This is a few days late because I've been debating whether to write it or not because on the one hand, it's been five years; and on the other hand, it's been five years.
- "September": 4:35am Sunday 4th September 2010: 7.1 - you'll note I don't even count from here
- "Boxing Day": morning of Boxing Day 2010
- "February": 12:51pm Tuesday 22nd February 2011: 6.3; killed 185 people
- "June": two big ones an hour apart in June 2011, both 6s I think
- 23rd December 2011
- "Valentine's Day": 14 February 2016: 5.7
And 14000 others in between. (Animated map; may hang for a while before the big events, just wait for it.) These above are just the ones with their own names, the ones people still share stories about: Where were you when?
(Rolling out of bed. Watching the Doctor Who Christmas Special. Holding onto the desk legs at work. In a temporary workplace, and then in a colleague's car as she drove me home. Shopping near my motel while my house was being repaired. Clinging to my kitchen/lounge doorway shouting "Not again, no, no, no!")
There's another Doctor Who episode, the Fires of Pompeii, where the Doctor and Donna visit Pompeii pre-eruption. And we see an earthquake hit and the inhabitants with a quick but practised air grab their breakables to prevent them toppling off shelves. The more earthquakes I go through the more I think... yeah I see what they're trying to show us (earthquakes as normal daily life) but they're showing it wrong. I mean, the only way I'm going to save a breakable in an earthquake is if it's already in my hands (eg my laptop) and even then odds are 50:50 I'd dump it on the way to shelter and worry about it afterwards. (Literally I don't know: I consistently have brief discontinuities in my memory between being aware it's a big one and being aware I've taken shelter. Not like gaps, more like blinking. But in that moment, there's no reasoning.) So if earthquakes in Pompeii happen that often, at similar magnitudes, then:
- all the breakables would be broken by now, because earthquakes will strike when no-one's around to catch them
- remaining precious breakables would be stored on the ground, or in a secure cabinet, or glued or otherwise fastened down
- SOP would be: quake -> duck into shelter -> quake dies down -> check everyone's okay -> "Tertia, sweep up that amphora, and send Marcus to the forum to buy a new one, and tell him to tie it down properly this time." -> check everyone's okay again
- for a smaller quake nothing will fall over, you don't worry about shelter, and after a brief pause to make sure it's not ramping up to something bigger you finish your sentence.
This is what adrenaline does to me:
- 30 seconds of terror
- an hour of shaking
- some hours of being fine except I do wish I didn't have to hear the helicopters flying overhead
- evening, and exhaustion hits
- next morning I'm fine, and then on the bus to work I see a billboard advertising gym membership ('Get your heart rate up!') and want to burst into tears and spend the rest of the day just waiting to go home
- some days of swaying back and forth between fine and an aching despair and a desperate fury at our government who assure us the country is right behind us, while simultaneously cutting our mental health funding again
- life resumes (rage at the government may continue)
- occasional random moments of sudden: An earthquake could strike now. Deep breaths.
Status of the recovery as it affects me:
- My third claim got "not covered" and "pre-existing" right down the list. When signing off on this I wrote in that such-and-such was not pre-existing but if they weren't going to cover it then fine, see if I cared. I also forgot to show them the cracks in the slop with which they filled the cracks in the foundations on claims #1/#2. I don't feel that remembering would have much advantaged me.
- There has been no progress since last anniversary towards completion of the finishing work on the gas fire surround.
- My books therefore remain almost all still in boxes.
- The next door property continues wilderness.
- One of my bus routes is still-again detouring. Most routes have some temporary detour at any given time; this is a semi-permanent / semi-regular detour. Separately, it's also got a detour which is going to become permanent.
- The CBD is making really good progress. Art gallery has reopened; new business buildings, new shops, lots of street art. In Sydenham, the convenience store operating out of a shipping container now has an actual building. (This was disconcerting.)
- My workplace is still to finalise its insurance claim.
- My church is raising funds for a new building(s); in the meantime visiting with another congregation/denomination nearby.
- In a fire drill, I grab my bag and then head for the door: no trust that I'll be allowed back in afterwards. I no longer have to take my bag everywhere with me otherwise though. But I still leave my laptop under shelter when I go to bed, and I keep my cellphone charged.
Five years is a strangely long, strangely short time.