Jaci Stephen: 'The Rolling Stones and their subwoofers arrived in my apartment'

Way Out West

Share
Related Topics

Having ignored the officially titled Earthquake Preparedness Month in April, I was left spectacularly unprepared when my first earthquake struck in May. I had just completed a sentence of a book I am writing that was a tad sneering of the religious fundamental types I seem to be attracting on a dating website. That's when it happened, I kid you not. The Rolling Stones and their subwoofers had arrived en masse in my apartment, shaking my walls and sending the candy lollipop in my mouth hurtling down my gullet.

The experience saw me scuttling straight away to my local hardware store, Pioneer, which, in addition to offering computer repairs, handymen, knife sharpening and sales of parrots, also sells "earthquake kits". When I went in to buy one, I was told that I could put together my own, although I was in such a state at having to have one at all, I didn't really listen to what I might need and came away with a Le Creuset casserole dish.

One friend, who has lived with the threat of earthquakes since he was a child, has been instructing me as to where I should head next time. He says it is good that I live just one floor from the top of my block, so that the other floors will not come crashing down on me, and that in an emergency I should on no account leave the building, where I will undoubtedly be hit by low-flying rooftops. My best bet, he says, is to head for the door-frame; failing that, I should take refuge under a table. I have a better idea: as he is well over six foot, how about HE stands under the door frame or goes under the table, and I take refuge under HIM? I have yet to put this idea to him.

I have become mildly obsessed with the earthquake problem and panicked again in my gym when the floor started to shake in the ladies. The receptionist explained that the trembling was a result of the various cardio-vascular machines operating on the floor above, so I just pray that I am not in the gym when the earthquake strikes and be subjected to a double whammy of terror.

It was a bit of a nerve-racking day all round at the gym. Shortly after the non-earthquake in the ladies, there was an almighty roar of an alarm that sent me reeling from the treadmill. Thinking that it must be an earthquake warning (I told you I was obsessed), I ran what seemed like miles to the nearest door frame, only to find dozens of men playing basketball in the Magic Johnson gym. The hooter was sounding for reasons I have yet to work out; but if you want to die among fit men (in both senses of the word) when the earthquake strikes, then the Magic Johnson basketball court is your place. Well, it'll be mine.

As if the hooter was not terrifying enough, a man on the step machine next to my treadmill made me think that all my earthquakes had come at once. "AAAAAAGGGHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOO! PLEASE NOOOOOOOOOOOO! WHAT'S HAPPENING . . . !" He wasn't just sweating, he was a geyser of open pores, all of them spraying in my direction. "What is it? What is it?" I squealed, frantically looking for yet another door frame (why can you never find one when you need one?). "Baseball," he panted. "Sport. It's important."

The television screen above his machine was showing a match (at the moment it appears to be baseball, as well as earthquake season. Aren't I the lucky one), and someone on his team had apparently just done something incredibly stupid. He told me he was rooting for the Boston Stranglers (or some such ridiculous name - I could hardly hear through the downpour), and that their opponents were evil. Yeah, whatever.

On my way back to Beverly Hills in the bus ($1.25 to go just about anywhere, incredible), a man opposite smiled and said "How ya doin'?"

He told me he was on "high risk parole", and something told me he wasn't talking about the department he worked for in CSI on the telly.

"I have to get me a woman to sort myself out," he continued. Oh, no. Why me. I averted his eyes and kept them fixed on Wilshire Boulevard, actually wishing that the earth would swallow me up. If it was going to move at all, I didn't want it to be with somebody booking our honeymoon on Death Row.

Read more of Jaci Stephen's blog, LA Not So Confidential, at lanotsoconfidential.blogspot.com

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Cabinet Maker / Joiner

£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This bespoke furniture and inte...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic and Motion Designer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Do you get a buzz from thinking up new ideas a...

Recruitment Genius: Media Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£14500 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Female Care Worker

£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This expanding, vibrant charity which su...

Day In a Page

Read Next
People struggle to board a train at the railway station in Budapest  

Even when refugees do make it to British soil, they are treated appallingly

Maya Goodfellow
 

Daily catch-up: immigration past and present, in Europe and in America

John Rentoul
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones