Fear and Trembling

by Marinka on January 18, 2013

In May, I am going to L.A.  I’m going to be attending Mom 2.0 Summit and lounging poolside, with a drink that has an umbrella in it, so long as it doesn’t take too much reserved-for-alcohol real estate in the glass.

I will be flying with my friends Stacy and Karen, because I thought it would be fun to fly with friends and then Karen said that she doesn’t understand how the plane stays up in the air and I no longer think it will be fun to fly with friends.

Needless to say, I’m in a panic. Because it’s L.A. and what if I get discovered?! I mean, I now have a nice life of relative anonymity in NYC, but apparently if you sit in  a Los Angeles coffee shop, there’s a high probability that you’ll become a movie star and I just don’t need that kind of pressure right now.  Maybe I’ll take some Starbucks Via instant coffees with me and not venture out to any coffee establishments.

But I’m also in a panic because I’m afraid of earthquakes. The one time I was in California, decades ago, I spent the whole time trying to walk in this way that I considered to be anti-seismic but was probably Frankenstein-style so as not to “set anything off.” It worked while I was there, but I’m not as limber as I used to  be.

The good news is that I have many friends in L.A. (And I’m not just referring to Ryan Gosling, who’s a friend-with-benefits-of-the-future). So I thought I’d share my fears with them.

First was Suzy, who let me know that if we didn’t meet when I was in L.A., her life would have no meaning. (I’m paraphrasing). I told her I was worried about Death or Drink Spillage by Earthquake and she reassured me:


Now look. I’m not saying that I won Miss Mental Health 2012 or anything, but this is some One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest shit. FUN? The little ones are fun? Far be if from me to judge what people consider to be entertaining, but I find TELEVISION fun or perhaps a rousing game of YATZEE.

Besides, I hope it goes without saying that telling me that There Hasn’t Been A Big One since 1994 is just prologue for “and that’s why we’re due to split from the continent at any minute, see you soon!”

Fortunately, I have other friends.

Unfortunately, they’re not much better.

Here’s how my friend Jon reassured me:

Don’t be stressed at all! All buildings and homes have been rebuilt to be earthquake proof and even when they had the big earthquake in 1994, there weren’t that many deaths and most of the people that died were hit by falling debris when they ran outside, so the key is not to run outside lol but they are over in 10-20 seconds on average before you even realize what’s going on. Odds are that you won’t experience one. I think I feel one like only once every year and a half and I usually just keep doing what I am doing while it is going on. Nothing to worry about. I can’t wait to see you!

Yeah, I can’t wait to see you either. And I’m sure that if there’s an earthquake, I, too, will be doing what I was doing while it’s going on. Which is WORRYING ABOUT THERE BEING AN EARTHQUAKE.

I tried to seek comfort from Peajaye, who offered a unique perspective:

I would be more worried about a tsunami when you’re staying in Laguna than an earthquake. Our house is old but solid and retrofitted. And the hotel is also built to withstand earthquakes. So that would be a little scary, but ultimately, just a good story.

Fortunately for me, I can be worried about both an earthquake and a tsunami. I’m also happy to throw in a fear of alien abduction while I’m at it.

So I’m really, really looking forward to being in L.A. As long as I don’t get discovered and have stardom thrust on me, I think I’ll be ok. Wait, what was that? Did something move?!

One year ago ...

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

christy January 18, 2013 at 7:16 am

Oh my god Marinka. This made me laugh and laugh. You are so damn funny!!!


Anna Lefler
January 18, 2013 at 9:28 am

Okay, I’m not going to the conference, but, girl, I must see you while you’re in my coast-neighborhood! Plans will be made…

As for the earthquakes, my personal preparedness plan is to try and stay within a 10-foot radius of, say, Ryan Gosling at all times. That way if one strikes, I can hold on to him. You know, for balance.

When you come to town, we’ll just double-team him.




January 18, 2013 at 9:35 am

Good News! I double-checked with my Sodomite Partner, who’s lived in our house longer than I have, and he said that the house is not, in fact, retrofitted – BUT it is built on bedrock, and the frame is not actually bolted to its base. So the worst-case scenario would be that the house would break off its base, slide down the mountain and into Silver Lake itself. And that’s great news because Silver Lake was voted Hippest Neighborhood in America recently by some magazines – so how great would that be for your teenage daughter, to be able to brag about THAT to her friends?


annie January 18, 2013 at 9:47 am

How lucky that there weren’t any quakes while you were in Yellowstone! That really pisses off the grizzlies! Maybe you should rethink your vacations? The midwest would be a nice bear/earthquake free zone for you. Just don’t go during tornado season!


January 18, 2013 at 10:03 am

I was in LA in August, and I did not get discovered, despite being in the VIP section at the taping of a TV show, and there were no earthquakes.

But I’m unlucky that way.


January 18, 2013 at 10:15 am

I share in your concerns. The way I see it there is one solution here and it starts with that annoying and over dyed little Barbie umbrella and it ends at the bottom of your glass. Now, I am not saying alcohol is the answer…no wait. Yes, yes I am. And wear rubber sole shoes, there’s no way that can be a bad idea.

Happy travels!


Christa the BabbyMama
January 18, 2013 at 10:28 am

Little earthquakes are actually kind of fun for real. Have a great time!!!


Loukia January 18, 2013 at 11:04 am

I SO WISH I was going to Mom 2.0 again this year. I’m SO SAD that I am not going, you have no idea. I know YOU are probably all happy and shit because I won’t be snoring and annoying the crap out of you, but know this—I’ll miss you guys!
Also, thanks for putting the fear of earthquakes in my head. At least I have ONE less thing to worry about now.
Remember the sniper shootings in D.C.? I went to D.C. at the time and I was walking in a zig-zag formation the entire time. That’s what “they” advised civilians to do, so as to avoid getting shot.
Yeah, irrational fears? I’ve got ’em.
Also, I hate flying. Thank God for Ativan.


liniv January 18, 2013 at 11:13 am

I read your description of the earthquake-avoidance walking pattern as being anti-semitic, and got highly confused for a bit.


January 18, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Ha ha… me too.


Susanne Becker January 18, 2013 at 12:35 pm

I really like your blog and this special post made me laugh and laugh. Reminded me of my trips and once they are booked I start thinking about all the different forms of death I might die while at it! Thank you! Susanne from Berlin, Germany


January 18, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Get your favorite curse words ready and be more concerned about all the asshole So Cal drivers. The Worst! Trust me, I’ve lived in Houston, Denver, a what-road-rules small Hawaiian island, and recently returned to my birth city, Los Angeles and all I can say is, I hope you’ll have a driver, LAX is a living nightmare. I imagine the snobbery at O.C. John Wayne airport is insufferable. So wherever you’ll be landing, good luck.

And about those dreaded earthquakes, it was interesting realizing, after living in Texas for several months, that I was finally getting decent sleep – I was no longer terrified of chances of earthquakes! I’ve been in So Cal for 2 1/2 months now and look forward everyday to the day we move away… far, far away.


anna see January 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm

I do hope you survive. First, b/c I like you. Second, b/c I’m looking forward to a recap when you get back.


Laurie January 18, 2013 at 2:57 pm

I think what you really need to worry about is getting caught in a freeway car chase. LA has those just about every day. Low speed or high speed, you should definitely worry about that.

Oh, also, if you don’t want to get discovered to be famous, try not to do any teen modeling. I think those always go together too.


karen January 18, 2013 at 3:09 pm

I am so looking forward to this trip, although it seems clear that between the flying/earthquake/tsunami fears I will be battling, I’ll be doped up on Xanax the whole time I’m there.


January 18, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Love it. I think you’ll be perfectly fine.

And if you do see Ryan Gosling please kidnap him. And then disclose your location to me.

The best way to see him would probably be in some sort of good samaritan/earthquake situation. So really you should be hoping there IS an earthquake and then he can rescue you.


Jon January 18, 2013 at 4:07 pm

I do agree that the freeways are really the biggest cause of anxiety but you won’t be driving so just don’t look out the window! And hey, at least there’s no bears.


January 18, 2013 at 6:40 pm

We had one of those small earthquakes that your California friend says are nothing. It was totally freaky because first I had to figure out what the heck was going on, and then I rushed outside and realized that, hey, things were shaking out there, too, and THERE WAS NOWHERE TO GO. So good luck with that.


January 19, 2013 at 12:03 pm

I’m glad you are getting started early on worrying. Don’t wait till the last minute!


January 19, 2013 at 5:04 pm

You might want to file for non-profit status in advance. Have the paypal button ready is all I’m saying.


Heather January 20, 2013 at 2:33 am

Earthquakes are over before you even put your cocktail down. But just in case, I’ll loan you one of my earthquake helmets. Only true Angelenos have them. Also, Suzy is right, we haven’t had a big one since 1994 so that doesn’t AT ALL mean that the area is due for one or anything. And the hotel is at the top of a cliff, but it’s super-secure.

Bring Xanax.


Carpool Goddess January 21, 2013 at 12:02 am

I live in L.A. and I get nervous when a big truck goes by. Usually the earth moves in the middle of the night (I’m not being cheeky), and I just hide under the covers. You’ll be fine 🙂


bronxbee January 26, 2013 at 12:15 pm

well, marinka, i don’t want to add to your justified fears, but we have had earthquakes in 2011 and 2012 in the NYC area, and two hurricanes…. as well as ice storms. so i think being discovered and a little shook up in LA while sipping drinks in the sunshine has to have its appeal. oh, and by the way, i’ve been to LA twice and wasn’t discovered at all — and i tried it all: the cafe at the Getty, the poolside drinking thing, the in and out burger… and if *i* wasn’t discovered, you might be safe.


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