises were. I needed a healthier approach.

Earthquakes and the blame game. If you find a fault? Don’t dwell on it.

9 thoughts on “Earthquakes and fault lines

  1. Isn’t it odd how sometimes we focus on one thing when we are in the midst of crisis, when others see something completely different? It’s easy to get caught up in faults and miss what is right in our day-to-day. Thanks for the reminder to try to look at the bigger picture.

  2. What a clever take-away from your conversation. The pizza box fire could have been a major disaster. I would have focused on that, too!

  3. I enjoyed your post and your perspective on this. It serves as a great reminder to us. 1) people are not always focused on what we are focused on. Did I say always? 2) The most important thing to us may not even register to someone else.

    As always enjoyed your writing.

  4. I’ve come to expect that your style of writing always offers a little something extra under it’s covers, and this piece did not disappoint. I think we all have unique personalities that tend to lend themselves towards different areas of focus. Very nicely written!!

  5. Love this. I love the nuance and layers of meaning you bring to this, but that’s one of the things I love about your writing anyway. I had to laugh to myself a bit, because I have been on the receiving end of those “Wait, what?” conversations. No harm, no foul, as my Dad used to say. As long as everything turned out all right, the “near disaster” isn’t really a big deal to me. It tends to freak other people out though!

    Thank you for sharing this!

    1. Everything turned out, and everyone is fine. Which is why there’s no point in dwelling on potential fault 🙂 Thank goodness!

  6. I enjoyed this and wanted to know how many pizzas there were, also. We focus on faraway things because we know we can’t really do anything about them, but the close at home ones call for action and sometimes we just don’t want to.

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